Baylor > Welcome > Academic Advising
Dr. Alden Smith
Professor of Classics
Chair, Classics Department
Morrison Hall 322
Dr. Dan Hanchey
Associate Professor of Classics
Undergraduate Program Director
Morrison Hall 323
To schedule an appointment, please contact Thelma_Mathews@baylor.edu or call 254-710-1399.
Walk-ins are also welcome (Morrison Hall 333).
Dear Baylor Classics Major,
By the time you started your university career you probably already had several mentors-friends, relatives, teachers, ministers, coaches-who were influential in your life, people you admired or whose activities influenced you in discovering things you like to do. 'Mentor' has an especially rich meaning for classics majors, since the word is taken from the name of the wise man in Homer's Odyssey who guided Odysseus's son Telemachus while Odysseus was fighting the war in Troy. On two occasions in the epic, the goddess Athena even appeared to Telemachus looking like Mentor, to warn him about the suitors coming to court his mother Penelope. So 'mentor' became a generic term for advisors and guides.
Advisors at Baylor aspire to serve as mentors, both informally and formally. Your advisor’s main function is to help you reflect on your academic interests, find where your strengths as a student lie, and progress well through your chosen academic program. As the university programs develop, academic advisors also help you keep current with changes that may affect your course of study. Baylor’s advisors adhere to the following well-defined guidelines:
A&S Advisor Responsibilities
Advisors in the College of Arts and Sciences have a critical role in the transformational education provided at Baylor, and they must always be motivated by what is in the student’s best interest.
Knowledge and Preparation:
- Guide students in constructing an individualized, coordinated, and suitable educational program consistent with their abilities, interests, and values
- Help students map out educational experiences such as study abroad, internships, and leadership opportunities to undergird, deepen, and enhance the curricular experience
- Challenge students to reflect on, synthesize, and articulate the purpose, value, logic, and practical implications of their education
- Create an environment of mutual respect and trust
- Maintain confidentiality, abiding by Baylor University and FERPA guidelines
The Advising Appointment:
- Demonstrate and communicate an understanding of the curriculum, including general education and major/minor requirements, course sequencing, and institutional policies and procedures
- Participate in professional development programs by University Advisement and other relevant offices and training three times per year
- Have current knowledge of different resources available to students such as Academic Support, the BUCC, and Career and Professional Development
- Make an effort to get to know students personally, e.g., where they are from, what brought them to Baylor, etc.
- Help educate students about what the selected major entails
- Practice active listening during each appointment as a way of checking on how students are doing
- Help students plan appropriate courses for the upcoming semester(s), including summer terms
- Help students recalibrate as needed if their past educational achievements are not consistent with their present educational goals
- Record and make detailed notes on each advising contact in the Unified Advising System and, if appropriate, in MAPWorks
- Utilize the degree audit as the primary tool for advising and review the degree audit completely with students
- Allow adequate time for each advising appointment (average of 30 minutes)
Beyond the Advising Appointment:
- Monitor assigned students’ academic progress
- When possible, reach out to assigned students who are not making adequate academic progress
- Make individualized referrals to other resources to promote students’ self-knowledge, enrichment, and success
- Respond to emails and phone calls within two business days
- Be available to meet with students as needed
As you can see, the academic advisor has important responsibilities to help you make sound choices, but it’s also important to remember that you the advisee are ultimately responsible for the choices made about your program. Think of yourself as the main partner in the process and be ready to tell your advisor about your own values, abilities, interests, and goals for academics and life. Are you, for example, thinking about a career in teaching? If so, at what level? Do classical studies appeal to you as a pre-professional major for a career in law, business, or government service? Do you like to study and enjoy the scholarly life? It’s also important to weigh the intrinsic interest of the study in part as an end in itself. Your advisors discovered classics as a source of joy and inspiration. What about you?
- Make and keep regular appointments with your advisor
- Come prepared
- Ask questions about your academic program and where it can help you go
- Read the descriptive literature and allow your advisor to show you options
- Get familiar with university policies
- Look for good advisors in each significant area of study, especially when pursuing a dual major, or a minor, even if one advisor is considered your main one
- Accept final responsibility for all decisions made and for your graduation requirements
Every student majoring in classics has the benefit of being advised by a classics faculty member from the first declaration of the major. We think of our majors as a distinctive group of students who chose classics because they want to get the most out of a liberal education as education for life, in a way that includes not only a career but a deep reflection on the human condition over the centuries. Most classics majors are students ranked by the University as 'high ability,' with among the best retention and completion rates at Baylor. The kind of transformational education Baylor aspires to provide its students includes, necessarily, a more personal relationship with faculty, and classical studies is ideally suited to nurturing such relationships.
Baylor General Advising Website
Why Study Classics?
Classics and Careers
Society for Classical Studies Website
Classical Association of the Middle West and South Website