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Student Advising Policy

Category Academic
Type Policy
Approved by Senate, 30 March 2016
Date Policy Took Effect 30 March 2016
Last Approved Revision 28 October 2020
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible Officer Head of Student Experience
Review Date 28 October 2025

Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to detail the provisions the University shall put in place to ensure that appropriate and high-quality advice is available to students to assist with the planning of their University studies.

The Policy should be read in conjunction with specific advising rules and guidelines in the Admission to University Statute 2011, Academic Progress Policy and the Guidelines on Timetable Clashes.

Organisational Scope

University-wide

Definitions

Academic Advice
Academic advice to students about the content of proposed or potential study, taking into account the student’s previous academic performance, career and/or future study plans, and other relevant personal circumstances.
Academic Unit
Departments, Programmes, Centres, and Schools.
Activity Log
The part of the eVision Student Management System where staff can record notes against students’ records.
Conditional Enrolment
Restricted enrolment under the Academic Progress Policy, based on previous unsatisfactory academic performance.
Course Advice
Regulatory advice to students focused on the structure of proposed or potential study, including paper and programme requirements and other regulatory matters (e.g. cross crediting of papers).
Course Approval
The process by which a student’s finalised course of study for a given teaching period is approved by the University and accepted by the student. Course approval is separate from student advising, and is governed by the Admission to University Statute 2011 (see particularly clause 13), programme and paper regulations, the Academic Progress Policy and the Guidelines on Timetable Clashes.
Course Approver
A staff member from the academic or professional staff, deputed to act on behalf of the University in approving students’ course of study in certain categories (tiers).
  • Tier 1 course approval is system-based within eVision;
  • Tier 2 Course Approvers are based in Student Experience;
  • Tier 3 Course Approvers are based in Academic Units.
A Course Approver may or may not also be a Student Adviser.
Designated Adviser of Studies
A Divisionally-appointed staff member with authorisation to act as a Student Adviser and Course Approver for students on Conditional Enrolment.
Student Adviser
A staff member from the University’s professional or academic staff, nominated by an area and formally designated to provide course advice.
Student Advising
The provision of information and guidance to students to help them choose a course and/or programme of study appropriate to their interests, goals and individual circumstances. This primarily comprises Academic Advice and Course Advice as defined below.
Student Development
A specialised student advising unit within Student Experience, providing advice on regulatory requirements, including multiple majors and/or degrees, course advice, and advice to assist students in identifying their goals. Advice will take into account the student’s previous academic performance, and the range and availability of relevant papers.
Student Support Services
In the context of this Policy, units that provide support to students relevant to successful study and study outcomes, e.g. Disability Information and Support, the Māori and Pacific Islands Centres, the Career Development Centre, etc.

Content

1. General Principles

  1. The University recognises that holistic student advising is integral to the quality of student learning and satisfactory student outcomes.
  2. Student advising shall be impartial and focus on students’ needs rather than those of individual departments or the University.
  3. Student advising shall be available from Student Advisers on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
  4. Student advising opportunities will be well publicised.
  5. Students will be encouraged to seek advice and be made to feel comfortable in seeking such advice.
  6. Student advising will be supported by the provision of high quality course-related information on the University website and in relevant University publications.
  7. Staff who are not designated as Student Advisers may provide students with study-related information in their area of expertise (e.g. information about a paper they coordinate), but should, where required, refer students to appointed Student Advisers for assistance with course planning.
  8. University units engaged in student advising (Student Development, Divisions, and Academic Units) will maintain open lines of communication with one another, including assisting with cross-unit training as appropriate, to ensure high quality and consistent service across the University.
  9. Student Development will provide a central contact point for student advising across the University.

2. Responsibilities

  1. The University is responsible for:
    1. giving appropriate recognition to the time designated staff devote to student advising
    2. monitoring the effectiveness of student advising through the annual Student Opinion Survey conducted by the University’s Quality Advancement Unit
    3. proactively engaging with students to help them in gaining achievement of their aspirations.
  2. Student Development is responsible for:
    1. appointing and training Student Advisers
    2. maintaining a list of Student Advisers appointed across the University
    3. providing a well-publicised, first-point-of-contact, centralised student advising service
    4. referring students to Student Advisers in Academic Units, or to relevant Student Support Services, as appropriate.
  3. Academic Units are responsible for:
    1. appointing and training Academic Unit-based Student Advisers who are subject experts
    2. providing discipline-based advice at academic unit level
    3. referring students to other Student Advisers or to relevant Student Support Services, as appropriate.
  4. Students are responsible for:
    1. choosing their course of study each year, subject to programme and paper regulations and any other constraints imposed by or under University statutes, regulations or policies
    2. availing themselves of advising opportunities as appropriate to ensure that their choice of course is well-informed and suitable to their plans and desires.

3. Roles

  1. All staff should be approachable and available to students, and should inspire students to make the most of the opportunities offered by the University’s flexible and interlocking degree structures.

  2. Student Advisers should:
    1. be familiar with the regulations of the programmes offered by the University
    2. be familiar with University statutes, regulations and policies relevant to course advising, in particular the Admission to University Statute 2011, the Academic Progress Policy and the Guidelines on Timetable Clashes
    3. have detailed knowledge, where applicable, of programme regulations and paper options in the Adviser’s own and related subject areas
    4. provide students with accurate and unbiased information and advice about the University’s papers and programmes, taking into account students’ intended qualifications and plans
    5. recognise when other Student Advisers need to be involved and refer students to them as appropriate
    6. recognise when students might benefit from help or guidance from Student Support Services and refer students to such services as appropriate.
  3. Student Advisers in Academic Units should additionally:

    1. be familiar with the range of papers, programmes and minor, major and endorsement options offered by their Academic Unit
    2. have in depth knowledge of paper and programme options in their area
    3. be familiar with the types of careers and opportunities for further study available to graduates in their discipline
    4. provide students with accurate and unbiased information and advice about the University’s papers and programmes, taking into account students’ academic backgrounds, intended qualifications and careers, and other plans
    5. recognise when a student needs expert advice from Student Development (e.g. about programme regulations, cross crediting, etc.) and/or advice from Student Advisers in other departments or divisions, and refer students to them as appropriate
    6. recognise when students might benefit from help or guidance from Student Support Services and refer students to such services as appropriate.
  4. As per the Academic Progress Policy, Designated Advisers of Studies shall advise students who are placed on Conditional Enrolment and are the only Course Approvers authorised to approve such students’ finalised courses of study.

  5. To ensure consistent and coordinated student advising, Student Advisers should record any specific or substantive advice they have given to a student in the eVision activity log.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Admission to University Statute 2011
Academic Progress Policy
Guidelines on Timetable Clashes
Student Charter

Contact for Further Information

If you have any queries regarding the content of these guidelines or need further clarification, please contact the Head of Student Experience on head.studentexp@otago.ac.nz