The teaching profession is a unique and highly valuable component that directly impacts the future. We’re so glad you are interested in pursuing this career and Academic Advising in the College of Education is an essential tool to help you achieve your goal.

What follows is general information about advising in MSME. If you need immediate advising help, email the MSME Graduate Assistants ( or Reilly Zwanzig, College of Education Academic Advisor (

Academic Advising in MSME

Due to the varied nature of the middle and secondary programs, academic advising looks a little different in each program. To best facilitate our students’ navigation of these programs we put a high emphasis on the relationship between student and their academic advisor. Our goal is for our students to successfully complete their chosen program and leave equipped to be the best educator they can be. Advising helps get them there.

Let’s Start At the Very Beginning…

Regardless of the program a student declares, all middle education and secondary education program students are assigned to the College of Education Academic Advisor after they officially declare their program. Students will be expected to attend a group program orientation meeting where they will meet with the Academic Advisor, receive and review program materials, create an academic plan, and begin their application to Teacher Education. Major and minor declarations will not be approved until the student has met with the Academic Advisor and submitted an approved academic plan.

Middle grades education and secondary education pre-service teachers may be assigned two advisors—one to guide them through teacher education program requirements and another to guide them through content area requirements. Students should check regularly with both advisors to ensure timely graduation (remember that these are the people who will one day be approving your graduation application).

How Advisors Are Assigned and Accessed

In addition to the College of Education Academic Advisor, secondary education and middle grades education students will also be assigned a MSME faculty advisor. This additional advisor will provide students with a rich advising experience because the faculty advisor specializes in instruction of a student’s declared content area. The faculty advisor will help secondary education and middle grades education students navigate their content area major and the content area licensure requirements.

You may view your advisor’s contact information on the Student Center page of MyMadison. Because most advisors are also faculty with teaching, research, and service responsibilities, it’s best to email them several days ahead of time to schedule a meeting.

Academic Advisor Responsibilities

Your academic advisor serves as a main resource in providing information and assistance with the following tasks:

  • Helps with academic planning and decision-making.
  • Explains requirements for General Education, major, and degree programs.
  • Ensures students understand how their academic decisions may affect progress towards meeting graduation requirements.
  • Refers students to other campus resources as needed.

*Note: While the academic advisor is an invaluable resource for students, responsibility for final decisions about choice of major, courses to enroll in, and fulfillment of all graduation requirements belongs to the student.

MSME Student Responsibilities

Successful advising is a shared experience between the academic advisor and the student. While academic advisors are helpful resources and can assist students with their academic decision-making, students are responsible for the following tasks:

  • Review their year's undergraduate catalog and the MSME and COE websites to understand academic requirements for their major, minor, and degree choices.
  • Know who their academic advisors are including their office location and contact information.
  • Be well prepared prior to meeting with their academic advisor and take notes during the meeting. For example, assemble hardcopy or electronic documents and be prepared to access them during the advising appointment (documents might include a recent unofficial transcript and an updated checklist of education courses and content course requirements).
  • Seek assistance with questions about enrolling in classes well before the registration appointment time.
  • Develop and maintain a professional relationship with your advisors. Advisors serve as good mentors during your college years, so share career goals and any special needs with them. And keep in mind that advisors are important contacts for recommendations for study abroad programs, internships, graduate schools, and employment.
  • Consult academic advisors throughout the academic career since the major advisor will be signing graduation application forms. 

Other Advising Help:

Madison Advising Peers (MAPS)

In 2009 the Office of University Advising in collaboration with the Student Government Association implemented a JMU undergraduate peer advising program. Madison Advising Peers, or MAPS, are experienced JMU students who care about their peers and want to help them achieve their college goals. MAPs work in conjunction with faculty advisors by providing supplemental academic advising information. While a MAP can be a supportive and friendly resource for students who feel overwhelmed and confused, they shouldn't replace your assigned academic advisors. Their office is on the second floor in Roop Hall.

Teach Ambassadors / Education Peer Advisors:

The TEACH Ambassadors assist students by offering Peer Advising Sessions and by answering questions about the College of Education and the Teacher Education program application process. Their office is in the Education Support Center in Memorial Hall.


Reilly Zwanzig
College of Education Academic Advisor
Memorial Hall 7240B

*Click here to schedule a meeting with Reilly Zwanzig. Be sure to attend the meeting you schedule. If you find you are unable to attend the meeting you scheduled, it is expected that you notify Reilly before the meeting. A "no show" may result in a professional disposition referral.

Back to Top