The Faculty Advising Program at Skidmore
Who are faculty advisors, and how do I get one?
Your summer advisor is your initial contact to assist you with academic planning. If you are a first-year student, the instructor of your Scribner Seminar (SSP 100) will be your faculty advisor in the fall. Most transfer students are assigned initially to a classroom instructor or to the chairperson of the department of an anticipated major.
What is the role of a faculty advisor?
Your faculty advisor fulfills a number of academic advising and mentoring functions:
- Your faculty advisor will help you plan an academic program consistent with your abilities,
needs, and interests. He or she will also meet with you periodically to check your
progress toward the completion of the Skidmore degree requirements as well as the
requirements in your major.
- Your faculty advisor will serve as a reliable source of information about Skidmore’s
academic policies and procedures. In cases where he or she cannot answer your question,
your advisor will refer you to the proper person or office on campus for assistance.
- Some other issues you will want to talk with your faculty advisor about include time
management and other skills needed for success at Skidmore, your long-term educational
goals, your choice of a major, internships, study abroad/study away, collaborative
research opportunities with faculty on campus, and graduate school.
- As an academic mentor, your faculty advisor is interested in your development as a
“whole person.” Your advisor will urge you to get to know your other professors. Getting
to know your professors will enhance your college life immensely. Your advisor will
also encourage your involvement in the broader community beyond the classroom in areas
such as theater, athletics and personal fitness, orchestra, volunteer programs, or
one of the many clubs on campus.
- If you are a first-year student, you will enroll in a Scribner Seminar (SSP 100). Later in the summer, you will receive
a letter from your Scribner Seminar instructor and then meet him or her for the first
time during Orientation. Once the semester begins, your Scribner Seminar instructor
is available to you in your Scribner Seminar, by appointment, and during his or her
office hours. You should plan to meet outside of the Scribner Seminar class time on
a regular basis throughout the academic year. There are several points during the
term when you should plan to make an individual advising appointment with your Scribner
- at the start of the semester
- prior to the end of the add-drop period to touch base about your final class schedule
- at mid-semester to discuss academic progress and the general transition to college
- several weeks prior to registration to discuss and plan your next semester’s classes
- in early December to discuss final exams, papers, and how to manage the stress that
accompanies the end of every semester
- If you are experiencing academic difficulties, see your classroom instructor first.
However, your faculty advisor can help you develop a plan to address your problem(s).
Your Scribner Seminar instructor will be able to refer you to helpful campus resources,
including the Writing Center and Student Academic Services.
- Your faculty advisor will encourage you to become increasingly independent and self-reliant as you progress in your Skidmore education. Ultimately, the responsibility for fulfilling the all-college and major requirements is yours. Your advisor will offer advice about particular academic courses, opportunities, and options, but final decisions and choices will be yours to make.
What is my role as an advisee in this relationship?
- Your role is to be an active and proactive participant in the advising and mentoring relationship. Be reliable and dependable. Make appointments ahead of time to see your advisor at the appropriate moments in the semester (see above for suggested times) and keep them. Don’t wait for your advisor to contact you. Be sure you know your advisor’s office hours, email address, and office phone number.
- Go prepared to your advising meetings by writing down questions you have and researching them in advance by using the master schedule, your degree audit, department and program web sites, and the College Catalog. If you are to discuss your course schedule, have several alternative plans in hand and be ready to explain the rationale for your choices. Think about trying to choose courses that link intellectually with one another.
- If you have a problem, ask for help from both your classroom instructor, if your problem is related to course work, and from your faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor will have helpful suggestions about campus resources that can address your situation or will refer you to the proper office or person on campus who can.
- Strive for independence and expect to be challenged by your advisor as you discuss
your academic decisions and long-term goals.
- Read and be informed about the College Catalog, the Student Handbook, all-college requirements, and requirements for your major. Monitor your own progress toward graduation. Your advisor is there to help you, but you are ultimately responsible for the timely completion of your degree requirements.
What if my faculty advisor goes on leave?
In almost all cases, your Scribner Seminar instructor will be available as your faculty advisor throughout your first year at Skidmore. In your sophomore year, you may continue with your advisor or choose another faculty member to be your advisor. Should your advisor take a leave of absence or go on sabbatical, department chairpersons and program directors, in consultation with the Office of Academic Advising, will reassign advisees. You do not need to initiate this process, but you are welcome to make your own choice of a new faculty advisor. See someone in the Office of Academic Advising for information or questions about this process.
What should I do if I want to change my faculty advisor?
Most students remain with their first-year faculty advisor until they choose a major at the end of the sophomore year, but if you find you would like to change your faculty advisor before you declare a major, you may. See someone in the Office of Academic Advising for information or questions about changing an advisor.
What are the other sources of academic advice on campus besides my faculty advisor?
Your own instructors are often the best sources, and you may also turn to offices in Starbuck Center: Academic Advising, First-Year Experience, Registrar, and Student Academic Services. You may also consult the Catalog, the College’s official statement of academic programs and requirements. This and other information can be found on the College website. In addition to the many excellent websites prepared by the academic programs and departments, check administrative sites for academic, cocurricular, and career information.