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Good Advising Practices

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Student Learning Outcomes

UD has developed the following Student Learning Outcomes related to academic advisement.

First Year SLOs

By the first day of class in their first semester, students will:

  • Access UDSIS
  • Know critical dates on the University of Delaware academic calendar
  • Know how to contact their assigned academic advisor
  • Know where to access degree requirements
  • Know how to access the online catalog

Students will know:

  • The academic resources on campus available to all students (e.g. College Assistant Deans, University Studies Program, Office of Academic Enrichment, Writing Center, Math Lab)
  • The support services on campus available to all students (e.g. Counseling Center, Student Health, DSS, Career Services Center, Dean of Students)
  • Where to go to seek advice if considering changing majors
  • How to change their major
  • Their responsibilities as an advisee
  • The role of their advisor
  • Where to access University of Delaware academic policies

Second Year and Beyond SLOs

  • Students will know how to engage in developing an academic plan.
  • Students begin to make connections between their classroom and experiential learning.
  • Students have knowledge of the general education requirements.
  • Students have knowledge of the Career Services Center.
  • Students are aware of the career development process.
  • Students know how to evaluate what they truly want to pursue as an undergraduate student.
  • Students know how their declared major facilitates that (or doesn't).
  • Students begin to assess their interests.
  • Students begin to assess their abilities.
  • Students are knowledgeable about on-campus opportunities available to them to help them grow as individuals (e.g., Undergraduate Research).
  • Students are knowledgeable about off-campus opportunities available to them to help them grow as individuals (e.g., Study Abroad, Service Learning).

Good Advising Means:

Being Available.

  • Post and keep office hours.
  • Be willing to schedule appointments with students who cannot attend office hours.
  • Read and respond to e-mail from students and advisees.

Being Attentive.
  • ​Arrange the surroundings so that they are comfortable, quiet and otherwise conducive to serious conversation.
  • Listen to what the student is conveying or trying to convey – pay close attention to body language; sometimes students may say one thing but their body language is conveying something else.
  • If you're not sure about what's on the student's mind, ask until you get a clearer picture.
    • For example: A student might tell you that he/she needs to drop one of his/her classes. You could give the instructions for how to do this, but it might be helpful to know why; is he/she having difficulty in this one class or is there something else at play? After probing further, it is not uncommon to find that the student was ill for a couple of weeks, a family member passed away, etc. He/she might be caught up on most classes but is worried about his/her progress in one course. Besides wanting to connect the student with the Undergraduate Academic Services (UAS) office to discuss the possibility of having excused absences sent to his/her faculty, you might want to talk with the student about options for the course – perhaps approaching the instructor about an "incomplete" might be a better fit. 

Trying Your Best to Help.

  • ​Do your best to respond to student inquiries – often answers to their questions can be found in the University catalog or in various online resources (Registrar's Office homepage, UAS office homepage, department homepage, etc.).
  • If you can't find the answer or aren't sure about the answer, call the Undergraduate Academic Services (UAS) office at 831-3020. We are available and offer telephone hot-line consultation for College faculty with advising questions. It is especially helpful if you call while the student is in your office because you can get the questions answered immediately and there is no need to follow-up later.

Helping Students Become Self-Directed.

  • ​Part of our role as advisors is to help students learn how to find answers to some of their questions for themselves; this means showing them where they can look and providing guidance when they have additional questions or concerns.
    • For example, students may ask you whether a certain course is a Group A course – and do so because they don’t know where to look to find the answer. Directing them to the section of the online catalog where they can find this (and other) information or to the section of the UAS website which lists what Breadth courses are offered for a given semester, may be all they need. While content is helpful (we need to be able to answer students’ questions), we want students to learn how to seek out the content themselves.
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