Academic Advising Strategic Directions and Implementation Plan

About the University Academic Advising Council (UACC)

The University Academic Advising Council (UACC) is appointed by the Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs to improve persistence and graduation rates of our undergraduate students. Chaired by Carrie McLean, the Assistant Dean of University College and Executive Director of Advising, the goals of the UAAC are as follows:

  • To enhance student success by creating a common advising experience for all undergraduate students at NC State;
  • To identify and address campus-wide advising concerns; • Review university-wide policies and procedures related to academic advising and recommend changes if/when necessary;
  • To serve as a consulting group to the University administration on advising issues and to promote improvement of the academic advising delivery structure on campus in accordance with the Pathway to the Future Strategic Plan and as outlined by the UNC General Administration;
  • To share new advising developments and best practices; and
  • To enhance advisor training, development, awards, and recognition initiatives.

Working Groups

Over the past year the UAAC has created a University Definition of Academic Advising (see Appendix A) and adopted a university-wide guidelines and expectations of advising (often referred to as an advising syllabus; see Appendix B) in an effort to create a quality and timely advising experience for all undergraduate students at NC State.

In an effort to maximize the use of committee members’ time, increase efficiency of the strategic development process, and expedite the delivery of quality advising services to students, Working Groups were established within the UAAC. The goal of the Working Groups was to research best practices and target areas identified as critical need for student success and/or high impact on the quality of the advising experience. Advising Working Groups are responsible for vetting Council developments and recommendations with the larger UAAC committee, with the advising constituents and administrators of the college for which they were representing. Each college has at least one representative on the Working Groups. Academic Advising Services has several representatives on the Working Groups because of their cross-curricular work with all students at the University. Again, the ultimate goal of the Council was to align the Working groups activities with the University Strategic Plan and focus recommendations on creating a systematic, timely, and well-informed advising experience for 1st and 2nd year students.

The membership and objectives of the working groups are as follows:

  • Group 1: Advising Delivery Policies and Guidelines
    • Objective: To develop and align policies, guidelines, and processes that help to create a quality advising experience for 1st and 2nd year students
    • Members: Moran – Chair, Charles Clift, Jane Lubischer, Michelle Koehler, Carrie McLean – consulting
  • Group 2: Assessment of Academic Advising
    • Objective: To develop a comprehensive assessment model to systematically assess the advising experience of advisees and advisors
    • Members: Kim Outing – Chair, Jill Anderson, Jason, Derousie, Dara Leeder, Myles Robinson
  • Group 3: Recruitment/Selection/Promotion of Academic Advisors
    • Objective: To create a university Career Ladder for Academic Advisors
    • Members: Lauren Brown – Chair, Megan Albidrez, Tricia Buddin, CNR rep
  • Group 4: Orientation/Training/Development
    • Objective: To develop a new advisor training schedule and enhance the model for campus advisors (complimentary to college/departmental training)
    • Members: Donna Burton – Chair, Arnold Bell, Alina Duca
  • Group 5: Evaluation of Academic Advising
    • Objective: To develop a process and procedures to systematically evaluate campus advisors
    • Members: Karen Young – Chair, David Parish, Deidre Yancey, Martha Wicker

The reports and recommendations from each Working Group follows.

Assessment of Academic Advising

With the charge of developing a comprehensive assessment model to systematically assess the advising experience of advisees and advisors, initial work has focused on developing an academic advising mission statement, objectives and outcomes.

The UAAC Definition of Academic Advising and the UAAC Advising Guidelines and Expectations provided a starting framework for the development of the academic advising assessment model. The Assessment of Academic Advising working group also reviewed the CAS Standards for Academic Advising, which provide a set of standards for advising programs covering student learning outcomes and assessment practice.

Currently at NC State, academic advising for first- and second-year students is delivered using a variety of advising models across colleges and departments. The student learning and process/delivery outcomes reflected in the recommendations for academic advising assessment represent the expected outcomes for every NC State student, guaranteeing a quality advising experience.

Institution-wide surveys administered through the Office of Institutional Research and Planning (OIRP) currently capture some data on the students’ experience of academic advising. Instruments used include the National Survey of Student Engagement, NC State Sophomore Survey, NC State Graduating Senior Survey, and the NC State Climate Survey. These surveys capture primarily satisfaction-based information (e.g., perceived quality of student-advisor interactions, satisfaction with accessibility to advisor, satisfaction with advisor knowledge). This important information will be supplemented by the assessment of student learning outcomes, which are the focus of the proposed academic advising assessment plan.

The next phase in the development of the academic advising assessment plan will be to define recommended methods for assessment.

Proposed Academic Advising Assessment Plan: Academic Advising Mission, Objectives, and Outcomes

Academic Advising Mission
The mission of Academic Advising at NC State University is to promote undergraduate student learning, development, persistence, and success. Academic advisors support students as they develop and pursue educational, career, and personal goals.

The ultimate goal of the student-advisor partnership is for students to increase their personal agency and critical thinking skills, and apply both to their life choices in college and beyond.

Academic advising is delivered across a number of different platforms and processes, including individual and group advising, orientation courses, and through print and online materials.

Objectives

  1. Students will develop well-reasoned goals.
  2. Students will develop self-reliance and take ownership of their undergraduate experience.
  3. Students will apply critical thinking skills to advance their academic success and progress toward degree.
  4. Students will value academic advising as part of their undergraduate education.

