19 Informed by definitions provided in the NACADA Academic Advising Handbook.
|School||Undergrad Enrollment*||Have 1st Years||Have 1st Year Curricular Experience**||Primary Advisor||Advising Software|
|College||11,364||Yes||Yes (COLA)/optional||Faculty||CACS (UVA ITS)|
|Engineering||2,991||Yes||Yes (ENGR 1624)/required||Faculty||CACS (UVA ITS)^^|
|Education||527||Varies across programs^||Yes (EDIS 2895)/optional||Faculty||None|
|Nursing||433||Yes||Yes (NURS 1010)/optional||Staff/Faculty||None|
|Architecture||392||Yes||Yes (SARC 1500)/required||Staff||CACS (UVA ITS)|
|Batten||179||No||N/A||Staff||Salesforce Advisor Link|
*Counts represent Fall 2021 undergraduate degree-seeking students who are enrolled for credit; based on the Fall 2021 Census data file
** In addition, Hoos Connected (which is optional) serves first-year (as well as transfer) students across Grounds.
^ Only one program admits first-year students
^^ While Engineering has access to CACS, it is used only by a few faculty on a pilot basis.
The Task Force was charged with taking a broad look at advising to include academic, career, and personal dimensions, which can broadly be described as: 19
Academic - insight or direction provided about a selection of courses, major, path of study, or about the trajectory of students’ academic interests and potential opportunities for development.
Career - insight or direction provided about the relationship between academic experiences and career paths, options for career paths, or about the trajectory of students’ career interests and potential opportunities for development.
Personal - insight or direction provided about how to resolve or manage challenges regarding well-being, relationships, access to financial resources, or intrapersonal development, especially with regard to how those challenges impact students’ ability to participate fully in student life.
This broad definition makes it difficult to separate advising from other support services or resources in the academic, career, and personal realms. The specific demarcation of when advising ends and resource provision begins is challenging, depends on the use to which such a demarcation will be put, and is beyond the purview of the Task Force. Given that the University currently lacks a common definition and understanding of advising, one of the crucial roles of the proposed Advising Council (see recommendation #3.2) would be to develop clear parameters and role definitions within schools as well as across academic and student affairs units.
While the boundaries between advising and other forms of advice and support can be blurry, and require additional attention beyond the work of the Advising Task Force, all advising systems rest on having what could be termed a ‘primary advisor’ who serves in an expanded academic advisor role, i.e., who attends to students’ academic needs broadly conceived and serves as a guide to all other forms of advising and support. A more extensive discussion of the role of primary advisor, and how that has changed over time, is provided in the section on “What We Have Learned from Other Institutions.” These ideas present the foundation on which the proposed pan-University Advising Council can build to provide greater clarity about the key principles of advising, delineate relationships between different dimensions of advising as well as establish boundaries between advising and support services, as needed.
Advising Task Force relied on a range of data sources to learn about advising at UVA, including: Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Survey, Spring 2021 Advising Survey, listening sessions with students, staff, and faculty, UVA institutional data, and a survey of undergraduate schools with fist-year students (conducted in Spring 2021), each of which is discussed in turn.
SERU (Student Experience in the Research University) Survey
Students across the undergraduate schools participate in SERU every two years. SERU includes standard questions about the quality of advising and allows for comparisons with peer institutions. In addition, in the 2018 survey administration, UVA added questions that specifically address students’ satisfaction with major vs. pre-major advising. UVA data is available at: https://ira.virginia.edu/seru
Spring 2021 Advising Survey
All students in the two largest schools – College and Engineering – were invited to participate in a survey regarding their advising experiences. The survey covered four main topic areas: faculty advisors, association deans (College) or office of undergraduate programs (Engineering), access to support/resources across Grounds, and satisfaction with different aspects of advising. Survey data was merged with institutional information to allow for analyses across different class years and sociodemographic groups. 22% (N=2,516) of the students invited to participate completed the survey in the College and 21% (N=596) did so in Engineering.
Spring 2021 School Survey
All of the undergraduate schools with first-year students completed a brief survey in Spring 2021 which included questions about the goals for first-year advising, current advising practices, and vision for the future for first-year advising. The surveys were shared with the Dean of each school, who forwarded them to appropriate individuals within schools. The surveys were completed by: Rachel Most (College), William Guilford (Engineering), Anselmo Canfora (Architecture), Theresa Carroll (Nursing), and Catherine Brighton (Education).
