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Voices of the Global Community


Raquel Vallecillo, Florida International University 

In the advent of recent, new technologies shaping the world, and soon education, through artificial intelligence chatbots and augmented and immersive reality, it’s important to consider how the advising community can best use technology to leverage student resources and implement strategies that meet institutional goals or metrics. The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged institutions to modify their use of technology and provide needed support to students (Charlton, 2022)—adapting to a hybrid advising model, creating more fully online programs and additional online course offerings, and redefining the registration process for first-time, undergraduate students. A consequential insight from this event is that the academic advising community has proven to be adaptable and is always looking for ways to improve practices.

Although there have been concerns from technology researchers and academics about the negative impacts of technology on human connection, privacy, fact-based information, and concentration of wealth, there are much more opportunities that are afforded and expected in the next ten years. One of the predictions made by the Pew Research Center is that “new digital tools and human and technological systems will be designed to assure that factual information will be appropriately verified, highly findable, well-updated and archived” (Anderson & Raine, 2023). These expected changes can impact the work that the advising community does and how to approach student data. Many institutions are already using technology systems and compiling data to create individualized support systems to increase student success and support institutional goals.

There is Some Leading Work in Institutions

The institutions below demonstrate how selecting appropriate technology systems is key. Furthermore, the manner in which student information is utilized to make decisions in collaboration with stakeholders is also of significance.

  • Through a collaboration between enrollment management and undergraduate advising units at the University of California, Irvine, advisors are receiving “enrollment management analytics data” to further their understanding of their students at an individual level, consider the goals students have when applying to the institution, and make sure student goals are met as they move through their undergraduate careers (Mowreader, 2023c). Their timely reports have allowed advisors to apply intervention strategies and to spend less time trying to identify student needs or engaging in administrative work.
  • In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Calhoun-Brown (2023) reveals that in a span of 15 years Georgia State University has increased their graduation rate by more than 35 percent; the number of degrees awarded per year has increased by 84 percent; and the number of degrees awarded to low-income and minority students has more than doubled. GSU has closed achievement gaps because of “data-driven, personal advising.” The university has amassed 10 years of data in collaboration with the Education Advisory Board (EAB). Their 800 analytics-based academic alerts have helped to identify students with early signs of academic risk and provide them with needed resources. 
  • Academic progression and student experience are at the center of the work by Ithaca College as the institution introduced “a student-facing student success dashboard” that measures engagement and academic success. Its impetus was to have a centralized information location that allows stakeholders to have student data available. The level of information ranges by the stakeholder or those who are in the student’s support system and directly working or connecting with the student. The dashboard gives agency to the student to decide what identity-related information is visible to those in their support system and add to their success network as well (Mowreader, 2023a).

The Benefits of Collecting Data Can Outweigh the Costs

The benefits of utilizing data-gathering tools and engaging with those findings are significant for the advising community. The list below highlights those gains. 

  • A recent report from Complete College America, a non-profit organization working on increasing college completion rates, delineated best practices for creating measurement systems and making data driven decisions that can impact institutional goals. Some of these included allowing data access to all “stakeholders” if the information can impact the work they do. In this case, advisors, faculty, and staff can analyze student data and apply strategies that can help them meet their institution metrics. The report also encourages standardizing information across job functions to safeguard student data and respect student privacy (Mowreader, 2023b).
  • By identifying the low achievement or attainment areas, institutions can prioritize support services to be offered to students. Data can also help advising units to determine if students who have the highest support needs are using those services and whether their interventions strategies must be adjusted.
  • Investing in technology and data analytics can also help identify enrollment trends, manage marketing plans, capitalize on outreach projects and campaigns, and optimize student messaging.
  • It ultimately humanizes the advising session and allows for more time engaged in meaningful discussion—and spend less time rummaging through different platforms or windows to gather critical data.
  • Familiarity with student data can allow advisors and other supporting staff to see the big picture and to think about how their work is contributing to the overall success of the institution. It’s an indispensable skill that will clarify the purpose of their interventions and how they impact degree completion for their advisees and help meet performance metrics.

Looking Forward to the Future and Creating a Culture of Data

  • Invest in technology “that can aggregate and combine data [which] creates richer insight and analytics” (Mowreader, 2023b). With the recent, high turnover that has impacted the profession, it’s important to keep a student record that can benefit incoming advising professionals and assist with their preparation in the field. Institutional information should not be lost. Information can be key with the training of new advisors; it can make the process of learning the responsibilities more straightforward, so advisors make fewer mistakes.
  • If institutions cannot invest in technology, they should utilize the program knowledge that advisors and administrators have and make the most of the time advisors spend with students to gather some of the data. Advisors can become archivists within their specific departments if adequate technology is not accessible.
  • Encourage collaboration between colleges, departments, and other stakeholders—sharing information can help close performance gaps and paint a clear picture of the students attending the institutions. The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley defined by its diverse population of students have emphasized the importance of a “shared responsibility for student success,” and that creating “college-specific, advising-strategy teams” have allowed them to provide shared intervention strategies with elements that are more “college-and program-specific” (Charlton, 2022).
  • Increase transparency of data measurements and discuss course placement, support systems, and expectations based on data with students. Students should have clarity about how intervention strategies can help them to eliminate barriers and accomplish their academic, personal, and career goals.


Many institutions have provided data access to student support systems: faculty, advisors, career coaches, success coaches, mentors, and other integral divisions in the university. These stakeholders have provided immediate support to students while connecting and sharing information with one another. It’s important to keep in mind that student success is a shared responsibility and that “we cannot provide high-quality academic advising experiences for students without clear, detailed, and focused data on which to base the academic advising process” (Nutt, 2017). Data analytics is at the forefront of the decisions that are being made in higher education institutions. Data-driven decisions can benefit advising services and contribute to the humane approach that centers advising sessions and communication with students. Possibly, this shift can drastically alter the individualized support students can receive and will allow for more meaningful interactions between the advisor and advisee during sessions. Most importantly, this work highlights the collaboration of stakeholders and support systems within institutions and the shared responsibility for student success.


Anderson, J., & Raine, L. (2023, June 21). As AI spreads, experts predict the best and worst changes in digital life by 2035. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2023/06/21/as-ai-spreads-experts-predict-the-best-and-worst-changes-in-digital-life-by-2035/

Calhoun-Brown, A. (2023, January 9). How data and technology can improve advising and equity. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/how-data-and-technology-can-improve-advising-and-equity

Charlton, J. (2022, December 29). It’s time to disrupt your approach to advising. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/its-time-to-disrupt-your-approach-to-advising

Mowreader, A. (2023a). Success dashboard creates culture shift on campus. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/student-success/academic-life/2023/04/26/student-facing-dashboard-provides-clarity-advisers

Mowreader, A. (2023b). Best practices in data integration for student success. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/student-success/academic-life/2023/05/09/dos-and-donts-using-data-student-success

Mowreader, A. (2023c). Enrollment data in advising promotes student success. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/student-success/academic-life/2023/06/02/enrollment-data-advising-promotes-student-success

Nutt, C. (2017, March). Creating a data-driven advising culture: Overcoming three central roadblocks. Academic Advising Today, 40(1). https://nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/From-the-Executive-Director-Creating-a-Data-Driven-Advising-Culture-Overcoming-Three-Central-Roadblocks.aspx


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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.