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Project Title:University Academic Advising Enhancement Program: Collaborative Advising between Academic Affairs and Student AffairsInstitution Name:University of Central Florida (UCF) Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:DeLaine Priest, Associate Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment ServicesContact Information:(407) 823-4625, dpriest@mail.ucf.eduWebsite:
Project Description:The Academic Advising Enhancement Program (AAEP) was established at UCF in 2009 and represents an excellent collaborative model for academic advising targeting sophomore and second-year students. In the inaugural year of implementation, 13 academic advisors were hired, 7 advisors were assigned to colleges, 1 advisor was assigned to undergraduate studies, and 5 advisors were assigned to Student Development and Enrollment Services (SDES). The positions are funded through monies designated for undergraduate student success, and SDES provides administrative oversight of the program. Five additional colleges and units received funding in 2010.
Objectives:

The primary objectives of the program were individualized by each college or department: 

  • enhance sophomore and second-year student transition
  • improve academic advising for sophomore and second-year students  
  • provide training programs to support advisors in AAEP positions
  • track continuous assessment and evaluation of academic advising positions  
  • increase retention and persistence rates for sophomore and second-year students
  • improve graduation rates
  • reduce the percentage of students who graduate with excess hours
Outcomes:
  • All AAEP advisors collaborated to develop two college-wide sophomore and second-year transition programs, Sophomore Advising Days and College Connections. 
  • Monthly training meetings were held, and a national speaker on sophomore students facilitated a full-day training workshop with AAEP advisors. 
  • Assessment tools were created, baseline data were established, and new tracking systems were implemented.
  • Several communication tools were developed including newsletters, websites, early alert systems, and marketing tools.
  • All colleges and departments accomplished the objectives or are in the process of completing the objectives.

 

Each funded unit developed a set of goals and learning outcomes that were tracked and reported on a monthly, bi-annual, and annual basis. Measurable outcomes with targeted quantifiable improvements were tracked based on a cohort identified from the current population.

Challenges/Problems Encountered:The establishment of the AAEP provided an excellent opportunity for collaboration between the division of SDES and the advising units within the colleges and departments. However, some initial challenges included inconsistent data collection across colleges for the targeted populations; developing measureable outcomes required added training support;  assistance was necessary for development of assessment tools; and monthly, bi-annual, and annual reports from unit administrators, not previously required by several advising units, creating accountability issues. These areas were identified and addressed within the first semester of hiring the advisors through training and identifying data needs. 
Evaluation Approach:The evaluation approach consists of a monthly, bi-annual, and annual reporting system and assessment. One of the initial steps was to identify the baseline cohorts for each unit. Monthly reports track the student contacts, advisor activities, and baseline data collected, as well as planned initiatives. The bi-annual and annual reports document progress towards outcomes and capture data connected to the funding area of improvement such as improvement of advising. SDES has responsibility for evaluating how each advising initiative met the funding area of improvement and progress towards unit outcomes.  Reports are generated and submitted to the Board of Governors as requested. Various assessment tools were developed to measure outcomes (i.e. surveys, computer queries, and questionnaires). 
Potential for Replication:

This model of institutional organization and design is replicable and provides opportunity and flexibility in funding allocation. Further, the model can impact academic advising for targeted cohorts based on its collaborative nature. The inclusion of measureable outcomes and continuous assessment is vital to the success of this type of partnership.  Recommended adjustments include:

  • limiting report frequency to semester and annual reporting
  • enhancing training through benchmarking institutions that have the best practices for targeted populations
  • altering assessment training program to include individual and group consultations
  • identifying an overall program evaluation of academic advising for second-year students
CEO-to-CEO Contact:John C. Hitt , Presidentjhitt@mail.ucf.edu
(407) 823-1823
Date Published: Saturday, April 30, 2011