The Task Force also examined a range of institutional data, including academic requirements across majors, proportion of students transferring across schools, proportion of students majoring/minoring across schools, and information available on school websites.
One hour listening sessions were held with groups of students, faculty, and staff. Sessions were co-designed and facilitated by Mary Brackett, Senior Associate at the UVA Organizational Excellence. Student sessions were also co-designed and co-led by three student liaisons: Ariana Gueranmayeh, Julia Rose Napier, and Kayla La'Nise White. The sessions elicited participants’ vision for advising in terms of exemplary experiences and ingredients for optimal advising. Participants also reflected on the current state of advising, including both the positive and negative aspects of existing practices. In addition, students drew journey maps, thinking through their advising experiences in academic, career, and personal realms over the course of their time at UVA. Faculty and students who could not attend the listening session could offer feedback via a survey that contained key questions from the sessions. 193 individuals provided feedback by either participating in a zoom meeting or responding to the survey.
A random sample of 4th year students across all undergraduate schools was invited to participate in a listening session. We focused on the 4th year students as they could speak to the totality of experience at UVA. Moreover, they had at least some of their experience pre-COVID. Forty-nine students participated in a zoom session, and an additional 30 students provided feedback through the survey, for a total of 79 students.
Faculty serving in advising roles across schools were invited to participate in a listening session. Faculty were not randomly selected but instead were recommended by their schools. This ensured that we would converse with faculty who were deeply engaged with and have thought carefully about advising. In the College and Engineering, department and program chairs were asked to nominate faculty. For Nursing, Education, Architecture and SCPS, schools with a small number of faculty advisors, the person who completed the Spring 2021 School Survey was asked to recommend faculty to participate in a listening session. A total of 101 faculty were invited to participate in a listening session. 57 faculty members participated in a zoom session and 4 more responded to the survey, for a total of 61 faculty offering feedback.
Staff and administrators across schools, including staff advisors as well as faculty and staff in the undergraduate offices, were invited to participate in a listening session. In addition, individuals in centralized units that engage in at least some advising were invited to participate. Staff members across the University play a crucial role in supporting students, and our goal was to ensure broad representation across various units. We solicited names of individuals from the Deans of each school, Academic Affairs in the Provost Office, and the Vice President for Student Affairs. Overall, 62 individuals were invited to participate and 53 attended a listening session.
For these sessions, participants were divided based on their function and relationship to advising, including (*individuals with an asterisk were not able to attend a listening session):
Leadership across schools and student affairs
Rachel Most (College), William Guilford (Engineering), Anselmo Canfora (Architecture), Theresa Carroll (Nursing), Catherine Brighton (Education), Jay Shimshack (Batten)*, Daniel Steeper (McIntire), Julia May (SCPS), Everette Fortner (Career Center)*, and Julie Caruccio (Dean of Students)
Association Deans in the College
Shawn Lyons, Shilpa Davé, Corin Fox, Melissa Frost, Sandra Seidel, Erin Eaker, Mark Hadley*, Sarah Cole, Kirt von Daacke, Connie Chic Smith, Karlin Luedtke, Elizabeth Ozment
Advising Staff Across Schools
Engineering: Lisa Lampe, Blake Calhoun, Alex Hall (also ODOS)*
Education: Jessica Livingston
Architecture: Tashana Starks
McIntire: Sally Armentrout, Ben Raske*, Julie Hilkey*, Sadie Royal Collins
Nursing: Dillon Kuhn, Kristin Wentland
Batten: Amanda Crombie, Kristine Nelson, Laura Toscano
Staff Serving Specific Populations of Students
ODOS: Laurie Casteen, Tabitha Enoch
OAAA: Michael Mason
Multicultural Affairs: Vicki Gist
Athletics: Heather Downs
International Students and Scholars Program: Adrienne Kim Bird*
Student Health and Wellness: Sarah Humphreys
School Specific: Keisha John (College), James Bland (Engineering), Katherine Lawrence (McIntire)
Central: Kimberly Sauerwein, Carrie Rudder, David Lapinski, Dreama Johnson
School Specific: Julia Lapan (Engineering), Tom Fitch (McIntire), Steve Hiss (Batten), Betsy Roettger (Architecture)*
Katie Densberger (Georges Student Center), Annia Dowell-Wiltshire (Ed Abroad), Nicole Fischer (Student Health)*, Donald Reynard (IT), Dorothe Bach (CTE), Andrus Ashoo (Citizen Scholar Development), Ellen Blackmon (Provost Office/Pathways Project)
|James Madison University*|
|Michigan State University|
|University of California – Berkeley*|
|University of California – Davis|
|University of Iowa|
|University of Michigan|
|University of Minnesota*|
|University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill*|
|University of Notre Dame*|
|University of Oregon*|
|University of Pittsburgh|
|University of Texas – Austin||
(otherwise school/program specific)
To ensure that we reach our aspirations of providing excellent and equitable advising, we need to develop a system of continuous assessment and improvement. While the Provost Office and the Advising Council are asked to work collaboratively with schools and academic and student affairs units to develop a comprehensive assessment plan (see recommendation #3), the Advising Task Force recommends focusing assessment in the following three areas: student experience, primary (first-year/pre-major) advisor competence, and the overall advising strategy.
