ELI Insights: Supporting Students through Academic Advising

Article by Ross Fenske, ADS Instructor & AT Academic Advisor | October 13, 2020

This graphic features a head shot of ADS Instructor, Ross Fenske. To Fenske's right is text that reads, "ELI Insights With ADS Instructor Ross Fenske."

The Academic Advising team at the English Language Institute is dedicated to assisting students in navigating their pathway to their own educational goals. For some students, it is just improving their English, for others it is matriculating all the way to the University of Delaware. However, we are only one part of the ELI family.

The instructors create an incredible learning environment, and they are supported by many other offices, including the ELI Registrar and Billing offices for scheduling and financial needs, the Office of Student Life for housing and campus life, and the academic advising team, which is there not only to answer questions but also to reach out when students may not know that they are having problems. It is truly a team effort.

Many students are able to accomplish their goal on their own through knowing what classes they need to take, having proper time management and the confidence to approach their instructors for assistance, and taking advantage of all of the ELI’s academic and social resources. However, there are some students who may encounter challenges that may slow down their progress. It is the ELI’s goal to ensure that all students have the best shot of being successful. Because each student has a different pathway, our academic advisors may play a different role for each journey.

As one of the academic advisors, my main job is to support those students who might be having some challenges in their classes. Whatever the reason for the student’s struggle, I actively work with each one to create a plan of action to help them understand what they need to do better. Sometimes, all we need is one meeting, but more times than not, we have a series of appointments throughout the session/semester. Once we are able to identify their particular challenge, then we can work together to find ways of overcoming them and getting back on track. I have an “open door” policy, and this means that students are free to contact me for any reason, with or without an appointment. (However, it is always good to send an email just to make sure.)

What students may not realize is that I had challenges when I was in college, too. From my own experience, reaching out and talking with someone was really the best way of overcoming any situation. Building a solid rapport with my professors and advisors helped me be successful in my own educational and professional journey.

The advising team, along with the other invaluable members of the ELI family, does its best to support every student to be successful in their educational journey. Whether it is returning to their home countries with a better command of the English language or entering the University of Delaware, each ELI student has the ability to achieve their dreams.

And yes, Jackie, it is true; we do love when former students come back for a visit, especially after they have matriculated to UD and even after they graduate!

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