Group advising benefits Harbert College of Business students because: 1) sessions are tailored to student needs; 2) students are placed
in groups with peers with the same major; 3) students get an hour’s worth of advising
rather than the standard 15 to 20 minutes 1-on-1 sessions offer; and 4) networking
gives students the opportunity to learn from one another.
But don’t just take our word for it.
Harbert College advisors Molly Hulsey, Stephanie Mowaro and Christian Demyan not only presented their research, “Reaching More Students through Group Advising”
at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Southeast Region Conference
April 12-14 in Auburn, but will be given the opportunity to take their work to another
level Oct. 4-7 at the national NACADA conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
“Going to present at the national conference is a huge deal. I’m a proud momma!” beamed
Beth Ann Mabrey, Director of Student Services in the Harbert College of Business’ Office of Academic Advising.
“I hope that we will not only be able to share our best practices with other institutions,
but that we will be able to help other institutions design and implement group advising
sessions that are unique and tailored to their institutional student needs.”
Mabrey explained that group advising is based on a cohort structure. Finance majors
are grouped with other finance majors. Accounting majors are grouped with other accounting
majors. Student-athletes are often grouped with other student-athletes.
Internal student survey results showed that students learn more with their peers during
advising sessions. “Students network more effectively when they are with their peers
and ask more questions that are pertinent to them,” Mabrey said.
Group advising, offered around a 15-seat conference table, gives staff more time to
plan, creating more effective, thorough sessions.
“In group advising, we’re not leaving any stones unturned,” Hulsey explained. “The
one-on-one sessions can be as quick as 15 minutes. But in a group, you get a whole
hour and feel the one-on-one dynamic because you get all of the questions answered
and you network with your peers. Some questions students might be afraid to ask one-on-one,
but it makes them feel more comfortable when they see their peers have the same issues.”
Subjects often covered include classes, registration, policies, academic goals, procedures,
expectations, graduation, etc.
“It’s a great opportunity to build rapport with students,” said Demyan, who advises
pre-business students (often freshman and sophomores). “Not only are they able to
discuss potential classes, but also network and meet new faces. One-on-one advising
will always be important as an option for students, but group advising gives me the
opportunity to work more efficiently for both parties involved. Students who sign
up for group sessions dodge long lines and increased wait times. This is extremely
helpful during heavy advising times – more specifically, registration.”
Mowaro added, “It also gives them (students) the opportunity to interact with faculty
members and program coordinators in their major outside of the classroom setting.”
Mitch Weber, a junior in accounting, agreed.
“I feel bad for students who don’t come to group,” he said. “I have a much better
understanding of my curriculum than they do.”
The national conference gives Harbert College advising the opportunity to share its
“If we can get together and share ideas, they can take home parts of what works to
create their own program,” Hulsey said. “If group advising is structured properly,
it can help in every facet of advising. You can have more appreciative sessions, have
more time to actually get to know students and disseminate important knowledge in