ACADEMIC ADVISING SUPPORT SERVICES

                                                                            Unit Annual Report

                                                                                      2003-2004

Purpose

 

Academic Advising by the faculty is an integral part of UMM's central mission and is considered part of teaching.  The Academic Advising Support Service (Advising) is the administrative arm of the advising system, reporting to the office of the Vice-Chancellor and Dean John Schwaller.   Advising staff establish, manage, monitor, and improve the system; initiate campus discussion of advising issues; design and conduct training sessions for new students, summer advisors and first time advisors; respond to students' and advisors' questions; and create, update, and/ or distribute appropriate advising materials. The Advising staff advise UMM PSEO students, register students who are unable to come to UMM at the scheduled times, and trouble shoot for students with complex academic questions. We work with the Scholastic Committee to implement the academic probation and suspension system.  We oversee the assessment of advising in the freshman year and have begun working with the assessment tool to evaluate advising in the major.

 

Personnel

 

Advising and the Scholastic Committee staff were brought together in one space in 1994 to reduce overlap and to better relate the programs.  Another shift will occur in 2005 with the anticipated reorganization of Academic Affairs.   Staff include Karla Klinger, director of Academic Advising/ Scholastic Committee Coordinator (53%); Brenda Boever, new student advisor and transfer coordinator (with responsibilities to Advising, Admissions and the Registrar's Office); Dorothy DeJager, executive secretary and lead clerical for the combined offices; and Ginger Nohl, office specialist (10 months, 75%). Other Advising clerical support is provided by a work study assistant.  

 

Narrative or Statistical

 

During 2003-2004, Advising processed 552 changes of major, 285 changes of advisor, and 191 administrative changes for a total of 1028 changes.   Initial advising assignments are made on the basis of a student's intended major, identified during summer registration.  Assignments thereafter are made at the request of the student or advisor.  A summary of advisor assignments by division in Spring 2004 showed the following advisee averages per unit: Administration 15; Education 16; Humanities 10; Science/ Math 15; and Social Science 18.  Across the campus, the number of advisees per advisor is as low as 4 (Spanish, German) and as high as 43 (El Ed).  The campus average was 14.

 

We did not track the number of APAS reports given to students and faculty because students and faculty now have access to APAS on the web.


 

Advising Support

 

1. Empower advisors and advisees

 

The Advising Office's role is to empower both students and advisors through information, training, support, and intervention in difficult cases.  During each year, staff accurately track advising assignments for the division chairs and monitor advising changes, folders and files.

 

Advising sponsors several annual workshops for students and faculty:

 

        Incoming summer advising workshop for incoming Gateway students: Klinger helps new students understand how to plan their academic programs and what the requirements are for staying in good standing.

 

        Academic Planning Workshop for Freshmen: Professors Nancy Carpenter, who helped design the workshop, and Jeff Ratliff-Crain, conducted the sessions before registration began. The Advising staff handles publicity.  Just under 200 students attended.

 

        A half-day workshop for first time advisors during the week before classes: This practical faculty workshop conducted by Klinger is designed to introduce new advisors to advising expectations, advising materials, and to other experienced advisors.  Attendance is required.  This workshop is the foundation for building a commitment to advising among new faculty advisors.

 

Since fall 2000, Advising has provided student information to advisors, such as a student's name, ID, major, advisor, email address, campus post office number, and number of credits earned. Following the web-based dissemination of information, more of DeJager's time is required to update and maintain the Advising web-site. 

 

2. Oversee advising aspects of summer registration

 

Six single day registration sessions for new students were held in spring and summer 2004.  The Advising staff is in charge of the academic aspects of summer registration, coordinating our work with Admissions and the Registrar's Office.  The division chairs recruited advisors; Advising staff placed students in advising groups, conducted the information sessions for faculty, prepared and distributed advising folders, and trained student assistants.  Brenda Boever registered 123 students by phone or by special appointment, who were unable to register during scheduled registrations.  She often corresponded with transfer students by email or met with them when they came to campus. 

