Advising, Support Services and Resources

The College offers a wide range of support services and resources to help students. The staff in the offices of the Dean of the College, Fellowships, Academic Resources, the Office of Special Academic Programs, Campus Safety and Security, the College Chaplain, Health and Psychological Services, the Registrar, Financial Aid, the Career Center, and the Davis Center are available to assist and offer guidance to students. In addition, the faculty provides academic advice on a regular basis as First–Year Academic Advisors, as advisors to majors and to pre–professional or other groups, and to any student who seeks it.

Academic Advising

A variety of academic advice and counsel is provided to students during the course of their undergraduate education.

In the first year each student is assigned an academic advisor from the faculty or staff. This person is the student’s academic advisor until they declare a major in the spring of Sophomore year.  The primary mission of this program is academic advising, which means: exploring the intentions that each student has in structuring his/her first and second year; defining the values of a liberal education that are most important for each student; encouraging students to see the connections between the courses they are taking and other aspects of their life at Williams; ensuring that the divisional requirements and limits on early concentration are met; finding answers to the many questions first-year students have; and, being alert and available when signs of academic difficulties arise.  The Dean’s Office coordinates this advising program, reviews the academic progress of individual students, and–when appropriate–calls students in to discuss their situations.  Students are also encouraged to discuss major options and requirements with faculty members from departments and programs in which they have an interest before declaring a major.

In their junior and senior years students are advised by faculty in their major departments or programs. Each department and program determines its own advising system for its majors, although chairs are regularly available for consultation.

Information for Faculty on First-year Advising

Students interested in medical, dental, and veterinary schools should consult with the health professions advisor during their first year to decide upon course selection. In planning for other professional or graduate education, students should consult departmental advisors, the Career Center, Academic Resources, Fellowships or the Dean’s Office.

Advising of Williams students wishing to study elsewhere in the junior year is coordinated by Tina Breakell. Advising of transfer students is coordinated by Dean Rashanda Booker. Special orientation and information meetings are held during the fall semester for new students and for students wishing to study abroad. Orientation and counseling of international students is arranged by Ninah Pretto,International Student Advisor, Jenifer Hasenfus. Dean Pretto is the designated official at Williams for issuing Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) forms as well as helping student in all dealings with the INS.

Additional programs of academic assistance are also available through Academic Resources. Any student who desires extra help in a particular course that he or she is registered may request a tutor who has been recommended by the respective departments to the Academic Resources office; costs of this tutoring are covered by Academic Resources. Students seeking to enhance their writing skills in any course may take advantage of the Writing Workshops. Trained and supervised by a coordinator, student writing tutors provide assistance on papers already corrected and with drafts of papers in any stage of the writing process.

All students are encouraged to take full advantage of these academic resources. For more information about academic assistance, contact the Director of Academic Resources, [email protected] or stop by the Academic Resources office, Paresky 202, x4672. For information on Writing Programs, contact Dr. Stephanie Dunson, Director of Writing Programs ([email protected]).

Dean’s Office – Hopkins Hall x4171

Students may see a dean about any academic concern they may have. Some areas where consultation with a dean is strongly suggested, or even necessary, follow below:

  • difficulty with course work
  • wish to withdraw from a course
  • taking a medical or personal leave of absence

Students should see one of the deans about a number of issues and procedures that arise in planning academic programs:

Committee on Academic Standing: Those students who are submitting petitions to the Committee on Academic Standing might wish to discuss the matter with one of the deans. (All the deans sit with the Committee on Academic Standing to advise its members on student cases; the Dean of the College and the Associate Dean for First–Year Students are voting members of that Committee.)

Complaints About Grading: Except in those cases where a grievance committee has found an assigned grade to have been the result of discrimination, nothing in the grievance procedure affects the responsibility and authority of individual members of the faculty to evaluate and grade the work of students in their courses. In the event of other allegations of improper or unfair grading, the Dean of the College may investigate and mediate, but final responsibility for grading rests with the instructor.

Contract Majors: Sophomores interested in designing contract majors should contact Dean Rashanda Booker.  This conference will help them to prepare their applications, which are then due early in the spring semester.

Withdrawing from a Course: First–year and first–semester transfer students may be permitted to withdraw from one course (incurring a deficiency but no grade penalty) as late as the tenth week of the semester. Upperclass students also may once in subsequent years withdraw from a course under the same conditions. A withdrawal, recorded on the transcript as a “W,” is granted only with the approval of the instructor and a dean and only if there is complete agreement between the instructor and the dean that, despite conscientious effort to do the work, continuation in the course would be detrimental to the overall educational interest or health of the student. The deficiency thereby incurred must be removed in the normal manner.

Withdrawing, Transferring, or Returning: About 40 or 50 students each year request personal leaves of absence and withdraw from the College in good standing. Such time away, often as a period of reassessment and self evaluation, can prove to be educationally beneficial. A single withdrawal in good standing is granted for not less than one year and not more than three years. Students who withdraw in good standing are readmitted with the approval of the Associate Dean of the College and are expected to complete the degree without further interruption.

Students may request permission from a Dean to withdraw at any time. To withdraw in good standing during a term, however, a student must withdraw no later than eight weeks into the term. Please see the Williams College Refund Policy, including dates in effect, for more information

Students who are considering transferring from the College, and those planning for or returning from a leave of absence, should to contact the Associate Dean of the College, Stephen Sneed.

General Advising

While respecting students’ privacy and confidentiality, the deans may at times refer students to the Health Center, to the Psychological Counseling Service, or to the Chaplain’s Office.

First-Year Warnings

In the middle of each semester, instructors report to the Registrar those first-year students whose grades at that time are unsatisfactory. The students and their academic advisors receive notices of warnings as a matter of routine. The Dean’s Office may inform parents of students who receive two or more warnings.

Other Academic Advising Resources

Math and Science Resource Center – Thompson Physics 113, 114 and 207 x4672

Office of Special Academic Programs – Hardy House x3747

Special Advisors

Architecture: Ann McCallum x2307
Business Schools and Business Opportunities: Robin Meyer x2311
Divinity Schools: Richard Spalding x2483
Engineering: Jefferson Strait x2008
Graduate Fellowships and Scholarships: Katerina King x3044
Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences: Department Chairs
Health Professions Advisor: Career Center x2598
International Student Advisor: Ninah Pretto s x4171
Law Schools:  Michelle Shaw x3356
National Science Foundation: Department Chairs
Peace Corps: Career Center x2311
Public and International Affairs Schools and Foreign Service: James McAllister x4373
Special Academic Programs: Molly Magavern x3747
Student Writing Tutorial Program: Stephanie E. Dunson x4615
Study Abroad Programs: Tina Breakell x4262
Teaching, M.A.T. Programs: Susan Engel x4522, Career Center x2311
Williams College Fellowships: Katerina King x3044
Winter Study Practice Teaching: Susan Engel x4522

Study Away –  Hopkins Hall x4262

The Writing Workshops – 210E Hopkins Hall, X4615

Campus Safety & Security – Hopkins Hall x4343

Career Center – Mears House—75 Park Street x2311

Chaplains’ Office – 205 Paresky Student Center x2483

The Davis Center – Jenness House x3340

Financial Aid – Hopkins Hall x4181

Health Services  – Thompson Health Center, Hoxsey Street x2206

Health Education and Substance Abuse Prevention –  x3013/x3165

Sexual Assault Survivor Services (SASS)

Psychological Counseling Services –  x2353

Rape and Sexual Assault Network of Williams – x4100

Registrar’s Office – Hopkins Hall x4286

Student Employment Opportunities – B&L Building x 4568