Sunday, December 24, 2006

How to be a good advisor

Being a student advisor is not easy. At the same time it is not rocket science. So, what really makes a good advisor? Take the students to free lunches, serve them beer, take them to casinos, give free tickets to derby.... Well, not really (although, these things will make you a popular advisor :)). After much thinking, I compiled a checklist sort of things and I think if anyone fulfills most of these, his/her students doesn't have to suffer. So, a good advisor:

  1. Should be keen and enthusiastic - personally and professionally interested in being an advisor.
  2. Should listen actively/constructively, attempting to hear all aspects of students' expressed problems.
  3. Most Importantly, set aside enough regularly scheduled time to adequately meet the advising needs of students.
  4. Be well-versed with university policy and practice in sufficient detail to provide students with accurate, usable information. refers students to other sources of information and assistance when referral seems to be the best, student-centered response to be made. Try to be compliant with the dead-lines (sending grades, etc. on time).
  5. Try best to understand student concerns from a student point of view.
  6. Views long-range planning as well as immediate problem-solving as an essential part of effective advising.
  7. Share the advising skills with working colleagues who also are actively involved with advising.
  8. Make conscious attempts to improve both the style and substance of the advising role. For example, participate in any advisor-training programs periodically, if available.
  9. Don't let the students get embroiled in personal politics with fellow staff or do not use students to get back at other staff!
  10. Adhere to dead lines especially timely submission of manuscripts, giving recommendations letters, evaluation reports, etc.

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