Advising editorial wrong
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I was extremely disappointed to read the April 26 editorial "A little help, please?" Particularly disappointing is the fact that several key pieces of information from my interview are either not included in the editorial, incorrectly reported or misrepresent the facts. As a result, I would like to correct the assumptions and implications presented in the editorial:
1. I am not "in charge of overseeing the entire advising department." This statement suggests that I have many more responsibilities than I actually have. I am the primary adviser for all new Education students as well as many continuing students. Education faculty members advise the remaining Education students, and I provide advising support for the faculty (providing materials, conducting training when needed and answering questions). I was not asked what additional, if any, responsibilities I have beyond those activities. While I do have other administrative responsibilities, there is no "advising department" that requires my oversight.
2. "While McNamara had a sign-up sheet for her advisees posted since February, that doesn't always guarantee that students will know when to sign up." As I explained in the interview, students are told when and how to schedule registration advising appointments.
Early on in every semester, I visit all sections of our beginning EDUC course, EDUC 8, to discuss, among other things, registration advising. Students are given a verbal explanation as well as a handout on what they need to do to schedule an appointment with me. I emphasize the need to stop by my office early so that they are able to meet with me well in advance of their registration appointment. I also send an e-mail reminder out to our e-mail list to again stress the importance of scheduling appointments.
I follow this same process every semester. Freshmen who started the Education program in fall would have already been aware of the process. New Education students in spring would have received the information through EDUC 8 and e-mail.
3. "This is just one example of how Marquette's advising system can let students fall through the cracks." This statement suggests that there are Education students who were unable to see an adviser at all. I met with every student who contacted me – no student was turned away. Just because a student wants to schedule an appointment for a specific day and time doesn't mean he or she will be able to do so. This is the case during registration advising as well as during the rest of the semester.
All advisers, faculty and other professionals at Marquette have other appointments and meetings. I was out of the office for the National Catholic Education Association conference April 10 to 13. However, there were unused appointment times on my schedule prior to that week.
4. ".leaving (freshmen) to fend for themselves should not be the answer." Again, students were told about the process for scheduling appointments and I met with every student who contacted me.
Finally, and most importantly, the entire editorial appears to be based on the claims of "some freshman," but the actual number of students "some" refers to is not made clear. Readers have no way of knowing whether "some" means two, four or 20 students.
The unfortunate reality is that there are always going to be "some" students unhappy with any process. While "some" students may not have been able to see me at the exact time they preferred, all students who wanted to schedule a registration advising appointment with me were ultimately able to do so.
McNamara is the director of Undergraduate Advising for the School of Education.