[CC-licensed Flickr photo by Chris]

Until about ten years ago, ‘advisor’ just meant the ‘thesis research advisor’ to me who supervises the research of graduate students.

Then I learned that there was another kind of advisors on college campus: ‘academic advisor. (This late learning for me is probably due to my experience of attending high school and college outside the U.S.) Like high school counselors, the academic advisors give guidance for students on academic planning (e.g. course registration, major requirement check, etc) and appropriate measures to cope with various situations (e.g. scholastic probation, adding/dropping classes, transfer, etc). I wish I could have such a person during my college years.

There is yet another kind of advisors on campus that I learned of their existence at much later time: ‘faculty advisor. I wonder how many students actually know who they are and what they do. They are important gatekeepers of individual major degree plans who plan and manage the students’ progresses in their programs toward the degrees, in collaboration with other faculty and staff. I have to confess that even as a faculty I had a vague idea about what the faculty advisors do for students for several years.

There also are supervisors, counselors and mentors. How they are different from one another? I will visit this issue in a separate post later.


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