The Office of Academic Advising & Retention hosted an orientation for the newest members of the American University of Nigeria (AUN).
The session was organized to give new faculty and students a better understanding of the university’s unique academic methods.
AUN’s devotion to academic excellence means that students are guided every step of the way. The Academic Advising &Retention office helps students find their way in what could be a daunting educational journey. With the freedom to choose from a variety of courses in the academic catalog, the Office of Academic Advising & Retention pays close attention to first and second-year students to help them gain a better understanding of AUN’s unique academic culture.
“If you have not achieved more than 29 credit units, you are still considered a first-year student even if you have spent four years on campus.” Said the Head of Academic Advising &Retention, Mr. Ayodeji Shittu. He was explaining the basic requirements for academic progression in AUN. Mr. Shittu was the host of the special orientation on Friday 27th of November 2020.
The Academic Advising office works with Faculty to help students maximize their potentials. The “carry-over” system which has been the bane of some students' life in public universities, was a hot topic at the orientation. AUN does not make students carry-over courses. Instead, students are given the opportunity to retake the course and score a better grade. The new grade completely cancels out the former grade.
Students with a CGPA of 2.0 are termed “rising potential”. Academic Advisors pay close attention to these students. They are given bespoke counseling sessions to gain an understanding of their particular needs and to help them achieve better results. A number of sanctions are also enforced to help motivate students. With a CGPA below 2.0, students are put on probation first. After proper guidance, if the student does not improve, the rising potential is then put on Academic Restriction which means their course load is reduced to help them improve. If this also fails to improve performance, the student is then put on suspension. The suspension gives them time to reassess their academic goals. Suspensions can also be appealed. Failing all these sanctions, the student is then dismissed for a year in the first instance and indefinitely if such a student fails to improve after the one-year suspension.
Mr. Shittu explained the concept of developmental advising as a way to help students explore and define academic, career, and life goals. “It is an approach to help students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills through collaborative and process-oriented advising.” He said.
The orientation session was held at the Washington Hall of the School of Law (SOL). Seated at the theater back row, observing the proceedings was SOL’s Academic Advisor, Ms. Yvonne Folake Okoro. She gave a broader view of what developmental advising entails and the special connection between academic advisors and students.
“The Advisor and student develop a bond because of personalized support. Developmental advising both stimulates and supports students in their quest for an enriched quality of life; it is a systematic process based on a close student-advisor relationship intended to aid students in achieving educational and personal goals through the utilization of the full range of institutional and community resources.” Said Ms. Okoro.
One of AUN’s newest Faculty, Assistant Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship, Dr. Saidu Nasiru Suleiman, was glad to have participated in the orientation.
“Joining AUN from Sharda University, India, I believe sessions like this are very beneficial for new Faculty. We can learn the AUN system to better understand its unique advantage.” Dr. Suleiman said.
As the session progressed, the guidelines for a course override became a contentious issue. Dr. Suleiman sought clarification on the procedures for an override request. An override is a special approval granted by professors for a student to register for a course under certain conditions. In AUN, there are three override types: the class size override, the pre-requisite override, and the co-requisite override. The class size override is a request to join a class that is full to capacity. While a Pre-requisite Override is a request to enroll for a course without having taken a course that should have been taken previously. The Co-requisite Override is a request seeking permission to take 2 courses at the same time; one of which is a prerequisite of the other.
Dean of the School of Law, Professor Peter Ocheme expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the orientation.
“This session has been well worth it, especially as regards the grading system, probation, restriction, and suspension. New faculty will be at a loss about the importance of AUN’s unique system without this orientation.”
Professor Ocheme called for synergy to improve the advising process. “I believe Academic Advising should be in consonance with Faculty and Chairs of Departments. The Academic Advisor should not be the only determinant whose advice should be taken into consideration. The Chair should be part of the advisory team. When a student is put on suspension, there should be room for the student to be evaluated. If the problems are behavioral, the best guidance should be for the student to remain in school especially if the student has paid accommodation fees so they can remain within the school environment and work towards a better grade.” Said Professor Ocheme.
The Academic Advising & Retention Office assists students in their growth and development by constructing meaningful educational plans which are compatible with their life goals. In AUN, academic advising is a continuous and consistent process that is built upon the basis of frequent, accumulated personal contacts between the advisor and the student.
By Office of Communications