Advising Syllabus

What is advising for?

Advising is an important part of your Lawrence education; in fact, it can play an important role in defining your education and even your life after Lawrence. Advising can help you think about what liberal education means to you. It can help you develop your educational and career goals, and to make decisions that serve those goals. What a “Lawrence education” turns out to be for you will depend on a number of decisions you make along the way. Advising can help you make those decisions more deliberately, being more conscious of your goals, your alternatives, and the consequences of your choices.

Advising is a collaborative educational process. Both the advisor and the students have clear responsibilities in this relationship.

Advisor responsibilities – what you can expect

You can expect me as your academic advisor to:

  • Treat you with respect and as an adult
  • Assist you in understanding the purposes and goals of your Lawrence education and how it might affect your individual goals and life
  • Help you to develop good decision making skills and learn how to assume increasing responsibility for your educational planning
  • Understand and effectively communicate the curriculum requirements and academic policies, or help you find the resources to get those answers
  • Encourage and guide you in defining and developing realistic and clear academic goals
  • Provide you with information about campus resources and services
  • Assist you in working with and developing relationships with faculty and instructors
  • Be accessible for meeting with you during office hours, or through email.

Advisee responsibilities – what you are expected to do

As an advisee, you also have clear responsibilities. I expect you to:

  • Treat me with respect, both in person and in your email communications. (Click here for some perspectives on student emails, and click here for sound advice.)
  • Schedule regular appointments or make regular contacts with me each term. Some short questions can be addressed via email, but mostly we will meet to discuss your plans. I will not release your advising hold unless we discuss your plans adequately.
  • Come prepared to each appointment, with questions or materials for discussion. Have a good idea of what you would like to accomplish in our meeting.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand an issue or if you have a particular concern
  • Follow through on all assignments or recommendations that we discuss. However, every decision is ultimately for you to make.
  • Become knowledgeable about Lawrence’s academic programs, policies and procedures.
  • Gather all relevant information before making decisions that affect your educational goals, or before you come to see me about making those decisions. I do not have all procedures and policies memorized, and our meeting will be more valuable if we talk about matters of substance rather than browse
  • Be proactive about your progress by frequently checking your Voyager account and the information on Lawrence’s website
  • Accept responsibility for your decisions and actions (or inactions) that affect your educational progress and goals

Take your education seriously

The Lawrence University catalog describes eloquently the ideals of liberal learning:

To participate in a liberal education is a privilege and a challenge; to be liberally educated is to be transformed. Open and free inquiry, a devotion to excellence, the development of character, the mastery of competencies, the ability to think critically, the excitement and rewards of learning — these are the aims and principles of a liberal arts education.
Liberal learning liberates, freeing us from the restraints of time and place, enabling us to grow, to change, and to respond to the new, the unforeseen, the unexpected.
Liberal education is vocational. It prepares us to assume positions of leadership and responsibility as wage-earners and citizens. To be liberally educated is not to be limited to a particular niche in the job market but to be freed and qualified for many opportunities. And, most important of all, it is to be equipped to assume new vocations and accept new challenges throughout life.
Above all, however, a liberal education is a function of choice and self-discipline. Lawrence provides opportunities; it does not prescribe decisions. The privilege of liberal learning is the freedom to choose; the challenge of liberal learning is to choose responsibly.

These opportunities are not only curricular, but also co-curricular and extracurricular. The curriculum is the centerpiece, but co-curricular activities are also very important. You will learn about these co-curricular opportunities from many sources, including the Career Center, and sometimes from me. While it would be impossible to take advantage of all those opportunities, I expect you to take advantage of some of them. Explore the opportunities offered by your department and attend colloquia, teas, and other academic and social events.

When should you plan to meet with me?

  • If you are thinking about (or rethinking) what courses to take in future terms
  • If you need an advising hold lifted to make changes to your schedule
  • If you need my signature on petitions, or other forms (always fill in those forms first, before you ask for my signature)
  • If you are struggling in a course, or are unsure how to deal with a situation in a course
  • If you want to discuss your future academic plans
  • If you have questions about available campus resources
  • And, I would love for you to stop by and give me periodic progress reports and let me know how things are going in general.

Other campus resources

Don’t forget to use the many resources Lawrence offers to students in order to help you have a successful experience and complete your degree.

Center for Academic Success

The Center provides academic counseling and tutoring for specific classes or for writing projects and papers, for developing communication skills and class discussion skills, for quantitative reasoning, or for improving academic English for non-native speakers.  There is no charge for these services!  In addition, the Center offers workshops on study skills and time management, so keep your eyes open for posted announcements of those activities.  The Center also arranges academic accommodations for students with disabilities.  Nearly 80% of students use the Center's resources before they graduate.

Career Services

Professionals in the Career Center can offer you guidance on summer internships, preparation for future careers and graduate school exams. In addition, they have assessment inventories that might help you identify appropriate majors and careers. With daytime and evening hours – there’s no excuse not to make a visit!

Registrar’s Office

This office handles course registrations, grades, transcripts, transfer courses, and other related matters. You should become familiar with the information collected specifically for students. This page will answer many of the questions you might have about academic procedures. You are also expected to be aware of the various important deadlines, collected here.

Of course, you can always talk with your Residence Hall Director (RHD) about housing and other campus concerns, or use the services of the Student Affairs Office in Raymond House.