This blog is one in a series featuring the Student Choice Award winners from the Advising Success Network’s Holistic Advising Awards process. Read more about all the winners here.
In recent years, Nashville State Community College has undergone a transformative journey towards enhancing student success and retention by implementing a comprehensive holistic advising approach. The institution’s commitment to supporting its diverse student population has led to the establishment of success centers and the hiring of professional advisors, drastically reshaping the way students receive guidance and support. Prior to 2019, Nashville State relied solely on a faculty advising model, but the college received feedback from students that this model provided inconsistent support based on faculty interest and availability. Students faced challenges in accessing advising support, especially during the summer when faculty might be off contract.
Student Success Advisors
In the fall of 2019, Nashville State took a significant step towards enhancing student support by introducing its first student success center and hiring six primary-role advisors. The college targeted first-time full-time students, ensuring they each had a dedicated success advisor. Recognizing the positive impact of this initiative on enrollment and retention rates, the institution continued to expand its success advisor program over the last 4 years. At present, the college boasts 17 success advisors, each assigned to students from admission to graduation. The success advisor model is built on the foundation of a long-term relationship between the advisor and the student. By connecting students with a dedicated advisor from the outset, Nashville State aims to minimize confusion and reduce the likelihood of students being shuffled from one office to another. These advisors undergo intensive training, ensuring they possess in-depth knowledge of academic programs, resources, and support services offered by the college. Additionally, they receive high-level training on financial aid and related processes, allowing them to serve as a valuable resource for students navigating complex financial matters.
Support From Students
The success advisor model has been met with enthusiasm and appreciation from the student body. Anecdotal feedback demonstrates that many students credit their success and persistence to the support they receive from their dedicated advisors. Students express a sense of comfort in confiding in their advisors, knowing they have a reliable ally to assist them with various challenges they may face. The impact of the holistic advising approach can also be seen in key institutional metrics. Improved GPA and credit accumulation are evident indicators of the success of these advising initiatives. Furthermore, the college has focused on reducing the number of students earning zero credits in their first semester, aiming to help every student stay on track to achieve their academic goals.
Nashville State Community College remains committed to expanding and refining its holistic advising initiatives to further benefit its diverse student population. The college is currently working on an onboarding redesign to enhance the student experience from initial contact to admission. This redesign includes active student involvement in the decision-making process, ensuring that students’ perspectives and needs are prioritized.
Addressing Unique Needs
Additionally, Nashville State Community College is focusing on providing specific support for first-generation college students, recognizing the unique challenges they face in pursuing higher education. The college is actively seeking partnerships with investors and donors to broaden the scope of its specialized programs, such as Nashville flex and Nashville GRAD, to cater to more counties and students.
Dedication Pays Off
The transformation of Nashville State Community College’s advising system is a testament to its commitment to student success and support. Through the implementation of success centers and the dedicated work of professional advisors, the college has provided students with invaluable guidance, fostering a supportive environment that enables students to overcome barriers and achieve their academic dreams. As Nashville State continues to expand its holistic advising initiatives, it is poised to create a profound impact on the lives of its students and the broader community.
Student Choice Award
The Advising Success Network is pleased to recognize Nashville State Community College with the Student Choice Award for its outstanding commitment to student success through its transformative advising approach. We look forward to hearing more about the institution’s continued impact in student achievement and the enhancement of their educational journey.
Mirabelle Uma authored this blog during her 2023 internship with the Advising Success Network while a graduate student at Baruch College studying International Affairs.