"We have nothing that was not given us. Our gifts [and strengths] are ultimately God's, and we are only 'stewards' - responsible for the prudent management of property that is not our own. This is why our gifts [and strengths] are always 'ours for others,' whether in the community of Christ or the broader society outside, especially the neighbor in need."
- Os Guinness, The Call
Academic advising is faculty members helping students make wise choices about the details and direction of their program of study light of their occupational and life callings, the world’s need, and the truth of God’s Word.
We believe that the academic advising that takes place at Grove City College is unique in higher education. Why? Because our faculty members believe that advising is…
Faculty members begin with the assumption that you are a whole person – body, mind, and spirit – and that all of the “dots” of your life must be connected. So, students shouldn’t be surprised to find their faculty advisors asking some of life’s “big questions” in meeting when they’re supposed to be just planning a course schedule. Life’s small questions are always viewed in light of the whole! We like to say that advising isn’t merely transactional – dealing exclusively with issues of registration (deadlines, signatures, prerequisites, fees, etc.) – but transformational, in that the important questions regarding one’s course of study are asked intentionally and without apology. Don't be surprised if your advisors ask you questions like...
"Who are you?" What do you love?" "What are you passionate about?" "Why did you choose GCC?" "Why do you want to study 'X?'" "What motivates you? Why?" and so on. They're just getting to know you - all of you - so that they can provide you with the best advice possible.
Faculty advisors view the time they spend with their advisees as an extension of their classroom; they are teaching students about themselves, the curriculum, their vocational interests, and the “real world” in every conversation they have. In some cases, students will receive very concrete, specific, and dogmatic answers to the questions they ask (e.g. “Can I take Huma 201 without having taken 102?), but the advisor’s real task is to help the student learn for themselves. So, many of the advisee’s questions will be answered in an open-ended fashion. For example, an advisor cannot tell a student if he should or should not change his major. Advisors can help students understand their own motivations, goals, and gifts and make decisions in light of them, fully cognizant of the potential consequences.
Faculty do not work alone in advising students; they collaborate with a variety of people that help the students come to a greater understanding of who they are and what they’ve been called to do. On campus, this means our faculty seek to collaborate with Student Life and Learning, Career Services, and College Counseling offices (among others) to assist the student in a holistic fashion. Additionally, faculty advisors may ask students to seek counsel from other faculty, clergy, parents, and even peers to help the students make more accurate assessments. Wisdom is found in a multitude of (wise) counselors!
Finally, our faculty advisors are committed to seeing our academic advising remain “thoroughly Christian and evangelical in character” and rooted in a life-perspective “which integrates all fields of learning by communicating the significance of the Word of God for all of life…” It is tempting to think that students could make decisions regarding their course of study and future vocational aspirations apart from the wisdom found in God’s Word, the Bible. But they cannot, nor should they attempt to do so. Of course, this does not mean faculty attempt to “indoctrinate” students into a narrow way of viewing life that limits them as agents of cultural, commercial, political, and social transformation, but simply that the testimony of Scripture and the best traditions of our Western heritage are deliberately sought out and embraced with a view toward the students identifying and pursuing their calling as Christians in the world.
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