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Academic Advisement and Mentoring

All majors are assigned to a full-time faculty member who acts as their mentor. Mentoring means discussing with students not only their progress in course work, but also their academic goals, the nature of the discipline of Political Science, their plans after graduation (graduate school, law school, or employment), and whatever other subjects majors wish to discuss. Majors are encouraged to see their mentors at least once a semester.

Academic advisors working out of the College Office advise students about which courses to take, try to make sure that students are meeting all the requirements, and sign registration forms for students. The following advice will help students get the most out of their visits with their advisors:

  • Students should be aware, first of all, that they bear the primary responsibility for making sure that all requirements for graduation are met. The advisor may serve as a check, or to clear up questions about these requirements, but students must be the first monitors of their academic programs and progress. Students should have in their possession the College Catalog and the Student Academic Handbook, both available in the College Office.
  • Next, students should view the advising period as the final step of the process by which course and program decisions are made, not the beginning. An advisor should not be asked to choose courses for you; the advisor is there to oversee the course of study you develop for yourself. Thus, you should be prepared with options of your own as the basis for discussion between you and the advisor about your academic program. While it is not necessary for all courses in a given semester to be chosen before meeting with your advisor, at least the core of the work you are proposing should be clear in your mind.
  • Practically speaking, then, you should come to your advisor with the proper forms, and a draft schedule of the courses you propose to take. You should expect to spend some time talking not only about what you want to do, but also about what you have been doing, and to verify with the advisor where you stand in progress towards graduation.

Students who are curious about the content of a particular course are encouraged to visit the Department office; the secretary will be happy to show you a copy of the last syllabus used in a course.