What is a Faculty Advisor?

When we survey The Rubenstein School students, they consistently tell us that what they want most from a faculty advisor is advice: advice about course selection, advice about majors, advice about career opportunities. Friendship and mentoring were also high on the list. Asked to assess the quality of advising they are receiving in The Rubenstein School, students were very positive. We want YOU to receive high quality academic advising too.

The relationship between individual students and their faculty advisors is of central importance to the supportive atmosphere of the School. It is your responsibility to communicate regularly with your advisor to obtain assistance in clarifying and meeting educational, professional and personal goals.

The relatively small size of The Rubenstein School permits many opportunities for student-faculty interaction in and beyond the classroom. Faculty advisors generally have fewer than 30 advisees making it possible for them to work closely with each individual student on course decisions, career exploration, part-time employment referrals, and academic and personal concerns. This direct contact can establish a good basis for future professional references as well as a friendship lasting beyond the college years.

First-Year Student Advisors

A full-time faculty member has been assigned as your faculty advisor. You will meet during Orientation and again during the first week of classes in the fall. This person will be your advisor throughout the first year (and into the second year too if you are still undecided about a major). The faculty who serve as advisors to first-year students have particular interest in working with students early in their college careers, helping to identify options and providing ample support.

Learn more about First-Year Advisors >>

Upper-Level Student Advisors

Students who have decided on a major by the end of the first year will switch to a new faculty advisor, someone who specializes in advising upper-level students in a particular academic area. These faculty members enjoy sharing their knowledge of the professional job market and exploring options for graduate education.

Transfer Student Advisors

Students who enter the University with a year or more of academic credits are immediately assigned to an advisor in their major. You will confer with this upper-level student advisor on course selection for the first semester and get together for a face-to-face advising session early in your stay at UVM. Sorting through transfer credit evaluations and finalizing how credits will be allocated toward fulfilling UVM degree requirements can be complicated. Your faculty advisor will be an especially important ally in completing this process.

Expectations of Advisees

Successful advising requires a substantial level of effort and commitment from the faculty advisor and from the advisee. The Rubenstein School faculty has articulated specific expectations for first-year students and for upper-level students.

Responsibilities of first-year student advisees:

  • To become familiar with information in The Rubenstein School Handbook, especially the sections on "Academic Policies and Procedures", "University Support Services", "Environment and Natural Resources Employment", and "Academic Programs and Degree Requirements".
  • To meet with your advisor early in the first semester to start to plan your next four years.
  • To be responsive to requests for advising meetings and to come prepared, especially for those dealing with course scheduling.
  • To initiate contacts with your advisor when need arises.
  • To honor all appointments and other commitments, or contact your advisor if unable to do so.

Responsibilities of upper-level student advisees:

  • To be aware of specific academic requirements for the major.
  • To meet with your new advisor during the first two weeks of the fall semester sophomore year in order to review educational goals, personal accomplishments, and academic record to date.
  • To schedule and attend a meeting with your faculty advisor prior to each semester's enrollment period.
  • Annually, to meet with your advisor to discuss and review your four-year plan that was initiated as a first-year student.
  • To meet with your advisor, as desired, to receive assistance in requesting course substitutions or waivers, to change majors, or to seek advice on other matters, especially related to academic and professional goals.
  • To complete -- with your advisor's assistance -- a Senior Records Check during the second semester of the junior year or at pre-registration during the first semester of your senior year.
  • To honor all appointments and other commitments, or contact your advisor if unable to do so.

How to Arrange Meetings with Your Advisor

The best way to meet with your advisor is to e-mail or call for an appointment or to drop by during office hours. If you cannot reach your advisor, leave a message requesting a return call. It is important to realize that faculty are frequently away from their offices teaching, doing research, and participating in a wide array of service obligations. If you are having ongoing trouble making the connection, please ask Marie Vea-Fagnant in the Dean's Office for help.

How to Change Advisors

Sometimes a particular student and faculty member turn out to be mismatched. Changing advisors is a simple process; just come to the Dean's Office to make your request