Academic advising sees turnover, student utilization low

Mar. 28, 2016

Jonathan Toman
[email protected]

Students have academic advisors available to them throughout their UCCS career. But while turnover among advisors has impacted services, some students find that they do not often need to visit an advisor.

The 16 academic advisors are divided into six categories: business (two), nursing (two), engineering (two), humanities/education (three), natural/health sciences (three) and social science/criminal justice/undecided (four).

Between fall 2014 and fall 2015, UCCS lost (and then replaced) four of the 16 academic advisors.

In the same time span, of the original 16, five were moved to new areas of concentration.

When advisors move or leave UCCS, there is a time frame of around three months to hire and train a new advisor, according to director of Academic Advising Brett Fugate.

“This three month gap,” Fugate said in an email, “means a lot of students work with other advisors in the interim before their new advisor is trained and ready to go.”

Regardless of any advisor changes, some students are infrequent visitors to the Academic Advising office, because they utilize their degree audit.

Students check-in at the Academic Advising office. Ben Patzer | The Scribe
Students check-in at the Academic Advising office.
Ben Patzer | The Scribe
For the 2015 calendar year, academic advising had 16,948 walk-in and scheduled appointments from students, an average of just over 1.5 visits per student.

Patricia Arnold, freshman sociology major, knows her advisor and met with her as part of orientation. But she hasn’t met with her since then, explaining that she has planned out her next few semesters.

Junior mechanical engineering major Kyle Miller said his main source of advising information is his degree audit. After creating a plan with that tool, he mainly uses his required group advising as an engineering major to double check the decisions he’s made about his schedule.

“(Advisors) can help you,” he said. “(My advisor) helped the first two semesters until I figured out how to do it myself.”

Nationally, schools average 300 to 450 students per advisor, according to Fugate. UCCS averages 600.

In the fall, Academic Advising plans to offer drop-in advising with graduate students who will be trained as peer advisors. This service, which will complement existing advising, will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This semester, drop-in advising is only allowed on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Otherwise, students must schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor at other times of the week.

All students can request to see a different advisor if they are not happy with their current advisor. Students wishing to change must fill out a form at the academic advising front desk.