Each Whitman student has a faculty adviser who assists the student in planning his or her academic career at Whitman. New students are assigned a pre-major adviser who will serve as a faculty adviser to the student until she or he declares a major (before the end of the second semester of the student’s second year) and selects a major adviser to provide specialized guidance. If at any point you would like to change your pre-major adviser, just contact the Dean of the Faculty Office in Memorial 310.
What Does a Faculty Adviser Do?
The role of the faculty adviser includes:
- Assistance with Course Selection: Your faculty adviser will discuss with you your interests and goals, review graduation requirements, and help you assess appropriate course levels.
- Assistance with Course Load: Faculty advisers are ready to assist you in assessing your academic preparation, study skills, and the demands of the courses involved.
- Assistance with Academic Problems: During the semester, you might encounter struggles which may have an impact on your course work, such as inadequate high school preparation, heavy course load, problems with study skills/time management, personal problems, changes in your interests or goals, family pressure, etc. Your faculty adviser can help you navigate these struggles. (Note: Deficiency slips, failure to attend class, and missing or late papers or tests are often warning signs of a problem that might require consultation with your adviser.)
- Referral to Campus Resources: Your adviser may not know the answer to every question, but often he or she will be able to recommend another campus resource which will help.
- A Different Perspective: Faculty members can provide you with a valuable perspective on their own field and on a Whitman education based on years of experience in academia.
When Should I See My Adviser?
- Meet with your adviser as scheduled during registration periods.
- Meet with your adviser every time you make a change in your registration (i.e. drop, add, P-D-F, or withdraw from a class).
- It is very important to talk with your adviser if you receive a deficiency slip in the middle of the semester, or if you are disappointed or concerned by the grades you are receiving in any of your classes. Don’t be embarrassed. You adviser is there to help!
- Your adviser can’t help you if you don’t help yourself. Be familiar with the catalog and other official documents. Also, your adviser isn’t a mind reader – be sure to give him or her enough information to be a good adviser!
- Remember that a faculty member doesn’t have to be officially listed as your adviser in order to give you advice. Feel free to consult with any member of the faculty. For example, if you are interested in medicine and your adviser is a philosopher, you may get excellent general advice from your adviser but still want to consult with members of the pre-med committee about the specific requirements of that field.
- If you have concerns about classes or cannot find your adviser, contact the Academic Resource Center, Memorial 325.