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 Undergraduate Academic Information Centre (UAIC), 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 UAIC 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:

  • Helping students develop an educational plan and choose an appropriate course of studies to meet their academic and life objectives

  • Ensuring that students are aware of opportunities and resources that can assist them in achieving their educational goals

  • Assisting students in interpreting university policies and procedures, and applying general rules to their specific cases

  • Facilitating resolution of academic problems, conflicts and concerns, as appropriate

  • Referring students as necessary to other resource units

  • Collecting and disseminating information on student needs, wants, perceptions, and trends in order to enhance institutional effectiveness and adaptability

Within the system, specific roles and responsibilities are distributed as follows:


Responsibilities of the Student

Students admitted to the University are responsible for understanding and meeting certain responsibilities regarding Undergraduate Degree Regulations and Procedures, degree requirements, course requirements, Schedule of Dates, rules of conduct and accessing the University of Guelph email account. These responsibilities are described in Section I of the Undergraduate Calendar.

The responsibilities of students regarding academic advising are to seek, when necessary:

  • information from the Undergraduate Academic Information Centre

  • advice and assistance regarding academics from the program counsellor or faculty advisor

  • clarification of regulations and procedures from the program counsellor or faculty advisor

Undergraduate Academic Information Centre

The role of the Undergraduate Academic Information Centre (UAIC) (U.C. Level 3, extension 56613, is to provide general academic advising information 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 about academic issues. Peer helpers in the unit 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 office, faculty / specialization advisor, Career Services, Financial Services, etc.).

At the Centre, students will find general information on topics including but not limited to 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 degree program requirements, or who have more specific questions may 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-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, Centre for Open Learning and Educational 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.

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