GSAS has launched The Advising Project, which will focus on improving the advising experiences of all students. Over the next two years, The Advising Project will examine what constitutes effective advising, codify best practices, and disseminate information about how students, faculty, and other partners can work together to enhance the advising experience with an eye to effecting lasting institutional change.

“GSAS surveys collected over several years have shown that while a majority of students seem satisfied with their advising, a troubling—and consistent—number do not,” said GSAS Dean Emma Dench. “As I considered the data and reviewed best-practices at other institutions, I quickly realized that if I wanted to truly understand the full advising landscape at Harvard, I would need to investigate more deeply and engage with individuals beyond those in the traditional advisee-advisor roles.”

In the first year, the Project will gather feedback from those whose experience touches advising, including students, faculty, alumni, and administrators, asking: What do we know about the current state of graduate student advising at Harvard? What does effective advising look like? What gets in the way of effective advising and how can we make it the norm? Is advising more expansive than is traditionally understood, encompassing support from faculty mentors, departmental and GSAS administrative partners, peer and more senior graduate students, and alumni, as well as family, partners and friends?

Using the information gathered from these conversations, the Project will transition to determining how to disseminate the lessons learned and the resources available to students, in the process ensuring that effective advising becomes the norm through all GSAS programs.

“Advising is a crucial aspect of the graduate student experience, an activity that is central to the successful completion of a graduate student’s education,” said Dench. “GSAS students are based in programs throughout the University and, as a consequence, advising is a complicated and individual process. But it is one that should be effective regardless of discipline or year of study.”

GSAS Launches The Advising Project