As a new or returning student to MacEwan University, you hear a lot of new terminology in your first month back. “Advisor” is one of those terms. An advisor is someone who lives and breathes your program. They are an invaluable resource to help you navigate your educational journey — and yet many students don’t know they even have one.
“We exist,” says Rose Clancy, instructional assistant for the Fine Art program. Rose works daily with students to ensure they are on the right track. Her job advising students differs from that of other university advisors, but regardless of their faculty or title, the main thing you need to know is that advisors exist and want to help. “My purpose is to get students to know that we exist and we care, and that it’s not shameful to see someone and talk.”
Please note that your advisor may do things differently than advisors in other faculties and programs. However, no matter your program or faculty, an advisor can help you when you’re feeling unsure or when you want to make a major change.
An advisor is not a counsellor (though counselling is available to you in Wellness and Psychological Services), but can provide guidance if you find yourself in hot water academically, or if you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed. If you don’t know who you should talk to on campus, start with your advisor; they can direct you to the resources you need.
“Students who have never met with an advisor believe they can get the same level of advice from their friends, siblings, parents and coworkers that they can from an advisor, but I can assure you, you can’t,” says Lauren Melnyk, advisor, Department of Public Safety and Justice Studies, Faculty of Health and Community Studies. No one knows the intricacies of your program better than your advisor, and Lauren warns that bad advice from another source could possibly derail your graduation plans. “Be careful about who you solicit help from.”
And don’t guess either, says Jonathan Schiemann, an advisor in the School of Business. Just as you wouldn’t guess in making an important decision in your job or personal life, don’t make guesses in your education.
“It’s really easy to reach out to us and it’s never a bother,” says Jonathan. “Keep your questions coming! The more you ask, the more you’ll know.”
You would be wiser if you spoke to your advisor!
Teach you about how the entire program works (your professors will teach the courses).
Now is the perfect time to check in with your advisors or review the package of information you received before you stepped on campus. Advisors are available to help you succeed, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions — lots of questions — as soon as something comes up.
“I want to see students throughout their academic career, whether it’s going terribly or it’s awesome, just to help them continue along,” says Jonathan. “My goal at the end of the day is to see them cross the stage at convocation.”
People in your neighbourhood
Meet a few of the friendly departments and staff members you’ll be interacting with over the next few weeks (and months and years).
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.