Academic advisement adopting new practices, adding personnel

Academic advising will move to the CASS building when it is completed later this year. Photo by Kasherah Reynolds

Frustration may be giving way to sighs of relief for students at Florida A&M University as academic advisement adopts new practices.

Academic advisement in the Student Success Center is tasked with helping students plan course schedules as well as counseling with a designated professional or faculty member. Academic advising plays a significant role in a student’s academic career.

Samuel Gilkes, a senior business administration student, has been on a bit of a rollercoaster with his academic advisement experience.

“Your adviser can literally make or break your class schedule,” Gilkes said.

“I’ve heard a lot of stories of students getting their graduations pushed back because their advisers have them taking the wrong classes at the wrong times. It’s frustrating when your last name can make a difference in your entire academic experience.”

Advisers are important resources for enrolling in courses. Students often build relationships with their advisers.

Alexis Valentine, a junior psychology major, has been juggling different advisers while trying to get accustomed to their methods.

“I’ve been switching advisers since I came to FAMU. I didn’t know who to go to, who genuinely wanted to help me or who was just there to get a check. It made the process very confusing at first but now it’s getting a little easier.”

Valentine has met with four advisers in the past five semesters she has been enrolled at FAMU. She hopes the changes that are in progress are beneficial to students.

Kimberly Black, an academic adviser for the College of Education, adheres to her students giving them the necessary guidance needed to help succeed during their matriculation at FAMU.

“My most important aspect is being able to guide the student in the direction to complete their degree requirements for graduation. I believe in nurturing my students and helping them find their niche on how to do things that work best for them,” Black said.

Black said there are various reasons why advisers are constantly being moved around, including inadequate office space and the addition of new advisers.

“All advisers are trained to use the curriculum maps. Some advisers advise differently than others and that is a part of the issue. Students become accustomed to one person and then they get another adviser with conflicting information. It’s just a matter of getting everyone on the same page as it pertains to that individual student,” Black said.

The academic advisement department is growing and some changes are still in progress. The department has hired four new advisers and is looking to hire 13 more advisers.