Outcomes (mapped to Objectives)

  1. Students will be able to identify and articulate their interests, abilities, and values. (1)
  2. Students will apply self-knowledge, personal experience, and research to make an informed decision on a major. (1)
  3. Students will establish educational goals and monitor progress toward those goals. (1, 2)
  4. Students will be able to apply university policies and procedures as appropriate to their situation. (2, 3)
  5. Students will select courses each term that strategically fulfill the GEP and/or intended or selected degree program, and that help them achieve their educational and career goals. (1, 2, 3)
  6. Students will be able to articulate an achievable long term course plan, taking into consideration factors such as progress to degree, program requirements, and recommended course sequences. (3)
  7. Students will be able to explain the importance of pursuing activities outside the classroom that foster personal and professional growth, including character- and skill-building opportunities, and relate these activities and skills to their overall goals. (2, 3)
  8. Students will be able to identify personal challenges and areas for growth, and connect with campus resources for social, emotional, academic, health, and other support. (2, 3)
  9. Students will practice professional conduct, good judgment, and respect in interactions with faculty, staff, employers, and peers. (3, 4)
  10. Students will feel that academic advising services are welcoming, accessible, and inclusive. (4)

Academic Advising Guidelines and Policies (Guidelines for NC State Advising Programs Serving First-Year Students and Students in Transition)

Introduction and Background

At present, advising models at NC State vary greatly from college to college and even from department to department within colleges, creating inconsistent advising experiences across campus. At the same time, it is not uncommon for students who start at NC State as freshmen to change their major (at least once), meaning they are likely to encounter inconsistent advising experiences and expectations during their time at NC State. It is also true that the time during which students are experiencing a major transition (including when they are joining NC State) is when they are most in need of attentive support, and advising can play an important role in cultivating their academic and social integration into the NC State community.

In establishing the recommended guidelines that follow, we had the following goals:

  1. to establish greater consistency in the advising experience for students across campus
  2. to align with the NC State strategic plan, The Pathway to the Future
  3. to focus on first-year students and other students in transition
  4. to prioritize what is best for our students over what might be administratively easier
  5. to rely on evidence-based strategies and National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) best practices (reviews and citations available at the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources).

In this document, we will use the term “first-year students” to refer to students coming to NC State from the traditional high school pipeline. In discussing the definition of “students in transition,” we identified the following groups of students at NC State: (1) students moving into a degree-granting program from a First Year or Exploratory Program, (2) internal (intra-campus) transfer students moving between degree-granting programs, (3) external transfer students, and (4) students readmitted to NC State after time away for any reason. These four groups of students, collectively, will be referred to as “students in transition.”

Justification and Overview

Enhanced student success is Goal 1 in the NC State strategic plan, Pathway to the Future. One implementation strategy under Goal 1 directly addresses our advising programs: “Explore a new proactive advising model for freshmen and students in transition.” This focus on first-year students and students in transition recognizes the critical importance (for retention and student success) of addressing transition issues for both populations of students. A variety of components have been identified as contributing to successful transitions, with an emphasis on engagement with the campus community through advising, interpersonal interactions, and both curricular and extracurricular support. Accordingly, our recommended guidelines include the creation of proactive advising programs for all first-year students and students in transition.

Limited efforts to implement proactive advising have already begun, including the new Life Sciences First Year Program (LSFY), a collaborative effort between the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Sciences that utilizes a proactive advising model. LSFY officially started with a class of 350 first-year students in Fall 2014; a version of the program (including proactive advising) was piloted in Fall 2013 with approximately 300 students. Preliminary data on life science students before and after implementation of proactive advising in the LSFY include:

Cohort
(1st term)
Good
Academic Standing
GPA GPA increase
(vs previous cohort)
GPA
on critical courses*
Fall 2010 92% 3.15 2.67
Fall 2011 93% 3.2 0.05 2.71
Fall 2012 93% 3.24 0.04 2.8
Fall 2013** 97% 3.33 0.09 2.92
Fall 2014*** 97% 3.42 0.09 3.00

*Critical courses include BIO 181, BIO 183, and CH 101 — whichever have been completed.
** LSFY Pilot
***LSFY Starts

These data are extremely preliminary (more cohorts are needed and possible confounding factors need to be taken into consideration) and can only include short-term measures at this time. Nevertheless, they are consistent with improved academic performance in the first semester for students in LSFY. Early measures also indicate that many LSFY students in the Fall 2014 cohort have re-considered their choice of a major. Final CODA decisions are pending, but based on those who have already matriculated and based on surveys of LSFY students, estimates are that approximately 50% will enroll in the same curriculum that they originally intended and 30-35% will enroll in a different life science curriculum. Three of the life science degree-granting programs typically have more internal transfer students than first-year students in any given year. It is expected that these programs will see an increase in new students over their usual first-year numbers.

Across the country, programs for first-year students and students in transition typically include a seminar course designed to facilitate transition and integration into a new campus environment. Such courses can be an extension of a proactive advising program, if they are taught or co-taught by the student’s advisor. These courses can play an important role in empowering students to take responsibility for their college careers. Accordingly, our recommended guidelines include a required course that helps first-year students and external transfer students identify and address possible transition challenges.

For students who start at NC State as first-year students (Fall 2008 cohort), only about 50% (on average) graduate in the same college to which they were admitted (6-year graduation rate), while 25% graduate in a different college (the remaining 25% do not graduate within 6 years). These data do not include students who change majors within colleges, which means that fewer than 50% of NC State students graduate (in 6 years) in the same major in which they started as first-year students. In addition, students who start in First Year College (FYC) before entering a degree-granting program are less likely to change majors during their time at NC State than are those who start in a degree-granting program as first-year students. Consistent with these data, The Pathway to the Future emphasizes the value of helping students get into the right major (the right “fit”) sooner in their college career. Accordingly, our recommended guidelines include the creation of multiple “First Year” or “Exploratory” Programs for all first-year students, through which they will determine their best-fit major at NC State.

