I am available to act as both a "pre-major" advisor for all students
a "major" advisor for students who have elected a sociology,
and certain college majors. Except for students assigned to me as
first year advisees, I require that you've taken a course with me
accepting you as an advisee.
My "Advising Philosophy"
I firmly believe that the purpose of education is to change us. I
also believe that the best educations are "custom made" rather than
the shelf." The advisor-advisee relationship, when it works best,
facilitates education as a change process and helps the student to
an education that is uniquely her own. I do not see my role as
or forcing a particular version of the liberal arts on you, but I will
quite persistent in pushing you to educate yourself both broadly and
to try things you don't think you will like or you don't think you can
I'll suggest course to you because I think highly of the teacher, that
will be "good for you" or "is someone you should experience."
have ideas about where your education or your career interests seem to
heading and I'll probably mention these ideas to you.
Audacity and Credibility
Nothing is sacred. Rules are meant to be broken. The only
thing that matters in the end is that we get out of the way of the
who really wants to learn. I believe those things. I also
that exceptions and leeway are earned through the establishment and
of credibility. Education is made of attempts, successes
failures, victories and defeats. These things do not harm
credibility. Bamboozling, bullshitting, excuse making, and such
do. I will encourage
and support your audacity in a similar measure to how you maintain your
As a condition of having me as advisor, all of my advisees are STRONGLY
advised to complete a "learning contract" (PDF
each semester. This is an "unofficial" document between me and
about how the coming semester fits into your education. It
of four parts.
In the first part you articulate your long and short term
as they stand at this point in time. This provides the
for you to re-think what you are tyring to get out of your Mills
overall and to think about what, in terms of your personal and
developmental trajectory, you hope to put into and get out of this
In the second part you list the activities that you will be
for transcript credit. This includes all courses, independent
In the third part you describe what other activities you
on the agenda for the semester. What things are competing with
work for your time? What sorts of things are you doing to stay
and sane? What are you doing to make sure that college is fun and
exciting as well as intellectually challenging?
Finally, you get to specify criteria that you and I can
on as to what would constitute a satisfactory semester for you.
might just be a particular GPA or it might be specific grades in
courses. Or maybe you'll call it successful if you come out of it
with a decision about your major or a successful proposal for your
thesis or getting the committee on academic standing to accept your
The point of the contract is to encourage pre-reflection on
part and discussion about your aspirations between us as the semester
It is an opportunity for you to articulate your current statement of
am I here at Mills" and a chance for me to push you to higher levels,
you to reach your targets or, perhaps, warn you about some potential
in the road on the path you've laid out. After the semester is
the contract gives us a guide for looking back over the semester's work
and asking what we've learned and how your education is unfolding and
you want to go next.
Download here in PDF or
RTF (if you want
to get in Word so you can type rather than handwrite).
Staying in Touch
The fastest way to trash a semester is to lose touch with your teachers
and advisor. I will keep an eye out for you over the semester but
it is ultimately your responsibility to keep in contact with me.
me updates; let me know how things are going (both when they are going
and when they are not); come talk to me when your first
of dropping course X rather than after you ignored it for three weeks
have no choice but to drop it. Don't worry about disappointing me
when academic things don't work out as planned. You are talking
the all time champion of extensions, incompletes, re-takings, and
as an undergrad. It took me ten years to finish my PhD and six to
finish my BA (and that was without stopping!). If we can talk
it, there is a solution. Email
Phone 510-430-3242. And you see me biking around campus all the
-- flag me down.