Whatever challenges the College’s nontraditional students face, our academic advisers are there to help, every step of the way. 

Caring. Encouraging. Approachable. Knowledgeable. These are among the traits that distinguish the Adelphi University College of Professional and Continuing Studies (CPCS) personal advisers, who guide students throughout their educational journey, from registration to graduation—and all points in between.

“Our advisers provide the kind of personal attention that adult learners need, from the time they inquire about applying until they graduate,” said Andy Atzert, EdD, dean of the College. For example, Marsha Bazelais has been advising students for 14 years, one of whom, Nilda Barrionuevo ’22, said she developed “an incredible friendship and bond” with Bazelais.

Other students agree and share stories of how the support they received enabled them to stay the course, graduate and advance their careers.

According to Deirdre Donat ’90, who has returned to CPCS since retiring to serve as an interim academic adviser, many students see their advisers as a support system they can rely on—and critical to their success.

Planning for Success

The adviser-student relationship begins as soon as a student is accepted. “Advising CPCS students is unique,” said Donat. “Each person has a different story.” Her approach can vary depending on a student’s age, life stage, goals and personal circumstances.

“A new career? The need to finish something years ago? Personal fulfillment? The wish to go to graduate school? The list can go on and on,” Donat reported. To start the process, she asks her advisees what they are eager to learn more about—and what they don’t really care for—and where they see themselves once they have earned their degrees.

“Knowing some background information about each student will help me devise a plan to balance academics along with work, family or other obligations,” she explained.

If she and other advisers find themselves unable to address student questions and concerns, they direct the students to any number of appropriate resources available at Adelphi that can help.

Bazelais, who takes a similarly holistic approach, reported, “I weigh all factors so I can provide each student with personalized advisement.”

This means that her role regularly extends beyond academic advising. “I sometimes play the role of a coach, advocate and confidant,” she noted. Above all, Bazelais said she enjoys the satisfaction of “providing guidance and support to my students so that they can meet or exceed their educational goals and optimize their college experience.”

Making a Transformative Difference

“No matter where they are in their academic journeys, it’s so rewarding to be part of a student’s success,” said Donat, who is still in touch with students she counseled or advised in the past. “In my mind, nothing is better than having a student say to you, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’ For me, personally, knowing I made a difference is what it’s all about.”

Equally convinced that her personal advising makes a difference to the success of her students, Bazelais reported that “My students feel that they are seen and heard.”

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