At this point early in the registration process, students registered for fall 2016 stand 13 percent below our total from this time last year. I don't imagine that last week's layoff debacle combined with the sharp decline in our graduation rates has inspired confidence in the holdover administrator's ability to function effectively during this crisis. Of course, our public problems are not solely responsible for our enrollment issues and graduation rate decline. One of the major issues confronting our students is the horrendous decision last year to have all advising done in an "advising center." At a recent joint meeting with the MAC, the Provost made the comment that "we now have professional advisors." Really? I do not believe many faculty or students consider the advising center anything more than a total disaster. We've cataloged some of its problems in past posts.
Of course, after the layoffs, the number of "professional" advisors available to do academic advising has diminished to either 6 or 7 I believe. These unfortunate souls are responsible for advising all our undergraduate students. Based on last year's student population (optimistic, I know) the current ratio of students to advisors exceeds 500 to 1. I'm sure that anyone handling close to 500 students per semester can dedicate the time needed to do advising well. Given the need for flexibility during these difficult times, I find it disturbing, although not surprising, that our Provost again digs her heels in and insists that all undergraduate advising be done in the advising center. Following on the heels of numerous other bad decisions on her part, this failure to acknowledge the failure of this procedure leads me to draw only two possible conclusions. First, the Provost is ignorant of the damage caused by this continual adherence to terrible policy; second, that she knows full well the scope of the catastrophe but simply does not care. Here is the text of an e-mail that went out yesterday, provided courtesy of one of our colleagues.
"I have confirmed with the Provost that she has not authorized undergraduate advising by faculty during Summer 2016.
You should make sure that your chairs are adhering to the memo of several months ago and directing undergraduate students to the Advising Center location, about which there was a separate email earlier this morning."
I will end this with a question. Why is Wayne Watson on the distribution list for the daily enrollment reports?