Advising of Undergraduates
Robert N. Gaines

Last revised 28 March 2017.

The University policy on faculty advising requires faculty members to "be available to students to provide academic advice" and to "be aware of curricular and degree requirements pertinent to their discipline." (The University of Alabama Faculty Handbook, ch. 5, II., A)

Consistent with this policy, I make myself available to students during regularly announced office hours and at other times for advising appointments. Students should contact me in advance to secure a time slot dedicated to their advising needs. Also, as the policy directs, my primary mission in advising is to assist students in their undertaking of a curriculum that will lead to satisfaction of all requirements in the Communication Studies major. At times I may depart briefly from this mission by commenting on general education requirements, academic minors, change of major or minor, University regulations concerning undergraduate degrees, or career prospects after graduation. However, these matters do not lie within my sphere of responsibility, and students should also seek advice about them elsewhere.

Prior to any advising appointment with me students are expected to have completed the following tasks:

1. Review of student progress toward satisfaction of Communication Studies major requirements in DegreeWorks.

2. Declaration of an academic minor (for a useful--though currently incomplete--list of academic minors, see https://www.as.ua.edu/advising/majors-and-minors/). Students should consider at least two matters in their minor selection process: (a) the degree to which the minor extends or complements the knowledge they gain in their Communication Studies major and (b) the degree to which an academic minor makes their preparation profile attractive to potential employers. For students who cannot decide on a minor, I generally suggest pursuit of the Leadership and Civic Engagement minor or the Computing Technology and Application minor.

3. Construction of a tentative plan for courses to undertake in the next semester(s) that would satisfy requirements for the Communication Studies major.

My office is 208 Reese Phifer Hall. The best way to contact me is at my University email address: rngaines@ua.edu.