By Danielle Rebel
At MSUM, advising is more than a requirement to receive registration access codes. The university strives to make every student heard, provide support for all aspects of college life, and empower students to reach their lifelong goals.
Spring 2017 semester advising begins Monday, Oct. 3.
Encouragers of Student Success
Megan Proulx is one of three student relations coordinators at MSUM. Her main role is working as a student liaison in the College of Science, Health and the Environment, supporting students in a variety of ways.
“We’re very intentional about supporting students who have fallen below satisfactory academic progress, and that’s where MSUM is different,” Proulx said. “At the bottom line it’s a direct line to retention. How do we help students complete their degree?”
Though not officially a student advisor, Proulx serves on the Student Advisory Committee. She and other members help ensure MSUM maintains its commitment to developing a meaningful educational plan with each student that is compatible with student interests, abilities and goals.
“It’s about having a commitment to learn about the student a little bit more so they feel connected to a faculty member. Our advising approach is more relational,” Proulx said. “At MSUM we want students to succeed. It’s at the forefront. We make it a priority.”
Like Proulx, Dr. Theresa Hest (communication studies) is one of many who believe advising is much more than a conversation about classes and registration.
“I’m really concerned about the whole student and not just what’s going on in class, but also what’s going on in their life,” Hest said. “How they’re thinking and how they’re feeling and if there’s something I can help with.”
The size of MSUM’s campus and low student-to-faculty ratio also contribute to the success of its advising program.
“MSUM is just large enough that the students get lots of experiences, but still small enough that students know their faculty, especially their advisor,” said Peggy Dell, an academic advisor in the Paseka School of Business. “Faculty members are supposed to have 10 hours a week for office hours, but you’ll find them available much more than that.”
“We hear over and over again from MSUM students how much they like the faculty here; about how much faculty care,” Hest said. “When faculty care that really lends itself to being good advisors.”
Travis Wehrenberg (biology, pre-med) has had his fair share of advising experiences. After attending two different institutions, Wehrenberg transferred to MSUM in the fall of 2015. He says MSUM has provided the best advising experience by far.
“The advisors here don’t make it seem like they’re too busy for you,” Wehrenberg said. “At other schools you had to work around their schedule. Here, it’s so easy. You get an email back, you get a call back, you can go in there without an appointment and be like, ‘Do you have five minutes?’”
He says the advising program at MSUM is a great asset for all students who are willing to listen to their advisor’s opinions and advice.
“I really think they are more than (academic) advisors. They are people who are helping you build a plan for your future. They’re a big deal. They don’t just help you plan, but they help you prosecute those plans,” Wehrenberg said.
Dell agrees MSUM is special because most of its advisors are also professors. Many schools are moving away from this model, but she says it’s an asset to MSUM.
“There are so many resources faculty have,” Dell said. “I think it’s huge if the students take advantage of those resources.”
For advising resources and MSUM’s advisor and student expectations, visit the Academic Support Center webpage.
Don’t know who your advisor is? Visit eServices and check your Degree Audit Report (DARS).