 

3. Contact students in academic difficulty: 

 

New academic progress criteria were implemented in 2003-2004.  Students who do not maintain a 2.0 GPA in either fall or spring term are placed on probation.   The Advising Office worked with the Scholastic Committee to notify 213 students at the end of fall term and 147 students at the end of spring 2004 that they had been placed on probation.

 4. Advise students

 

Staff provide UMM students with drop‑in and problem‑solving advising. Contacts with students who drop-in with questions or who contact the staff by e-mail are not recorded, but an increasing number of faculty and students contact the Advising Office for help.  Klinger had 56 recorded Scholastic Committee contacts, usually conferences to discuss exceptions to policy, academic progress, or prior learning.  DeJager met with a larger number of students to determine whether they needed to meet with Klinger, and the entire staff talked with countless others to respond to their requests.  Many new students registered by Boever meet with her on a drop-in basis.

 

Boever advised 34 high school students (19 full-time and 15 part-time) enrolled in the Post‑Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program as well as prospective PSEO students sent to her by Admissions.  PSEO is a labor-intensive program and usually involves over a thousand  contacts with students as well as with their high school counselors and the state. Jacki Anderson, Principal Secretary with Continuing Education and Regional Programs, provides written documentation for the state.  Boever sends a full report of PSEO students' college choices to the administration each year.

 

Boever works with Admissions to plan an orientation for new students who enter UMM between fall and spring semesters. She also provided over 204 informal transcript evaluations for incoming students by the end of June.

 

5.  Special Projects:

 

        Web site: A newly revised and greatly improved Advising Web site can be found at:  <http://www.morris.umn.edu/academic/advising/>.  DeJager proposed and drafted the new organization of the site and keeps it updated.  Klinger edits it.  This major revision was completed prior to annual planning.

 

        Assessment of Advising: The two assessments of advising, of freshman advising and of advising in the major, are now ongoing.  The scores on the anonymous freshman questionnaire continue to improve in most categories.  In 2003, 361 freshmen responded.  Data about advising in the major has been collected in 2002 and 2003 and will be distributed in fall 04, after some measurement questions have been resolved.   Summaries of both evaluations are attached. One hundred sixty seniors responded in 2002 and 217 seniors responded in 2003.

 

        August 18-19 Faculty Retreat on Advising: The annual fall retreat, sponsored by the Faculty Development Committee, will be titled, Deepening Our Commitment: ADVISING FOR A LIBERAL EDUCATION AT UMM.   Klinger, working with Paula O'Loughlin and Bert Ahern, played a key role in its design.  Twenty faculty participated as presenters.  On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being highest, 59% of 41 respondents gave the retreat a rank of 5, 2% created a rank between 4 and 5, 32% ranked it 4, and 7% gave it a 3.   Ahern agreed that some of the programs could be offered again as faculty seminars. We'll try to build that into the 04-05 program.

 

 

Looking ahead: 

 

        Implement advising assessment: The freshman assessment questionnaire will again be distributed through FYS.  Statistics on the assessment of advising in the major will be distributed for the first time.

 

        Workshops: Workshops are scheduled for Gateway students, new faculty advisors, and for freshmen. 

 

        Implementation of for probation: The Advising Office will work with the Scholastic Committee to send out probation letters in fall and spring.  When feasible, letters will be coordinated with the Financial Aid office notices of withdrawal of financial aid.

 

        The reorganization of Advising and training of Klinger's successors will be a primary activity in 2004-05, since Klinger has resigned, effective June 2005.

 

Summary:

 

2003-2004 was another productive year for the Advising staff.  We maintained the ongoing program of advisor assignments and worked with the Scholastic Committee to implement the probation system and academic progress standards.  We were co-planners of six summer registrations. We improved the Advising Web site. In addition to managing the advising system and responding to student and faculty requests, we updated, compiled and distributed advising handbooks, designed and conducted several workshops, and conducted the assessment of advising.

 

                                                          Karla Klinger, Director of Advising

 



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