Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CCAS Advising – What a Crock!

The lead story in Monday’s Hatchet discussed the flaws of the Advising system at GW, specifically was CCAS.

Here is the main point of the article:

Like many of her peers, Khederian (a student discussed in opening of the story)
is frustrated by what CCAS students describe as a system that leaves them
without the guidance they expected to receive. Students, administrators and
advisers all agree there are problems with the current system, but opinions
differ on how, and if, the issues can be resolved. Within GW's five
undergraduate schools, there are a handful of advising systems, ranging from
professional, full-time advisers to professors who suggest classes in their
spare time. Earlier this year, University President Steven Knapp said he hears
more complaints about advising than anything else, but students and advisers
disaggre, the University and the Student Association are taking steps to
identify possible remedies for these issues.

In this article, I think the Hatchet has hit the nail on the head. As a senior, I know to well how much the advising system in CCAS sucks – to put it bluntly. As advising goes is simply the worst. No guidance. Not advice. No attention. No feedback. Nothing!

I am a political science major – like 2,000 or so other students at GW. For our major, there is one full-time professor and one part-time professor responsible for advising all of us. I have met with Prof. Wiley twice in my four years at GW - for the sum total of ten minutes! For the other five semesters, I got a Political Science professor to sign my paperwork so I could remove my hold – most of the time it was a professor whose class I was in at the time. (CCAS has a rule that any Professor can sign a advising sheet - their solution: instead of fixing the problem, they create the stupid accommodation that puts convenience over the needs of students.)

I remember one semester the line at Professor Wiley’s door was so long I decided to find another professor in his or her office to offer me advice and sign my advising sheet. One was willing to do it, on the condition that he did not have to read my form or offer me any guidance. He would simply sign the paper and nothing else. That’s what 50K a year buys you!

We need major, fundamental change in CCAS advising program, particularly in the Political Science Department. It is a horrible shame that our system is this bad! The Elliot School and the School of Business have it right with the professional full time, advisers. So many people in CCAS get lost in the shuffle, not because they don’t care or don’t try, but because the system is so decentralized and in personal. Surely we can do better.

Maybe the solution is to throw more money at the problem by raising tuition, again. That should do the trick, since its worked so well before...

1 comment:

Shannon said...

The article made a good point about professional advisers. Obviously full-time staff whose JOB it is to advise students is better than a bitter, overworked faculty member who already has a million things to do. I wouldn't be opposed to "throwing money at the problem" if it went to more professional advisers in CCAS.