Students starting the fall quarter will receive more helping hands as 10 new college advisors and a revamped website usher in a sweeping initiative aimed at making advisement an indispensable part of academic life.
A portion of the Student Success Fee from 2013-14 funded the hiring of the new advisors, who are tasked with helping students choose the right classes and keeping them on track. This takes on more urgency with semester conversion looming in 2018.
“Advising is very critical and is going to play a huge role in semester conversion to make sure that students are progressing in their degrees and to make sure that students are able to graduate when semesters come,” says Selyna Beverly, the university’s advising coordinator. “We don’t want students to be put at a disadvantage because of semesters. We want to help them navigate the process.”
To help with the massive undertaking involved in converting from quarters to semesters, students have been encouraged to develop an Individual Advising Plan that will keep them on the path toward graduation. A video was even created to help spread the word about semester conversion and advising.
Beverly says this is the first time that some of the colleges have had a full-time professional advisor. These professional advisors are expected to collaborate with faculty advisors and give students enhanced advising.
Banners and swag emphasizing the importance of advising are part of an awareness campaign. In addition, the website is crammed with information about support services and tutoring, and contains links to the advising centers in the colleges.
“We’re trying to create a streamlined advising process that makes it easy for a student to get help. We want students to get help early on because the university’s focus is on retention and graduation,” Beverly says. “The more students are connected to an advisor, the more likely they’re going to do well and graduate. Research shows advising impacts student success.”
The advising centers are especially valuable for at-risk students and students who are not making progress toward their degrees, says Beverly. “Those are the students we need to put our energy into and try to support them the best way we can.”
Faculty advisors are instrumental in helping students feel connected to their department and major, Beverly says. They also are essential to helping students identify career goals, informing students about how to get into graduate school and identifying research opportunities on campus, she says.
“This is a big year for us. We want advising to be sustainable,” Beverly says. “There’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of room for growth.”