Help Students Stay On Their Path
- Ongoing, intrusive advising
Students at Pathways colleges respond to focus group questions about their advising experience. This compilation includes clips that are provided individually in the Student Voices below. (Center for Community College Student Engagement) (posted 10/9/2018)
Show Me the Way: The Power of Advising in Community Colleges (posted 4/5/2018)
Students and faculty consistently report that advising is the most important student service that colleges offer. And data indicate that students who receive more advising — more time with advisors and more in-depth discussions in their sessions — are more engaged. (Center for Community College Student Engagement)
Integrated Student Support Redesign: A Toolkit for Redesigning Advising and Student Services to Effectively Support Every Student (posted 4/5/2018)
This toolkit helps colleges redesign and integrate student supports so they help students progress along their educational and career pathways. It provides evidence-based, practitioner-tested tools, tips, and guides. (Achieving the Dream)
Planning for Rollout and Adoption: A Guide for iPASS Institutions (posted 4/5/2018)
This guide describes each component of a rollout and adoption plan for Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS). It includes best practices and tools that address communications, training, evaluation, and refinement and scaling. (Achieving the Dream and Educause)
Technology-Mediated Advising and Student Support: An Institutional Self-Assessment (posted 4/5/2018)
This rubric helps colleges assess their work on technology-mediated advising and student support, sometimes referred to as Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success, or iPASS. (Community College Research Center)
PRACTITIONER, PRESIDENT, AND PARTNER PERSPECTIVES
Jo-Carol Fabianke, Vice Chancellor for Academic Success, Alamo Colleges, Pathways Colleges (posted 4/5/2018)
Probably in about 2009, we decided to look at things from the students’ experience rather than from ours. And at that time, we developed what we called My Map, which was monitoring academic progress. And from that, then, a couple of years later, on the student services side, we brought in Charlie Nutt from NACADA. He spent several days with advisors from across our colleges to develop what we call Alamo Advise. Everything in San Antonio has an Alamo to go with it, so Alamo Advise. And through his, his guidance, we really developed learning outcomes for advising, for 0 to 30, and then 31 to 60. Then the next phase of that was to start our Alamo Institutes, which is the career clusters that we have on the academic side. So really, it’s the two-fold piece in the student experience. One is helping them to identify what they want to do and getting them on a pathway, which is the Alamo Institutes. And then I’ll say shepherding them through their progress to completion through the Alamo Advise. We spent a good bit of time with our board. They understood what we wanted to do with the advising process. We added almost 50 advisors, trying to get our ratio to 350 to 1. And we’ve done the case management model. And it’s been really effective.
Stephanie Sutton, Associate Provost, Enrollment Management & Student Success, Lorain County Community College, Pathways Coach (posted 4/5/2018)
As we’re listening to the student voice, it really helped drive our advising redesign — that they wanted them to advise them. They want someone, they want one person that they can go to from entry to completion. They complained about seeing eight different people and sometimes getting conflicting information. Our advisors now are specialists working in specialty advising teams under our program in career pathways, or the guided pathways structure. So we’re seeing a lot of early success with this redesign, but it does change the way we work with our students and our expectations from our staff.
Tonjua Williams, President, St. Petersburg College, Pathways Coach (posted 4/5/2018)
The trajectory is going up on success rates for our students. But also on retention, coming back the subsequent term, we have found that by having the advisors intricately involved, especially for the onboarding and the first four weeks of class, it has helped students stay in class, not withdraw. You know, that first four weeks kind of is, you know, scary. And so if you’re a new student, whether you’re 30 years old or 18, the advisor is meeting with you every single week to make sure, you know, “This is your first week, you should be doing this.” “This is your second week.” To kind of onboard them strongly. So that’s been very successful.
When a student applies to St. Petersburg College, on the application, they have to pick a career and academic community. When they pick thecareer and academic community, their advisor’s name, phone number, and info is right there. So they know who that person is. The advisor reaches out in 24 hours, and they contact that student and start building their relationship. The first four weeks of class, the advisor goes into a class setting with caseloads of their new students, and they check in with them, make sure they have what they need, make sure they’re going to tutoring, they’re meeting the right people, and that they’re staying engaged in the college. So it helps build student engagement.
