Just around a corner inside the State Farm Hall of Business, you can find five academic advisors who assist over 2,500 business students each year. Without including transfer students, the current ratio is one advisor to 550–700 students.
But the tremendous amount of students they advise is not precisely why the College of Business advising staff is so extraordinary. The true occasion lies in how they interact with each sophomore, junior, and senior who walks through their doors.
“It’s rarely the case that we provide a student with a class list, and they are out the door,” said academic advisor Stacey Meyer. “Advising is so much more than that. Over time, you develop a relationship.”
Fellow advisors Diane Skidmore and Ginny Smith can attest to the unique student-advisor dynamic that takes place as they cover a barrage of topics not found on a course list. In turn, the advising staff shows they care about their students’ well being.
“In spite of having the numbers here at ISU, we have documents that say this (university) has a small campus feel,” said Skidmore. “But that’s not just lip service. People are kind all across campus to make it so. We care.”
Skidmore explained that she takes on a supportive role, as a friend, in order for students to feel comfortable, and thus be more accepting of her advice. This philosophy is reflected in Skidmore’s office, from the inviting color scheme and decor to the arrangement of her desk and chairs. Skidmore intentionally sits shoulder to shoulder with students while they hand write their long-term class plans. Smith and Meyer reiterated that this driver seat mentality allows students to become responsible for their long-term plan while feeling like they have someone on their side of the desk—a necessity when struggling with the inescapable balancing act of life as students know it.
By fostering those relationships, advisors Meyer, Skidmore, Smith, Kathy Sims, and Brent Kane play an active role in students completing their degrees, leading to the high graduation rate ranking us in the top 10 percent of all U.S. universities. Smith was quick to add that without Diana Woodring, the office support specialist, the advisors would not be as successful in reaching so many students.
“We try to empower students to come in,” Smith said. “Students aren’t required to visit, and some can plan it all and graduate just fine. But I feel they are missing something if they don’t come in.”
Walk-in hours vary and are updated weekly. Learn more about the college’s advising staff’s specific walk-in hours.