Student advising is one of a number of factors that impact student success. PSU faculty and professional advisors use different advising models depending on the school/college/department. Several years ago, PSU added a number of professional advisors and saw an increase in the retention of full-time freshmen. Our retention rate, however, declined the past three years. It is time for us to reassess our advising model in response to the changing demands on students, and implement what we have learned from new, national, high-impact practices.
Over the next 18 months, PSU will be engaged in projects that increase advising capacity, revitalize advising systems and improve the visibility of student support services. I asked Sukhwant Jhaj, Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Student Success, to describe some of the advising redesign work underway.
Working as a team
A team of academic advisors (Casey Campbell, Kate Constable, Martha Dyson, Lynell Spencer, and Melissa Yates) and Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) staff (Randi Harris, Kara Hayes, Sukhwant Jhaj) will be working with other professional advisors, faculty, staff, students and alumni to facilitate the redesign of professional academic and career advising at Portland State University.
Cross-functional teams from OAA, Finance and Administration, and Enrollment Management and Student Affairs are working on creating: A Coordinated Service Network between advising, Financial Aid, Bursar’s Office and Registrar’s Office; personalized Degree Maps; and redesign of myPSU to offer online services to students.
The goals of the Academic and Career Advising Redesign as established by the Academic Leadership Team are:
- Enhance the 1:1 relationship between advisors and students by creating Academic Advising Pathways or Clusters consistent with student flow. Integrate services for undeclared students with advising clusters and establish a major declaration policy.
- Create a unified advising framework overseen centrally to create consistent advising practices and policies.
- Organize work so it is a source of joy: career advancement opportunities, create community, promote equity, and consistent advising position description with clear expectations.
- Increase student self-efficacy and sense of agency, such that the right context, supports, and tools exist for students to access services on their own.
Alignment with Strategic Plan
Academic and Career Advising Redesign directly aligns with PSU’s Strategic Plan:
- Strategic Goal #1: Elevate Student Success
- Initiative #3: Use Best Practices to Advance Student Retention
- Sub-initiative #3.1: Increase advising capacity, revitalize advising systems and improve the visibility of student support services.
This work is supported by a $640,000 grant from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. PSU has also received a $105,000 grant to support creation of Degree Maps from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, and Lumina Foundation.
Making the work public
The Advising Redesign Workgroup held five public sessions in February and March to share information about the four projects and the road-mapping process. These interactive sessions offered the advising community an opportunity to ask questions and find ways in which one can engage with advising redesign work over the coming year. Through the month of March, the Advising Redesign Workgroup held 65, 1:1 interviews with professional advisors to learn about their current experience and their vision for advising redesign. The Advising Redesign Workgroup intends to meet with key faculty members regarding their experience and vision for the reinvigorated system.
See for yourself
You can see firsthand the work being done by the Academic and Career Advising Redesign Workgroup by attending an informal walk through what they have learned so far from their interviews with PSU’s professional advisors.
Please save one of the following dates to attend:
Monday, April 25 – 10:00-11:00am
Tuesday, April 26 – 10:00-11:00am
The walk through will be held in the Office of Academic Innovation, SMSU M211, South End Room. It is an open house-style event, so feel free to attend at any point during the scheduled hour. We expect that it will take about 20 minutes to experience.
Please direct questions to Sukhwant Jhaj at email@example.com and post comments on this blog space.