. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.

An advisor evaluation form for students to complete was created. The form has nine questions and a space for other comments by students. The Academic Support Center, which houses the advisors for first year students, and the Department of Business Administration and Criminal Justice began using the form in the Spring semester. Use of the form should be expanded to all academic departments during the current academic year. Yet to be drafted is a written policy concerning the use of this form. The Academic Support Center provided half-day advisor training sessions to twenty-one additional faculty advisors since the last report in September 2001 (This is approximately ¼ of the faculty). Without this training, faculty is not permitted to advise incoming students. A table of contents was developed for a comprehensive advisor training handbook and the text is more than half completed. The handbook includes among others the following topics : mission statement and description of good advising, descriptions of the functions of advisors, strategies of good advising, diversity issues in advising, career advising, general education issues, advising transfer students, athletes, non-matriculated, and concurrent high school students, audit and graduation processes, financial aid issues, child care issues, campus clubs and organization, university policies relevant to advisors, and forms relevant to advising. Due to its size and for search convenience, the handbook will be distributed electronically and should be completely available by the end of this academic year. Survey questions for satisfaction surveys on dissemination of information about the early alert process were written but have not yet been utilized. Also specific local questions related to advising were included on the Noel-Levitz survey this year. Data collection on the outcomes and process measures and stretch targets was collected in most areas, and reviewed to help inform the Advising Team’s direction. Also, as a result of the review, some items were eliminated because the Team felt they did not provide enough useful information to justify the resources needed to collect the data.

Review (10-20-02):

AQIP is pleased to learn that you are continuing this Action Project and making progress towards completion. Your advisor evaluation form should provide you with valuable information from students to make improvements and changes in student advising. Is part of the plan to share the information from the forms with faculty advisors? Providing half-day advisor training sessions for twenty-one additional faculty advisors is commendable. Do you also have plans to continue sustained training for faculty advisors after their initial half-day training? Continued training and professional development helps faculty advisors keep current and learn new techniques. The comprehensive advisor training handbook will make an excellent resource for your faculty and staff and would be of interest to other institutions of higher education. You have already implemented some processes for assessment, review, and refinement, which are consistent with the quality improvement cycle.

B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.

The work on this action project, as with all the action projects, is overseen by an AQIP Team comprised of faculty and staff. To keep the campus community informed as the progress of the Team, an article was published monthly in the Westwind, the campus newsletter, minutes of meetings placed on the AQIP web page, and regular reports provided to Faculty and Staff Assemblies. In addition, reports to the Executive Council occurred during Quarterly WNMU AQIP Team meetings.

Review (10-20-02):

Your work on this quality action project is progressing well with approximately 1/4 of your faculty currently trained to conduct advising for incoming students. To broaden institutional involvement it might be beneficial to add student services staff from admissions, financial aid, registration, and student assessment/placement areas to your working group. Some of these individuals may already be participants on your AQIP team and already providing input to the process. The student perspective on advising is captured with your advisor evaluation form, however you might gain additional information from meeting with student focus groups. Your commitment to this project is well established and the current involvement is moving steadily towards your goal of 100% faculty advisor participation.

C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.

Completion and distribution of the advising handbook should be accomplished this year. We will also continue to provide regular advisor training sessions until the stretch target of having all advisors complete this training is achieved. We will also begin to take a longitudinal look at the data on advising. To date, that has only been included the Noel-Levitz survey results. This fall the AQIP Advising Team, among others, will host on the WNMU campus a national consultant who has numerous conference papers, chapters, and articles related to academic advising. He will lead a series of presentations/simulations/discussions that relate to persistence, cultural clashes, and the relationship in advising between development/training, assessment/evaluation, and recognition/reward. In addition he will be available for individual consultation. Other institutions around the state have been invited to attend the workshops.

Review (10-20-02):

Your planned next steps for this action project will move you towards your goal of project completion. Hosting the national consultant on your campus and making use of individual consultations should give you relevant feedback on your plan and generate new ideas. Inviting other institutions to attend the workshops should also help your faculty and staff to learn about what is working for other schools. Examining longitudinal data on advising will give you more information and promote better decision making in planning new advising strategies.

D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.

Probably the most innovative practice has been the provision of a half-day training session on “Advising Athletes.” This training, which was provided by Dr. Roland Shook who serves as Director of the Academic Support Center and as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, covered the basic NCAA rules that advisors should know to insure that students remain eligible. Four members of the Advising Team presented a ½ day workshop at the Region X NACADA Conference last year entitled “Using Assessment to Establish Credibility for Academic Advising.” This workshop demonstrated for the participants the importance of assessment in any organization utilizing continuous quality improvement. It then allowed them to develop goals, processes to achieve those goals, and measurable outcomes in a specific area of the advising process. Finally, we feel we must be providing some “effective practices” since the Noel-Levitz satisfaction survey results provide evidence that the efforts to date had a positive impact on students’ perceptions of our advising services. On the Academic Advising Scale, which is comprised of 5 items, WNMU’s satisfaction grew nearly 4.5% from 2001 and the gap between importance and satisfaction decreased by over 20%. In addition, satisfaction, when compared with our national group means, was 3.35% higher and the performance gap was about 18% smaller than the national group mean which was significant at the .001 level.

Review (10-20-02):

You report improvement on the Noel-Levitz satisfaction survey results with satisfaction and importance of academic advising, well done. Improving student satisfaction with a vital service like academic advising is cause to celebrate your success. You also note that your work on this project has led you to an innovative practice providing a half-day training session on Advising Athletes. In this workshop participants learn about the importance of assessment utilizing continuous quality improvement. They develop goals, processes to achieve the goals, and measurable outcomes in a specific area of the advising process. This reviewer recognizes and appreciates the new ground you have covered during this project, and thinks that your accomplishments represent a significant advance for higher education, one that is worth further investigation by the Commission to discover its potential for positively influencing processes and performance at other institutions. Because of this review, AQIP will shortly send you materials that will let you better describe and document this potential effective process. If subsequent investigation confirms its worth, AQIP will help to share your accomplishment with the broader higher education community, making sure you receive credit and celebration your accomplishment merits.

E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?

The AQIP Advising Team still has some frustration with the difficulty of collecting data from some administrative units. Another round of memos reminding administrators of their obligation to systemically collect data for the Team was sent out this month.

Review (10-20-02):

You have made real progress towards your goals with this project and have set reasonable next steps. The difficulty you describe in collecting data from some administrative units is not surprising but must be solved before the project can be completed. Perhaps if sending out another round of memos does not achieve the desired effect, team members could personally visit those units and explain again the importance of the data to the project. Asking individuals in these units to participate in some way with the project may lead them to become invested in the process and more willing to collect the necessary data.

F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?

Review (10-20-02):