Faculty advisor responsibilities

The position of the faculty advisor is a recognized appointment within the institute, which entails providing guidance and overseeing the academic and non-academic endeavors of the students within a specific batch. The following enumeration of responsibilities is derived from practical experience and is not meant to be exhaustive. Should there be any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the DUGC for clarification.

Responsibilities in the first year

The faculty advisor meets with first-year students during their orientation program, providing them with an overview of the department and its general information. In the initial stages of their academic journey, these students have limited interaction with the department, thus the faculty advisor may arrange for regular meetings with the students to address both academic and non-academic concerns. Upon the completion of the first semester, the faculty advisor may also hold individual meetings with students who are facing academic difficulties, in order to provide assistance and guidance.

Handling ASC interface

There is a tab for faculty advisors in ASC. It shows all the student registration activities. Here are a few points related to handling student registration.

  • Course withdrawal: Students need approval from the faculty advisor for course withdrawal. However, course withdrawal requests are auto-approved after a few days. Until an advisor wants to deny the request, there is no action needed from the advisor. If a student misses the deadline, the deadline extension requests will be approved only in exceptional circumstances. The faculty advisor must review the request carefully before forwarding such requests to the head of the department.
  • Special registration approval:In some cases, the students are prompted to get approval from their faculty advisor for their registrations. As of 2022, there is no interface in ASC for the faculty advisor to approve the special requests (there is an interface for registration approval, which is for normal registration. If the advisor does not act, all normal registrations are auto-approved). For the special approvals, the advisor has to forward the request to dean AP. Please look at the following for the process of sending requests to the dean.
  • Blacklisted courses: Can blacklisted courses be taken as an institute elective? (todo)
  • Software bugs/issues:ASC software has many issues and bugs, which leads to many unfortunate denials of registration. Some students do not actively seek their rights if software disallows them or fails to warn them of missteps. Please encourage students to reach out to you if they face trouble.

Assisting backlogged students

The students who have backlogs need advice in taking courses. DAMP mentors (DAMP mentors are only available during the second year of the student) often help the students. However, the support is patchy. If a student struggles to find correct advice, the faculty advisor needs to step in.

Due to social pressure, students want to finish their degrees within four years. If they fail the core courses, they need to plan carefully such that they maximize the possibility of clearing backlogs. Here are key points to keep in mind while advising the students.

  • Category system: When students have backlogs, their category changes in ASC. A student category can range from 1 to 6. A faculty advisor is only responsible for students from categories 1 to 5. The students of category 6 are handled by a special faculty advisor and ARP student mentors. Each category puts restrictions on the courses that a student can take. (see UG rule book)
  • Credit limits and prerequisites: Normally, there is no exception to the prerequisites and category limits. Students often request, which are consistently denied by the Dean AP.
  • Missing grades: If a grade is missing for a student, then ASC often miscalculates CPI and category. The student can only register for fewer courses. The faculty advisor has to forward the category limit exception request to the dean AP.
  • Self-study summer courses: Third-year students are not allowed to take self-study summer courses. Fourth-year students who are about to graduate can take self-study courses in the summer. They should start scouting for faculty that may want to teach self-study courses as soon as possible.
  • Equivalent courses for clearing backlog: ( Open question: I have some backlogs and I wish to take some equivalent course (run by another dept) to one of our core courses running in summer, whom should I ask if this possible and how to register for the same?)

DUGC should regularly meet to monitor the students that have many backlogs.

Process for exception request to dean AP

As we discussed earlier, in many circumstances, a student may need special approval needed from dean AP. He/She should first discuss it with his/her faculty advisor. He/She needs to fill out a form and get it signed by the faculty advisor followed by HOD. Then, the CSE office sends the request to dean AP.(Is this correct?)

Leave approval

Without explicit permission, UG students cannot be absent from campus during academic activities. UG students can request leave during the semester. Please follow the procedure that is mentioned in the UG rule book (look for special leave). Please note that a faculty advisor only recommends the leave. The head of the department approves the leave. Students are only allowed to take 5 days of special leave per semester.

Signing external documents

Sometimes students ask faculty advisors to sign documents from external entities such as visa applications, scholarship applications, etc. The entities usually expect some institute authority to sign the documents. In most cases, the academic office signs the documents. However, the document sometimes states that someone from the teaching staff signs the document. If the academic office refuses to sign the document, then the head of the department may sign the document. If the head also does not sign the document, the faculty advisor may sign the document. Please sign only if you are comfortable with the document.

Departmental ranks

The faculty advisors do not provide departmental ranks. ( 2022-09-02 DUGC meeting)

Approving semester exchange

Students can apply for the semester exchange program. They need approval from the faculty advisor. While approving the request, the faculty advisor needs to confirm the list of courses that the student will take at the other university. The courses should map to the courses at IITB.

The application should first go to CSE office. The office checks the documents including course mappings. They contact the area experts if the mapping is not already known, which is available on the department website (under courses). Once the office gets endorsement from an expert, they request the web team to include the mapping in the list. The application is forwarded to the faculty advisor who should cross-check the work of the office. After the approval of the faculty advisor, the application is forwarded to the head of the department.

BTP and RnD at another department

Students can do RnD projects and BTP in other departments. They need a co-advisor from the CSE department.

Convert to dual degree program

Please ask the student to follow the procedure given at departmental-ug-rules.

Coaches of ICPC teams

Students reach out to faculty advisors to be their mentors in ICPC competitions. In the past, faculty mentors have even conducted classes to help students with competitive programming. It can also be the case that the mentor just has to register the team and then the team trains on their own. But it is best to clarify this with the team when they approach you to be the mentor. The teams cannot compete without a mentor. The registration process is cumbersome. You may need to sit with the team.

The faculty mentor is the one that ICPC reaches out to if the team cheats in the competition. However, the mentor is not held responsible for the team's action - ICPC simply disqualifies the team, if they are proven to have cheated. The mentor (and consequently the department, and institute) can take/not take whatever appropriate action they want after that.

Graduation ceremony

After the end of four years, the faculty advisor needs to participate in the graduation ceremony of the students.