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Action Project One – Student Advising
2006 Annual Report to AQIP
Note: The AQIP explanation of each question is italicized blue at the bottom of the question.
1. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.
Action Project One on Student Advising has a team of nine members (four faculty, three staff, and two students) who met regularly in the winter quarter after the Action Project Kick-off event on January 6, 2006. Between January 6th and the end of April the team met five times. The Action Project Team met less in the spring because of busy schedules and campus activity focused on the final curriculum work for the transition from quarters to semesters.
The Student Advising Action Project focused on information and data gathering in its early meetings. Information about advising at Shawnee State as well as peer institutions was collected. The team reviewed existing information on advising at SSU (including the academic advising policy, NACADA report, and the student satisfaction inventory). A survey was developed and administered to faculty with questions parallel to the items most connected to advising on the student satisfaction inventory. Data was collected regarding:
Survey result from the Vital Focus survey in the winter of 2005 and a more recent faculty survey in spring 2006 indicate a widespread recognition on the importance of advising and the need to improve advising processes.
A spring 2006 survey by the faculty development Action Project team indicated a high interest among faculty in learning more advising and counseling skills. The need for faculty development on advising was ranked third from the list of 42 faculty development opportunities.
The team is working on collecting information regarding the advising systems of that were identified by the strategic planning committee and the Restructuring to Enhance Recruitment and Retention Committee as in some ways similar to us but having higher retention and graduation rates than we do.
SSU has a collective bargaining relationship with its faculty. The faculty contract is negotiated once every three years. Without making formal recommendations, the task force asked that the administration and the union pay extra attention to issues related to advising during this contract negotiation.
While the charge of this Action Project did not include all of the advising issues surrounding the calendar change from quarters to semesters, the Action Project Team members have been very involved in this transition. The Advising Action Project is about 3 months behind the original time-line set for the project.
Describe concrete achievements: meetings, data gathered and analyzed, plans made or implemented, changes in processes, and measured results. If you haven’t made much progress, explain why you think things are moving slower than planned.
2. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.
With recommendation from the university-wide Budget and Academic Quality Improvement Planning Committee (BAQIP), the President appointed members of the Action Project Team and provided a charge and timeline for the project. Dr. Chris O’Connor, a faculty member in the Math Department, agreed to Chair the Action Project Team.
Meeting minutes have been placed on the institution’s AQIP web pages. The Action Team members have met with numerous individuals and groups on campus as they collected information and data about advising. Regular reports concerning the Student Advising Action Project progress were made at the monthly meetings of BAQIP.
AQIP wants Information about motivation and communication: how you kept this Project on the institution’s priority list, how you maintained general awareness of the importance and progress of the Project, and how you kept those working on it directly active and motivated.
3. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.
The Action Project on student advising will focus on analyzing collected information and data. From this analysis and discussion, a preliminary recommendation of changes in advising system, structure and procedures will be submitted to the President. An institution-wide discussion of the preliminary recommendations will result in a finalized proposal(s) that will be submitted to the appropriate governance levels for approval.
As the Action Project Team develops recommendations, they will review department advising plans. Creative solutions is some departments to advising challenges will be shared across campus. In addition, department advising plans that appear to have gaps will benefit from the analysis and suggestions from the Student Advising Action Project Team.
Be specific about the next critical steps you are planning to move the Action Project ahead. If your planning is vague or there is no planning at this point, explain why.4. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.
This project has not resulted in changes in procedures, processes, or policies. We are examining advising at Shawnee State University in light of the calendar change from quarters to semesters. This significant change at the institution is a good opportunity to introduce improvements to the advising system. When this project is completed, it is anticipated that the results will be useful to other institutions going through major institutional changes.
Share practices (or processes, policies, procedures, or initiatives) that could be adopted or adapted at other institutions. AQIP is most interested in practices that would give value (better educational services, cost-savings, improved morale, more satisfied stakeholders, etc.) to another institution if they copied your innovation. If you believe that your work on this Project has little or no value for other institutions, explain why.
What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?
The challenge of staying on task and keeping a timeline when you are involving very busy people in the process has been seen in this project. Immediate concerns of meeting deadlines for curricular change have interfered with keeping this project on time. The original timeline may have been overly ambitious.
This Action Project has not been totally successful in collecting information from peer institutions. The Team reviewed websites and contacted appropriate individuals at peer institution campuses, but the results were spotty. Some institutions do not share much detail on advising through their websites and reaching the right person on peer campuses to email/phone was a challenge. Suggestions on collecting information from peer institutions would be welcome.
Another challenge faced by this project is the long-term nature of the Action Project. While the project has been moving forward, other advising related initiatives that impact the advising action project are occurring. For instance, advising procedures for current students who will be caught in the quarter to semester transition have moved forward without the wisdom of recommendations from the Action Project on Student Advising. Another example is the plan to implement a freshman experience/University College, which is included in the charge for this Action Project, but may proceed faster than the Action Project recommendations. A third example is that departments that face significant advising problems cannot wait for this project to make recommendations, they need to find a solution immediately.
This is an opportunity to get constructive, actionable feedback and advice from our review process. Use this question to specify where your blocks, gaps, sticking points, or problems are. If you have already fashioned strategies to deal with any challenge you face, share both the challenge and your strategy for meeting it.
6. The optional question:
If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s), and tell us who to contact and when?