Advising Task Force Report - Introduction

While advising was always an important element of student success, its significance in the 21st century is paramount. With growing complexity of curricula and major choices, increasing numbers of students from diverse backgrounds, and shifting student needs, advising is now crucial to fostering student success and facilitating access to resources across the institution. Indeed, a national study concluded that “the quality of academic advising is the single most powerful predictor of satisfaction with the campus environment for students at four-year institutions.”1 This is thus an opportune moment to take a close look at advising and chart a path to realizing our vision for students thriving on Grounds and beyond.

Through listening sessions, review of UVA data, and examination of practices at other institutions (see Appendices C and D for further information), the Task Force has collected and synthesized large amounts of information to articulate a vision for advising, describe the current state of advising, and offer recommendations for the future. The work of the Task Force was broad in two main respects: a) it included engagement with stakeholders across all schools enrolling undergraduates (see Appendix A for an overview) as well as centralized units, and b) it took a holistic approach, focusing not only on academic advising, but also considering advising in career and personal domains. Within this broad charge, the Task Force focused on formal or systematic advising – i.e., the structures intentionally designed to provide advice and guidance to students as they navigate the University (see Appendix B for a further discussion of scope). In a vibrant and caring community such as UVA, students receive plenty of guidance informally – from peers, faculty in their classes, teaching assistants, and other staff with whom they may come in contact in their lives at the University. Such guidance is not the subject of this report.

1 Kuh, G.D., Kinzie, J., Buckley, J.A., Bridges, B.K., & Kayek, J.C. (2006). What matters to student success: A review of the literature. National Symposium Education Cooperative. p. 60