California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    The difference between an evaluator and an adviser

    According to California Lutheran University’s website, Cal Lutheran’s faculty advisers are assigned to set degree requirements as well as to advise undergraduate students with their majors and Core 21 classes.

    On the other hand, student records evaluators located in the Registrar’s office review students’ classes to make sure they’ve met all of the degree requirements.

    “I think it’s important for students to have that almost double checks and balances, where the Registrar’s office is very helpful in making sure they meet all of the requirements and have the right number of credits,” Tim Hengst, faculty chair, said.

    Although both positions are centered on students completing their degrees, Hengst said there are a few differences between the duties of a faculty adviser and a student evaluator, such as encouraging students to get core requirements out of the way early.

    “I think the first thing is to make sure they’re on track with their curricular planning, so that they’re looking ahead, they’re planning what they need. Also, just giving them a safe, comfortable zone to talk about issues that they might have and setting future goals and career planning,” Hengst said.

    Daryl Fisher-Ogden, student records evaluator, said that as faculty advisers veer more toward career-oriented obligations and judge the content of courses, student evaluators make sure that the student has fulfilled degree requirements before giving them their diploma.

    “We review to make sure that we have all the necessary documents from students, who say ‘I wanted to do a minor in’ or ‘oh, I forgot to drop that’. So, we are cleaning out the student’s record to make sure that the student understands that our understanding is both on the same basis,” Fisher-Ogden said.

    Fisher-Ogden said that student evaluators require juniors to meet with them or else they put a hold on their registration, which ensures that the student is aware of what requirements are still at standing in their particular degree.

    “Often, we are simply reiterating what the faculty has already said. There are certain paragraphs that explain each of the Core 21, such as ‘what’s a literature course?’ We’re going over and pointing out to the student, ‘gee, you still need to take a literature class,” Fisher-Ogden said.

    According to the Cal Lutheran “4 to Finish” program contract, students must meet with their faculty adviser each semester to have a two-year academic plan approved, whereas students must meet with their evaluator once a year to review the adviser’s approval of classes.

    Although she is not in the “4 to Finish” program, senior Robben Taylor said that she has received a registration hold before for not meeting with her evaluator. Taylor said she feels more comfortable meeting with her adviser and asking her what she should do in regards to her major.

    “She’ll tell me what works and what doesn’t work, what classes fit. Then, the evaluator obviously knows the requirements, but doesn’t know my major. She’s just not specifically what I’m going toward, so I don’t go to her unless I actually have to. She’s really nice, but I use the adviser a lot more,” Taylor said.

    However, the big question is still present as to why students need two people accomplishing these duties rather than one person completing them.

    “I’m taking an online class from a separate university and my adviser couldn’t tell me that it could cover the correct credit, so my evaluator could. I also think the advisers are really overstaffed because they’re also teachers, so I have a really hard time meeting with my adviser,” Taylor said.

    Hengst said students were not required to meet regularly with their evaluators in the past, which is why several students did not graduate on time.

    Fisher-Ogden said that with the aid of the evaluation team, the graduation rate has been raised nine percentage points.

    “That double checks and balances is a benefit to the student to make sure that things don’t slip through the cracks and they end up with a course that they didn’t take at the end,” Hengst said. “It’s a lot of time commitment for you guys, so I think it’s beneficial for you to have that extra help.” 

    Leina Rayshouny
    Senior Writer
    Published March 2nd, 2016