Regional campus leaders from Utah State hear concerns about advising process
By Lauren Bennett | March 27, 2017
When Utah State University-Brigham City student Kyle Dority was unsure about whether he’d done everything necessary to keep his financial aid package, he did what school leaders suggest: He reached out to an adviser.
Dority said he was relieved to hear the adviser tell him that “it would be fine.”
Dority, who ended up losing the financial aid he was asking about, called the situation “frustrating.” And he’s not alone. USU-Brigham City’s dean, Tom Lee, said he’s heard from several students who have complained about advising.
“I always hate to hear that, but sometimes it happens,” Lee said. “Advising almost always comes up if you talk to students.”
Lee said he’s hoping events like the campus’ first “Dinner with the Dean,” which was held earlier this month, will create an open space for communication between students and faculty, offering the information needed to make changes to problems, such as those he’s hearing about with the advising process.
There are generally only one or two advisers who are physically located at Utah State’s regional campuses; the rest of the advising comes from the school’s main campus in Logan. Making matters more difficult for many regional students, the advisers located on-site are intended for general advising and typically specialize in only one or two specific majors.
“They can’t be experts in everything,” Lee said. “They’re not supposed to try and advise once it gets into the major and major requirements to make sure they don’t give misinformation.”
They are available for all students to utilize regarding general advice about the university requirements – but not to advise about students’ majors that fall outside their approved area of specialty.
For advice concerning specific departments, students must reach out to advisers on the Logan campus in their respective majors. Regional campus advisers are also encouraged to coordinate with the major advisers, Lee said.
But long-distance communication with advisers in Logan can be rife with challenges too. Dority, for instance, said it was a Logan-based adviser who told him not to worry about his financial aid status.
Lee said regional students can have trouble getting ahold of the Logan advisers and can feel ignored. He wants to see more students take advantage of the faculty members who are on their campuses.
“One thing most students don’t realize is that faculty would love for them to come in and meet with them,” he said.
In the meantime, he said, he wants students to know their concerns have not been ignored.“It is something the university is committed to doing well,” he said, “and I think a lot of great things have happened and are in the works for the university as a whole.”