New Faculty Advisors Help Fellow Faculty Members Motivate Students to Graduate

January 21, 2015 -- I want to turn what I love into a career. I want to support my family. I want to be a nurse. I want to earn more than minimum wage. I want to make my family proud. These are just a few of the hundreds of responses faculty members received when they asked students at the Montoya Campus why they want to be successful and graduate.
July 16, 2015

The remarks were written on post-its and placed on a display board in the cafeteria. Both the post-its and display area were donated by the CNM Bookstore.

The responses appeared on the wall during the last two weeks of the Fall Term. Faculty advisor Linda Shul, who organized the "1,000 Reasons to Graduate" campaign, said she expects even more as the Spring Term gets under way.

Shul, who teaches marketing and entrepreneur classes in the School of Business & Information Technology, is one of a handful of faculty members across all CNM schools selected to serve as faculty advisors in a pilot program that was initiated last fall. The advisors are a resource to other faculty members, helping them figure out ways to motivate students to stay in school and graduate, said Sydney Gunthorpe, vice president of Academic Affairs.

“The Deans Council came up with the idea of faculty advisors,” he said. “It was a way to help ease the burden on advisors.”

He added that some faculty members are reluctant to give students advice, because there are so many factors related to programs and nuances for students to transfer. The faculty advisors serve as a bridge between the academic advisors, school advisors and faculty.

“It’s an important role,” Gunthorpe said. “They understand the scope of the programs, accreditation and curriculum. They can help Academic Affairs develop the right programs that meet accreditation standards.”

copy_of_nursepic.jpgThe faculty advisors don’t necessarily advise students one on one (but sometimes they do). Instead, they work with faculty, usually in group settings, to show them how to help students follow a path to graduation. They’ll also go into classrooms and talk to students about the degrees they are seeking and how to get there.

Each school selected its own faculty advisors – generally two per school. The faculty advisors are released from one to two classes a term to give them time to perform their new functions.

“The faculty advisors are coming up with unique ideas that might eventually be used by other faculty advisors and faculty members,” Gunthorpe said.

For example, Alexandria Cisneros, faculty advisor in the School of Adult & General Education, created a manual of SAGE classes for faculty. And Shul and another faculty advisor from BIT, Francis Heis, put together a community website for faculty that offers advisement tips.

Gunthorpe and the Deans Council are watching the faculty advisor pilot program closely to see if it will become permanent.

“There’s a good chance it will, depending on the budget,” he said. “We started the school advisor program slowly, and today there is an advisor in every school. So far it appears that we will see the same success with the faculty advisor program.”