The general education curriculum at Winston-Salem State University is designed to help students develop critical skills such as thinking, writing, and speaking while offering the opportunity to explore the many fields that make up the curriculum. Students are free to choose courses in the general curriculum with no single path towards fulfilling the general education requirements. Academic advising is designed to assist students in the decision making process as a pathway is chosen.
For much of the first two years students will be in the general education curriculum and will be advised by a general faculty advisor. This advisor works with no more than 10 freshmen ensuring that students get individual attention. The faculty advisors know the general education curriculum and the pre-requisite requirements for the academic majors. Most importantly, they get to know individual students - their goals, their previous experiences, and their academic strengths.
Students and faculty advisors are supported by a group of academic success counselors (ASCs) who focus on helping students navigate academic and student support services and university business processes. A group of ASCs also work with students who are in specific programs such as Honors or Athletics or who are interested in specific disciplines such as nursing and education. ASCs are available to assist all students in times when faculty advisors may be unavailable.
New freshmen and transfer students are assigned both a faculty advisor and an ASC who they will meet during orientation before the semester begins. These advisors and counselors work with students to understand the curriculum and the registration process and then walk students through their first registration.
Many students come to campus with pre-determined ideas about a major and maybe even a career. Advisors help students explore the whole curriculum while being mindful of pre-requisite courses and skills needed for particular majors. Students should be mindful that choices in the first set of courses do not lock them into or out of a major; that the choice of a major does not determine a career; and that there are many more choices of careers other than doctor, nurse, lawyer, teacher, business professional – many of which have yet to be created.
The links on this page direct students, faculty advisors, and professional advisors to information and resources to assist in the advising process and students’ pathways through the curriculum.
Winston-Salem State University knows that you have a lot of questions to ask and decisions to make about what courses to take and eventually what majors to pursue. Therefore the university provides you with a group of advisors and counselors who will assist you in making good decisions about your educational experiences.
First and foremost in line to help you are your academic advisors. You will meet your general curriculum advisor early in the orientation process. This faculty member is going to talk with you about your interests, your goals, the courses you took in high school, and then will help you pick your first set of courses. Your faculty advisor may or may not be in the academic discipline where you ultimately decide to major but they will be knowledgeable about the general curriculum and the courses you need to take before entering an academic major (these are called pre-requisite courses throughout this webpage and the academic catalog). Sometime during your sophomore year, and after you have decided on a major program, you will be introduced to your major program academic advisor. This faculty member will help you navigate the requirements for the major and graduation and assist you in locating additional opportunities for learning and experience related to your major field. Faculty advisors know the curriculum. Go to your faculty advisor when you need help working through decisions about courses, majors, graduate school, and careers.
Academic Success Counselors
Academic Success Counselors (ASCs) in the university’ advising services center will assist you with identifying academic and other support services, check in with you to make sure you are making good academic progress, assist you in working with the business processes at the university, and serve as a backup should you need advice when your academic advisor is unavailable. You will meet them the first day you are on campus during orientation. They know how things work on campus so go to them when you need help with a process.
The menu on the left side of the page will help you locate resources and forms to use as you plan your academic pathway towards graduation.
At Winston-Salem State University we believe that quality academic advising is ultimately the responsibility of the faculty. The mission of advising is to engage students in active and exploratory learning processes that facilitate the creation of academic pathways through courses, educational experiences, and curricula that adequately reflect aspirations, lead to timely graduation, and result in lifelong learning.
The university provides each new student with a trained faculty advisor who assists the student with curriculum planning in the freshman and sophomore years. The initial assignment of the advisors is made in the months prior to enrollment. During the first three semesters of enrollment (through 45 earned hours) students may be advised by faculty outside of the intended major department; however, all general education advisors have access to the pre-requisites and major requirements for all major programs at the university. Before entering the junior year, each student will be assigned a faculty advisor in the department of their academic major and formally transitioned to an academic department. Professional advisors through the university’s Advising Center are also available to assist faculty advisors and students.
Advising Model for General Education
A desired outcome of the advising process at Winston-Salem State University is to contribute to the critical thinking (decision making) skills of students. To support this we have chosen to build general education advising on a model called Appreciative Advising developed by Jennifer Bloom. “Appreciative Advising is the intentional collaborative practice of asking positive, open-ended questions that help students optimize their educational experiences and achieve their dreams, goals, and potentials” (Bloom, J. L., Hutson, B. L., & He, Y. (2008). The Appreciative Advising Revolution. Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing). This model has six phases.
Appreciative Advising Phases
- Disarm - Recognizing the importance of first impressions, create a safe, welcoming environment for students.
- Discover - Utilize positive open-ended questions to draw out what they enjoy doing, their strengths, and their passions. Listen to each answer carefully before asking the next positive question.
- Dream - Help students formulate a vision of what they might become, and then assist them in developing their life and career goals.
- Design - Help students devise concrete, incremental, and achievable goals
- Deliver - The students follows through on their plans. The advisor is there for them when they stumble, believing in them every step of the way and helping them continue to update and refine their dreams as they go.
- Don’t Settle - The advisor challenges the student to proactively raise the student’s internal bar of self- expectations.
Advising Information for Faculty Advisors
- Advising Collectives for Freshman and Sophomores
- Advising Cycle – The First Two Years
- Advising Responsibility Chart
- Appreciative Advising Handout
- Advising Transfer Worksheet
This page contains links to more information about the advising process and the faculty advisor’s role as well as a toolbox that contains resources and forms for advising. Announcements related to advising updates, training, and request for new advisors will be added so please refer to this page during peak advising times.
- General Education Curriculum Requirements Matrix
- General Education Course Inventory
- WSSU and NCCC Transfer Equivalencies and Areas of Knowledge