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Academic advising for Arts undergraduate students at English-speaking Canadian public universities

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Title: Academic advising for Arts undergraduate students at English-speaking Canadian public universities
Author: Trigg, Wendy A
Degree: Master of Arts - MA
Program: Educational Studies
Copyright Date: 1997
Subject Keywords Counseling in higher education-Canada;Faculty advisors-Canada;College student orientation-Canada
Issue Date: 2009-04-16
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Abstract: This is the first Canadian study to determine current procedures and practice in for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts English-speaking Canadian public universities. and to determine Arts advisors' perceptions of the impact of academic advising on student development and retention. A questionnaire was mailed to 82 academic advisors at 41 English public universities across Canada. Responses received represented 73% of eligible universities. Personal interviews followed with nine volunteers. Results showed that academic advising practice is not guided by formal policy that links the service to university and faculty goals. Instead, advising is evolving in response to the call for university accountability. Advising practices appear to be changing to meet the expectations and demands from students that their undergraduate experience facilitates the achievement of academic goals in association with career goals and other personal goals. Despite the lack of guiding policy on Arts academic advising, there is considerable amount of consistency in current practice across Canada. Advising is primarily a Faculty responsibility and the responsibility for delivering general academic advice has largely shifted from professors to professional advisors. Advisors have a broad range of responsibilities and extensive decision-making authority, especially in the areas of program planning with students, and in interpreting and applying policies and procedures. The hours that students can gain access to advising differs among Arts advising units. However, the methods of delivering advice are similar. In all advising units the student to advisor ratio is extremely high. Most units are responsible for providing the service to thousand of students. Arts advisors are also extensively involved a variety of outreach and liaison activities directed at potential and current students and the broader university community and the public. Arts academic advisors believe that advising improves student persistence to degree completion and hence also improves university retention rates. At the same time, some advisors perceive that central administration does not recognize the importance of the service and that this lack of recognition combined with heavy advising loads, complex policy and program regulations, and shrinking resources affects the quality of academic advising. Despite the difficulties mentioned by advisors, many advising units have initiatives in place to expand their academic advising service through joint strategies with other student services that will link students' short-term and long-term academic, career and life plans. The study concludes with recommendations on developing academic policy and programs, as well providing suggestions for further research.
Affiliation: Education, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/7261
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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