Academic Advising is one of the most important guiding factors that students need during the university education stage. It aims at supporting and advising students to benefit from their abilities, work on developing their skills, and encourage them to be academically unique and creative. Moreover, the advising process helps them finish the academic stage and graduate within the specified period after acquiring scholarly experience and practical skills that qualify them to fit well in the labor market.
Added to that, the academic advising process helps the students to obtain the best results, adapt to the university environment, and seize the available opportunities.
The responsibility of academic advising rests on all academic staff members. University professors are regarded as their students’ advisor, offering them help and advice. Professors should also alert students to mistakes and problems they should avoid in their educational path, even if they are not the students' main advisor who is appointed by the concerned department on a regular basis. Thus, the advising process is the responsibility of all academic staff members.
Who Is the Academic Advisor?
An academic advisor is the staff member chosen by the concerned department to advise students academically at the beginning of their enrollment in the postgraduate study program. The academic advisor is mainly responsible for guiding students during their educational path, and helping them choose the thesis subject and write the research plan.
Academic Advising Regulations and Bylaws
Article forty one:
All postgraduate students shall be provided with a scientific advisor at the beginning of their enrollment in the program. The advisor's main mission is to guide the students in their study, and assist the students in choosing the thesis subject and preparing the research plan. This shall be in accordance with the regulations approved by UQU Council, based on recommendation of the Council of the Deanship of Postgraduate Studies.
Executive and Regulatory Rules and Measures:
- The departmental councils distribute the tasks of the academic advising of new students among staff members. This shall be within a period not exceeding four weeks from the beginning of the study. A copy of such distribution shall be sent to the Deanship of Postgraduate Studies.
- The academic advisor guides students in preparing their academic schedule, and follows up the steps of their thesis/research project registration.
- The advisor delivers a detailed report on each student's progress to the concerned department head at the end of every semester. A copy of such a report shall be sent to the Dean of Postgraduate Studies.
- It is preferable that the advisor be the supervisor of the student's thesis, after it has been registered, unless it contradicts the advisor's specialty.
Academic Advisor's Duties
The academic advisor is the person who guides the students during their study, and helps them overcome difficulties and problems they may face. The responsibilities of the academic advisor are as follows:
- Educating the students about the rights and duties stipulated in the unified bylaw of postgraduate studies.
- Preparing students to familiarize themselves with the university study system.
- Informing the students of sound information, and educational policies and programs.
- Enhancing the academic achievement of students, raising their abilities, and overcoming the obstacles they face during their scientific achievement.
- Alerting students of the problem of academic failure, and how to avoid it.
- Providing advice and assistance to postgraduate students facing academic problems.
- Advising, taking care of, and following up failing students in order to raise their academic level.
- Paying attention to, motivating, and spreading the new ideas of excellent and talented students.
Missions of the Academic Advising Unit
- Developing an academic guidance plan.
- Supervising the execution of the academic guidance plan.
- Informing students of the most significant services provided by the Academic Advising Unit. This is achieved through meetings, bulletins, and the college page on Umm Al-Qura University website.
- Informing students of the college’s objectives, mission, educational programs, academic departments, labor market fields, and types of care and services, and guiding them to choose the appropriate specializations that suit their abilities and potentials.
- Distributing new students among academic advisors, and publishing lists on bulletin boards and via the college page on Umm Al-Qura University website at the beginning of each academic year.
- Delivering semester reports at the end of each semester about the work and achievements of the unit.
- Following up students' academic complaints submitted by advisors, and seeking solutions with the college administration.
- Examining students' complaints about any course, and finding and submitting solutions to the college administration.
- Informing students via guidance booklets and brochures about the significance of communication with the academic advisor.
- Supervising the guidance programs of new students to inform them about the college’s academic system and regulations.
- Holding periodical meetings with advisors to discuss the most significant problems, find solutions, and propose suggestions that serve the work of the unit.
- Contributing to the solution of the students’ psychological, financial, social and functional problems, and submitting such solutions, when needed, to the Deanship of Student Affairs for them to take the necessary action.
Academic Advisor's Duties
- To be aware of the timetables for the dates of registration, postponement and course deletion announced by the Deanship of Postgraduate Studies.
- To know the college’s academic plan and the students’ graduation requirements, and to make sure that the student's schedule is in accordance with them.
- To prepare the academic advising record for each student. The advisor opens a special file for each student in the group. The file includes the student's subjects, grades, cumulative average, the minutes of the periodic meetings between the advisor and the student, as well as any reports or warnings by the course instructor to assess the level of the student.
- To meet the student at the beginning of every semester to:
- Identify students’ performance in the past semester.
- Urge students to work hard and do their best in the next semester.
- Assist and guide students in registering subjects, and find solutions in case of timetable conflicts.
- Follow up student's academic regularity, and in case of absence or weak achievements, the advisor should search for reasons and solutions or submit the matter to the administration of the college.
- Discover talented and distinguished students, encourage them to participate in local and international conferences, and guide them on how to participate.
- Urge students to participate in academic activities related to their postgraduates studies and events organized by the college or university.
- Assign office hours to discuss academic matters with students and advise them.
- Informing students of the college’s objectives, mission, educational programs, academic departments, labor market fields, and the types of care and services, and guide them to choose the appropriate specializations that suit their abilities and potentials.
- Deliver semester reports on each student's academic performance to the Academic Advising Unit.
- Submit a report about the problems faced by the advisor during the advising process.
Students' Role and Responsibilities
- The students are the ones who are mainly responsible for their academic performance. The role of the advisor is only to guide and help the students overcome the difficulties and problems they may face.
- The students should review and understand the unified regulations pertaining to postgraduate studies.
- The students should be aware of the timetable of the Deanship of Postgraduate Studies, and review it every semester in order to know the dates for registration, postponement, apology, etc.
- The students should be committed to meet the academic advisor appointed by the department, and inform him of all the required information and data.
- The students shall implement the advisor's recommendations, and meet the advisor regularly according to the agreed-upon dates.
- The students should inform the advisor of any changes that may affect their program or performance.