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Advising Expectations

An Overview

Faculty advising provides critical support to student achievement, particularly in influencing and measuring success after graduation. The current model for academic advising at Biola University is a faculty-based model. Each academic department determines advising for their majors/programs and in most cases, students should have an assigned faculty advisor. Advising will be required each semester because of the significant impact a consistent one-on-one relationship with a faculty member can have in the life of a student.

The Advising Center staff also support students with a variety of advising needs (undeclared, transfer, and probation students and supplemental advising needs) but do not seek to replace the important connection students can make with faculty through the advising experience.In an effort to provide clarity to students regarding the process and what to expect, the following guidelines and processes have been established (see side tabs for further detail):

  • Definition, philosophy, and responsibilities (institutional, student, and advisor) for advising
  • Advising learning outcomes
  • Advising process and practices

Please review this information to fully understand the importance of your role in the lives and success of your student advisees.

What is Effective Academic Advising?

Biola University believes that academic advising is a significant experience throughout the academic journey. While the student holds the ultimate responsibility in educational decision-making, advisors play an intentional role by guiding students in their academic progress, plans, and engagement. Advisors partner with students in the larger community of Biola to provide resources for student success and challenge students to take a Christ-centered approach in their academic endeavors. (cf. Ephesians 4:11-16)

Advising Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to develop a relationship with faculty member(s) outside of the classroom setting.
  2. Students will be able to independently navigate university policies and procedures regarding course selection, registration, academic standing, the progression of curriculum, and fulfillment of graduation requirements.
  3. Students will be able to identify program and curricular paths that are consistent with their abilities, career, interests, life goals, and sense of calling.
  4. Students will be able to to utilize critical thinking and decision-making skills in managing and planning their lives.
  5. Students will have tools to develop and implement a meaningful educational plan with awareness of high impact educational practices (ex: writing-intensive courses, research opportunities, capstone experiences, internships, and cross-cultural experiences).
  6. Students will have the opportunity to pursue and discover connections within the general education, Bible, and major coursework.
  7. Students will be able to reflect on the deeper work God may be doing in their hearts and minds through their academic learning, and identify how they might respond and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this work.

Advising Process

The faculty-based advising model at Biola takes a variety of forms in the academic departments. Most academic departments have criteria for assigning individual advisors to students (ex: major concentration, alphabet, class level). In an effort to provide clarity to students regarding the process and what to expect, the following guidelines and processes have been established:

  • All undergraduate students should have an assigned advisor and ideally for the entirety of their Biola education.
  • Advisors (or department administrative assistant) should contact assigned advisees each semester and to remind them to set up an advising appointment and prepare for their advising meeting ahead of time.
  • Students must fill out an Advisor Change Form to change their advisor.
  • Academic advising will be required for all undergraduate students through the creation of required pins for registration each semester.
  • The Advising Center serves as the primary advisor to undeclared students and provides supplemental advising to transfer students, probation students, and any student needing additional help after meeting with a faculty advisor.

Advising Responsibilities

Institutional Responsibilities

  • The administration at Biola University develops and implements policies and procedures related to academic advising that are aligned to the overall mission of the university as well as the philosophy of academic advising.
  • Policies related to graduation and program requirements will be communicated to advisors.
  • Tools that allow students and advisors to monitor and track timely graduation will be utilized and improved with feedback from advisors (i.e. degree audit, degree requirement sheets).
  • Advisors will be given opportunities for professional development, evaluation and recognition in academic advising.

Student Responsibilities

  • Students proactively seek out their advisor for advising and set up appointments in a timely fashion.
  • Students prepare for advising by thinking about their passions, strengths, talents and needs related to academics.
  • Students hold ultimate responsibility regarding their unique graduation plan.
  • Students make their advisor aware of academic struggles to receive appropriate guidance.
  • Students pursue appropriate resources on-campus for support with unique academic needs.
  • Students seek guidance regarding their unique contribution to the academic community.
  • Students look to grow through local and global cross-cultural opportunities.
  • Students utilize resources and/or work independently to build a personal network.
  • Students actively pursue connections within the general education, Bible, and major coursework and initiate dialogue related to the integration of faith and learning (i.e. questions, observations, new contributions).

Advisor Responsibilities

  • Advisors have assigned advisees and proactively pursue advisees for advising each semester.
  • Advisors take a strengths development approach to advising.
  • Advisors are knowledgeable of curricular requirements.
  • Advisors have access to information about academic performance and preparedness of students.
  • Advisors have resources to make accurate on-campus referrals.
  • Advisors provide recommendations of meaningful ways to engage the academic community based on the uniqueness and diverse background of each advisee.
  • Academic departments work as a team to network students with professional/scholarly resources.
  • Advisors provoke thoughtful evaluation and reflection on the integration of faith and learning.

Philosophy of Academic Advising

Connection to Biola’s Mission

  • Intentional relationship provides an opportunity to mentor students in mind and character
  • Attention to academic progress and success allows students to pursue education and scholarship
  • Dialogue regarding educational pathways and plans encourages students to consider how they will utilize their education to impact the world
  • Insight into Christ-centered learning and engagement challenges students to value biblically centered education and consider how they will participate in kingdom work

Key Components of Academic Advising

Intentional Relationship

  • Establish a proactive relationship with each advisee.
  • Seek to cultivate a personalized relationship with each advisee that fosters an understanding of their passions and talents.
  • Recognize that the faculty advising relationship provides a crucial opportunity for mentoring and character development.
  • Develop a holistic awareness of student needs (particularly as they impact the academic experience)

Academic Progress and Success

  • Understand and communicate curriculum/graduation requirements and program/department expectations
  • Support the academic success of students by evaluating academic progress
  • Advocate and be a liaison on behalf of the student to relevant educational and campus resources

Educational Pathways and Plans

  • Connect student strengths to educational pathways
  • Empower students to take ownership of their role in Biola’s vibrant and diverse academic community
  • Expand students’ horizons regarding application of their major to various spheres of life
  • Challenge students to build and utilize a network of resources (internships, careers, ministry options, graduate school, guilds, professional organizations, etc)
  • Encourage students to look for cross-disciplinary connections

Christ-Centered Learning and Engagement

  • Teach and inspire students to value the profound impact of a Christ-centered liberal arts education (i.e. appreciation of G.E. and Bible curriculum)
  • Challenge students to be Christ-centered in their approach to their academic endeavors
  • Provide practical insights into integration in their field