"Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience."
Dale Steiner - Advisor of the Year - 1996
Department of History
I regard advising students as an extension of teaching them. In the teaching philosophy that I articulated last year for the Master Teacher Award Program I noted that my approach to instruction has become increasingly student-centered, to the point where I have abandoned lecture altogether in one course in favor of large and small group discussions.
Advising is about as student-centered as an activity can be. And, just as I try in the classroom to assist students in discovering and articulating for themselves the meaning and importance of American history, one of my aims in advising is to guide them in identifying, and progressing toward, their career goals.
Teaching and advising go hand in hand in another respect as well. Classes that average around forty students in size afford little opportunity for the extended individual contact with students that I enjoy so much. But as many of my students (particularly in my upper division classes) are also my advisees, I am able -- in my capacity as their advisor -- to become well acquainted with them. This personal connection, I am firmly convinced, also helps make me a more effective instructor.
My approach to advising is characterized by a sense of personal involvement that encompasses more than simple concern for the welfare of the students with whom I deal. Most of my advisees hope to enter the teaching credential program. I feel as though I have a personal stake in their success, as the parent of two small children (one of whom is already in the public schools). But the path to the credential program is a very convoluted one, marked by innumerable requirements, options, and deadlines, all of which seem to change with alarming frequency. No less formidable are the uncertainty and discouragement that inevitably arise along the way. Even the most confident, resourceful student would be challenged to negotiate the process without logistical assistance or moral support. Furnishing that assistance and support -- advising -- allows me to fulfill simultaneously other roles that are of vital importance to me -- teacher, and even parent. I am therefore determined to do the best job that I can.