Academic Advisor

Apply now Job no: 496815
Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: Political Science
Categories: Academic Advising & Learning Resources

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

Provide comprehensive individual and group academic advising services to undergraduate students. Work with faculty, staff, and students to improve the undergraduate experience through the planning and implementation of programs and services and the creation of a welcoming environment to enhance student success.


Essential Functions

Ensure appropriate and effective academic advising services, programming, and communications for Political Science, Legal Studies, and prospective majors. Provide students in-depth interviewing, advising, evaluation of academic records, and referrals to help students develop a personal curriculum and determine life goals with respect to their education at UMass and post undergraduate plans; including advising on internships, study abroad, scholarships and career opportunities. Work with students who present as exploratory or undecided but who have declared a Political Science or Legal major.  Examine policy and procedures as related to providing sensitive, high quality support to diverse, first-gen, or non-traditional students. Conduct individual and group academic advising sessions.

Assess and compare curricular requirements in order to authorize course substitutions for transfer work. Facilitate all aspects of course registration and ensure advising continuity for all students: Maintain and update confidential academic and advising records, and work proactively to solve a variety of complex course and registration issues, facilitate graduation clearance. Provide administrative and logistical support for all aspects of the undergraduate program including certificate programs and courses offered through Continuing and Professional Education, ensuring effective operations and compliance with university, college, and departmental policies and procedures, including other duties as required.

Serve as liaison with students, parents, and other departments/programs to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, exchange information, and proactively resolve problems. Represent the department at university and department events (e.g., Open House, New Student Orientation, Majors’ Meetings, transfers advising sessions) and work collaboratively as needed with campus and community partners. Provide advising, materials, coordination and administrative support for New Student Orientation, transfer advising sessions and other department and university events.

Collaborate with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor (CUA) to collect data on student success and consider immediate and long-term departmental programmatic needs. Prepare reports and help analyze data regarding student needs and enhancing student retention. Assist in and provide administrative support for the development and implementation of innovative programs and events designed to enhance students’ transition, retention, degree progress, sense of community, and career development.

Collaborate with the CUA to supervise, train and support peer advisors on undergraduate advising and programming.

Communicate with majors and prospective majors regarding regulations, deadlines, relevant department and university events, and information related to academic advising. Manage, review, and maintain print and online advising resources and correspondences. Provide updated content relevant to the undergraduate program for the department’s website, social media accounts, weekly e-newsletter, and blog.


Other Functions

Performs related duties as assigned or required to meet Department, Executive Area/Division, and University goals and objectives.

Demonstrates capacity, skill and willingness to engage students and contribute to student success.

Establish and continually update knowledge of faculty teaching, research, and interest areas as well as campus resources to appropriately refer majors for additional consultation, advising, and coursework.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

Bachelor's degree in Student Development, Higher Education, Social Sciences or related field, and at least three years of full-time or equivalent part-time academic advising experience.

Demonstrated strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. Ability to collaborate and interact with faculty, staff, students, administrators, and the public in a friendly and professional manner. Sensitivity to diversity and the needs of nontraditional students. This includes establishing a rapport, maintaining harmonious working relationships, and dealing tactfully and professionally with others.

Understanding of student development and commitment to a “whole student” approach to advising.

Ability to work individually on self-directed assignments, with minimum supervision, and collaboratively in groups.

Extensive computer skills, including proven ability to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel (including formulas), email, file sharing applications, and social media proficiently. Ability to use these tools, or others necessary, to prepare reports and to analyze and determine the applicability of data, draw conclusions, and make appropriate recommendations.

Ability to perform evaluations, analyze circumstances, and offer advice using a humanistic and balanced approach.

Ability to create and maintain organized systems for data/record management; strong organizational and administrative skills required.

Ability to exercise sound judgment and discretion in handling confidential information. Ability to understand, explain, and apply laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures. Ability to prioritize, make sound and mature decisions, adjust to varying or changing situations and willingness and initiative to take on a variety of tasks.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

Master's degree in Student Development, Higher Education, Social Sciences or related field, and one year of full-time or equivalent part-time academic advising experience strongly preferred.

Working knowledge of university advising database (SPIRE), scheduling software and university academic requirements and regulations.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical Office environment


Additional Details

Required to work some nights and weekends.


Work Schedule

Monday - Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm


Salary Information

Level 25

PSU Salary Schedule


Special Instructions to Applicants

Please submit a letter of application, resume, and names of three professional references.  Review of applicants will begin on December 17, 2018, and may continue until a suitable candidate pool has been identified. 


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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The University of Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title IX employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, or other protected class.