Advising students about the major, graduate school, and careers in their chosen field can be challenging. Within our department of three primarily undergraduate faculty members, we have over 150 psychology majors, double-majors, and minors. That means the three of us are carrying a load of about 50 advisees each. Juggling that with our 4:4 (plus) teaching load, committee work, and trying to do research can be particularly challenging. One area of advising that I struggle to do well is remembering to educate my advisees beyond which courses they need to take, particularly if they don’t ask. The problem is that many students don’t know their options so they don’t know which questions to ask.
Recently, Drew Appleby shared with the Novice Professor a wonderful resource that can offer a partial solution to this problem, Academic Advising Posters which can provide relevant advising information to a broad audience:
Academic Advising Posters (AAPs; for psychology programs: available here) are generally posters created to share information about academic programs, career opportunities, graduate school information, extra-curricular activities, etc. that can be displayed in various places across campus. Over the last several years, this idea has been shared at several teaching and for psychology conferences and have been recommended by the APA in their Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (2013). You can access the existing resources in the article (linked above; Appleby, Apple, & Stoloff, 2018) or request the file from the authors to edit and make your own.
After looking at these resources, I brought them to our program meeting and we are definitely going to be adopting the use of AAPs. Doing this will make sure that all of the students who pass down our hall has access to the same information, especially since research done in one psychology departments showed that 77% of students who saw the posters (81% of survey takers) said that they read them. We will also be working on versions to share with prospective students who are visiting our campus as well as those in our general education classes.
Even if you don’t teach in a psychology program, this resource and the overall idea is fantastic and with a little bit of work you can adapt or create your own versions of these different posters.
written by Ciara Kidder