University and Exploratory Advising
Beginning in 2019, Utah State University’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan sought to increase student persistence, retention, and completion rates by improving outcomes for exploring/undecided students and cultivating advisor training and development rooted in core competencies and standards. Two offices combined to form the Office of University and Exploratory Advising (UAEA).
UAEA strives to provide an advising experience that is proactive, strategic, data-driven, and rooted in the identities of the students and the advisors who serve them. We believe the best academic advising experience occurs when students and advisors build a relationship that helps students optimize their educational experiences and achieve their dreams, goals, and potentials.
The UAEA team is one executive director, one academic advisor supervisor, ten academic advisors, one staff assistant, and five to eight student employees. UAEA serves 3000 students through academic advising and 90 academic advisors in Logan and throughout the state in professional development and training.
- Increase persistence and retention of students by utilizing focus areas to engage in a meaningful advising experience centered in student strengths, interests, goals, and values.
- Create an inclusive advising environment where student identities are recognized and valued, implicit and unconscious bias are continually discussed among the team, and employees are making intentional progress on the Intercultural Development Continuum.
- Implement best practices from the Complete College America Purpose First initiative.
- Align academic advising training and development with the Appreciative Advising framework and core competencies from the National Academic Advising Association: The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA).
- Update processes and practices to align with Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) for Academic Advising Programs.
Students will articulate their strengths.
Advisors help students set goals, identify their strengths and sources of motivation, apply their strengths to academic situations, and devise strategies that will enable them to achieve success. Helping students access and articulate their strengths provides an advising experience that is centered in possibilities, not problems.
Students will describe how their strengths are aligned with their academic and career goals.
Aligning strengths with goals results in higher levels of motivation, greater engagement, personal satisfaction, greater productivity and higher levels of performance. Through their undergraduate experience, students are expected to update, change, or clarify their goals. Advisors serve as mentors to students in taking full advantage of resources as students engage in the growth process toward graduation.
Students will co-design a plan to use their strengths to reach their goals.
Through academic advising using Degree Works plans, students and advisors co-design academic plans that allow students to take advantage of the full USU experience. Through conversations about co-curricular learning, undergraduate research opportunities, dual majors, minors, and strategic use of electives, advisors empower students to leverage their USU experience to reach their goals. Advisors and students will discuss time management, academic balance, wellness, and social connections as strategies for navigating higher education. The Degree Works plan will be updated each semester to graduation.
Students will understand the curriculum in their program.
Using a variety of tools (Degree Works, Banner, Catalog), students will understand the path from the current point to graduation. Advisors will teach students about important prerequisites, key courses offered in specific semesters, and key curricular milestones in order to empower the students to navigate the curriculum. Advisors and students will meet each semester to update individualized graduation plans in Degree Works.