CAS adviser considers her role a ‘joint effort’

Kathy Bettes has been a College of Arts and Sciences adviser for roughly two years, but has acted in an advising role for much longer.

Prior to joining the professional CAS advising staff, Bettes was a graduation officer in SIUE’s Office of the Registrar before the university transitioned to professional advising.

“A lot of times [students’] instructors encouraged them, ‘Please apply for graduation because I’m not sure about gen ed,’” Bettes said. “So I was caught in an advising role whether that [was] my job title or not, and I realized that I loved that part of my job, and so that’s why this is where I want to be.”

In her newer role as a professional adviser, Bettes said it is most rewarding to see students succeed and meet with students who are excited about their studies.

“I’ve met with a lot of transfer students lately, especially, that just love it here…,” Bettes said.
“Seeing students engaged in the process [and] really excited about the classes that they can choose [is rewarding].”

However, the most challenging aspect of advising is working with students who are “hard to engage.”

“They’re kind of just going through the steps of taking classes, but they’re thinking more of, ‘This is something I have to do to graduate and get out of here,’ instead of really embracing this as a learning experience, taking advantage of everything they can do while they’re here,” Bettes said.

Emphasizing the significance of faculty mentors helps Bettes reach those types of students.

“The faculty, especially now that we have professional advising, they really embrace the role of being a mentor and they want to meet with their students,” Bettes said. “… And I tell students I can help you pick out a list of classes, but nobody knows your area more than the people that are teaching it. And when they develop a relationship with their faculty mentor, then they can start getting excited about what they’re doing.”

Bettes said she believes the adviser-student relationship should be a joint effort rather than an adviser handing students a list of classes.

“The student takes responsibility, and when they do, it makes for a better experience for them too,” Bettes said.

Though there are a lot of aspects to advising, such as professional development, Bettes said her favorite part of the job is meeting with students one-on-one.

“I feel like that’s my number one job and that’s what I like best about it,” Bettes said.


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