Our most recent #WITwants2know revealed that 62% of our respondents receive advice from a faculty or staff member that is not their academic advisor. The question was inspired by one of the comments from the Student Satisfaction Inventory. The student wrote, “My academic adviser is not a person that I would go to for help with the classes that I need to take but there are plenty of other people that are around campus that can help.” (To be fair, there were comments about positive relationships with academic advisors.) We were curious how many students would feel similarly or differently.
The 62% is interesting. What’s good about this is that students are connected with at least one faculty or staff member on campus, and see that person as someone who they can go to for assistance. We know from research that this is an important factor in a student’s rate of success in college. Students who feel connected to the campus, through an individual, group, program, or office, report higher rates of satisfaction with their college experience. They also tend to access resources on campus at higher rates.
In a recent focus group, students were asked specifically who they may go to on campus. Responses varied, and some even mentioned specific people or offices. One student identified the office in which he does his work study as a source of support for him. He talked about how he’s been able to get to know some of the staff in the office pretty well since he has been working there for a couple of years. Providing another opportunity for students to connect to the Institute is a secondary, yet no less positive, outcome of the work study program.
As you think about how connected you may be on campus, consider there are some connections that are intentional, such as academic advisors or coop/career advisors. There may be more connections that may be made more organically, like professors for a class, coaches, work study supervisors, or the Deans!!!
Who is your connection to campus?