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Executive Summary: Departmental/college advising is coming to occupy one of the several spotlights directed by feedback from students and by higher education accountability. For several years, alumni have been particularly critical of departmental advising. This year, advising has been put forward as one accountability measure and as one means to enhance performance on several others. To contextualize discussions of departmental advising and to provide a first round of input from departments, the chairs or advisors of thirty departments/colleges described their advising practices and gave their input regarding future directions for advising, during Fall, 1997. Departments' advising practices are tremendously varied. The variety is especially underlined by the diverse comments--recorded verbatim in Appendix A: Exhibits 1 through 5--which show that departments not only have different ways of doing advising, but have fundamentally different definitions of advising. The number of students who need to be served, the types of advising needs students have, who does the advising, whether or not formal plans of study are developed, and the number of advising contacts made by departmental advisors all vary widely. More specifically: • In most cases, students arrive at a department having decided on the major, but over one- fourth of departments say half or more of their students need advising on whether or not to enter their major. • While two-thirds of departments accept all or most applicants for the major, advisors in the other third need to deal with a selection process that refuses at least five percent of applicants. • Half of departments develop a written plan of study with all or most students at the time of major declaration. The other half do so with few or none of their students. • While the most common report is that students make about one advising contact per quarter during their junior and senior years in the major, some de








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