Eastern Washington University

Tandem Advising

We will update this page with questions and answers as they arise.

Please use the button here or at the bottom of the page to submit any questions, concerns, and feedback you have regarding tandem advising.

What is tandem advising?

The tandem model is characterized by students having two advisors at all times (in most cases): a faculty advisor (some refer to themselves as mentors) and professional advisors in the Center for Academic Advising and Retention (CAAR). We will continue with professional advising being housed in a single academic unit, namely CAAR in Monroe Hall.

How is tandem advising different from our current advising structure?

The main change is that students will have both a faculty and professional advisor from confirmation to graduation.

Why are we considering moving to tandem advising?

Currently, EWU uses a split advising model. When students declare a major, they are transitioned from a professional advisor to a faculty advisor. Students’ relationships with faculty advisors are important! However, what we found is that the handoff was not as smooth as expected and students had often relied on professional advisors after declaring a major. The tandem advising model will smooth the transition and allow students to receive support from both a professional advisor and a faculty advisor.

Faculty know their curriculum best; what if we don’t want to give up curriculum advising?

We encourage faculty to continue to advise the curriculum if this is what you prefer. There will be a professional advisor associated with each undergraduate student account and this advisor can help with General Education and University Graduation Requirements. Professional advisors will also respond to all academic Early Warning System (EWS) cases and help facilitate the pre-university basic skills check for auto-enrollments for students.

What is the role of the professional advisor (CAAR)?

  • Educate all undergraduate students on advising structure and pathways including guiding the student toward their faculty advisor and the department
  • Educate all undergraduate students on all academic advising technology
  • Support students with creating an academic plan from their start at EWU through timely graduation
  • Refer students to their faculty advisor for information including but not limited to department-defined milestones (such as when a student is interested in internships)
  • Respond to all academic Early Warning System (EWS) cases and provide outreach and support (all faculty can still submit an alert on any student at any time)
  • Facilitate pre-university basic skills checks for MTHD 103, 104, 106 and ENGL 113/114.

Will advisors be moved into the colleges?

No. We will continue with professional advising being housed in a single academic unit.

Will online advising be included in this transition to tandem advising?

Online students will also be supported by professional advisors.

How will students declare or redeclare their major?

With the release of the NEW online Major Declaration form, students can declare a major or change their major on their own. Majors with a departmental application (e.g., BA in Social Work; BFA in Studio Art, etc) still follow internal School/Department processes.

Will the high turnover rate in CAAR be a detriment to the advisors’ ability to advise through graduation?

CAAR was impacted, like many other departments, by the “great resignation” during the pandemic. The turnover rate has greatly decreased in the past few months and staffing has stabilized.

Will the structure of CAAR change?

CAAR professional advisors are organized into college teams. Departments are encouraged to meet with their CAAR professional advisor college teams regularly to share information and best practices, resolve issues, and remain up to date on all relevant information. Please connect with your Degree Completion Coordinator for details.

Will this decrease or increase the workload of the Faculty who now advise? If so, how?

The tandem advising model could decrease the advising workload of faculty who currently advise. Professional advisors can support the student with registration, department-defined course sequencing, utilizing technology such as the degree audit, lifting holds, entering permits (where permissible), etc. However, we encourage faculty to continue to support students with course selections and other areas they are comfortable advising.

Will there be professional advisors available at the Catalyst building?

Absolutely! The university already has professional advising available at the Catalyst building and additional advising is available through Zoom appointments for all students, regardless of their location.

Will there be evening advising hours?

We continue to assess the demand and logistics related to evening availability. Please let the Degree Completion Coordinator for your college know how we can better serve our students.

Who will register students?

Professional and faculty advisors can assist students with course registration. Students are required to consult with an advisor before registering if they have earned fewer than 45 credits.

How will professional advisors know what courses students should register for?

Departments and schools provide term-to-term sequencing documentation along with projected one-year course schedules to CAAR staff via the Degree Completion Coordinator. This information is shared with students via advisors and available through degree planning software (i.e., Degree Works).