Traditional first-year students (coming from the high school pipeline) are not the only students facing challenges related to transition to a new environment at NC State. Indeed, in a recent program announcement, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) introduces the term “watershed” to capture the greater diversity of pathways by which students now enter college. The HHMI has identified these watershed students as an important population to target with supportive programs. In addition, the NC State strategic plan calls for increases in the admission rates of external transfer students, a major portion of our students in transition. But many of these students often have a more difficult time than first-year students. For example, while the 6-year graduation rate averages about 75% for first-year students, the 4-year graduation rate for external transfer students averages closer to 70%. Among our external transfer students, the percent with a first-term GPA 2.0 or higher averages approximately 86%, whereas that number is closer to 94% for first-year students, and we know that first semester academic performance relates strongly to the likelihood of graduation for our external transfer students. Despite these numbers, we give more attention to first-year student programming than to programming for students in transition. Accordingly, our recommended guidelines include the creation (at the department or college level) of additional programs designed for students in transition who are not traditional first-year students.

Recommendations – Guidelines regarding first-year students

Guidelines Recommendation 1: All first-year advising at NC State should be based on a proactive advising model. Proactive advising includes:

  • One face-to-face, individual meeting between student and advisor within the first 6 weeks of each of the first two semesters.
  • One face-to-face, individual meeting between student and advisor within each pre-enrollment advising period.
  • Early communication to students of advising responsibilities, expectations, and learning outcomes (see NCSU Academic Advising Guidelines and Expectations document).
  • Frequent communication with students regarding university policies, procedures, resources, opportunities, course planning, etc., including communication that begins before their arrival at New Student Orientation.
  • Teaching a first-year experience course to assigned advisees.
  • Monitoring student scheduling decisions and academic performance.
  • Direct follow-up with students regarding issues of concern (e.g., progress reports, first-semester academic performance).

Typically, proactive advising is handled by primary-role academic advisors skilled in this approach. Others (e.g., faculty advisors) might fill this role, but only with appropriate training and with sufficient time dedicated to advising in their SMEs.

Given the time commitments of a proactive advising approach and based on the experience of LSFY, it is recommended that the advising load be set at a maximum of 100 new first-year students per advising FTE. If an individual has additional responsibilities (e.g., in administration), the load should be reduced accordingly.

Guidelines Recommendation 2: All first-year students at NC State should complete a first-year experience course, taught (or co-taught) by their assigned advisor.

This course (or courses, if a 2-semester sequence is preferred), often referred to as a cornerstone feature of first-year experience programs, is an extension of the proactive advising model. Topics in the first semester typically focus on guiding students to a metacognitive understanding of their experiences as first-year students in the context of what is known about the challenges of transition faced by many first-year students. Self-reflection, an awareness of available resources and coping mechanisms, and strategies for planning for success can be important components of these courses. Having advisors teach their own advisees provides additional opportunities for them to develop that important relationship.

In addition to transition-related outcomes, each program may choose to emphasize different topics in these courses, including (1) decision-making (e.g., in choosing a major), (2) the history of institutions of higher education, (3) the science (education, psychology, biology) of effective learning, (4) the psychology of transitions and culture shock, or (5) any of a variety of intellectual skills essential to the long-term success of all of our students (e.g., communication, logic, argumentation, critical thinking, creative thinking, teamwork, self-reflective writing, service learning).

Some programs may want to develop this course so that it incorporates learning outcomes related to diversity issues or global knowledge or interdisciplinary perspectives to the degree that it can additionally satisfy one of those GEP requirements. Each program can tailor the first-year experience course to what would most benefit their first-year students, in the context of the full first-year curriculum taken by those students.

Guidelines Recommendation 3: All first-year students should apply to NC State by selecting from a variety of First Year (or Exploratory) Programs and should be admitted into one of these programs rather than directly into a degree-granting program.

First Year or Exploratory Programs at NC State should:

  • Establish a proactive advising program (see above) with learning outcomes (see NCSU Academic Advising Guidelines and Expectations document) communicated clearly to students.
  • Provide students with a first-year course plan, with options for different curricular paths clearly defined.
  • Guide students through a thoughtful consideration of their choice of a major.
  • Provide students an ideal timeline for matriculation into a degree-granting program.
  • Educate students regarding matriculation requirements and the CODA process.
  • Develop and implement success programs for first-year students.
  • Coordinate involvement in New Student Orientation & Wolfpack Welcome Week programs to address the first-year transition to NC State.
  • Coordinate outreach and recruitment efforts in conjunction with department and college programs.

These First Year or Exploratory Programs may be aligned with individual colleges or they may span two or more colleges, by focusing on disciplinary areas represented in more than one college. In either case, the first-year curriculum and any First Year or Exploratory Program-specific course development should be overseen by a committee of faculty representing departments in the disciplinary areas represented by a given First Year or Exploratory Program.

Students should remain assigned to their first-year advisor until they enter a degree-granting program. Students who fail to do so by the end of their fourth term (fall or spring) will be evaluated in light of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (REG 02.05.03). Total advising load, including new first-year and continuing second-year students, should not exceed 120 students per advising FTE.

Recommendations – Guidelines regarding students in transition

Students in transition are a diverse group that includes:

  • students moving into a degree-granting program from a First Year or Exploratory Program
  • internal (intracampus) transfer students moving between degree-granting programs
  • external transfer students
  • students readmitted to NC State after time away for any reason.

Guidelines Recommendation 4: All advising of students in transition at NC State should be based on a proactive advising model.

Proactive advising is defined above (Guidelines Recommendation 1). For students in transition, given their varied paths to the degree program and background experiences, it is more difficult to provide a universal advising load. These students often take more time to advise than first-year students, therefore we recommend that an advisor not be assigned more than 30 such students within their total advising load.

If faculty advisors are involved in the advising of students in transition, clear expectations about role, responsibilities, and load should be written into the faculty Statement of Mutual Expectations (SME). In addition, programs should create other opportunities for students in transition to interact in a meaningful manner with faculty. These opportunities might include mentoring programs, meet-a-professor programs, or faculty-led workshops. It is also important that training be available to faculty who engage in academic advising and/or undergraduate mentoring and that faculty be recognized for their contributions in these areas.

Guidelines Recommendation 5: All external transfer students should complete a transfer experience course, taught (or co-taught) by their assigned advisor.

