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Academic Advising Explanation

A description of the academic advising services that are available to students in the Penn State College of Education.

Academic Advising
Components, Nature, and Responsibilities
(Senate Policies 32-00, 32-10, 32-20, 32-30, 32-90)


Faculty and staff in the College of Education perform the function of advising students as an important aspect of their professional responsibility.

The key to successful academic advisement depends on the ability of the adviser and of the advisee to enter into a relationship which (1) addresses specific components of academic advising, (2) recognizes the nature of the academic advising process, and (3) stresses that both the adviser and the advisee carry responsibilities in the advising process.

Components of Academic Advising

  1. Conveying the Purposes of the University -- Includes advice and consultation regarding the aims of a land grant institution, the meaning of higher education, the essence of disciplinary and interdisciplinary study, the reasons for academic requirements, the expected standards of achievement, and the spirit and satisfaction of scholarly work.
  2. Information Giving -- Includes advice and consultation about registration, course offerings, areas of faculty interest and expertise, educational opportunities, degree programs and requirements, educational policies and regulations, as well as administrative procedures.
  3. Short-Range Program Planning -- Includes advice and consultation on scheduling sequences and course planning, registration and schedule adjustments.
  4. Long-Range Planning -- Includes advice and consultation about educational and professional objectives consistent with the student's demonstrated academic abilities and interests, as well as identification of the relationship between courses, programs, and occupations.
  5. Student Referral -- Recognizes that the adviser cannot possibly meet all student needs but that specialized campus services are available for advice and consultation complementary to the knowledge and skill of the adviser.
  6. Facilitating Student Development -- Includes interest in the student's goals and problems, establishment of rapport, development of the student's self-awareness, and use of active listening.

Nature of the Academic Advising Process

The role of the academic adviser as reflected in the Faculty Senate Policies for Students (distributed during arrival week) is consultative in nature. Consultation is designed to engage adviser and advisee in all applicable components of academic advising.

In any academic advising program, some students propose actions with which the academic adviser cannot agree. In some cases, advisers are responsible for informing students of the appropriate course of action. Nevertheless, final decisions relative to course scheduling and program planning are made by the students, and they must assume primary responsibility for such decisions, particularly when these are inconsistent with the requirements of the chosen major and college.

Responsibilities of the Adviser

  1. To be knowledgeable about program(s) which he/she advises.
  2. To inform the advisee of degree requirements.
  3. To communicate and emphasize the advisee's responsibility for satisfying degree requirements.
  4. To assist the student in career planning.
  5. To assist the freshman advisee in developing a well-planned exploratory program to facilitate choice of major and career.
  6. To be familiar with published academic rules and regulations of the University and to maintain an up-to-date academic advising reference file containing current program area, college, and University materials pertinent to advising.
  7. To help the advisee plan a suitable schedule of classes, at least one semester in advance.
  8. To establish, post, and maintain adequate office hours throughout the semester, with particular emphasis given to orientation, registration, and drop/add periods.
  9. To inform the advisee of adviser's and advisee's responsibilities in the academic advising process.
  10. To keep records of the advisee's progress, including the Profile of Academic Abilities, academic transcript or grade reports, current schedule of classes, audit of academic progress, and program checksheet.
  11. To discuss with the advisee academic performance and its implications.
  12. To refer the advisee to appropriate sources of information and services.

Responsibilities of the Advisee

  1. To obtain a list of the requirements for the chosen major from the adviser and use it to monitor progress toward fulfilling degree requirements.
  2. To be aware that primary responsibility for selecting courses and meeting degree requirements is the advisee's. The adviser can suggest, recommend, and remind the student of rules and requirements, but the advisee has primary responsibility for meeting program and degree requirements. The signature of the adviser must be obtained on the appropriate form as written evidence of this consultation.
  3. To know the adviser's office hours.
  4. To inform the adviser of changes in plans which directly affect academic performance and educational goals (e.g., finances, job, health, academic problems, changes in academic and career goals, etc.).
  5. To plan a suitable schedule of classes at least one semester in advance with the help of the adviser.
  6. To be familiar with the published rules and regulations of the University.
  7. To discuss with the adviser academic performance and its implications.
  8. To follow up on referrals made by the adviser.

More information on the College of Education, in general, and "Undergraduate Student Services," in particular, is also available on our web site: