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Cathy Buyarski and Frank Ross, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Academic advisors are often positioned to address the holistic needs of students. As such, their role in promoting student success is key. However, in order to be most effective, the role of the advisor must be purposeful and intrusive. Advisors at University College, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), work in collaboration with other campus partners to provide a comprehensive set of programmatic activities that provide on-going support and interventions through the first semester of enrollment. Additionally, intensive advisor interaction with students allows for the continuous development of an inclusive profile of each student that promotes on-going advising that meets each students individual needs.

Program components include:

  • Advisors complete a pre-advising assessment for each student they will advise during the New Student Orientation program. This 'worksheet' allows the advisor to review and summarize information on each student including their application for admission, high school or transfer transcript, placement test scores, and an entering student survey that provides demographic, attitudinize, and behavioral information on the student.
  • During the New Student Orientation program new students participate in an advisor led group information session on their particular major and meet individually with an academic advisor specializing in their major field of study.
  • All students enroll in a Learning Community during their first semester of study. Part of their learning community experience is a first-year seminar course that is taught by an instructional team comprised of a faculty member, academic advisor, librarian, and student mentor.
  • As part of the Learning Community program, advisors administer the Study Behavior Inventory that assesses students' actual study behaviors (as opposed to study skills). Results of the inventory are discussed with each student in an individual session with the advisor.
  • Students enrolled in Learning Communities are given priority in making appointments to discuss their goals, progress, and academic plan with an advisor.
    Each advisor conducts in-class registration during a session of the learning community; students are not left on their own to register so they can't decide to not enroll for the next semester without talking to an advisor.
  • An early warning program has faculty report on students who are having difficulty in their courses after the first four weeks of the semester; advisors are notified of students in their learning community who received an early warning notice.

Because this program is based on meeting the individual needs of students, it is highly applicable to any institution. In fact, many institutions have implemented portions of this intrusive first-semester advising system. The uniqueness, and ultimately the success, of this program rests in the collaborative approach to the first semester experience. Adaptation of the total program will be enhanced by efforts to build relationships with academic and administrative units serving first-year students.

For more information on this program, contact the authors or plan to attend the pre-conference workshop on this program being offered at the national conference in Salt Lake City. This program was awarded a 2001 NACADA Outstanding Institutional Program Award.

Cathy Buyarski
Director of Advising
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Frank Ross
Coordinator of Academic Success Programs
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Cite this article using APA style as: Buyarski, C. & Ross, F. (2002, June). Advising collaborations: The key to student success. Academic Advising Today, 25(2). [insert url here]

Posted in: 2002 June 25:2


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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.