Like the first-year experience course (Guidelines Recommendation 2), this course is an extension of the proactive advising model, and should facilitate transition and integration into the NC State community. Since these students are typically in a degree-granting program, it also would be beneficial to incorporate discipline-specific learning outcomes and perhaps professional development and conduct issues appropriate to students at their academic level.

Guidelines Recommendation 6: All students in transition should have access to other programming specifically designed for them (by the college or department), including orientation programs.

Students in transition are an extremely diverse population of students. This is true not only because they come to NC State through different paths (remember the watershed metaphor), but also because even within a given subgroup (e.g., external transfer students) there can be a tremendous diversity of experiences. For this reason, it is especially important that programs developed for students in transition be based on knowledge of the particular sub-population being served in that program. Gathering information about these students in different disciplinary areas at NC State thus becomes an important part of program development.

Implementation Recommendations

Implementation Recommendation 1

Establish a working group to solicit input from all programs, departments, and colleges on campus regarding the topical areas and names of each First Year or Exploratory Program. These areas should be fairly broadly-defined areas of interest (e.g., engineering, life sciences, environmental studies, management, agricultural and natural resources, etc) within which students could explore related disciplines and majors. The University College Exploratory Studies program (formerly FYC) should remain for students not ready to narrow their focus to one of these broad areas.

Degree granting programs might hope to draw from students in one or more First Year or Exploratory Programs. For example, students interested in Zoology and related majors might find a path through any of a number of different First Year or Exploratory Programs (e.g., life sciences, natural resources, environmental studies, animal health, university college). The first-year path of a student should not limit their choice of a major or college, but should expose them to a wide range of curricular options (pathways to degree) at NC State.

Implementation Recommendation 2

Enrollment Management should be tasked with evaluating likely enrollment in each First Year or Exploratory Program to determine the number of new primary-role advisors needed to implement proactive advising for all first-year students. A similar analysis should be conducted to determine personnel needs for proactive advising of students in transition within each program.

Our understanding is that an initial self-assessment was made at the college level to determine the numbers of new primary-role advisors (in addition to existing positions) that would be needed to implement proactive advising for first-year students within each college. In 2011, the Associate Deans indicated the following numbers of additional advising positions would be needed: +1.25 in Education, +4 in Engineering, +3 in Humanities and Social Sciences, +4 in Management, +1 in Natural Resources, and +1 in Textiles. During the college realignment, Sciences received 1 advisor and Agriculture and Life Sciences received 2 advisors, while the LSFY received 3.5 advisors (with one half-time as coordinator and one being a position transferred from the Department of Biological Sciences).

These numbers, however, were based on a first-year student advising load of 120 students per advising FTE and were based on enrollments at the time. They also did not take into account the contribution of these advisors to coordination of outreach and recruitment efforts or administrative responsibilities. In addition, the numbers of new advising FTEs needed should be matched to the First Year or Exploratory Programs developed — and these may or may not align with individual colleges.

Implementation Recommendation 3

First-year admissions targets will need to be developed at the level of these new programs, rather than at the level of colleges. Capacity constraints should be defined by advising and teaching capacity in each First-Year or Exploratory Program. Since most students at NC State currently do not graduate in the same major in which they start as first-year students, it is reasonable to identify first-year enrollment targets by First-Year or Exploratory program rather than by degree-granting program.

Implementation Recommendation 4

Based on how these First Year or Exploratory Programs are structured, the working group will need to identify and address any additional administrative implications. These issues might include retention rate reporting, resource allocation, space needs, program assessment requirements, faculty oversight, and coordination of outreach and recruitment efforts.

Implementation Recommendation 5

The working group should determine if there is need for a central office or individual tasked with campuswide coordination of programs implemented for first-year students or for students in transition. A number of universities have created similar entities and these would be worth considering. Such an office could document programs in place at NC State, coordinate efforts to earn external funding for these programs, and work to enhance communication among these programs as well as between these programs and other campus groups like Admissions, Registration & Records, Living & Learning Villages, the Visitor Center, etc.



Advisor Orientation, Training and Development

Background – current advisor orientation, training, and development

The Advisor Development Institute (ADI), coordinated by Academic Advising Services in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, provides advisor orientation, training, and development for primary role and faculty advisors, as well as advising administrators. The activities are centered around the three aspects of effective advising as defined by NACADA (National Academic Advising Association): conceptual, informational, and relational.

The ADI Certificate program gives individuals the opportunity to learn about these key components of effective advising. The certificate candidates are then assessed through simulations with experienced advisors. Certificate recipients are recognized at the annual University Advising Awards ceremony each January.

There are three types of programs within the ADI:

  1. Core workshops are primarily for newer advisors. All four of the following must be completed for the ADI Certificate:
    1. Introduction to Technology and Policy
    2. Communicating with Advisees and Developmental Advising
    3. Career Readiness
    4. Advising a Diverse Student Population
  1. Advisors Roundtables are sessions focused on emerging issues, changes in regulations, and new or changed campus programs and policies.
  2. Topic Sessions are focused on aspects of advising at NC State that contribute to student success. Recent programs include “Pre-Professional Advising,” “Is My Message Being Received? Techniques for Advising International Students” and “Math and Chemistry Placement Exams.”

[Note: To earn the ADI certificate, an individual must complete two sessions in addition to the core workshops. Those sessions may come from either (2) or (3) or from a combination of the two.]

One way to participate in all the core workshops is the Advisor Academy, a two-day intensive workshop for a cohort of 12-15 advisors and advising administrators. The Academy is held three times a year (August, January/February, and May). Since its inception in June, 2013, 80 individuals have completed the Academy.

Needs Assessment

While AAS has established a program supporting the training and development of numerous advisors and advising administrators, there are many individuals at the University who participate in academic advising yet are not been involved in many of the opportunities described above. To ensure that students and advisors are engaged in a quality advising experience across the University, training and development need to be more broadly developed and delivered.

