NACADA’s strategic goals (4 of 8)

In this month’s post, we consider the next goal from NACADA’s strategic plan: “Promote the role of effective academic advising in student success to college and university decision maker.” From my perspective, that goal has two essential elements: (a) establishing the assertion that effective academic advising contributes to student success and (b) communicating that information to decision makers.

Finding information to support the assertion that effective academic advising contributes to student success is fairly straightforward. Whether that advising focuses on major selection, course scheduling, navigating the complex maze of institutional rules, helping students deal with financial / psychological / emotional issues or balancing the demands of school / work / family, students benefit from interacting with a knowledgeable, objective third party like an advisor.

A graduate student recently came into my office for some advice. She is presently enrolled in our MBA program at Cal Poly Pomona, but is considering switching to our MS in Engineering Management. We spent some time discussing the costs and benefits of making the switch; in the end, we collaboratively arrived at an alternative that would help her achieve her goals. I’m sure you have some similar anecdotes to share; don’t hesitate to add them in the comments to this post.

Armed with the knowledge that effective academic advising contributes to student success, we must communicate that information to decision makers. Here are a few suggestions for that:

  • Ask your campus academic / faculty senate (or its equivalent) to adopt a resolution acknowledging the important role of advising in student success.
  • Create an ‘advising task force’ that can identify needs, establish priorities and suggest policy to decision makers.
  • Encourage your campus newspaper to interview advisors and students, then publish an article summarizing those interviews.

If you have additional suggestions / best practices for communicating the importance of advising to campus decision makers, I invite you to share them in the comments.

Until next month, colleagues, I wish you joy and success in the important work you do.


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