Academic Advising


What is Academic Advising?

Academic Advising at Melbourne connects you with an academic within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, helping you to make the most of your time at the University of Melbourne.   Advising sessions provide a space to think, share ideas, talk about your goals and explore opportunities with an academic member of our (University) community.

Academic Advising at Melbourne, in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, is available to first year students in the Bachelor of Biomedicine and Bachelor of Oral Health.

Want some direct insights into the experiences of our Academics? Our Peer Leaders, Dan and Andy, have been interviewing some of our Senior Academic Advisers for their podcast and you can access them below:

Our senior academics reflect on how their involvement in advising has been an essential part of their career progression and share their greatest pieces of advice for current and future students regarding career choices and personal development.

Meet the team

Within MDHS we have a number of Senior Academic Advisers that work collaboratively with Student Life Staff to continuously improve the Academic Advising program. The Senior Academic Advisers play a very important role in shaping and delivering the Academic Advising program. Working in various departments across the faculty they support the program in many ways to ensure the overall success for students and academics.

Adrian Achuthan

Role at the University:
Senior Research Fellow, Honours Academic Coordinator and Senior Academic Adviser

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Academic Advising program?
Working together with academic and professional staff in delivering the program that enhances students University life experience

What would be your one piece of advice for students who are about to commence in the Academic Advising program?
Be a willing participant in the Academic Advising program, the connections you establish may well shape your future!

Dr Barbara Fam White

Role at the University:
I have several roles across the University, with my primary role as a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Medicine (Austin Hospital) in the area of Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity research as well as the Departmental Academic Coordinator for Honours and Graduate Research. I also have a Senior Lecturer position in the Department of Medical Education for the Advanced Medical Science (BMed Sci) course. To add to these, I am now one of the new Senior Academic Advisors for the BBioMedSci course in the faculty.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Academic Advising program?
What I enjoy the most is being a part of creating a connected community with students, academics within the faculty and the University more broadly through the program and Student Life. I have been a part of the University since my student days in the early 1990s. The sense of belonging and having a supportive network is so pivotal for students to achieve their absolute best and become the bright stars of our future. My role in this program to help see this to fruition through guiding the Academic Advisors and playing a bigger role in the continual growth of the program is what I truly enjoy doing.

What would be your one piece of advice for students who are about to commence in the Academic Advising program?
If I had one piece of advice it would be to not be nervous or hesitant about joining the program and to embrace what the program will offer you throughout the duration of your course. It can be daunting meeting Academic Advisors, but they are there to support you through your course, not to advise on the course itself, but to guide you along the right path for a total positive University experience. Academic Advisors have been right there, where the students are now and will have a raft of knowledge and experience they can pass on to guide decision making and scholarly and professional growth. Embrace it and enjoy it.

Julian G Simmons, PhD

Role at the University:
In addition to being a Senior Academic Adviser with Student Life, I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Academic Advising program?
The opportunity to support students and staff build to connections. I think this is fundamental to student engagement and the quality of the student experience at Melbourne. I see it also as a key way to maximise student outcomes post Uni, as well as enriching the professional lives of academics.

What would be your one piece of advice for students who are about to commence in the Academic Advising program?
As per Walt Whitman (and more recently Ted Lasso), be curious! Ask questions, and be as open as you can about your experience. Advisers are here to help.

Saw Hoon Lim

Role at the University:
Senior Lecturer and Teaching Specialist in the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology and Senior Academic Adviser in MDHS.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Academic Advising program?
What I love most is the opportunity to join and to help guide students in their journey through university and sharing morsels of (hopefully) sage advice in a ‘what I wish I knew then that I know now’ vibe!

What would be your one piece of advice for students who are about to commence in the Academic Advising program?
We can’t wait to meet you so please join us and feel comfortable that our meetings are informal and very much like chatting with a friend!

Snezana Kusljic

Role at the University: 
Senior Lecturer and Graduate Research Coordinator in the Department of Nursing, Senior Academic Adviser in the MDHS, and Chair of Low to Negligible Risk Ethics Committee and Research Ethics Advisor, Office of Research Ethics and Integrity.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Academic Advising program?          
The most enjoyable part of the Academic Advising program is getting to know our students, drawing upon what they bring as individuals and learning from their experience. All these aspects are critical in developing personalised advising approach that foster connection to the University community and support the development of students outside the classroom.

What would be your one piece of advice for students who are about to commence in the Academic Advising program?
Please join us on this personalized student-academic journey and create long-lasting partnerships with the university community. We, academics, are your ‘tour guides’ and after all your biggest supporters.

Want to know what motivated our academics to be a part of Academic Advising at Melbourne? What their personal experiences with mentoring are? Who were their mentors? Found out below!

Being an Advisee

Being an advisee gives you a new level of unique access to the highly experienced academics at the University of Melbourne. This opportunity is something that should be used to help you connect, discover and learn about everything you can to set you on the path to success!

  • How does it work?

    You will be matched with an academic adviser and will be able to see their details via the student portal. The structure of the sessions is as follows:

    • Year 1 - Second Semester: Group meeting with academic adviser and approximately 10 other students also allocated to the same academic adviser (approximately 60 minutes)
    • Year 2 - First and Second Semester: 2 x one-on-one sessions with your academic adviser. One session in each semester (approximately 30 minutes each)
    • Year 3 - First Semester: A one-on-one session (approximately 30 minutes)

    We encourage you to connect with your academic adviser outside of the scheduled sessions to build that connection and get the support that you need.

    Note: All Bachelor of Biomedicine students who are transferring from another tertiary course will meet one on one with their assigned academic adviser in their first semester.

  • How do I get involved?

    You don't need to do anything! You will automatically be allocated to an academic adviser and notified who they are. You can get it touch with us if you have any questions.

  • What are the benefits?

    Academic advisers are experienced members of our community who can help you adjust to study and life at University. Your academic adviser will take an active interest in your progress, success and challenges. Using their extensive networks, they can help you to connect with your faculty and the broader University community, as well as external professionals and industry representatives.

    The sessions provide a space to think, share ideas, talk about your goals and explore opportunities with an academic member of our (University) community

    Making sure you are prepared before each meeting and arriving on time can help build a good rapport with your academic adviser. Over time, your academic adviser will be a friendly face on campus, someone you can call on for advice, or even ask for a reference at the end of your degree.

  • What kind of support can my academic adviser give me?
    • Academic advisers come from a discipline broadly aligned to your studies and will help you explore opportunities to build on your interests and strengths. If you do have a specific area of interest, they may be able to connect you with other academic staff or suggest ways that you can make these connections for yourself.
    • Academic advisers are not experts in everything, but they can help you identify when you may benefit from seeking specialist support and advice.
    • Meetings with your academic adviser are designed to support your growth and development, so you can discuss a range of goals and challenges with your adviser. There is a limit to the confidentiality of advising meetings, and there may be some cases when an adviser needs to disclose information to help you access support.
    • Academic advisers can help you with general advice on study skills and routines that support your academic success, however it is not their role to tutor you or review specific pieces of academic work. Academic support services are available, and your academic adviser may encourage you to access this support.
  • I want more information

    You can find more information about Academic Advising at Melbourne here.

    If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us.

How can mentors work to create a strong, supportive, and thriving relationship with their mentees? What are the most important traits for a mentor to have? Our Academic Advisors discuss their top tips for becoming an effective advisor and a great mentor