Guided Pathways update: FAQs about advising

Following are responses to questions asked during the Student Services Division’s November 11 faculty/staff webinar, “Advising — The Pivotal Link to Student Success.”

The next webinar is 8:30 a.m. Friday, December 9, and will address counseling. View information about accessing Student Services webinars.

What rubric is the college using to evaluate advising’s impact on success?

We currently monitor data on the number of students seen by advisors and counselors, the reason for student visits to Student Services, the length of their sessions, and student satisfaction. We have conducted SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) assessments to obtain feedback from faculty and staff on each campus. The college tracks and monitors several student retention and success measures, including those for individual groups (such as first time in college).  We also will monitor some of the new processes associated with guided pathways, such as the number of interventions advisors have with their assigned students. After we’ve implemented a new early alert system, we will monitor referrals from faculty and others to ensure we are addressing students’ issues and needs.

Are individual degree plans being addressed? For example the general studies degree in science is very complex with nine footnotes. Students and advisors have difficulty managing it even with technological aides.

The Instruction and Student Services divisions are collaborating on degree maps that offer streamlined paths to graduation or transfer and simplify choices for students. Our goal is to have common first semesters within areas of study — to the extent possible — simplifying first semester choices for students, advisors, and faculty.

How are peak advising periods likely to change with the new advising model?

Previously advising was done on a walk-in basis. Generally, students who perceived they needed help came in, but many who really needed help — especially first-generation students — did not. With a case management and appointment system, advisors and faculty will work with students throughout the semester. This will help reduce the influx of students before the start of the semester and even-out workloads. Our goal is to develop relationships with students to help them succeed. While there will still be busy times right before a semester begins, we already are seeing the numbers moderate as students get help earlier.

You mentioned training/discussions on transformative leadership with the senior administration/staff. What is the plan to have that trickle down to the campus level? Leadership happens at all levels and it seems that some of the training is not disseminated.

Just as the information regarding guided pathways has been shared collegewide, leadership also will share information on transformative leadership. Kathy James, director of academic and career advising, is working to improve advisor training to ensure students receive consistent information across campuses. Training for new advisors consists of multiple sessions and is highly structured to ensure consistency. We’re also developing training for existing advisors for the same reason. Faculty coordinators are collaborating with area of study advising supervisors, and department chairs are arranging program-specific training for area of study advisors.

Can you tell us about the early alert system in development? Is there a timeline for implementation?

Because our current “early alert” system activates after grades are entered, we lose the opportunity to help students earlier in the semester when it could make a difference in their success. To intervene with these students, Student Services needs to work with the Instruction Division. New software (Ellucian’s CRM Advise) will allow faculty and others to easily alert Student Services when they have concerns about a student. The system also permits automated messaging to students based on defined criteria such as low grades and poor attendance. Willie Martinez, associate vice president of student success and analytics, is working with IT to roll out this software. He is forming an Academic Progress Work Group to steer the implementation. Faculty and staff who would like to participate should contact Willie ([email protected]). We hope to have the system implemented for fall 2017 or earlier.

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