The Working Group on Advisor Orientation, Training, and Development has first sought to understand (1) the prior training and development experiences of those on campus in advising roles, (2) what training and development they desire and in what form, and (3) the current level of knowledge about specific resources. To that end, a needs assessment survey has been developed and distributed to all Coordinators of Advising for undergraduate majors and to all those on campus with at least one advisee of record. These individuals have been urged to provide the survey link to any others in their unit who provide academic advising assistance of some kind.

As of June 8, 260 individuals have responded to the survey. The survey will remain open throughout the summer and into the early part of the Fall, 2015, semester. For results as of June 8, please see the appendix.

Desirable picture of advisor orientation, training, and development – preliminary discussions

Our group has discussed what advisor orientation, training, and development would look like in “a perfect world.” Our preliminary discussions have centered on how these functions can contribute to a common advising experience at the University, one that supports both student learning and the development of advisors.

Ideas that have been considered so far include:

  • Monthly new advisor orientation (day or half-day)
  • Monthly advisor newsletter to support all advisors
  • Each new advisor being matched with an experienced advisor — a mentor — for one year
  • Having a dedicated group of individuals in key positions who agree to serve as reference points for new advisors
  • Online tutorials that are dynamic and allow the advisor to test his or her knowledge
  • Once-a-semester networking opportunities (for example, a “best practices” session followed by a reception)
  • Once-a-semester visit of a professional advisor to various departments to connect/offer support to faculty advisors; the session could be co-led with the Coordinator of advising in the respective department
  • “Welcome package” to new advisors with resources… something similar to the binder provided at the Advisor Academy.
  • Observation of more experienced advisors

Obstacles to the “perfect world” scenario

  • Orientation, training, and development of advisors have varied by college and unit. Some areas have created clear-cut expectations for training, while others do not. Without overarching University expectations in place, participation by many advisors has been limited or nonexistent.
  • Currently there is only one AAS staff member dedicated to the development and coordination of advisor training and development, and that individual also has teaching and advising responsibilities. The budget is small ($1500 per year for Advisor Academy expenses), and there is no administrative support. To provide training and development at an enhanced level will require appropriate resourcing.
  • Many advisors, especially faculty, have very limited time available to participate in training and development activities.

Moving Forward

The Advisor Orientation, Training, and Development working group will be collaborating with two other groups moving forward: the Career Ladder group and the Assessment of Advising group.

With respect to career ladders, the discussion will be about what training should be required of new advisors and what development is appropriate for advisors who want to be promoted. With the Assessment of Advising group, there will be a consideration of how orientation, training, and development can ensure focus on outcomes for both students and advisors.

The group will continue to review the results of the needs assessment and bring to the full UAAC recommendations that require broader development and consensus.

Academic Advising Career Ladder (and Evaluation of Academic Advisors)

Introduction – Why We Need a Career Ladder with Three Tiers

NACADA has done a lot of research in the area of career ladders and they found that providing career ladders for advisors strengthens the profession of advising by helping advisor recruitment and retention. Developing a career ladder can enhance the visibility and professionalism of advising on campus; improve the understanding of the role of academic advisors; address salary deficiencies and inequities; and trigger a healthy examination of job titles, descriptions, and functions (Taylor, 2011). In addition to strengthening the profession, the promotional opportunities associated with a career ladder benefit individual advisors, the institution, and students (Taylor, 2011).

NC State has experienced a great deal of advisor turnover (add data from Mary) due to the fact that there is limited advancement opportunities on campus. A formal career ladder can provide NC State with leverage in a search process when job candidates consider the potential for advancement. By offering professional and financial recognition we can motivate and retain our advisors. We can also set clear expectations and objectives for the advisors so that they are fully aware on how to get promoted. Advisors grow in the profession without feeling compelled to move to another position or leave higher education to advance. That upward mobility and reward encourage a commitment to the institution, innovation, and continuous improvement. The retention of experienced advisors benefits students due to the continuity in student service, strengthening of advising relationships, and growing advisor expertise (Taylor, 2011).

We would like to propose at 3 Tier system to parallel the faculty promotion and tenure system. We think that a 2 Tier system would not provide enough advancement opportunities for advisors. According to NACADA, most models contain three of four levels.

Background – Research on Other Institutions’ Ladders

University of North Carolina

They do not have an official career ladder but their advising positions are classified as listed below. Remember all UNC Chapel Hill students come in undeclared into their General College. Once they declare a major they are assigned a departmental faculty advisor. You might note that the folks with the “assistant dean” titles have significant administrative roles.

Penn State University

  • 5 bands, based on years of experience and education
  • competencies and level of/depth of knowledge increases
  • additional/higher level duties get added
  • Of note – level 5 prefers PhD

University of Delaware

  • Advisor 1, 2, Senior Advisor, Assistant Dean, SR Assistant Dean, Program Coordinator
  • The general job functions are the same
  • Contact/student load decrease with level
  • Management of programs increases
  • Years of experience factor
  • Supervision of others occurs at higher levels

University of California Riverside

  • Advisor 1, 2, 3
  • Basic functions are the same at each level
  • Scope and complexity increase
  • Supervision level needed decreases
  • Education level and years of experience increase

Southern Illinois University

  • Working on a new model – their current model is 1 advisor level and Chief Academic Advisor
  • looked at three level schools (Georgia State, Old Dominion), four level schools (Texas A&M) and five level schools (Temple)

University of South Florida

  • Advisor 1, 2 and Senior Advisor 1, 2
  • All initial appointments are at level 1, but can be hired at any level (??)
  • Includes a comprehensive review process
  • must apply for a promotion

University of Tennessee

  • Advisor, senior Advisor, Advising Coordinator (in the path)
  • Assistant Director, Associate Director, Director (not in path specifically, but are possible positions to move into)
  • Membership and ACTIVE membership in NACADA is a part of advancement
  • application required, includes professional development reflection paper

University of Montana

  • Advisor 1, 2, 3
  • Levels include all of the responsibilities of the job before it, plus list of new ones
  • Level 3 is manager/coordinator for entire program/division

