I was struck recently when a student requested to see me because they wanted to be assigned to a different academic advisor. When I asked the student why she needed this change, she simply said that her current academic advisor didn’t care.
With further questioning I discovered that her current advisor would spend only 5-10 minutes with her, fail to ask any questions, and generally didn’t seem to care about the student at all. In fact, she made it seem that the student coming to her was an inconvenience.
I kept my cool in front of the student, but I was downright shocked, if not a bit riled up. I knew I had to investigate to see if the smoke I was seeing was just smoke or an actual fire that needed attention. Turns out the smoke was an actual fire. The advisor had a history of “phoning it in” with her students.
I was grateful that the student came in and let me know. I began to realize how easy it is to make it look like you are working hard, when really you are doing the absolute minimum. But for those who are “acting the role,” you are hurting the students and the department. The truth Is students cannot be fooled and your lack of action and interest pushes students and others away because the students share their experience with others.
Creating a culture of service and support is difficult when you have staff and or leaders who are not invested in supporting students in any way, shape or form. Funny how these pretenders have no problems cashing their paycheck every month.
It’s our responsibility to pay attention to our teams and always keep an eye out for smoke. If we find a fire, it’s our responsibility to also put it out and fix the damage. This will require carefully looking at the impact and removing the toxic tars and carbons that came off the flames. Students deserve more than inhaling negative experiences that impact their progress towards student success.