Transitioning to a new advising structure at Northern Arizona University

Transforming advising in support of student success with purpose, commitment, and technology that can support better sharing of data across multiple units has been the focus of Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) work in the Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) grant program through EDUCAUSE, with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. NAU has approached the work in phases with a very deliberate student-centered approach and most notably has focused on enabling advisors to be successful in the new roles they are being asked to play.

On any campus, efforts to improve student success bring about significant change, purposefully touching many if not most departments of an institution. This process of change forces long-established processes to be changed, new communication across departmental boundaries to happen more transparently, and radically increased amounts of data to be shared, understood, and taken into account in order to guide and support students completing their degrees.

Ambitious goals for student success and retention are nothing new at NAU. A decade ago, a first-year advising center served a subset of students. But there were many other advisors throughout the campus working within the disparate schools and academic units. They recognized the value of working together informally and had a working group—and no formal system that would have enabled a consistent student experience.…Read More

Student advising plays key role in college success–just as it’s being cut

Devon Mills pulls out his smartphone at a Starbucks on the Arizona State University campus, and maps out how long it will take him to finish his undergraduate degree, says the Hechinger Report. Just exactly the right amount of time, his phone tells him. Despite double-majoring in political science and justice studies with a minor in sustainability, serving as president of the college council and vice president of the Residence Hall Association, working as a page in the state Senate, and cramming for the Law School Admission Test, Mills is on schedule to become one of the distinct minority of American college and university students who actually receive their four-year bachelor’s degrees in four years.

“I can see the goal in sight,” he says, serenely scrolling through an online color-coded plan that shows him the requirements he’s finished and the ones he still needs to fulfill before graduating in 2014…

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