Provost asked to address changes in Edwards College advising

CCU Provost Dan Ennis has agreed to discuss the recent changes in advising with Edwards College faculty at the College’s spring 2023 faculty meeting, following a request from AAUP/AFT-CCU.

On August 22, Edwards College faculty were informed by their Dean, Claudia Bornholdt, that they would be required to advise junior and senior students, starting in October. Previously, all Edwards College students were advised by the College’s professional advisers. The move aimed to harmonize the Edwards College advising structure with that of other colleges on campus. However, the feeling among the Edwards College faculty was that the change, which originated from the Office of the Provost, was abrupt and haphazard.

These concerns were relayed to Provost Dan Ennis by AAUP/AFT-CCU President Joseph Fitsanakis on November 2. Fitsanakis assured the provost that the AAUP/AFT-CCU did not object to the principle of establishing equity in advising models across the University. Moreover, the pedagogical reasoning behind increasing out-of-class interaction between faculty and students seemed easily discernible.

However, the manner in which this change was passed down to thefaculty was problematic, Fitsanakis noted. It was announced in a last-minute fashion at the beginning of the semester. The hurried implementation failed to take into account the fact that the faculty tend to carefully plan out their semesters. For some faculty in populous departments and programs, this change means having to suddenly advise dozens of students in a given semester. Since a typical advising session can last in excess of 30 minutes, this means that, for some faculty, two weeks in October must be dedicated wholly to advising. October tends to be a busy conference season, so several faculty had planned to be away.

To add to these concerns, the change in advising was announced just as the University was transitioning to a new advising platform, SelfService, which required extra time by both faculty and students. The bottom line is that faculty should have been consulted and given advance warning about this change, which represents a major change to their work.

Provost Ennis responded by explaining the reasoning behind this change, which was one of establishing equity between the Edwards College and other colleges on campus. Professional advisors had to be transferred to other colleges that have gained students in recent years, and where faculty are already advising junior and senior students. He concluded by vowing to provide clarification about this change at the Edwards College faculty meeting in the spring.


Author: Joseph Fitsanakis

Professor, Intelligence and Security Studies program, Coastal Carolina University