Components of Successful Advising Redesign

Advising redesign activities will be successful to the extent that they:

  • Challenge persistent myths
  • Are grounded in research
  • Are focused on student learning and development
  • Are supported with appropriate technology transformations
  • Align with the institution’s mission
  • Are rooted in an understanding of equity
  • Provide adequate support for primary-role and faculty advisors
  • Have roles and responsibilities clearly defined, and;
  • Are supported by mid- and senior-level campus leadership

8 Categories of Institutional Needs

Our dynamic network develops and delivers targeted technical assistance both in-person and virtually, that supports holistic advising practices, policies, structures, and wrap-around supports to address racial and socioeconomic inequities in the institutional experience for students. These supports address the eight categories of institutional needs described below.

Foundational Context and Planning

Understanding institutional context, culture, and community is essential for advising redesign to work. Aligning priorities and including stakeholders of all levels ensures critical lived experiences are incorporated in the development of a successful strategy.

Leadership and Change Management

Understanding the complexity of advising and its role in student success is important for institutional leaders. This is shown by investing time and resources in advising staff, technology, and through the implementation of aligned strategic and innovative practices and policies.

Structures and Processes

Understanding advising from the student perspective should influence assessment of policies and procedures to reduce inequities, omit unnecessary steps, and remove barriers. Collaboration across campus can streamline the student experience.

Engagement and Communication

Auditing outgoing communications leads to an understanding of how to be strategic and consistent in messages to students and across units/offices. Focusing on strategic communication can ensure a common, accurate understanding of policies and procedures.

Technology Selection

Assessing institutional capacity before bringing in new tools allows the process to be led by identification of need and strategy for implementation. Information Technology officers and partners who will use the tools are critical to the success of this effort.

Technology Management

Demonstrating how technology enhances advising results in stronger buy-in and usage of tools by both students and staff. Tools are only as effective as their integration, usage, and compliance; policies and consistency are necessary.

Professional Development and Training

Supporting onboarding, retention, and continued learning for primary-role and faculty advisors, as well as mid- and senior-level leadership, demonstrates the administration’s commitment to create and maintain successful advising programs.

Organizational Learning and Continuous Improvement

Building skills and capacity to assess learning, in the spirit of continuous improvement, empowers stakeholders to evaluate initiatives through research and data analytics, ensuring acknowledgement and support for all students of varying backgrounds and experiences.

Common Questions About Advising

What does an average day look like for an advisor? Mask Created with Sketch. Mask Created with Sketch.

Advisors wear many hats, often at the same time. A day in the life may include a number of student appointments, teaching a first-year experience course, doing a classroom presentation on study skills or career planning, or even talking with prospective students. 

How does advising vary institution to institution? Mask Created with Sketch. Mask Created with Sketch.

Advising can be distributed in several ways, depending on your institution. There are primary role advisors whose main job is to advise students — and they can live either in a central office or within departments, such as Business. Often, you will also see faculty advisors who both teach and advise. These advisors typically work with upper-level students. Additionally, peer advisors play a role in supporting student success. They can advise students on more practical things like reading a degree audit or navigating a complicated process. They bring immense value in their own experience, and usually students appreciate hearing from a peer. 

How can campus leaders show their support for advising on campus? Mask Created with Sketch. Mask Created with Sketch.

A great way to demonstrate a commitment to advising is to offer professional development to advising professionals across the institution. By providing opportunities for advisors to develop their skills, campuses show an investment in advising. Meaningful examples include supporting their membership to a professional association or registration to a conference or symposium.