As our students shape their programs at Gettysburg, planning and making choices consonant with their goals and values, the decisions they make will require them to consider a host of issues ranging from the philosophical, e.g., articulating their own understanding of a liberal arts education, to the most immediate and practical, e.g., negotiating study hours with a roommate. The College will award students a degree when they meet the requirements; but it is our students' personal task to give meaning to the degree by connecting what they do here and why they do it to the goals and aspirations that will fill the rest of their lives.
Academic Advising is a crucial component of the teaching mission of Gettysburg College. As advisors, we are charged with fostering the development of our students' autonomy through the ways we assist their reflection and decision making. In particular, we play an important role in developing their capacity to make plans and set goals, to generate and assess options and strategies, and to recognize and challenge their own assumptions as they take on the perspectives of others. As we engage them in conversations about their aspirations and challenges, we help them to understand and develop the habits of mind and heart that will move them to intellectual maturity and achievement.
Certainly our individual differences require both advisors and students to be flexible and to monitor the success of the advising relationship itself in order for it to flourish and so that we work together to build and sustain collaborative relationships based on mutual trust and respect. But for any advising relationship to work well, students and their advisors take on certain fundamental responsibilities: students must recognize that ultimately they are responsible for acquiring necessary information and they are accountable for the choices they make; and in manifesting genuine care and support, advisors must take responsibility for being knowledgeable about the programs and policies of the College and for being reliable when they make referrals.
At Gettysburg College, our faculty are the core of our academic advising process. On entering the College, every student is assigned a Faculty Advisor. Students change faculty advisors by request, and in particular, when they declare a major in order to collaborate with an advisor from that department or program. In addition, faculty and administrators oversee integrated advising areas in the Health Professions and Pre-Law aimed at enhancing students’ sense of direction and preparation as they connect their major fields with areas of broader intellectual interest and professional opportunities. Students are also strongly encouraged to seek information and advice from the Deans in the Office of Academic Advising and Student Support Services, and from advisors in a number of offices whose programs or services they may wish to explore, e.g.,: the Center for Global Education, the Center for Career Engagement, the Center for Public Service, the Office of Multicultural Engagement, and the Registrar’s Office.