Southern Polytechnic State University
Policy and Procedure Manual
P&P Number:  308.0
Original Date: July 1998
Previous Revisions: none
Approved: August 26, 2002
Academic Advising

Contents This P&P includes the following main sections:
  • Background
  • Advising goals
  • Program procedures
  • Organization and administration
  • Advisor training

Background The main purpose of academic advising is to help students develop and implement an educational plan.  Toward that end, this P&P describes the goals of the advising program and the expectations for both advisors and advisees.

Students must understand that the ultimate responsibility for making educational decisions rests with them.  However, faculty and staff advisors can assist by helping their advisees to assess the options available at SPSU and to examine the consequences of the studentsí decisions.

Advising Goals Southern Polytechnic's goals for academic advising are to help students with a variety of tasks, such as the following:
  • Interpreting University System and institutional requirements
  • Clarifying career goals
  • Developing suitable educational plans
  • Selecting appropriate courses and other educational experiences, such as co-op
  • Seeking assistance from institutional and community support services such as the Career and the Counseling Center, when appropriate
  • Finding a way out of academic difficulty or probation
  • Monitoring progress toward academic goals
  • Understanding thesis and project guidelines (for graduate students)

  1. In Southern Polytechnic's advising program, individual advising conferences will be made available to students who request them.  Further, in some cases the university may require advising--either in person or otherwise--before the studentís registration can be completed.
  2. Each student is assigned an individual faculty or staff advisor who is a full-time employee of the university.  The advising activity is viewed as a normal part of the faculty or staff memberís workload--with each advisor being assigned a reasonable number of students, considering his or her other responsibilities at the university.
  3. The academic advisor uses data about the student's academic and educational needs, performance, and aspirations to help the student choose courses.
  4. Although advising often occurs in face-to-face, one-on-one meetings, information also may be conveyed to advisees in small groups, or via email, faxes, or telephone. Supplemental advising information such as on-line computer programs may also be used.
  5. Faculty advisors should refer students to other institutional or community support services as appropriate.  The confidentiality of individual student records should be maintained.

Organization and
The vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) and school deans are responsible for ensuring that an effective academic advising program is in place. The VPAA and school deans, in cooperation with the coordinator of planning and assessment, conduct on-going assessments to improve the universityís advising program.

School deans and programs heads are responsible for (1) implementing and assessing the university's advising plans on a day-to-day basis and (2) gaining approval for their individual school and/or program plans from the VPAA.  In the case of programs that offer graduate degrees, a plan must describe how students are assigned their graduate committees and/or advisors.

To meet the special needs of certain student populations, Southern Polytechnic has assigned professional staff to provide added advising assistance for the groups listed below:

  • Students with disabilities
  • International students
  • Minority students
Responsibility for seeking the additional help being provided resides with the student.

Advisor Training Training will be made available to all Academic Affairs faculty and staff involved in advising.  This training usually occurs at the school or program level.  The VPAA will delegate to deans the responsibility for ensuring that such training is conducted.

Advising training includes varied items but should cover the following:

  • A review of this P&P
  • Computer skills needed to access pertinent data and track student progress
  • University System Core Curriculum for undergraduates
  • Knowledge of how to change majors and petition various faculty committees
  • Special needs of students who are on probation or recently reinstated
  • College Preparatory Curriculum and Regents' Test requirements for  undergraduates
  • Information needed to make referrals
  • Institutional requirements for graduation
  • Policies concerning students with disabilities
  • Information pertaining to co-op, the ATTIC, and the First-Year Residential Experience (F.Y.R.E.) program
The Office of Academic Affairs maintains an Advising Handbook that includes plans for the various schools and programs.  Also, the director of records maintains a listing of all approved course substitutions for the past two years--to help advisors guide student choices of substitutions.