CoVisions, sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, seeks to invite presenters to discuss innovative collaborations and observations that address contemporary issues and new solutions within the changing nature of higher education. CoVisions, like Provisions, allows for faculty and administrators to share insights with one another regarding current issues in higher education.
We are delighted to share with you the recent CoVisions session held on Monday, November 2nd, on the theme of Academic Advising. The esteemed presenters included: Dr. Christine Pfister, Dr. Kelly Meyer, Director of Academic Advising, and Dr. Shai Butler, Associate Vice President for Student Success. Each of the presenters shared their perspectives and has graciously agreed to share their prepared presentations for those that were unable to attend.
The session began with Dr. Christine Pfister on “Advising – Responsibilities and Opportunities.” Dr. Pfister shared her own experiences and evolution as an advisor. She polled students to get a sense of what they wanted their advisors to know and do:
- Remember that many students are not familiar with college policies, protocols, and procedures
- Help students see and understand how their major and the Liberal Education curriculum fit together
- Think about the implications of their credit load
- Get to know them as students–not as a number!
Advisors serve a key role and it’s increasingly one that moves beyond academics to include:
- Being a resource and soundingboard for questions about graduate school
- Helping students navigate financial aid
- Starting a resume
Next in the line-up was Dr. Kelly Meyer on “The Evolving Role of Academic Advisement.” Dr. Meyer provided a useful and succinct overview of the changing theoretical perspectives on advising. In the 1970’s, advisors began to move away from a more traditional prescriptive model and towards a “developmental advising” model. This move meant paying much closer attention to student development–cognitive and emotional–and was primarily concerned with facilitating the student’s rational decision making process. Later there was a shift to “intrusive advising,” that involved deliberate outreach at certain moments and to certain groups who needed orientation assistance. Most recently advising has been looked at as a critical form of teaching and learning. Here at Saint Rose, we have included the best practices from all models:
- Intrusive–which means deliberate intervention (such as our First Alert system)
- A strong developmental sensibility (attentive to the challenge of making transitions and developing resiliency)
- A commitment to helping students develop an awareness of the “logic of the curriculum” and “mature autonomy.”
The final presenter was Dr. Shai Butler, on “A Piloted Systemic Approach: The Student Outreach System (SOS).” Dr. Butler explored the new campus developments that have been designed to assist advisors to support students throughout their college experience. The main focus of the system is to make the registration process an easier and less stressful experience for students. Several goals were achieved from the use of the SOS approach, including:
- Creation of systemized approach to the registration process
- Contribution to efforts to increase student retention
- Intervention with students that may be at risk of attrition
- Distribution of communication tool to inform the number and types of contacts