What Makes a Good Advisor?

Posted: September 8, 2008 by rcannady in Student/Faculty Liason

Have you had a really good advisor at SIRLS? What made this advisor so helpful and good? Here are a couple of thoughts to get your ideas churning:

  • How did the professor communicate?
  • What did the advisor communicate?
  • Was the information timely or even proactive?
  • If your advisor was not what you hoped for, what do you wish s/he would do?

Your comments will help to give direct feedback to the professors and advisors at SIRLS.

Thank you for adding your input!

Rachel Cannady
LSO: Faculty/Student Liaison

  1. A says:

    Return emails. It’ as simple as that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see a list of times we could meet with our advisor, set up during tge 504 class perhaps. To actually sit down and discuss our plans. As an undergrad, my department had an advising day each semester to keep students on track…that could be something SIRLS could follow.

  3. Marie says:

    I would like advisors to be more proactive in seeking us out. My advisor is good about answering emails, but it seems like I always have to seek the person out. It may be nice to have an advising form for advisees to get to know their needs a little better. Another good idea is to follow-up with advisees at certain times during the semester to make sure everything is on track.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree with all of the posts. I would have liked to have met my advisor during 504. I understand that professors in most departments are not required to be on campus during summer for various reasons. But since SIRLS requires students to physically attend 504 during summer and not during the rest of their career at SIRLS, it would be immensely helpful if advisors were there too. Also, students should be primarily responsible for meeting up with their advisors, but it would be helpful for advisors to have a deadline to follow up with students, as well. The set up of the SIRLS building makes for a particularly unwelcoming environment for students- especially in the way info about advisors (office hours, etc) is not centralized in a useful way.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Return emails, phone messages, etc in a timely manner (within a few days)
    Set up an appointment with each student 1X a semester to make sure they are on track
    If you don’t know- find out!
    Be helpful and friendly

  6. Anonymous says:

    Return emails, phone messages, etc in a timely manner (within a few days)
    Set up an appointment with each student 1X a semester to make sure they are on track
    If you don’t know- find out!

  7. Doris Dejwakh says:

    I think the best advisor sends out emails periodically (every 2-3 months?) to let his/her advisees know he/she is there, to let them know about important things, such as graduation requirements, etc., and to remind them of his/her availability to talk, answer questions, etc. That way, it is not imposing, but offering help if needed. I’m a distance student, so I’ve never had a real meeting with my advisor, but email is good for communicating and keeping in touch. For students in Tucson, it might be nice to have a social event at the advisor’s home, to get to know people better.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a reasonable expectation for an advisor to have an understanding of and ready answers to questions about the administrative requirements (plan of study, eportfolio, etc.) necessary for the degree. There’s only so many permutations of a path a student can take, so creating guides or informational cheat sheets for advisors to reference would be a good start.

  9. Anonymous says:

    My advisor is always quick to respond to any questions. I sat down with them during 504 and was able to do a quick map of the classes I should take depending on my interests. Although not all of the classes were available when I wanted to take them, that map has helped a lot in planning my 4 semesters. They also gave me advice as to when to take certain classes and suggested an internship in my last semester. They’ve also sent out reminders several times about filling out the ePortfolio and graduation requirements. They’ve been very helpful.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The adviser I have is wonderful. I feel like I can ask him/her anything, and they will do their best to answer my questions. Another great thing about my adviser is that they respond very quickly to my emails, within 1 or 2 days at the most.

    As a distance learning student, my adviser does his/her best to keep in touch with me and to make sure I know what I need to in order to do well in the program. This adviser also reaches out to students at the beginning of the semester, sending out an email to just “check in” with all his/her advisees. I have also been able to contact my adviser by phone and discuss things at length, which was much easier than only communicating by email.

    My adviser makes me feel like s/he cares about me because s/he doesn’t just wait for me to contact him/her. I also feel very confident in the advice I receive.

    While everyone is busy, I think it is important for advisers to show they care about those they advise. Just conducting business as usual or not explaining the reasons behind things to their students leads to the student not feeling like they are getting the help they need.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Like others, I wish I heard from my advisor more often. I never receive information from her unless I seek it out.

    She’s quick to respond when I do email but, often, when I ask her questions, I get emails back saying she’s got to go ask someone else to get an answer for me, which normally takes a few days. It’s frustrating when my advisor consistently doesn’t know the answers to my questions.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How did the professor communicate?

    By email, after I send out 3-4 emails and then have to contact the office to relay a message for me to my adviser.

    What did the advisor communicate?

    Nothing other than “I’m your adviser.” No guidance whatsoever from my adviser, no feedback on my questions (at least not until 3-4 emails of my asking), and no initiative from my adviser to check in with me at all. If it weren’t for the fact that I have a wonderful support system at my work (reference dept.), I wouldn’t have a clue as to where to go next with my career.

    Was the information timely or even proactive?

    Unfortunately it hasn’t been at all. It’s been proactive on my side. But I haven’t received one follow-up from my adviser, and even when I needed permission from my adviser to take an extra class, I had to fish out an old email in which he said he agreed and would support that decision. Even after that, I heard nothing from my adviser about the matter.

    If your advisor was not what you hoped for, what do you wish s/he would do?

    I would like for my adviser to simply write an email once in a while, or at the very least respond in a timely manner. I think that a good adviser will also send emails about jobs or tips. At the very least, ask (even if half-hearted) how my semester is going or how my courses are going. At this point, I have it in my mind that my adviser doesn’t even know I exist. (And come think of it, at my 504 course when he came over for the dinner/introduction he was gone three minutes after the intro and food….I remember because I saw who he was, excused myself from the table to go talk to him…and he was gone, which was confirmed by another faculty who said he left for the evening).

    A little effort to know your advisees goes a long way. I know because I’ve been an academic adviser in the past.