At Franklin College, Meredith Clark- Wiltz, assistant professor of history and head of women studies, performs two jobs.
Her first role is to teach classes, grade homework and perform other educator duties.
Her additional role is that of an adviser.
She helps students choose the correct classes needed for graduation, get internships, address grade concerns and guide any other aspect of a student’s education.
Clark-Wiltz said balancing both duties can be interesting.
“There are different demands, and there is a different series of events that are different schedules,” she said. “There can be some divide of interest for both students and faculty. There’s no better way to [split teaching and advising], but there are some times competing pressures in the scheduling.”
According to Katie Wehner, assistant dean for academic services, professors have to meet certain requirements before they become an adviser.
All full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members are required to serve as academic advisers and begin doing so during their second year at Franklin College.
Academic advisers are required to complete new adviser training, which introduces them to the Franklin College advising program philosophy and goals and to our printed and online advising resources.
Clark-Wiltz said she also had to meet with the chair of her department to learn about the specific aspects of the major and curriculum.
Wehner also said faculty members from academic affairs and other non-tenured faculty members can help with academic advising.
However, these faculty members are not required to fulfill academic advising—their help is voluntary.
In her first year at the school, Clark- Wiltz helped with some advising, but she has been an official academic adviser for five years.
The number of meetings she completes per semester with her advisees depends on their academic status. She said freshmen tend to need a little more help with academic planning and support, sophomores and juniors tend to need more help with internships and seniors tend to seek help with careers and life after graduation.
“There is no set number [of meetings] per week, but certain times are heavier than others,” Clark-Wiltz said. “But, my door is always open and they always know they can schedule an appointment or drop by [during] office hours.”
Clark-Wiltz finds academic advising to be a rewarding aspect of her career.
“It’s helping students to be the best that they are able to, and to achieve excellence,” Clark-Wiltz said. “Really, in their field of study, but also in figuring out their place in the world more generally than just their career.”
At the end of every academic year, advisees can evaluate their adviser with a 10-question evaluation.
According to Wehner, advisers will use these evaluations in their portfolios and can be used for promotions.
Clark-Wiltz wants everyone to know advising isn’t reserved solely to the adviser’s advisees.
“To see us as a resource, as a faculty and staff that can be helpful even if we’re not in class with you,” Clark- Wiltz said. “They should take advantage of us as a resource to them.”