University of Texas, San Antonio

  • Advisor 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Talk a lot about advisor retention (not a lot of detail about levels)

Texas A&M University

  • Advisor 1, 2 and Senior Advisor 1, 2

Auburn University

  • Comprehensive dossier (like professional portfolio) is a major component of the application process.
Level I Level II Level III
SECTION 1: Education and Experience
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Limited practical experience (e.g., advising, related educational, counseling or student services work). Knowledge of computer use desirable.
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Five (5) years professional experience and growth at Level 1 (or equivalent) with a Bachelor’s degree or three (3) years with a Master’s.
  • Two (2) years of this 3 or 5 years must be as an academic advisor on the Auburn campus
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Seven (7) years professional experience (or equivalent) and growth with a Bachelor’s degree or 5 years with a Master’s.
  • Four (4) of this 5 or 7 years professional experience must be as an academic advisor on the Auburn campus.
  • Two (2) years experience at Level II
SECTION 2: Documentation of Accomplishments in Achievement Areas
2.A: Advising
Must demonstrate successful advising as supported by required documentation outlined in section 2.A of Career Ladder Guide Must demonstrate successful advising as supported by required documentation outlined in section 2.A of Career Ladder Guide
2.B: Continuing Education and Professional Involvement 
Must have consistent participation in Auburn University Advisors Caucus and documentation of sustained involvement in Advising or related professional organizations and activities as outlined in section 2.B of the Career Ladder Guide Must have consistent participation in Auburn University Advisors Caucus and documentation of sustained involvement in Advising or related professional organizations and activities as outlined in section 2.B of the Career Ladder Guide

2.C: Creative and Professional Development

(**Committee expects to see demonstrated evidence of continuing activity following promotion to Level II and that the specific requirements are cumulative for each category.)

Complete two of the significant achievements as outlined in section 2.C of the Career Ladder Guide Complete three of the significant achievements (for a total of five**) as outlined in section 2.C of the Career Ladder Guide

2.D: Outreach and Professional Service

(**Committee expects to see demonstrated evidence of continuing activity following promotion to Level II and that the specific requirements are cumulative for each category)

Achieve one of the service activities as outlined in section 2.D of the Career Ladder Guide.  Achieve two more sustained service activities (for a total of three**) as outlined in section 2.D of the Career Ladder Guide

Our Proposed Tiers

Thing Academic Advisor Senior Academic Advisor Master Academic Advisor
Salary Range  tbd tbd tbd
Required Education Bachelor’s degree and 1-5 years advising experience Bachelor’s degree and 6-10 years advising experience Master’s degree (any discipline)
Preferred Education
for New Hire
Master’s degree (any discipline) Master’s degree (any discipline) and 5 or more years advising experience Master’s degree (any discipline) and 7-10 years advising experience with 2 years advising experience at NC State
Evaluations Mode of Achieve and moving towards Commendable in overall ratings Mode of Commendable with at least one Exemplary in overall ratings Mode of Commendable with at least two Exemplary
in overall ratings
Primary
Responsibilities
  • Advising
  • Teaching
  •  Advising
  • Teaching
  • Programming
  •  Advising
  • Teaching
  • Programming
  • Training
Advising Skill Development Trainings / Workshops / Coursework Must attend University / College / Department level Evidence of
contribution / reflection / sharing
at State and National level
Demonstrated expertise
and knowledge in higher ed.
(coursework; certification; Ph.D.)
Professional
Service
Reliably attends all
required events
Has participated on
University level voluntarily
Has participated at regional / national level voluntarily with evidence of reflection/ sharing at NC State
Committee Service Not required but will help advancement Has participated at university level or chair college / deptartment level Demonstrated leadership

Scholarly

Publications /

Presentations /

Awards /

Certificates

Not required but will help advancement Not required but will help advancement Has demonstrated scholarly advising activity with direct
connection to students or has earned recognition for advising excellence (department / college /
university or national)

Advising Outreach /

Initiative Effort

Not required but will help advancement Has participated in activities
targeting retention, student progression or graduation at department / unit level
Has developed initiatives/outreach activities that measure / analyze / impact retention, student progression or graduation rate at department / unit level

Competency 1:

Core Knowledge

  • With general supervision demonstrates basic knowledge of university, college, and major requirements, policies, and procedures
  • Basic knowledge of university catalog requirements
  • Basic understanding of graduation requirements
  • Develops fundamental knowledge of higher education principles, theories, and issues (to include FERPA)
  • Familiar with student advising population
  • Develop knowledge of transfer requirements
  • Has a basic understanding of student success and their role in academic progression
  • Adhere to college, state and federal administrative procedures, guidelines, initiatives and directives by the university to ensure compliance.
  • With limited direction demonstrates knowledge of university, college, and major requirements, policies, and procedures
  • Ability to lead other staff, advisors and students through the complexities related to university catalog requirements
  • Ability to lead staff, advisors and students through the intricacies, process and comprehension of graduation requirements
  • Exudes knowledge of higher education principles, theories, and issues (to include FERPA)
  • Understanding of the intricacies and complexities related to multifaceted student advising populations
  • Understand the complexities and inner nuances of transfer requirements
  • Assists in the promotion and understanding of the university’s commitment to student success and role advisors play in promoting success and progression to degree completion
  • Adhere to college, state and federal administrative procedures, guidelines, initiatives and directives by the university to ensure compliance.
  • With little or no direction demonstrates to others the knowledge of university, college, major requirements, policies, and procedures. Assists in solving and assessing complex issues related to policy and procedures
  • Obtains a mastery, so other staff, advisors and students seek out counsel on matters related to the complexities and understanding of university catalog requirements
  • Obtains a mastery of all issues related to the intricacies, process and comprehension of graduation requirements. Is able to successfully problem solve issues related to graduation requirements with minimal intervention..
  • Knowledge and demonstration of higher education principles, theories, and issues (to include FERPA and other Federal regulations/statutes) must be exhibited at a mastery level. This may be executed through training, conference sessions, workshops and other professional development/educational opportunities.
  • Understanding of and education of others related to the intricacies and complexities related to multifaceted student advising populations
  • Understand and education of others related to the complexities and inner nuances of transfer requirements.
  • Demonstrates independent initiatives to promote to other staff, advisors and staff the university’s commitment to student success and role advisors play in promoting success and progression to degree completion within their specific college or through university wide professional development opportunities
  • Adhere to college, state and federal administrative procedures, guidelines, initiatives and directives by the university to ensure compliance.

