Academic services makes changes to faculty advisors’ duties


Photo by Nektaria Anagnostou- Photo Editor

Students will now have to meet with their Student Success Counselors in Academic Services for course planning.

Emilee Fine, Reporter

California Lutheran University has made some changes to the roles of faculty advisor and is implementing professional Student Success Counselors to take charge of academically advising students instead. 

In a Zoom interview, Associate Vice President of Academic Services and Registrar Maria Kohnke said that Cal Lutheran wanted to provide more support to their students. Kohnke explained that this will allow faculty to focus on the mentoring side of the relationship with students in their majors and move the advising of classes and graduation to the professional Student Success Counselors in Academic Services. 

“We will be watching to make sure that what we were trying to assist and make better, actually makes better, but so far yes, it does seem to be going well,” Kohnke said. 

Kohnke said that Cal Lutheran is not trying to replace the relationship between a Faculty Mentor and their student because it is a special feature offered at Cal Lutheran. 

“I support the change because I think advising, especially registration advising, should be professionalized. The professional advisors know a lot of information that maybe faculty does not know about course sequencing, degree completion, and not just major related,” said Department Chair and Professor of Political Science Haco Hoang in a Zoom interview.

Hoang said that the Student Success Counselors will be able to provide more information about what degree requirements look like that are unrelated to the major. The change will also allow faculty to focus their energy on mentoring their students on internships, graduate schools or their specific major. 

“I think it is a good way to divide the labor so we [faculty mentors] serve our specializations and focus our energy on what our students really need from us,” Hoang said. 

In a Zoom interview, Student Success Counselor Katie Swavely said that she and her colleagues are professionally trained educational counselors, so they will use all of their skill sets to help students with Core-21 requirements, degree requirements, and make sure that the counselors are always available to help their students.  

“Students can still talk to their Faculty Mentor but we [Student Success Counselors] are an added level of support. If you [students] have any questions about classes being offered or the logistics behind it you can come to us,” Swavely said.  

Swavely said there is enough availability for all students who need help from their Student Success Counselor and students can book themselves directly on their counselor’s calendar with different meeting time and length increments. 

Kohnke said the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success Matthew Ward was able to provide additional support that was needed in order to make the change from the Faculty Advisors positions to professional Student Success Counselors.  

“We always pay attention to how students are succeeding, what is getting in their way. We always go back and reassess if there is something that we can do better,” Kohnke said.