Professional Advisement

Purpose of Baylor SSW Baccalaureate and Graduate Professional Advising

Professional Advisement in the BUSSW is defined as a mentoring relationship that faculty have with students.  It is designed as a resource to provide strengths-based, empathic, and individualized support that engages and empowers students to maximize their personal, professional, and educational development.  In the role of Professional Advisors, faculty are available to provide: (1) orientation to BUSSW programs, policies, and procedures; (2) consultation for specifying the student’s purpose(s) for pursuing social work education; (3) post-graduation career planning; (4) information on the School and University’s academic appeal process; (5) in collaboration with the Program Manager, a semester review of academic progress according to their educational plan; and (6) consultation, with their respective Director of Field Education, related to field education.


In addition, the advisor role includes enriching student development for students who wish to explore any concerns in a more individualized and supportive context. Referrals of students who are having exceptional struggles with professional or academic issues will be made to the advisor for further discussion (See Academic and Professional Development Policy in the SSW catalog for more information). 

Academic Advising

The Program Managers in both the BSW and MSW programs are professional staff positions with support and training from the University related to use of the University’s course advising and registration systems.  They conduct Academic Advising for the purposes of creating and maintaining an educational plan that helps students identify and register for social work courses.  They refer students to their Professional Advisors for professional development advising. 

Procedures of Graduate Student Professional Advisement

1. The MSW Program Manager assigns an initial Professional Advisor subsequent to enrollment to the program. The student may be reassigned to a Professional Advisor if the student chooses a specialization in another faculty member’s area of expertise (See the description in the section on Specializations in the Baylor SSW Catalog.).

2. The Associate Dean for Graduate Studies ensures that all new faculty who advise graduate students receive an orientation to the School’s Advisement Policy and Procedures.

3. Graduate Professional Advisors are invited to evaluate the advisement procedures annually and recommend revisions and/or innovations. The Student Development Committee reviews these recommendations and communicates their findings to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, who implements those recommendations that s/he approves.

4. The Professional Advisement policy and procedures are communicated to students through a written statement in the initial letter of acceptance from the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and through the Baylor SSW Catalog. Graduate students are then encouraged to make an initial visit with their professional advisor. They are encouraged to make an appointment to talk with their advisors at least once a semester to discuss their progress and professional goals.

5. While the Professional Advisor is available to assist the student in interpreting the Baylor SSW Catalog, planning course schedules, suggesting electives, and completing degree applications, the student is responsible for developing an educational plan with the MSW Program Manager and is expected to assume responsibility for initiating and following up on these tasks.