As of late, on campus there are two little words that continue to loom over everything: differential tuition.
You have likely seen and heard plenty of opinions about that already, so you are going to be spared exposure to another one here.
The issue has however highlighted another problematic subject that many seem to be ignoring. One of the benefits of differential tuition is that it will potentially add new advisers to help the professors who have to take on too many students.
This is a noble goal, and it is good for everyone involved to have professors advising smaller groups of students. But is throwing money at this situation really the best way to handle it? Isn’t there a more obvious way of helping this issue that would allow money to go in a more worthwhile direction?
We should be cutting back on advising, not expanding it. There should be fewer requirements for advising and a simpler way for students to navigate toward graduation on their own.
Have you really spent time thinking about how your degree progress report looks? Why does it have to be a messy, confusing eyesore of crammed text and numbers spread throughout a dozen different boxes? Everyone needs an adviser in their first year because the important information they need is presented in a way that isn’t user-friendly.
Having a requirement that every student needs an adviser’s permission to register should be a pretty big clue that the system is too complicated.
Redesign MyPoint to have a simplified layout that makes registering a breeze. Use color-coding to indicate which classes fit which requirements or have dialogue boxes pop up if you accidentally try to register for classes that don’t fit your needs.
There is not a good reason that we need to be using a registration program that looks like it was designed on a 90’s computer that is barely strong enough to run solitaire. If you streamline the process itself, fewer people will need advisers.
And speaking of people who don’t need advisers, that is the other half of this equation. We can also ease the advising situation for professors by allowing students to decline the opportunity. Many students become comfortable setting their own schedules after a few semesters and then end up going to arbitrary meetings with their advisers only because it is required to register.
Why are we forcing people to waste their time and bog down the schedules of professors and students simultaneously? Lift the requirement to meet advisers after the student has completed sophomore year. Not only will it relieve stress for professors, but it will also force students to grow up and become more self-sufficient.
If the process is simplified and fewer students are forced to meet advisers, we will help the situation far more than we would by throwing money at it. We need to look past simply treating the symptom of overworked professors, and look toward curing the disease itself.
Adding more advisers is nothing but a Band-Aid.