Competency 2:

Analytical Skills

  • Makes appropriate and ethical decisions
  • Ability to advise prospective, current, and former students regarding programs and policies
  • Basic understanding of MyPack Portal and SIS advising tools
  • Assists students with developing an educational plan
  • Basic knowledge regarding location of information for services and resources
  • Ability to assist students in problem solving their academic and educational issues
  • Makes appropriate and ethical decisions and encourages and assists others in making appropriate ethical decisions.
  • Serves as a leader/trainer for other staff and advisors for prospective, current, and former students regarding programs and policies (university, state and federal levels).
  • Comprehensive understanding of MyPack Portal, SIS, degree audit system and other university systems that impact student progression.
  • Takes initiative in assisting staff and advisors who need additional assistance with university based systems.
  • Develops and implements ways to enhance clarity and understanding for other advisors and students.
  • Ability to evaluate complex educational plans for students and work with students to develop meaningful options so progression to degree can be continued within a 4-6 year timeframe.
  • Ability to successfully manage complex and multifaceted issues related to student advising.
  • Ability to collaborate with relevant services and resources to assist the student in problem resolution.
  • Ability to successfully assist staff, advisors and students in higher level problem solving related to academic and educational issues
  • Demonstrates appropriate and ethical decision making and problem solving competencies and encourages and assists others in making appropriate ethical decisions.
  • Coordinates and serves as a leader/trainer for other staff and advisors for prospective, current, and former students regarding programs and policies (university, state and federal levels).
  • Demonstrates comprehensive understanding of MyPack Portal, SIS, degree audit system and other university systems that impact student progression.
  • Takes initiative in assisting staff and advisors who
  • need additional assistance with university based systems.
  • Develops and implements ways to enhance clarity and understanding for other advisors and students.
  • Demonstrates ability to evaluate complex educational plans for students and work with students to develop meaningful options so progression to degree can be continued within a 4-6 year timeframe.
  • Demonstrates ability to successfully manage complex and multifaceted issues related to student advising. Ability to collaborate with relevant services and resources to assist the student in problem resolution.
  • Demonstrates ability to successfully assist staff, advisors and students in higher level problem solving related to academic and educational issues

Competency 3:

Communication

  • Ability to foster an open environment for a diverse student population
  • Demonstrates basic written and verbal communications with students, parents, and colleagues
  • Gains knowledge of and encourages students to participate in professional development, internship, and graduate program opportunities
  • Exhibit leadership and foster an open environment for understanding and working with diverse student populations
  • Excels in detailed written and verbal communications with students, colleagues and parents
  • Provides leadership in providing advanced resources/opportunities when working with students to participate in professional development, internship, and graduate program opportunities
  • Consistently demonstrates leadership and fosters an open environment for understanding and working with diverse student populations
  • Consistently demonstrates exceptional service to others through detailed written and/or verbal communications with students, colleagues, or parents
  • Consistently demonstrates leadership in providing advanced resources/opportunities when working with students to participate in professional development, internship, and graduate program opportunities

Competency 4:

Initiative and Autonomy

  • Accepts and carries out current and new responsibilities
  • Attends professional development, campus engagement, and training opportunities
  • Shows leadership in initiating and carrying out current and new responsibilities
  • Provides leadership to other staff, advisors and students by coordinating, leading, or offering professional development, campus engagement, and training opportunities
  • Takes on roles and/or duties related to committee and professional development opportunities
  • Consistently demonstrates leadership in initiating and carrying out current and new responsibilities
  • Consistently demonstrates leadership to other staff, advisors and students by coordinating, leading, or offering professional development, campus engagement, and training opportunities
  • Consistently provides leadership or advanced service by taking on roles and/or duties related to committee and professional development opportunities at the local/state/national leve

Competency 5:

Cooperation and Collaboration

  • Develops working relationship with others in unit and at the university
  • Develops and fosters mutual trust and respect with students, parents, members of the university, and community
  • Initiates and encourages strong working relationships with others in unit and at the university
  • Initiates and encourages mutual trust and respect with students, parents, members of the university, and community
  • Consistently demonstrates strong working relationships with others in unit and at the university
  • Consistently demonstrates and encourages mutual trust and respect with students, parents, members of the university, and community

Evaluation of Academic Advising

The Training and Evaluation Working Group was challenged to find time to meet and/or work on the Evaluation Model. The UAAC Team agreed that this topic and group should be integrated with the Career Ladder Working Group because to the overlapping and connecting themes and processes involved with both groups.

Assessment of Academic Advising

Introduction

With the charge of developing a comprehensive assessment model to systematically assess the advising experience of advisees and advisors, initial work has focused on developing an academic advising mission statement, objectives and outcomes.

The UAAC Definition of Academic Advising and the UAAC Advising Guidelines and Expectations provided a starting framework for the development of the academic advising assessment model. The Assessment of Academic Advising working group also reviewed the CAS Standards for Academic Advising, which provide a set of standards for advising programs covering student learning outcomes and assessment practice.

Currently at NC State, academic advising for first- and second-year students is delivered using a variety of advising models across colleges and departments. The student learning and process/delivery outcomes reflected in the recommendations for academic advising assessment represent the expected outcomes for every NC State student, guaranteeing a quality advising experience.

