Undergraduate academic advisors hold an important role in helping students understand the options, obligations and opportunities related to their academic interests. Advisors work to interpret the environment of the academic institution while facilitating learning across curricular and co-curricular opportunities.
The First-Year Advising Council was established and first convened in summer 2013 to align the efforts of first-year advisors to better meet the needs of first-year students. The council’s work led to a series of recommendations that were approved by the Faculty Senate Academic Advising Council in November 2013:
These enhancements, in addition to a checkpoint system currently in development, will aid in the success of first-year students by improving pathways for major exploration and transition, supporting at-risk students through data-driven interventions, and by increasing retention and academic success across student populations.
Associate Provost for Academic Success and Engagement
Co-chair, First-Year Advising Council
Director, Undergraduate Programs | College of Engineering
Co-chair, First-Year Advising Council
Many colleges and universities have implemented early alert systems designed to formally notify students, faculty, and staff of a student’s poor academic performance based on a set of performance indicators, such as class attendance or midterm exam grades. By making a student aware of the resources available to them via a software- or staff-aided intervention, early alert aims to prevent a student’s present behaviors from further impeding academic success.
Oregon State will build upon existing early alert models by establishing a broader system of coordinated checkpoints. Rather than pertaining to a single course, checkpoints will span the entirety of the first year. Utilizing information from, and organizing communication between support areas—from the classroom to the residence hall to the academic advising office—the checkpoint system will intervene on behalf of the student through a variety of communication interventions. Timed in a way that encourage for a student to pursue applicable resources well before the end of a term, checkpoints will ultimately empower students to develop self-monitoring behaviors that will ensure success beyond the first year. Checkpoints will ensure our most academically vulnerable students have the opportunity to be engaged in the university and prepared for success.
Assistant director, Academic Success Center
The checkpoint model will eventually involve the academic advising community, residential education staff and student success staff.
Rather than a transactional interaction between a student and staff member, academic advising can be a meaningful education experience that facilitates deeper learning across the curriculum. An advising syllabus delineates the roles of both the student and advisor as well as the importance of personal exploration, reflection and learning. In addition, the syllabus will clearly identify the Student Learning Outcomes tied to advising. The syllabus will present this necessary information in a language that is accessible and engaging to first-year students.
Modular in nature, the advising syllabus will contain elements that will remain consistent across the university but also allow for individual college-level modifications and attributes. Accompanying the syllabus will be a user guide designed to help advisors fully understand and utilize the syllabus in a way that will best serve students.
Head advisor, University Exploratory Studies Program
Informed by the recommendations provided by the First-Year Advising Council’s Advising Syllabus and Checkpoints subcommittees as well as best practices established in the advising community, the Advising Structure subcommittee intends to develop a recommended advising structure that can provide consistency across colleges in the way that first-year students are advised. The subcommittee’s proposal will recommend advising models and appropriate staffing levels.
Head advisor, College of Liberal Arts
Head advisor, College of Science