For Faculty Advisers

Advising is a wonderful opportunity to understand incoming students. In the shifting educational and social landscape of our time, advising is a way to grasp the differences between their experience as learners and ours. Exposure to new student backgrounds can help advisers shape their own learning goals, methodologies, and curricula. Advisers also gain invaluable knowledge about the breadth of the Barnard curriculum, and can therefore talk with students about the advantages of a liberal arts education.

As you guide students on their intellectual journeys, it is important to impress upon them how they will demonstrate their passion, motivation, and commitment to their academic, professional, and personal engagements and experiences. Talk with your advisees about what advising means to you, and what your responsibilities are; but also talk with them about STUDENT responsibilities, and what it means to be a responsible advisee. 

Advisers are responsible for:

  • Taking an interest in advisees and knowing them well enough to ask appropriate questions and guide them toward degree progress and the making of decisions about course or major selections (even if we don’t agree with them);
  • Being sensitive to student identities: for example, whenever a student wants to be identified by a particular name or pronoun, advisers are responsible for learning these and using them consistently.
  • Being aware of student needs: for example, if a student discloses a disability, the adviser should ask appropriate questions, such as “Are you registered with the Office of Disability Services? Did you have a prior set of accommodations in your high school? Do you wish to speak to anyone about getting accommodations?” A suggestion: let the students take the lead in disclosing their needs, and don’t approach their individual needs as “problems” that need resolution, but rather, aspects of their identity they may be exploring, and which might require support from other offices.
  • Knowing where and how to refer appropriately.
  • Being accessible to advisees throughout the year by email, telephone, or in person;
  • Requiring advisees to meet to discuss course selection and registration;
  • Being aware of relevant deadlines and procedures;
  • Being knowledgeable about the general information in this Guide.
  • A student advisee is responsible for:
  • Contacting and responding to advisers in a timely fashion
  • Knowing policies and requirements outlined in the Guide to Your First Year and posted on college websites;
  • Knowing procedures and paying attention to deadlines;
  • Using other resources and services for additional help.
  • Bringing questions, concerns, and requests for assistance to the attention of advisers – advisers aren’t mind readers, and they want to be informed of changes to a student’s life or well-being that might otherwise go unnoticed.