At Rice, students develop advising relationships with their faculty advisors (divisional and major) as well as staff advisors in the OAA and other members of the Rice advising community. Each of these advising relationships is formed on a basis of mutual understanding, receptiveness, and initiative on the part of the advisor and the advisee. Faculty and staff advisors provide unique perspectives and experiences as well as individual attention, but both advisors and advisees should play a role in establishing and fostering the relationship.
Advisors are expected to...
- Provide Informed Support. Advisors should get to know students' individual needs and act as a sounding board for their ideas. Advisors should also support students by suggesting ways to help advisees reach their goals.
- Know about the Curriculum, Academic Policies, and Resources. Advisors should have a basic knowledge of Rice's curriculum, academic rules and regulations, and resources available to students on campus.
- Facilitate Connections. Though advisors are not expected to know the answer to every question, they should be a source of referrals and link students to appropriate resources.
- Be Accessible, Responsive, and Proactive. Advisors should let their advisees know how to reach them, should be responsive to communications from advisees, and should be proactive in keeping up with their advisees periodically throughout the term.
Advisees are expected to...
- Prepare for Advising Meetings. Advisees should come to advising meetings prepared, considering in advance the choices, questions, and issues they hope to discuss with their advisor. Additionally, students should prepare by considering their personal academic goals and reviewing Rice's curricular requirements, policies, deadlines, and resources.
- Take Initiative. Advisees should be proactive in seeking out the advising resources they need. This may include requesting additional advising meetings, seeking out multiple sources of advice, and continuing to expand their connections with Rice's community of advisors.
- Keep an Open Mind. While many students may have concrete ideas about their potential educational and career goals, advisees should be open to new possibilities they may not have considered before.
- Be Responsive, Punctual, and Respectful. Advisees should respond to advisors' communications via email in a timely manner. They should respond to invitations and be willing to meet in person. Advisees should be on time for appointments and respectful of their advisor's time. In the case of unavoidable appointment cancellation, students should provide as much advanced notice as possible.
Meeting with Faculty Advisors
To have productive and valuable conversations with faculty advisors, students need to prepare for their meetings. During initial and subsequent meetings with faculty advisors, candid conversations about any of the following will significantly influence the development of a successful academic plan.
- Personal and academic interests
- Personal and academic goals at Rice
- Academic background and preparedness for courses (or progress towards degree)
- Previous study habits and time management
- Commitments and balance of curricular/extracurricular activities
- Written and developed (and/or modified) academic plans
- Choices, questions, and issues about their plans
- Referrals to advisors of specialties and other resources
- Arrangements for follow-up communications
For new students, numerous academic advising events are coordinated during O-Week to help with academics at Rice: magisters present an “Introduction to Academics at Rice”, divisional advisors address generalities of their respective academic divisions, students attend an academic fair and lunch, and PAAs and upperclassmen host academic planning sessions. The combination of events during O-Week provides comprehensive information about Rice’s general curriculum, academic rules and regulations, departmental majors and course offerings, and educational opportunities outside the classroom. The events also allow students to gather multiple perspectives and expand their network of advisors to the entire advising community.
To facilitate initial discussions with faculty advisors, answers to new student academic advising questionnaires as well as basic information about each student’s academic background are distributed to advisors in advance. Faculty advisors understand that answers to questionnaires are not final because most students develop new interests and/or change goals when greater educational opportunities are introduced. To demonstrate preparedness for meetings with faculty advisors, students should consider bringing the following:
- List of personal and academic interests and goals
- Academic plan for the semester with alternatives (see Academic Planning document)
- List of questions about their academic plan and other opportunities
- Tentative academic plan for future semesters (see Academic Planning document)
- Degree Works (available via ESTHER)
- Copy of unofficial transcript (available via ESTHER)
In subsequent semesters, taking full advantage of advising opportunities and preparation for appointments requires greater initiative and independence. All advisors are still available through the residential colleges and academic departments, and most information is available through the General Announcements and departmental web sites. Students should do some independent research to periodically revisit curricular requirements, policies, and deadlines. Ultimately, the goal should be to complete an individually tailored academic plan while meeting all general and major graduation requirements.