All current students (including first, second, third and fourth majors, and returning sophomore undeclared advisees) are divided by all authorized faculty lines throughout the three undergraduate schools. (Authorized faculty lines are all continuing designated faculty lines in each undergraduate school regardless of whether the lines are filled or whether faculty are on leave or sabbatical.) The resulting number (typically around 12) represents the optimum advising load per faculty line. Of course, with varying class sizes, faculty on leave, unfilled lines, and faculty assigned to other duties for short durations, the true "average" can sometimes be higher.
The total number of assigned advisees for each faculty member is reviewed, and department chairs use that number to determine how many new first-year or transfer advisees each person has room to add. First and second major advisees, undeclared-student advisees, and interdisciplinary advisees are all considered at this point, as are things like unusual assignments and outside commitments.
Once department chairs determine how many advisees can be assigned to each advisor, the Director of Advising works to hand-match advisors and advisees. This is done by combining information provided by advisors and by the “Information for Academic Advisor” forms completed by new students. The matching process includes consideration of academic interests, personal information, and activities/interests. Students stay with their first advisor in most cases until they declare a major. At that time, the major department assigns the student to an available faculty member as advisor.
The advisor assignment process is typically completed during summer for new incoming students, and during winter break for new spring transfer students. Should an academic advisor become unavailable for some reason (sabbatical, personal leave, leaving the university, etc.), the AARC director will reassign that person's advisees, after contacting each, to an appropriate advisor.
Typically, students are assigned to an advisor as they declare their major. The AARC uses a rotation procedure to create a balance among faculty advisors. The process is handled differently in a few departments.