Advising Best Practices

Best Practices for Academic Advising

complied by the Student Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate

March 10, 2006

Following up on the Spring Semester 2005 Advising Survey Summary of Results and in an effort to improve academic advising on campus; the Student Affairs Committee provides the following list of advising best practices from various departments on campus. This list is not necessarily comprehensive. It is being provided for information only in order to share promising advising practices with the campus community.

Suggestions for getting students in for advising.

  • Every Fall before the graduation priority application date the department has a mandatory graduation check workshop for seniors. (History)
  • Department puts registration holds on all students that are on academic probation requiring them to go to a workshop or get advising before they can register. Probation workshops are held every semester during the first weeks of classes and before registration. (Undeclared, Kinesiology and Business)
  • Department requires all majors to be advised once a year.  Holds for registration are placed until the student has met with their advisor. (Kinesiology)
  • Department has a pizza party at noon once a semester with faculty available to answer advising questions. (Anthropology)
  • Department takes time in a required major course to explain special features about the major and to answer advising questions. (Hutchins)
  • Nursing and Business (high demand majors with multiple criteria to declare that major) hold 6-8 advising workshops every semester to inform students of requirements, timelines and answers general GE questions.

Suggestions for assigning advisors.

  • Department posts fliers all over common areas asking majors to check their campus e-mail for important advising and registration messages.  Department sends out advising timelines, graduation application dates, and registration time line information. (Kinesiology)
  • Department posts multiple fliers informing students to come in for early registration and check in department office if they need to see who is their advisor. (Theater and Music)
  • Department posts every student by name outside the door of the department office with an assigned advisor next to their name. (Psychology)
  • Department assigns students advisors for the 5-6 foci within major. (Business, ENSP etc.)
  • Some departments have a professional advisor for lower division students rather than having faculty do lower division advising. (Business)
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice break their advisees down by last name and assign them to one of their permanent faculty.

Forms, paperwork, and other advising tools.

  • Use a list serve to update majors and minors on advising concerns.
  • Offer workshops with topics of interest to a larger group than just that major, but require academic advising information to be disseminated.  (Teaching, English, Pre-Health Advising)
  • Have a major specific check list containing the required core and concentration courses for degree. (Business)
  • Departments provide students with a timeline of the sequence of courses to be offered in future semesters. (Mathematics, Anthropology)
  • Use peer advisors to provide GE advising to lower division students and to show how to use advising tools such as CMS and the Degree Planner.

Effective advising models used by other institutions.

Faculty does advising for majors and major coursework only.  Advising Center has a faculty liaison or Director of Academic Advising that serves the whole campus for general graduation requirements, GE advising and pre-major coursework. This model is the most commonly used throughout the country in higher education, lends itself best to mid-size and large universities.  In the case of larger universities the model is applied to each  school.

All advising is conducted in the major departments with professional advisors assigned to each major and/or school. Some schools have no exploratory major (undeclared).

Professional advisors split their time between an Advising department made up of exploratory majors (undeclared) and a academic major department.  Advisors have a focus or liaison with each department or school.