Mike Flores, President, Palo Alto College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
Palo Alto College was actually the pioneer and pilot for our Alamo Advise initiative in which we have one academic advisor that will follow a student from their first to their final semester. And they work with 350 students. So we have one advisor per every 350. That involved a reallocation of resources internally that the board and the chancellor committed to and then worked with for us to be able to achieve that. And that involved the whole team coming together, the vice chancellors and the presidents working with student success folks and working with folks in academics to figure out how to structure that opportunity. But Alamo Advise is significant as part of our journey because the academic advisors will work in tandem with faculty members in the Alamo Institutes, which are our guided pathways. So we already have a really strong foundational element. We already have conversations that are going to begin in the classroom. But we have the foundational elements of academic advisors engaging intentionally with students to talk about what they would like to do, how to structure that experience, and how to ensure that they are in one of our five guided pathways.
Bruce Vandal, Vice President, Complete College America (posted 4/5/2018)
We know that investments in advising and student support services actually yield tremendous benefits to the student and to the institution. If you have one dollar to spend at an institution, a new dollar to spend, and you put that in student support services, you’re gonna get a better yield, a better impact, than if you put it in any other place in the institution. If you had to reappropriate a dollar at a community college or any other postsecondary institution, reappropriating it into student support services is gonna yield a better outcome for the student and the institution. We need to think about prioritizing our resources and recognizing we need to put more resources into academic advising and other student support services, but we know that that’s not always gonna be easily done. We know that there’s only limited resources to go around. So we need to think about a couple of different things to support this work. One is frankly creating better and more effective and aligned protocols for advising when students walk in the door, knowing exactly what we want the students to achieve and providing directed support for it. The second is to be able to target our advising resources to students who need it, using technology solutions for many students who that’s all that they’ll need. They know what they’re there for. You give them the program path. They will follow that path when given the opportunity. You can actually reduce investments in some students and then reappropriate investments for the students who really need the support, students who are not sure of their path, students that are struggling, so looking at how you triage your resources to not think about equal support for all students, but appropriate support for students based on what their needs are. That can have a tremendous impact.
Tina Hart, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, Indian River State College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
When they sit down and develop their guided pathway, the courses on that pathway, that is their plan. And it all leads to a credential. And the sequence and the timing, we have guided pathways for part time, guided pathways for full time. Even the part time are all at the most three years. And then the full time are all two years. And that’s for our associate programs as well as our baccalaureate programs. So if a student tries to take a course — because they can register online — if they try to take a course that’s off the plan, that’s when the alert is sent to them as well as to the advisor. And then in the morning, every morning the advisor gets a report with a list of the students on their caseload that tried to go off plan. And the alerts that came in overnight or during the day the previous day. But every morning they address those, and they set up appointments with their students that have gone off plan or at least call them and let them know that “What’s going on? I see that you tried to sign up for, you know, this, when you’re on this pathway for this credential.”
Sam Hirsch, Vice President, Academic & Student Success, Community College of Philadelphia, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
We took probably one of the most significant steps at our institution, and we restructured advising. What we did is we went to a different model of full-time professional advisors. With a significant, you know, resource allocation, obviously, for that. So we hired seven last fall. We’re going to be hiring another three — an additional three to start this fall. And that’s been a significant change. They’re developing the plans. And just as importantly, they’re the ones that are monitoring progress of those students.
So helping the advisors and the rest of the college, we have — we are part of the iPASS Project. We have infused a fair amount of technology infrastructure to help all of us in terms of the monitoring aspect of this work. So that’s become critical. And the advisors use that tool, along with the students, to signal when their assistance is needed. There’s an early alert component to it. We use Starfish. There’s an early alert component to it. So faculty can not only signal that a student might be in trouble but also provide kudos as well, and that’s important. So the advisors are the ones who are monitoring that. They’re contacting students if they see students are going, you know, taking courses perhaps that is not on their plan. They are contacting them about opportunities, career opportunities, workshops that are happening, etc.
