Students can expect to see a new face in the Student Advising Center next fall. SAC is hiring a professional adviser in place of some current faculty advisers.
The move won’t cost Emporia State a single penny, said Gwen Alexander, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
“In fact, (it) will result in a savings because faculty are paid more than the SAC advisers.”
Alexander said when a faculty member is reassigned to advise in SAC, the university pays adjuncts, or “overage payments,” to other faculty to teach the courses that would have otherwise been taught by those who advise in SAC.
She also said hiring a professional adviser will give faculty members more time for teaching and that students will benefit because faculty will be able to teach more courses.
“Students could talk to the professional advisor and get unbiased advice and information in all areas,” said Jacoda Barger, freshman psychology major, who agreed that the switch will be a positive one for students.
Shelly Gehrke, director of SAC, said she felt the change was in the best interest of students and that it would be good to have “someone who’s not just a specialist, but good in all departments.”
But the change isn’t sitting well with all ESU faculty, including some chairs of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Several LAS chairs signed a resolution last week to request more discussion to find the best solution.
“The resolution from the department chairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences does not make any statement about the merits of the actual decision to remove faculty advisers from the Student Advising Center,” said Brent Thomas, chair of biological sciences. “This particular resolution was more about process than the merits of the actual decision.”
Thomas said some chairs feel there has not been enough discussion between administration, faculty and students as to what the best solution is.
“At ESU, we have always viewed academic advising as a responsibility that is shared by students and faculty,” Thomas said. “I think the goal of this resolution was to work through the appropriate channels…to generate an opportunity for further discussion of these issues.”
Alexander said the professional adviser would work full-time during each semester, as well as the summer and winter breaks, and will assist with Hornet Connection and enrolling international students.
The role of the adviser, Alexander said, will be to teach incoming students how to enroll in classes and manage degree planning, advising undecided major students and, after declaring a major and developing their degree plans, students will be transferred to departmental advisors.
The resolution endorsed by the LAS chairs will be brought before the Faculty Senate at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Preston Family Room in the Memorial Union.
Alexander said current plans are to implement the changes in the fall.