Institution-wide surveys administered through OIRP currently capture some data on the students’ experience of academic advising. Instruments used include the National Survey of Student Engagement, NC State Sophomore Survey, NC State Graduating Senior Survey, and the NC State Climate Survey. These surveys capture primarily satisfaction-based information (e.g., perceived quality of student-advisor interactions, satisfaction with accessibility to advisor, satisfaction with advisor knowledge). This important information will be supplemented by the assessment of student learning outcomes, which are the focus of the proposed academic advising assessment plan.

The next phase in the development of the academic advising assessment plan will be to define recommended methods for assessment.

Proposed Academic Advising Assessment Plan

Academic Advising Mission
The mission of Academic Advising at NC State University is to promote undergraduate student learning, development, persistence, and success. Academic advisors support students as they develop and pursue educational, career, and personal goals.

The ultimate goal of the student-advisor partnership is for students to increase their personal agency and critical thinking skills, and apply both to their life choices in college and beyond.

Academic advising is delivered across a number of different platforms and processes, including individual and group advising, orientation courses, and through print and online materials.

Objectives

  1. Students will develop well-reasoned goals.
  2. Students will develop self-reliance and take ownership of their undergraduate experience.
  3. Students will apply critical thinking skills to advance their academic success and progress toward degree.
  4. Students will value academic advising as part of their undergraduate education.

Outcomes (mapped to Objectives)

  1. Students will be able to identify and articulate their interests, abilities, and values. (1)
  2. Students will apply self-knowledge, personal experience, and research to make an informed decision on a major. (1)
  3. Students will establish educational goals and monitor progress toward those goals. (1,2)
  4. Students will be able to apply university policies and procedures as appropriate to their situation. (2,3)
  5. Students will select courses each term that strategically fulfill the GEP and/or intended or selected degree program, and that help them achieve their educational and career goals. (1,2,3)
  6. Students will be able to articulate an achievable long term course plan, taking into consideration factors such as progress to degree, program requirements, and recommended course sequences. (3)
  7. Students will be able to explain the importance of pursuing activities outside the classroom that foster personal and professional growth, including character- and skill-building opportunities, and relate these activities and skills to their overall goals. (2,3)
  8. Students will be able to identify personal challenges and areas for growth, and connect with campus resources for social, emotional, academic, health, and other support. (2,3)
  9. Students will practice professional conduct, good judgment, and respect in interactions with faculty, staff, employers, and peers. (3,4)
  10. Students will feel that academic advising services are welcoming, accessible, and inclusive. (4)

Appendix A

Definition of Academic Advising

Academic Advising is an intentional process designed to support students as they develop and pursue educational, career, and personal goals.

The ultimate goal of the student-advisor partnership is for students to increase their personal agency and critical thinking skills, and apply both to their life choices in college and beyond.

Academic advisors empower students to make timely and well-informed choices by helping them connect with university and community resources, identify opportunities, assess alternatives, and predict possible consequences of their actions.

The ultimate responsibility for developing and pursuing life goals and for creating and executing educational plans rests with the student.

 

Appendix B

NC STATE UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC ADVISING

GUIDELINES AND EXPECTATIONS

ADVISING PHILOSOPHY

Advising is a partnership between you and your Advisor that is grounded in open and timely communication regarding personal goals, self-knowledge, and information about majors, careers, and university policies. Advisors do not “prescribe” answers or majors for you; rather, we prompt you with the questions and resources you need to explore your interests, abilities, and values, and to set and reach your personal, academic, and career goals. While academic advising is a collaborative process, the ultimate responsibility for your educational experience rests with you, the student.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of the academic advising relationship, you will:

  • Identify and articulate your interests, abilities, and values (self-knowledge)
  • Apply your self-knowledge, personal experience, and research to make an informed decision on a major
  • Establish educational goals and monitor progress toward those goals
  • Understand university policies and procedures including, but not limited to:
    • Progress Toward Degree
    • Change of Degree Application (CODA)
    • Other Academic Policies, including Grade Exclusion and Academic Standing
  • Select courses that strategically fulfill the General Education Plan and your intended degree program(s) and help you achieve your educational and career goals
  • Utilize the Degree Planner effectively in course-planning
  • Pursue campus resources and opportunities that support personal wellness, academic success, community involvement, and career goals

Expectations of Students

  • The Student is an active partner in the advising relationship.
  • The Student is responsible for scheduling and keeping appointments with the Advisor. An initial advising appointment and a registration advising appointment are required each semester. Additional appointments may be required based on the Student’s academic standing and status.
  • The Student demonstrates courteous and professional behavior, rescheduling appointments with notice if necessary, and coming to every advising meeting prepared with questions, materials, and/or topics to discuss.
  • The Student keeps the Advisor informed about academic progress and schedule adjustments, and shares any issues or concerns in a timely manner.
  • The Student is proactive in exploring possibilities for majors, minors, career development opportunities and special programs.
  • The Student is open to developing and clarifying personal values and goals.
  • The Student accepts responsibility for his or her decisions and actions.
  • The Student regularly checks his or her NCSU email account for updates from the Advisor and important university information, and makes timely responses to requests and inquiries.
  • The Student follows through with actions agreed upon in advising sessions.

Expectations of Advisors

  • The Advisor develops knowledge about the Student and builds a relationship with the Student.
  • The Advisor provides a safe space in which the Student can share thoughts, aspirations, concerns, and interests.
  • The Advisor maintains confidentiality in accordance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and University regulations.
  • The Advisor explains college and university policies and procedures.
  • The Advisor provides information on University policies, majors, minors, and special opportunities.
  • The Advisor supports the Student in his/her decision-making process, assisting the Student in identifying the appropriate path to achieving academic goals.
  • The Advisor encourages and supports the Student in gaining the skills and knowledge necessary for success.
  • The Advisor communicates critical information in a timely manner.
  • The Advisor refers the Student to other appropriate resources if needed and follows through with actions agreed upon in advising sessions.