Andy Dorsey, President, Front Range Community College, Pathways College (posted 4/5/2018)
Well, we’ve husbanded our positions very carefully. Every time we have a position opening, we’ve thought, “Is this the position that’s going to lead us to student success?” So one of the things we’ve done over the course of several years is put aside some money so that we could add more advisors. We’ve added 15 new advising positions and reorganized about five other staff positions to become advisors. And that was by really carefully saying, “What’s our priority?” Our priority is increasing student success. We think probably investing in advising is the single most important thing we could do.
I got a call from not one, but two advisors. So one was my actual advisor for my program, and he was really good about it. He was just like, “Hey, just wanted you to know who I am.” He didn’t really call with any information. He’s like, “Hey, I want you to know who I am. If you have anything that goes on over the summer, don’t be afraid to call me. I’m still gonna be in my office.” My second one was my multicultural advisor, who I didn’t even know I had one here on campus, which was kinda cool. On my way to the airport, he called me, and he’s just like, “Hey. See you’re taking this many credits. I just wanna check in and make sure you meant to take this over the summer. That’s gonna be a lot, and I wanna make sure you’re on the right career path.” So this process made it feel like they cared about my education, from a standpoint of not just see me succeed for their benefit, but for my benefit. It made it really easy for me to transition into the school cuz I felt like I had people already without having attended a single class. I did all online classes, hadn’t been on campus once yet, and I still felt like it was somewhere I could call home, I guess, in a sense, that they had my back the same way that my family would.
My advisor will send out emails, I get them about two or three times a semester, and they often contain information about financial aid, registering for new classes. And also to make sure if — I do get a phone call also, at the beginning of the semester, of every semester I get a phone call from my advisor personally, asking how I’m doin’ in my classes. Is there anything, any questions I have, if I want to transfer out. Those basic questions, which gives me the feeling that I can trust my advisor. That they’re not just lookin’ at me like, okay, well she hasn’t come to me so I’m not gonna connect with her. It’s more so like on a personal basis.
At one point in time, I started to get off of my guided pathway, and that was because I was doing five classes a semester. And I realized I couldn’t handle five, but four I can do, so I would drop one class and maybe sign up for it the next semester. That threw my guided pathway off, and once that happened, that was literally like trouble in the making. I don’t know how it works, but somehow my advisor, she found out instantly, and she would call me on the phone, tell me to come in. But besides that, I’m staying on my pathway now, and now everything is good.
Outside commitments come into my advising sessions during conversation, and my advisor’s real friendly and sociable and just asks me about my life and my family and my — what I do for work and how many hours I work and then also child care and how that looks. So it’s something that comes up during advising. Also, here there’s a really wonderful student services office, and I go there. They’re actually helping me pay for my child care right now, and here there’s also the Veteran Resource Room, which is right next door to that one. I’m a veteran, so I spend time there. Then next door to student services is the career services, and I also spend time speaking with the different career advisors and also do my work-study there. So during conversations with the different types of advisors on campus, whether they’re at Student Services, my academic advisor, whom I met with today about the different testing and essay, etc., for my pre-program requirements to get into the program, whether it’s in conversation with that advisor, with the Student Services advisor, with the career advisor or with someone at the veterans’ services, I have a support system of advisors who have conversations with me and ask me how they can support me during my academic adventure. They are able to communicate with each other, especially if there was a concern that they had for me. Then they could flag me as a student, and the different individuals who’re part of that support team for me could talk with me and meet with me. I do know as well that if there was concern that there’s counseling available on campus here, too.
When I started college, I had no clue what I’m going to do, so I went to the advisor, I had an appointment with the advisor, and they kind of go through what you’re looking for, what you have interests in it and what you’re looking for and it’s not just program-wise, but like financial-wise, how much money you want to make, and so with all these different things together, we came up with the program I’m in.
She’s amazing. She goes over my guided pathway with me. If there’s a class that I need to take for my degree, and we don’t offer it, or we don’t have it in the semester, she offers me an alternative. She helps me with that. She pushes me to take classes and do better than what I thought I could ever do. She actually got me into, helping me with the honors program, and she encouraged me to do that and helped me register and put those on my guided pathway cuz those are special designated courses.
