School of Nursing: Standard On Academic Advising

Unit Standard


School of Nursing: Standard On Academic Advising



Provides Faculty guidance on academic advising of students.


All Faculty who advise students in the School of Nursing (SON).


The Academic Affairs Policy Council has developed a set of guiding principles for faculty roles and responsibilities as academic advisors. Academic advising is viewed as an inherent part of the faculty role and all faculty have a responsibility to serve as academic advisors based on the balance of their academic assignments.

Academic advising provides critical socialization to students and can result in the development of an evolving professional colleagueship. The advisor-student relationship is based on core values of respect, honesty, trust, dependability, and professionalism. Discussions between advisors and students are generally held in confidence and only shared with others on a need to know basis. The following guidelines are offered for faculty as they work with students as advisors.

Undergraduate Academic Advisement

At the undergraduate level, students receive advising assistance through a variety of sources. Academic advising for mentoring and support are frequently available through course and clinical faculty. Programming, such as the career development series, available through the Office of Student Affairs is designed to help students with career planning and development.

The Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program advises all students who have alternate study plans. The Student Success/Retention Specialist provides feedback and assistance around testing issues and study skills. Faculty at the undergraduate level focus primarily on supplementing this array of support services and to provide additional assistance and mentoring to students who seek this.

Graduate Academic Advisement

SON policies and procedures related to academic advising in the graduate area may be found in the SON Student Handbook. Sections of interest include:

  • Assignment of an Advisor
  • Requesting a Change of Advisor
  • Special Circumstances for Academic Advisors and Doctoral Students
  • Developing a Plan of Study
  • Signing Up for Classes

UNC Nursing Student Handbook - Click on "Graduate Programs: Academic Policies"

Graduate faculty who serve as academic advisors provide student advisement on course requirements, progression through the program, and student responsibilities related to major academic milestones. The academic advisor encourages self-reliance by helping students make informed and responsible decisions, set realistic goals and develop learning and life management skills to meet present and future needs.

All graduate faculty (clinical instructor rank and above) with teaching responsibilities who hold appointments with the School at 50% or greater are expected to serve as academic advisors. Others are welcome to serve as advisors if interested and available to commit the required time. During a faculty member's first year, they might be assigned to work with an experienced faculty member who has served as an advisor, especially if the new faculty member has not had experience as an academic advisor.

The advising load of each faculty member will vary with their degree of involvement in any given program and their appointment level. Some faculty may advise in more than one program, depending on their teaching experiences. The number of students assigned to an advisor will be adjusted accordingly if they advise students in more than one program. Academic advising responsibilities should be differentiated from, but may overlap with, other academic responsibilities, including serving on BSN honors projects, MSN comprehensive examination/portfolio committees, MSN paper or thesis committees, DNP Project committees, and Ph.D. dissertation committees.

Strategies for Success

A minimum of one contact per semester between an advisor and student is expected. Doctoral advising usually requires more frequent contacts than master's advising. Given the time demands that both faculty and students face, efficiency should be used in meeting this expectation. While in-person contact is generally preferred, the contacts can also be accomplished by telephone, email, or written notes. An advisor might also meet with all advisees in a group if that works better for all. It is recommended that faculty initiate the first contact with advisees so they will feel welcomed and be more likely to follow up with subsequent contacts.

Faculty advisors should remind students about their responsibilities in the advisor/advisee relationship. Student responsibilities include following through on recommendations made by the advisor, contacting the advisor when they are experiencing issues that the advisor might help with, and keeping appointments when made with the advisor.

Advisees should have a clear understanding of how to contact their advisors. This is especially important when students face deadlines that require advice and signatures of their advisors. Advisors can select the methods(s) that work best for their individual circumstances. Methods can include posted office hours, email, or various phone numbers. Advisors can let students know the preferred methods for both routine and urgent matters.

Resources to Support Advising



Contact Information

Primary Contact

Peggy Wilmoth, Associate Dean Academic Affairs

Other Contacts


Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: 4/12/2004 approved by the faculty
  • Revised: 4/13/2011 approved by AAC
  • Revised: 12/13/2018

Approved by:

Peggy Wilmoth

Associate Dean Academic Affairs


Article ID: 132401
Thu 4/8/21 9:30 PM
Thu 2/29/24 3:42 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
12/18/2020 7:54 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
12/18/2020 7:54 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
12/18/2020 7:54 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
12/18/2022 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
04/12/2004 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
School of Nursing