Academic advisors have always played a central role in the success of our students. A rapid increase in our student population, including more first-generation students, has elevated the importance of our advisors even more.
That is why, in 2016-17, we’re celebrating the Year of the Advisor. We aim to recognize their contributions and strengths, along with the challenges they face, and are overcoming, through working together, embracing new technologies and taking on new responsibilities.
Advisors are true liaisons among faculty, the University’s administrative systems, support staff and students. They’re sources of support, guidance and wisdom for students who sometimes need a calming voice, especially early in their college careers. In short, advisors are the linchpin for student success.
Many advisors are serving more students, and helping them navigate more challenges, than ever before. In addition, as decentralization has altered the advising structure in recent years, advisors have responded in innovative ways. Individually and together with other staff and faculty they are making a difference for WSU students.
No longer do advisors simply schedule classes for students. They use technology to track students’ progress toward graduation, and intervene when they veer off track. They reach out to targeted groups of students at strategic times to efficiently and effectively boost their success rates. And advisors work together across departments and colleges to share best practices and support one another.
We’ve made key investments in tools for advisors. Student Success Collaborative Campus launched earlier this year, offering powerful communication and outreach capabilities. Students can now log in online and schedule appointments with their advisors in SSC Campus, if the advisors have synced their Outlook calendars. The majority of our advisors across WSU are using SSC Campus, and we have a team of advisors and staff working to provide training and support. Visit ssccampus.wsu.edu for more details.
The University Academic Advising Executive Council provides oversight to advising across all campuses and is developing a training protocol that will ensure advisors are well equipped to serve our students.
The Guide mobile app will launch in 2017, giving advisors—and other staff and faculty—another powerful tool to connect with students. Advisors, and other student support staff and faculty can prompt students at key times throughout the year to point them to WSU resources and services that can help them when they need it most.
Everyone from faculty to staff to fellow students can and must play a role in student support. We’re working to make awareness of, and referrals to student support services a smooth, seamless process. Our goal is to provide students a smooth pathway to a university degree, and that takes coordination and cooperation across departments, colleges, campuses, and student support units.
The Year of the Advisor is about recognizing the remarkable job our WSU advisors are doing, but also joining them in supporting student success. When we all work together, we can help each of our students reach their goals.
Thank you to our advisors, who are leading the way!