Changes to Model for Student Advising
June 2, 2020
As many of you are aware, we are moving forward with the activation of another of the top three priorities of our strategic planning process—a move that will have a dramatic impact on student success and retention. I am writing to provide additional information and clarification.
Following more than a year of intensive study and research during the strategic planning process—and guided by the Advising Action Planning Team’s 47-page final report and two recommended options, submitted in January 2020—I have taken the Advising Action Planning Team’s recommendations to heart and decided to begin the campus-wide process of implementing a modified recommended model for student advising.
Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond, Vice Chancellor Krissy Creager, and I have shared these plans with academic leaders, Faculty Senate leaders, and others during the past two weeks. We all agree that any new model for advising on our campus must acknowledge, value, and preserve the essential input of faculty into student advising.
After careful consideration, the best option for our campus indicates moving forward with a collaborative model that employs central coordination of student advising across all academic units. The new, central advising unit will be housed in the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management. Dr. Drummond will have oversight and management responsibility, with Kent Johnson, director of assessment, reporting directly to him and leading this new initiative. Dr. Johnson brings a depth of applicable knowledge and experience that is critical to the success of this new model.
One essential component of the new central unit is bringing together highly trained professionals currently residing in academic units across campus to provide high-quality, faculty-informed, consistent advising across a range of important areas that are critical to student success. Services and support will depend on close collaboration and coordination between the central academic advising office and other departments and functions, including financial aid, career development, mental health support, and life coaching. It cannot be overlooked that the key to successful academic program progression and career planning for all students will be the engagement and collaboration of faculty in the process.
The central advising office will be the primary advisor for nearly all new incoming students during their first year (first 30 credit hours). This is so critical to helping students get acclimated to college life and effectively manage academic progress with success, while getting the encouragement and guidance to persist with their studies. Recognizing that high-achieving students generally have clear academic aspirations, we see these selected individuals belonging to a special cohort of new incoming students who may bypass the central advising office and receive advising directly by the academic units.
We are sensitive to the fact that implementation of this new advising model will necessitate change across the institution. We have appointed a small task force that will work diligently during the coming months to build the collaborative and administrative organization that will ensure a smooth transition to fully implement the new collaborative advising model and welcome our first class under the new system in fall 2021.
Please be assured that we are moving forward with the knowledge and understanding that this aspect of student success has been discussed and studied at length by key stakeholders across the campus, including a deep dive last fall by the 15 members of the strategic planning Advising Action Planning Team. Their recommendations were informed not only by our entire campus community but also by best practices evidenced at many other institutions across the country from years and decades of experience and proven outcomes.
We are confident that this new model will lift up student success and persistence across the institution and ensure that all Purdue Fort Wayne students benefit equally from a model that has been so successful at other institutions around the country.
Thank you for your support as we assemble the central advising team and continue to work collaboratively across all academic units so that together we provide the first-rate educational guidance our students expect and deserve.