Student Experience 20
To what extent are students aware of and utilizing advising and other services and resources within their school and across Grounds? Are there any differences across sociodemographic groups (e.g., race/ethnicity, first-generation status, income status, gender, transfer status) in utilization of services and resources?
Satisfaction with and Effectiveness of Advising
To what extent are students satisfied with the advising received from the primary advisor? To what extent do they regard it as effective in addressing their questions and directing them to appropriate resources?
To what extent are students satisfied with the advice and supports provided in academic, personal and career realms by their school as well as across Grounds? To what extent do they regard supports provided as effectively addressing the needs?
Do all groups of students, regardless of their backgrounds (e.g., race/ethnicity, first-generation status, income status, gender, transfer status) regard advising as equally effective?
How does satisfaction with advising at UVA compare with our peer institutions in SERU?
Needs (identify gaps)
What academic, personal, and career needs are not adequately met? How do those unmet needs vary across students from different sociodemographic backgrounds (e.g., race/ethnicity, first-generation status, income status, gender, transfer status)? How can the University address these unmet needs?
Primary (First-year/pre-major) Advisor Competence
Competence in crucial areas such as those outlined by the University of Wisconsin at Madison, for example:
- knowledge of undergraduate students
- awareness of equity, access and achievement issues at UVA and higher education
- knowledge of academic disciplines, requirements, and polices
- effective use of campus resources
- cultural literacy
- effective use of advising technologies and tools
- demonstration of ethical advising practice
- familiarity with the advising profession
Overall Advising Strategy
EAB, an organization that works with higher education institutions to “drive transformative change through data-driven insights” has developed a guide for assessing the overall advising strategy at colleges and universities. The guide includes 6 areas of evaluation, many of which directly speak to the relevant dimensions of where we want to be as well as the Task Force recommendations and include:
Mission, roles and definitions
Are there clearly articulated mission and roles?
EAB example: Maintains a consensual, documented, university-wide definition of effective advising, the mission of the advising program, and student learning outcomes
Is advising organized appropriately to support students and achieve goals for advising?
EAB example: Has a central, senior leader with university-wide responsibility for advising strategy, operations, and assessment; Maintains clear processes for advisor assignment and student flow between advisors
How is technology used to improve student support?
EAB example: Streamlines advisor workflow by eliminating duplicative processes and providing best practice recommendations on which systems to use for common advising activities
Advisor training and development
Are advisors able to provide the best advising possible?
EAB example: Provides ongoing advisor training and professional development opportunities and resources; Maintains clear and consistent job descriptions, hiring criteria, and hiring processes
Policies and practices
How do policies, practices and processes promote the highest quality of advising?
EAB Example: Maintains clear referral pathways and processes that enable effective transition of students to other service providers (e.g., tutoring, financial aid) and efficient follow up to close the loop
What structures are in place to facilitate accountability and facilitate a process of continuous improvement?
EAB example: Incorporates relevant, student-centered metrics into advisor performance evaluations; Distributes information on key performance indicators to advisors on a regular basis to promote performance