Every student has an academic advisor.
Each entering student is assigned to a faculty member who serves as their academic advisor until this responsibility falls to the chair of the student's major department, or the chair's designate, at the end of the sophomore year. Initial assignments are made by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs on the basis of major interests and abilities indicated by new students. Changes in advisors will be freely granted (subject only to equity in number of advisees assigned to an individual faculty member) upon application to the Associate Dean; change of advisor requests form [pdf] should be submitted to Ruthanne Krauss in Parrish 108. Reassignments may also be made due to faculty leaves or shifts in duties.
Advisors must approve the courses for which students register. For this purpose advisors meet with their advisees prior to registration. The advisor's approval is also required when students wish to drop or add courses. Advisors will also help students come to an understanding of the role of the various academic disciplines in a liberal arts education. Guidance for advisors is available in the Advising Handbook.
Advisors will receive copies of all official correspondence concerning advisees' academic standing. This helps to make it possible for the advisor to apply general knowledge of academic life to each student's particular case. Those are the formal parameters of the relation between advisor and advisee. It is our hope that rather than being the outer limit of that relationship, it will become the framework for a relationship with a broader impact.
The outcome depends on whether the match between advisor and advisee is a good one, on luck, and on a certain amount of effort by both parties to find the common ground on which that relationship can be built. That might be academic, extracurricular, similarity of background, of values, or any one of a number of other things. The Dean's Office does its best to make a good match. Students are encouraged to look for common ground with the advisor to whom they are assigned, and, if it seems appropriate, to suggest the name of a new advisor with whom they think a valuable advisor-advisee relationship might be established.