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Advisors work hard to help students graduate

David Ford

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Jackson Poe is an excellent student majoring in accounting with an excellent GPA, but he did not research his facts and only used personal anecdotal data before writing a scathing editorial about Culverhouse College of Commerce Academic Advising.

Each Culverhouse College of Commerce academic advisor averages 800 students. Given an eight hour day and an average of a 12 week semester, that gives each advisor 36 minutes per student per semester. (Assuming no breaks, no holidays, no other issues, everyone comes in fully prepared, and every advisor has no other job related responsibilities or duties.)

All of the advisors also teach classes, up to three sections each, with prep time and grading and some are also working on graduate degrees. Few students make appointments. They just drop by and expect to have an advisor respond to them and/or meet with them.

Every single time in the past 17.5 years I have sent or taken a student to Culverhouse College of Commerce Undergraduate Student Services Center, the advisors have gone out of their way to assure the students issues are solved expeditiously and to their satisfaction.

Never once have I seen anyone treated rudely or turned away. The advisors have shown great interest in student success and in “Finishing in Four.”

Having changed majors five times as an undergraduate myself, may I suggest that many young people do not know exactly what they want to do or what they enjoy in the way of majors or work. But no one in the Student Services office is making an effort to ‘milk’ the students for more tuition money by keeping them confused or delaying graduation. Ever.

The final fact is: Our growth in students has far outpaced our growth in faculty and staff over the past 17.5 years. The addition of Degree Works has been a big help, but if students expect to have quality time with an advisor whenever it is convenient for them to drop-in, then we must add considerable staff and make sure they have no additional duties which take them away from advising.

The folks in advising were hurt by these comments, and I believe they were unwarranted and untrue.

David Ford is a clinical instructor of management and the director of the Business Honors Program.

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Advisors work hard to help students graduate