Academic Advising

The RISD CE associate director for academic advising serves students by helping them to develop their personal, educational and professional goals. The academic advisor provides academic assistance and individualized attention to promote each student’s success and encourages students to develop action plans to realize these goals. The advisor provides accurate information, facilitates communication and assists in course selection. As a result, students gain support and guidance from the advisor, while exploring options and becoming self-directed learners and confident decision makers.

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Meeting with an Academic Advisor

Academic advising is available to any student seeking information about RISD CE course offerings and programs. This service is available to students or potential students interested in learning more about Adult, Youth, and Pre-Collegiate courses, as well as adult and teen certificate programs. Anyone considering joining our programs, discussing their professional and academic goals, and mapping out an academic plan to meet those goals is invited to contact Associate Director for Academic Advising Kathy Kelly. Kathy also works with certificate students who have questions about waiving courses, those who are preparing to graduate, and advises certificate students inquiring about their status in their program.

To connect with Kathy, make an advising appointment online or send an email to

What is Academic Advising?

Academic advising is a collaborative relationship between the student and an academic advisor. The intent of this collaboration is to assist the student in developing meaningful educational goals that are consistent with personal interests, skills and abilities. Effective academic advising also helps the student utilize the many resources available on campus, understand the services and policies of the institution and empower students to make the most of their experience in the RISD CE community.

Advisor and Advisee Expectations

Your advisor will:

  • Be respectful and inclusive in all written and verbal communications and interactions with advisees, and maintain confidentiality with regard to student information and following FERPA guidelines at all times.
  • Be familiar with all Continuing Education programs and requirements, including Extension, Adult Certificate, Youth, and Pre-Collegiate programs.
  • Establish reasonable office hours for advising appointments by email, telephone or scheduling link. Assist you in defining your career goals and interests and exploring course offerings and career options.
  • Understand and communicate the processes and policies, such as course scheduling, registration dates, grading, certificate application, waivers and course substitutions, adding and dropping classes, as well as academic, certificate and financial policies.
  • Send you written notification of acceptance if you decide to enroll in a certificate program, including information on support and resources, academic advisor contact information and a link to schedule advising appointments.
  • Maintain certificate audits in the student portal so you can track your status through the program, navigate course sequencing issues and create the best possible pathway to graduation.
  • Serve as a point of contact and refer students with special needs or interests to the appropriate campus partners (e.g., Disability Support Services, Student Account Services, Office of International Student Services, Admissions Office, Registrar’s Office, etc.).
  • Assist you in making decisions about scheduling and course selection, and empower you to be responsible for your educational experience at RISD CE; promote programs and opportunities that enhance academic engagement and development of life-long learners.
  • Guide you to campus resources that enhance your academic and/or personal experience in the RISD Community (Career Services, RISD Museum, Nature Lab, special events, professional development workshops, etc.) and to seek out opportunities in your intended career field.

Student expectations:

  • Be respectful and inclusive in all written and verbal communications and interactions with your advisor.
  • Request advising appointments during open CE office hours by email, phone or scheduling link if you have any questions or concerns. Be ready to discuss your personal interests, skills, and goals with your advisor. If you are unable to attend, kindly notify your advisor by phone or email as soon as possible.
  • Prepare for your advising appointment by having the appropriate materials and any related questions on hand. If the appointment involves a request for a course waiver or substitution, be ready to submit either a transcript and course description OR a resume/job description for the course/s you wish to waive or substitute.
  • If you are in a certificate program, consult with the academic advisor at least twice during the course of your program to ensure you are following the right path to graduate. Review certificate information on the website, including certificate program guides, to understand the requirements of your specific program.
  • Discuss any concerns about a current course with your instructor first and try to resolve issues before consulting with the academic advisor.
  • Seek assistance in decision making, rather than expect the advisor to make decisions for you. Follow through with recommended steps after the advising session; consult with the academic advisor if agreed-upon suggestions cannot be followed.
  • If you are in a certificate program, review your certificate program audit each semester to understand which courses you have remaining to complete. Bring any concerns to the academic advisor’s attention as soon as possible.
  • Request a referral to the appropriate staff or department if an issue cannot be resolved by the academic advisor.
  • Understand that you are ultimately responsible for your educational experience at RISD Continuing Education, and we are happy to assist you in pursuing your educational life and career goals.

Additional Student Support

RISD CE continues to develop and improve the overall student experience with support offered inside and outside of the classroom. Kristina Byrne (she, her, hers), associate director for CE student experience, is the main point of contact and support for students and serves as primary liaison for parents, guardians and educational advisors for the purpose of providing support inside and outside of the classroom. She can help to connect students with campus partners/resources to provide the appropriate support needed. To connect with Kristina, email or call 401 454-6473.