Photo courtesy of Janis Albright

Janis Albright, Advisor

Students often ask me why they are usually assigned both a professional and a faculty advisor. Your professional advisor can help you navigate through the university, explore majors, and develop an academic plan. While faculty advisors do this too, they can help you progress further, since they are experts in their field. I asked Dr. Rikki Miller, from the Psychology Department, what she thinks the benefits are of meeting with a faculty advisor. Here is what she shared:

Faculty advisors can ensure that you take the right pathway for your graduation and career goals. For example, in psychology, we can help you understand the differences between clinical or experimental based careers early on, so you choose the right classes. In addition, we know details about our department’s class content and sequence, and can recommend which classes to take together.

The best way to take advantage of your faculty advisor is to come see us! Through conversations, we get to know your needs, goals, and can help connect you to resources. As examples, do you want to explore going to grad school, or might you need a letter of recommendation for employment? We can best serve you, if we know you.  

Dr. Miller also emphasizes that faculty advisors can help when her advisees hit obstacles.  She prefers that they come to talk with her about challenges, rather than avoiding them, so that together, they can explore solutions.

What is the best way to prepare for a meeting with your faculty advisor? First, Dr. Miller suggests that you consider what you may want to do with your major, even if you are not sure.   Also, think about if you prefer certain settings, particular audiences and if you hope to work immediately after college or consider grad school.

How do you reach your faculty advisor? Their name and e-mail are usually on your Student Center, in your MaineStreet account. (If you are undeclared, you will get a faculty advisor once you declare a major. In the meantime, you are welcome to meet with faculty to explore majors.) In addition, you can always call your department to get connected. Dr. Miller reaches out to her students regularly and encourages them to set an appointment. She uses a convenient self-booking program, called “You Can Book Me,” so that her advisees can easily access her calendar and set a meeting, without having to call first.

In summary, advising at USM is a partnership between you, your faculty advisor and your professional advisor. Both advisors are here to support your academic progress and help you develop meaningful career goals in life, that will help you feel fulfilled. If you haven’t met with them, we encourage you to do so soon!


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