VII. Academic Advising
A college education is a complex and multi-faceted experience, which is best undertaken in a supportive and encouraging environment. As part of its dedication to student success, the University of Guelph is committed to providing high-quality academic advising, in order to assist students in the development and pursuit of academic objectives consistent with their life goals and the available opportunities at the University. The responsibility for developing educational plans and setting goals rests with the student. Academic advising contributes to this process by identifying alternatives, exploring likely outcomes, and referring students to appropriate resources.
Academic advising at the Ontario Agricultural College is delivered by a team which includes faculty advisors, program counsellors / associate directors, the Academic Information Centre, the Associate Vice-President Academic and others. Coordinating all activity is the University Council on Undergraduate Academic Advising (CUAA), which has responsibility for overall advising systems direction and policy. The University Academic Information Centre provides general walk-in assistance to students and, as appropriate, directs students to specialized advising resources. Each student has direct access to Faculty Advisors, who focus on subject-related issues and advice, and a Program Counsellor, who assists with diploma/degree program requirements and expectations.
These components of the academic advising system work together to achieve goals and objectives that include:
Within the system, specific roles and responsibilities are distributed as follows:
Program Counsellors / Associate Directors
The Undergraduate Academic Information Centre
The role of the Undergraduate Academic Information Centre (UAIC) is to provide general academic advising information and advice to undergraduate students. This includes appropriate referral to the program counsellor, or faculty advisor, as well as other support services on campus.
For some students, the Centre may function as a first point of contact for information or advice about academic program issues. Centre staff operate on an assessment and referral system - first helping the student to identify the problem or issue, and then, as necessary, referring her/ him to the appropriate resource (e.g. program counselling / associate director's office, faculty / specialization advisor, Career Services, Financial Services, etc.).
At the Centre, students will find general information on transfer requirements and procedures; Continuation of Study requirements; admission and graduation requirements; information about appeal process and procedures; help with interpreting the calendar; or help with different forms. Students who require more detailed information about their particular diploma program requirements, or who have more specific questions about changing or adding a specialization, or transfer to a different diploma program will be directed to the program counselling office or to the faculty advisor, as appropriate.
UAIC is a resource for all students, with particular sensitivity to issues facing transfer (advanced standing) students, non-diploma/degree and general studies students, and "undecided"* students, including first year students or other students contemplating a change in program.
* Although most University of Guelph students declare a major upon entry, "undecided" in this context refers to students who may be declared in a major but are now not sure whether the program is the right fit for their educational, career, or life goals.
The Council on Undergraduate Academic Advising
The role of the Council on Undergraduate Academic Advising (CUAA) is to develop, review, discuss, and recommend to senior administration on an ongoing basis any and all advising-related strategies, policies, and processes.
The CUAA is responsible for managing and directing academic advising policies at the university. The CUAA reports to, and is chaired by the Associate Vice-President Academic. Membership includes broad representation from stakeholders across the university community including, but not limited to: program counsellors, faculty advisors, Office of Registrarial Services, Coordinator of Undergraduate Curriculum, deans, chairs, Student Affairs, Office of Open Learning/ SCOL, undergraduate students, Centre for International Programs, and the Director of the Undergraduate Academic Information Centre. The Council normally meets once per semester.
The CUAA develops strategic directions and formulates policy on advising issues, coordinates planning around academic advising issues, and serves as a permanent communication channel to help coordinate the work of the various individuals and entities engaged in academic advising activities.