Educational Planning & Advising

Advising is a form of teaching that is purposeful, ongoing and regular. Advising is integral to teaching at Denison. The Academic Advisor plays a key role in helping students learn to become autonomous thinkers, capable of self-determination through their exploration of the liberal arts.

The chief role of a faculty advisor is to assist students in thinking through their undergraduate liberal arts experience and their educational goals so that they may take full advantage of the resources available at Denison University. The advising relationship develops and changes over the course of four years, as student needs and concerns evolve. Advisors encourage students to think critically about the benefits of a liberal education. They also assist students in understanding Denison's current academic regulations as well as the educational resources available at the university. Advisors have an essential role in directing students to additional advising and mentorship resources from across campus.

Faculty advisors also offer guidance beyond these matters: assisting students in identifying their interests; helping students make links between immediate and long-range goals; discussing career paths and graduate school options; referring students to institutional resources for academic or personal support; and giving advice, when appropriate, on decisions relating to personal or quality-of-life choices.

During the first year of residence, Denison urges students to begin planning their programs of study. This program should be suited to the student's particular needs, interests, life aspirations, and career plans. The various academic departments and the faculty advisor, as well as the offices of Student Development, the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration, and Academic Support, will assist students with the planning process. Good educational planning, based on Denison's tradition of liberal education, should include consideration of educational objectives relating to career plans and personal developmental goals, analysis of high school and first semester Denison experiences and discoveries, course work and off-campus programs being considered, and a tentative choice of major. The student should discuss these issues with his/her faculty advisor.

Because education is an evolutionary process, Denison encourages students to explore the breadth of opportunity at Denison in their early years on campus. Modification of academic goals, vocational plans, and prospective majors is common, and students should not preclude consideration of any particular range of educational alternative.

The Dean of First Year Students assigns each incoming student a faculty advisor. Frequently, this person will be an instructor in one of the courses (for example, AC 101: Advising Circles) taken by the student during the first semester. Otherwise, the Dean will make an assignment based on a student’s initial academic interests. As a student's major and vocational goals become more clearly defined, it is likely that the student will choose to change to an advisor more familiar with those developing interests. Students may, with the consent of the new faculty advisor, officially switch to a new advisor. All changes must be reported to the Registrar's Office.

Contact Us

Jennifer Grube Vestal

Associate Dean of Students/Director of Academic Resource Center

Heather N. Pool

Associate Professor
Director, Philosophy, Politics, & Economics Program
Interim Director of the Writing Center

Mark Moller

Dean of First-Year Students, Director of Advising, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Academic Resource Center:
Higley Hall 020 (Lower Level​)

Writing Center:
Barney-Davis 400

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