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Advising Discussion Notes - Southwest Regional Meeting

Advising was among three shared areas of interest for participants at the Southwest Georgia CCG Regional Meeting held at the Valdosta State University on April 16, 2016. Brief notes from the breakout conversation on this issue at the meeting follow:

Key Concerns

  • Group felt that the lack of guidance leaves advising programs vulnerable to challenges associated with inconsistent leadership
  • There is inconsistency in messaging throughout advising process


  • Opportunity to learn from others on how to collect data to determine success that can be contributed to advising systems
  • Opportunity to learn about best practices
  • Need to involve students in review of advising processes


  • Request additional guidance from System Office:
    • Instructions on developing program maps
    • Incorporating advising into faculty tenure process
    • Instructions on tools including Degree Works
    • Online resources and tutorials
    • Advising syllabi
    • Guidance/brief for new provosts and presidents about advising systems
    • Instructions for assessing advising programs
    • Clarity on how to address faculty involvement, one of two options:
      • Require advising as part of tenure and promotion process and provide thorough training so that all faculty have tools to advise well, or
      • Faculty involvement in advising is optional with significant incentives for faculty to participate.
    • List of questions to ask first-year students, transfer students
    • Policy issue: require advising as part of tenure and promotion policy


  •  Several institutions use a centralized advising model for underclassmen—combination of professional advisors and faculty advisors
  • Some advising models meet monthly with team of advisors to share ideas and get updates
  • Also use satisfaction surveys to improve process
  • Consensus that faculty have tendency to step away from advising responsibilities once campus shifts to centralized advising.
    • Discussed ideas on how to maintain engagement of faculty in advising
  • Challenge of providing advising when students need it and when they are available—noted challenges in scheduling and contacting students via email
  • One solution being used by an institution is proactively performing degree audits to ensure adequate academic progress in a degree program
  • Group requested assistance from System Office by providing more explicit guidelines around advising
  • Majority of students declare majors upon enrollment
  • Some institutions using aptitude/career assessments to place students in majors
  • Discussion of faculty voting down a transition to a centralized advising model
    • Small volume programs did not want to give away advising responsibilities, suggested they may be concerned with losing students in programs
  • Group indicated concerns of lack of guidance, clarity on advising leaves programs vulnerable to funding cuts
  • Using Banner to lift flag restrictions and determine why students withdraw
    • Mechanism to learn more about hurdles to completion, success
    • “If we know, we can intervene earlier”
    • Challenges and advantages of speaking with faculty during withdrawal
  • Resources and tools needed:
    • Basics of how to use current data collection tools to measure improvement
    • Basics of Degree Works, Educational Planner