Davidson's Holistic Advising Program provides first- and second-year students holistic, ongoing, formal support in all aspects of the Davidson experience—academic, co-curricular/extra-curricular, social and career—up to the time they declare their academic majors.
With guidance from their advisers, students thoughtfully reflect on their individual educational, professional and personal goals, and develop plans to reach those goals. In keeping with the college's Statement of Purpose, advisers "assist students in developing humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service."
Summer Advising Resources for New Students
New first-year students with questions about the initial course registration process (WebTree), academic programs, or degree requirements should reach out to one of the summer advisers. At orientation, first-year students will meet their holistic adviser, make any course schedule adjustments, and start to learn about the various student resources on campus.
About 50 Davidson faculty and staff members are selected as holistic advisers in consideration of their interest in and talent for advising. The advisers, who must go through a formal application and review process, commit to helping students explore the value of the liberal arts as a path to personal discovery and professional success.
In addition to faculty representatives from across Davidson's academic disciplines, holistic advisers include professionals with advanced degrees in business administration, law, corporate communications, leadership development, information technology, civic engagement, minority affairs, fundraising, politics, law enforcement, journalism and clergy, among others.
Role of the Holistic Adviser
During their first two years at Davidson, students are encouraged to explore their interests with the goal of declaring a major by the end of their second year. Holistic advisers engage with students in thoughtful deliberation about their choice of major. They are an important resource for providing information about academic regulations, standards of progress and graduation requirements, and actively help students meet those standards and requirements. Holistic Advisers will also check in with advisees in terms of their overall well-being. Other topics addressed may include health and wellness, roommates, friends, study abroad, finances, career planning and time management. Advisers can refer students to specialists on campus for additional assistance. Resources for advisers are available in the Holistic and Major Advisers Moodle Course.
Holistic Advising Program
Advisers hold a minimum of two one-on-one meetings per semester with each of their advisees (in addition to student and parent meetings during orientation). In the first meeting, they address areas such as class registration, the role of the adviser, and acclimating to campus. In subsequent meetings, they check in on the student's overall well-being and discuss topics such as academic interests, co-curricular activities, internships, study abroad, and potential summer experiences.
Often advisers and students also meet informally, in pairs or in small groups for home-cooked meals or to attend campus activities. Many advisers remain in contact with their advisees through graduation and beyond.
Advisers receive comprehensive, ongoing training that prepares them to address the full range of potential student questions and share with advisees information and guidance about how to access campus resources. The training encompasses topics ranging from curriculum logistics and wellness services to the latest resources available in the Betty and B. Frank Matthews II ’49 Center for Career Development (Matthews Center) and Center for Student Health and Well-Being, as well as study abroad program options and more. If an adviser cannot answer a student's question directly, he or she knows who can.
Holistic Advisers use an Advising as Teaching advising model. Advisers help students identify realistic goals by linking them to the student's interests and abilities. Advisers provide timely feedback, reinforce learning that has taken place, and applaud student successes. They encourage students to become self-directed learners over time.