University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Global and Regional Studies Program


The fundamental purpose of academic advising is to provide guidance as you make decisions from the most general—such as identifying and refining your intellectual and personal goals at UVM, viewing your curriculum as a whole—to the most specific, like which courses you’ll take to fulfill your requirements for graduation. Also, if you get yourself in academic trouble your advisor will be among the first to know about it. In such circumstances, the advisor’s job is to advise you through your difficulties and help you get back on track. However, none of this will happen unless you seek out advising and take maximum advantage of its potential to enhance your UVM experience. It has been said that the relationship between an advisor and student is like a blind date: given differences of character, temperment and values, it does not always blossom into affection. You can only know this, though, once you have taken the initiative to meet with your advisor.

Your academic advisor has expertise in scholarly and career issues, especially as they relate to international studies and jobs. There are many other issues about which you may seek advice and support such as health, legal matters, writing and learning skills, general career planning, lifestyle/residential issues, academic accommodations and more. The College of Arts and Sciences Student Services and Career Services office can provide you with assistance in these areas as well.

Who is my advisor?

The Director of the particular area program that you choose will be your advisor. The Director also approves the electives you will count toward the major. You should plan on meeting or touching base with the Area Director at least once a semester.

What is the best way to get in touch with my advisor?

At the beginning of each semester, you should see a note from the director of the program indicating when s/he has office hours, or indicating a willingness to schedule appointments. If you have a conflict in your schedule that prevents you from attending office hours, you should send an e-mail to your advisor. If you call and get voicemail or if you send an e-mail be sure to identify yourself, leave a clear message concerning your reason for the call and leave a clear statement about how you can be reached. If you leave a phone number or e-mail address be sure to speak very slowly and clearly. Many students contact their faculty advisor by e-mail. We urge you to be very clear about your questions/issues and if the issue is quite complex, simply use e-mail to schedule an appointment.

How can my advisor help me if I receive an “academic warning letter” from the faculty teaching one of my courses?

UVM faculty have an option of sending “Warning” letters to students enrolled in their classes who are in danger of failing the course. Faculty who choose to send these letters generally do so prior to the end of the withdrawal period and copies are sent to the faculty advisor. You should contact your advisor and discuss your options. For example, it may not be possible for you to significantly improve your grade in the course and your advisor may recommend that you consider withdrawing from the course. Or, it may be clear that if you use the appropriate resources you will improve your grade. Your advisor can discuss this with you within the context of your program requirements.

How should I prepare for meeting with my advisor?

Prepare for your meeting with your advisor by going into the CATS system and printing a copy of your web transcript. Take it with you as a reference. Seniors should also take their Graduation Status Notice, Juniors should take their Junior Checksheet, and all others should take a copy of your checksheet which you have been using to record your completed coursework and the Typical Four Year Plan. Every student should understand his/her program requirements and be prepared for a discussion about the course requirements and how to meet them.

What is a CATS Report and how do I do it?

CATS (Curriculum Audit Tracking System) is UVM's degree audit system that produces automated, individualized reports to help students track their progress toward completing their degrees. The CATS report, used by students and advisors, identifies both completed and outstanding requirements and provides a current list of courses that can be taken to satisfy them. For a description of how to run a report go here:

What are my advisor’s responsibilities?

Exceptional academic advising requires both the advisee (student) and advisor (faculty) to be both well informed and fully engaged in the process. Faculty Advisor responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • making academic advising a priority
  • establishing on-going connections with advisees
  • posting the system (on the office door, on the web, etc.) for meeting with students (e.g. open office hours, appointments scheduled via e-mail, etc.) and responding to questions (e.g. phone, e-mail, etc.)
  • being well informed about program, college and university requirements
  • providing students with accurate program information
  • guiding and encouraging students to utilize appropriate resources
  • helping students understand academic consequences of their decision-making
  • assisting students in evaluating their academic performance and helping them determine if they are satisfactorily progressing toward degree completion
  • exploring alternative options with students who are unable to meet the established academic standards or whose interests have changed

IMPORTANT: It is NOT your advisor’s responsibility to ensure you are meeting all your requirements for graduation. That is YOUR responsibility.

What are my responsibilities as an advisee?

Advisee responsibilities include:

  • establishing an on-going connection with your faculty advisor
  • knowing and understanding your program requirements
  • preparing for your meetings by printing your CATS audit and taking it with you
  • determining your course schedule cooperatively with your academic advisor
  • implementing strategies for achieving academic success
  • using academic support resources available to you
  • understanding academic consequences of your decision-making
  • discussing your academic performance with your advisor and determining if you are satisfactorily progressing toward degree completion
  • knowing College and University policies and understanding implications for you as a student
  • determining and implementing strategies for success

Last modified April 16 2010 01:43 PM