To help students have a successful college experience and graduate in a timely manner, Cal Poly Pomona is expanding its team of advisors this fall.
The university has hired seven new advisors, as well as an e-advising coordinator, and is preparing to hire an eighth advisor. All nine positions are new and bring the campus’ full-time professional academic staff advisor total to 25, said Cecilia Santiago-Gonzalez, Cal Poly Pomona’s director of strategic initiatives for student success.
“These are very seasoned advisors,” she said. “We wanted to recruit the best.”
On top of the experience each of the new advisors bring to the job, they are also undergoing additional training, Santiago-Gonzalez said.
Cal Poly Pomona, along with the 22 other CSU campuses, is implementing numerous strategies as part of Graduation Initiative 2025. The initiative, launched in 2016 by the California State University system, is designed to help students achieve graduation in a timely fashion through a multiprong strategy. The advisors are part of that initiative.
Each of the new CPP advisors will be assigned to one of the eight colleges, Santiago-Gonzalez said. The e-advisor works in the Office of Student Success.
The new hires will give Cal Poly Pomona an approximate 1,100 to 1 student to advisor ratio, which is a significant “step in the right direction,” Santiago-Gonzalez said. The ratio is more than the National Academic Advising Association’s recommended ratio of 300-600 students to 1 advisor for an institution our size, but it is lower than the previous 1,300 to 1.
All the academic advisors will encourage students to complete 30 units per year. The role of these new advisors will be to specifically work with students close to graduation and those struggling academically to make sure they are on track to earn their diplomas, Santiago-Gonzalez said.
As part of the strategy to support students who may not be making progress to a degree, advisors will work with at least one faculty representative from each college over this and next semester to develop an early alert system that encourages faculty to connect the student with someone who can reach out to a student facing a challenge.
The goal is to provide students with the support they need so they can succeed at Cal Poly Pomona and beyond, Santiago-Gonzalez said.
“It’s important we do this,” she said, adding its key that students know “someone cares about them at the university.”
The university would like all students to graduate in four years but not everyone can do that, said Sep Eskandari, Cal Poly Pomona associate provost. It is important that we provide comprehensive support for all our students to facilitate successful and timely graduation, he added
Some students are adult learners, others must hold down full-time jobs, some have children, while others have other responsibilities that make it difficult to graduate in four years. Others could be the first in their families to attend college or have limited incomes.
For others the challenges that slow their progress may involve not having enough to eat or other issues where they need to be connected to services.
We have always had support services for our students, Eskandari said.
“However, now we are having holistic and very intentional strategies to support our students – inside and outside of the classroom,” he said.
It’s important to make sure all our students have options, Santiago Gonzalez said.
“We understand our students come with diverse experiences,” she said.
Students such as Josh Bloomer, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, welcomes the additional advisors.
“More advisors coming on board will help students more efficiently,” he said.
Bloomer said he has run into snags in the past while attempting to enroll in classes. The classes had prerequisite that he fulfilled with high school advance placement courses, but he still couldn’t sign up for the classes.
“Several times I had to email the civil engineering department,” he said.
Although the matter was resolved, Bloomer wonders if additional access to an advisor would have led to a solution without requiring the emails, he said.