Every semester, I have met with my academic advisor and making sure that I was on track with credits to transfer to a university and also knowing what I wanted to do. But also we have teachers who we’re assigned to who’re also our advisors. The one I was assigned to also had a similar path that I wanted to go into, so she’s definitely been helpful in making sure that I’m taking correct classes that are really gonna help me in my future career.
I would definitely say that when you, especially when you have holds and whatnot, and the constant, “Hey, talk to your advisor to make sure that you need this class,” it is as frustrating as it is at times, it is almost reassuring because you know that you’re not going to be one of those people who took like 12 elective credits that you didn’t need because they will stop you.
When I first started here, my heart was set on medical. I wanted to be a trauma surgeon. So my plan was to go into the nursing program. I had everything set up. I got accepted into the nursing program, and I had everything situated. Then I decided I didn’t wanna do nursing anymore. I have raised animals my whole life, so I realized that maybe that’s something that I’d be more interested in. So I started, I did a couple job shadows and realized that I didn’t wanna do nursing. I was more interested in veterinary. So I went to my navigator and I was telling him, “I’m not interested in nursing anymore. What can I do? How can I change it? Is there anything I can do, or is it too late because I’ve already made my decision? I’ve already got everything situated.” He said, “No, that’s not a problem, just what do you wanna go into? What do you want to change it to?” And I talked to him, told him everything that I wanted to change, told him that I wasn’t interested in nursing, I wanted to do veterinary, where I wanted to go for college when I switched and everything. He situated everything for me. I just told him that I wasn’t interested in what I was doing, what I wanted to do, and he did everything for me. I didn’t have to do anything but go and communicated it with him. He changed everything. So it was pretty easy.
Well, actually, I just had a scheduling session with my academic advisor. She helped me work through like where I could be a part-time student. I could go to school part-time, and then I can work. Because not only that, but I’m a club officer for one of the clubs here at my school. She wanted me to make sure that I could balance my school workload along with the club’s, because, if I just went to school full-time and did the clubs, I just think it would have overwhelmed me too much. I didn’t want that to happen to me. My next scheduling session I had for the spring, we went over all the classes that I could take on a three-year plan, where I can graduate in the spring of 2020 from this college, and I can transfer to a four-year university for my next two years and then I will get my bachelor’s. She would send out a mock schedule to all the — to everybody in my program. She would include notes saying, “Okay, there’s this going on. We have employers looking for paid internships.” There’s like another event going on. We have a career fair coming up in April. We have this internship draft day. That’s where we have — but it’s at a separate location from the college. You can go talk to employers. You can network. You don’t have to sign up for interviews, if you’re not interested in taking your internship at this time. But she just recommended going into that, just gathering information on what internships are available, for what they have to offer.
When I was thinking about doing my bachelor after my associate here — we haven’t started bachelor program here yet, so we were just looking at doing the general studies for me. My advisor did talk to me step by step. What were the classes I needed to do in order to transfer over to university? But halfway through, we had opened up a — our partnership with the university here and create a bridging program, where once I’m done with my associate degree here, they will then take all my credits over and allow me to go into the university with my full credits. So…what happened was our advisor also connects with the adviser at that university, and they will come about two times a month to visit with us, let us know, “Okay, in what program are you going to be transferred to our universities? Then let’s look at your class now. Are you overtaking your class, or are you not reaching enough credits yet?” That’s what happens. We are able to actually meet with an actual advisor from the universities, too.
Also for, like, seminar, you had to meet with your navigator to apply for classes for the next semester. I think that was a requirement, too.
Well, actually, our student advisor was side by side with us, helping us choose our classes. Then, after SEM 140, while we’re in class, it has a whole guide and a book of how to find the classes for your pathway. Then, like, after you find with your schedule and how you want to be, you send it to your student advisor, and she approves it, or she disagrees with it, and she will like help you fix it.
My advisor is very caring and so a couple of times a semester she’ll email me and she’ll be like, “Hey, do you want to meet up so we can check how you’re doing? How’s your progress going this semester?” She’s very easy to talk to. We have a pretty — she’s pretty cool.