Seeking Input on Final Recommendation of Advising Redesign

redesign-update5The PSU Academic and Advising Redesign Workgroup will present their final report and recommendations on the next steps for advising on Thursday, November 10, 10-11am and 1-2pm in SMSU, 209M. I encourage everyone interested in this topic to RSVP and attend the event and to read the report to be released at the event and subsequently posted on the Redesign Project website.

The Redesign Project is designed to increase PSU student retention and completion rates, improve the student experience, and make advising more rewarding and effective for both professional advisors and faculty.  It is intended to create a unified advising framework to increase student self-efficacy and a sense of agency, as well as improve the experiences of academic and career advisors. It aligns with PSU’s Strategic Plan, Goal #1: Elevate Student Success, Initiative #3.1: Increase advising capacity, revitalize advising systems and improve the visibility of student support services.

redesign-update4The Advising Ecosystem
Advising at PSU is done by faculty, professional advisors, career counselors, exploratory advisors, and peer advisors; all part of the advising ecosystem.  Professional advisors and faculty both noted in surveys and engagement sessions that they would like more clarity and definition around advising roles and expectations. There are cases where work is being duplicated and other cases where students are not getting services that they need because everyone assumes that someone else is doing it. The Academic and Career Advising Redesign Workgroup looked closely at how advising is currently happening across campus to see how we can better serve our students, and developed recommendations for how to best structure professional advising, career counseling, and exploratory advising.

I want to put to rest fears that there will be a diminishment of the critical role that faculty play in advising. There is a recognition that advising is not an either/or – professional advisors or faculty advisors – but rather a sharing and assignment of duties that reflect where each can best serve students.

The Projectredesign-update3
The Advising Redesign Project launched in September 2015.  The  charge came from the Academic Leadership Team to build campus-wide involvement and support to develop specific advising recommendations.  The team had a mandate to hold community engagement sessions with students, professional advisors, faculty, and other collaborators; conduct student surveys and 1:1 interviews; engage in best practices, research, and examine internal PSU data.

View Status and Timeline of the Advising Redesign Project

redesign-update2Initial planning meetings for project authorization, development of guiding principles, consideration of issues and approaches, and establishment of project goals were held in Fall 2015.

The discovery phase followed, which included:

  • 81 1:1 interviews
  • five community engagement sessions
  • a student advisement survey
  • researching literature on advising practices at four peer universities
  • examining PSU retention and completion data
  • reviewing three prior student surveys
  • OIRP conducting an analysis of patterns and flow between majors
  • advisors conducting experience mapping

The Design involved developing solutions aligned with the needs and strengths of students, advisors, and faculty, as well as address resource gaps.redesign-update1

Advising is a complex topic and the team found that our fragmented systems hamper advisor effectiveness. They propose a redesigned organizational structure that brings greater clarity to advising roles that will eliminate confusion and inefficiency for students, advisors, and faculty. Best practices that support long-term advising relationships leading to student success are incorporated throughout the recommendations.

Next Steps
The report and recommendations are now complete and I will soon make a decision on if and how to adopt the recommendations. I seek your informed input, so please attend the November 10 session, read the report posted on November 11, and share your thoughts by the end of November.

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4 thoughts on “Seeking Input on Final Recommendation of Advising Redesign

  1. There is so much to like about this proposal. The investment in advising is excellent and I think it will pay off through better relations with students. Having assigned advisors who have mandatory advising sessions is an important step forward. Centralization will mean better consistency and I like the way the project includes consideration for the well being of advisors, particularly how they can flourish in their work. My one concern is that University Studies is not viewed as a major partner in this process because we do not have a pathway. However, given the sheer volume of students touched by University Studies and UNST’s significant work on Exploratory Studies, I would like to see a transfer advisor assigned to University Studies. This advisor would not only help with student experience but also influence how University Studies structures its interventions to improve retention and success.

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  2. I think that the expanded number of mandatory touch points and including intentional career conversations will make a big difference in student clarity about their major and path. Having a process for students to verity their major that includes reflection on their values and interests as well as a clear understanding of their resources and a plan to finish their degree will help with completion and excessive credits.

    Establishing a transfer center will also help with excessive credits and with connecting students with PSU earlier and helping new transfers adapt to PSU and make the most of their first terms here.

    To Maurice’s comment, having dedicated advising resources in UNST would help serve frosh in a similar manner to the transfer center in aiding frosh in navigating their first year.

    The amount of work and care that went into this project is amazing and I am looking forward to seeing this work in action.

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  3. A tremendous amount of effort clearly went into this inclusive process in order to create effective recommendations that would improve the student experience.

    I appreciate how this redesign included the student voice and every step of the way has considered the student perspective rather than getting hung up on our structural systems as they currently exist.

    I will be very interested to see how this plays out in the implementation phase.

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  4. Excellent work and very exciting! I would love to see PSU encourage faculty/staff development in understanding basic financial issues as well. Possibly free access to the Fin. 218 class and supported time/text dollars. A primary reason students give for dropping out is “financial concerns”. I am happy to see a “financial plan” component for students! The Personal Fiance course (Fin. 218) has been in the SBA for over 15 years with students creating financial plans. Students that take the course are very happy to learn how to make the most with the resources they have. Recent research is showing that retention and graduation rates are higher for Fin. 218 students. Great job on addressing this very important financial literacy/awareness issue!

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