The Master Advisor Program improves the quality of academic advising for Southeast Missouri State University students by providing faculty and professional staff advisors with appropriate training, professional development, evaluation, and recognition. The program is designed to create a core of highly skilled academic advisors who provide high-quality academic advising to undergraduate students.

The three main competencies necessary for effective academic advising:

  • Conceptual understanding: An understanding of the importance of advising along with the ability to make ethical advising decisions.
  • Relational competence: The ability to relate with students and develop appropriate advising relationships.
  • Informational background: A good working knowledge of Southeast Missouri State academic information and campus resources for referrals.

The Advisor Workshops and the Advisor Handbook are organized to address these three main competencies.

Master Advisor Workshops

The Master Advisor Workshop for Master Advisor Certification will take place May 14th from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and will include a light continental breakfast, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack.

New Faculty Advisor Training

Each fall we offer the New Faculty Advisor Training which provides a foundation for faculty who are beginning advisors at Southeast and serves as an excellent pre-requisite for the Master Advisor Workshop series. This workshop will review the basics of advising at Southeast, such as Degree Works, SupportNET, Degree Maps, and other advising tools in mySEMO. We do not recommend New Faculty Advisor Training for veteran faculty advisors.

Topical Workshops

The topical Workshops are re-certification opportunities for current Master Advisors. Others are welcome to attend a topical workshop (no certification credit available).

Academic advisors play a key role in supporting students to ensure they have a successful college experience. Training and professional development prepare advisors to provide the highest level of expertise and is the primary reason that the Master Advisor Program was developed.

Once advisors complete the initial intensive workshop, they gain a designation of Master Advisor. This distinction makes them eligible for the annual Outstanding Academic Advising Award.

Faculty and professional staff advisors attend an initial intensive full-day workshop that will be offered multiple times throughout the year.

  • Basic and advanced advising strategies and techniques
  • Ethical issues related to advising
  • Technologies and resources used in advising
  • Academic policies and procedures
  • Changes to curriculum that impact advisors

Master advisors continue to increase knowledge and skills by attending at least two additional one-hour workshops within two years of completing the initial Master Advisor Workshop to maintain their Master Advisor certification. These topical workshops will be presented throughout the academic year on a variety of topics related to academic advising.

Outstanding Academic Advisor

Good academic advising contributes to the overall improvement of our educational environment. Recognizing outstanding academic advising encourages greater support of advising activities on campus, reinforces the importance of advising excellence, promotes better support to our students, and provides incentives and motivation to improve the relationship between students, faculty and staff.

I have more confidence in meeting the needs of my advisees after attending the Master Advisor Workshop. It covers all the information needed to be an effective advisor and the advising scenarios were very helpful.

Southeast Faculty Member

Best Practices for Academic Advisors at Southeast Missouri State University

Below are examples of how advisors might carry out “best practices." These practices were endorsed by Academic Advising Council in October 2016 and updated spring 2021. Excellent advising occurs when these best practices are completed; however, each individual advisor can come up with their own way of adapting these practices.

  • Email advisees or selected groups regarding registration, advising appointments, other deadlines
  • Use the department’s website for academic advising information or utilize the university’s advising website
  • Schedule regular meetings once a semester, at minimum, informing your advisees how to schedule an appointment (i.e. schedule by email, phone, or posted sign-up sheet, etc.)
  • Follow up with advisees who are having academic difficulties

  • Develop rapport with advisees: greet them by name, inquire as to how the semester is going, etc.
  • Educate students about advisor and advisee roles and responsibilities
  • Maintain up-to-date advising notes
  • Address the needs of diverse students (e.g., nontraditional, international)
  • Respond to emails and return phone calls within two business days
  • Communicate absences by using out of office messages with alternate contact when you will be unable to respond within 2 business days
  • Be cognizant of issues surrounding students from diverse populations (non-traditional, international, etc.)

  • Know the major, general education, and graduation requirements and communicate them to advisees
  • Know department and university deadlines
  • Communicate pertinent information to advisees or selected groups
  • Know and be able to refer students to appropriate university resources as appropriate to students’ needs
  • Know about and be able to refer students to appropriate websites for specialized information
  • Know about and be able to recommend to the students appropriate organizations for their professional development (e.g., departmental student professional organizations, etc.)

  • Know how to use the Southeast Missouri State’s Transfer Equivalencies System (TES) on the Registrar’s website
  • Be willing to work with prospective freshmen and transfer students

  • Encourage the development of advisees’ decision-making skills
  • Use an academic advising syllabus
  • Show students how to look up courses and enroll via the student portal
  • Coach students on appropriate ways to advocate for themselves
  • Teach students to use Degree Works by modeling its use during advising sessions

  • Model and promote appreciation for diversity within the University
  • Promote study abroad opportunities
  • Promote professional engagement through involvement in internships, cooperative learning, and other departmental activities
  • Email advisees regularly about relevant Common Hour events, lectures, and activities

  • Maintain posted office hours. If these hours are to be used for advising appointments, consider setting up office hours in SupportNET to enable student’s online appointment scheduling
  • Keep advising appointments
  • Keep up to date on changing major, General Education, and General Education requirements (and old University Studies program)
  • Prepare for advising appointments and document advising sessions utilizing SupportNET Advising Notes 
  • Maintain a positive attitude regarding department and University colleagues and programs
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • When conflicts arise between advisee and advisor, allow either party to request a change in advisor

  • Attain Master Advisor status
  • Maintain Master Advisor status by attending topical workshops, forums, and/or refresher training related to academic advisement
  • Take advantage of opportunities for professional growth through the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and the Missouri Academic Advising Association (MACADA)
  • Keep up to date on current advising techniques and strategies
  • Attend appropriate discipline-specific professional development opportunities related to student advising, retention, and success
Academic Office
(573) 651-2007
Polytech Office
(573) 651-5090
Academic Office
Academic Hall, 057
Polytechnic Office
Polytechnic Building, 301
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 3333
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
Fall & Spring Semesters / 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Summer / 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.