Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Advising Arcana

A few extra folks in my department have been "asked" to advise English ed students. Today we had a meeting to teach us the basics. I took a page and a half of notes, as well as writing extensively on teh 8 pages of handouts.

There are a lot of special rules, all of which make sense to someone and a few of which make sense even to me. But dang, there are a lot of rules. I live in a letters and sciences sort of world, but the ed students live in an education world, and the rules are different at that level, so it's not just learning a different major or emphasis, but learning different general education type requirements, too.

The powers that be have assigned me four ed majors. It seems like a lot of work for four students, doesn't it? I mean, why don't they take one or two of us and have that one person (or two people) learn and advise all the extra ed students?

Because of the structure of the university and department, and since we all teach composition and the lit folks teach a lot of GE, we have a substantial number of lit faculty for the number of lit emphasis English majors, so my advising load isn't huge. (Compare that with, say, business, which serves minimal GE or university-wide requirements, and has a lot more majors per faculty member; they have more advisees per person.)

I hope I don't mess up someone's life with bad advising!


  1. good point about maybe it would make more sense to just have one or 2 people learn the extra things for ed majors.

    on the other hand -- i don't think you will mess up anyone's life, because if something comes up that you can't answer well, my guess is that you'll either say "let me look into that some more" or suggest other folks for the students to talk with.

  2. It's always a little scary to advise someone in a new area that I'm not totally familiar. The big thing I always have to remember to tell students is that I'm an advisor and will do my very best, but that THEY are the ones who are ultimately responsible for reading the handbook or catalog and figuring out their own major.

  3. Advising just makes me nervous in general. I don't have a lot of English major advisees, but the powers that be threw a bunch of undeclared first year students at me. I'm still trying to figure out the requirements for graduation at our institution, so some days I'm almost as confused as they are.