Academic Advising Resources

Organizational Structures for Advising

Preliminary data from 2011 national survey of academic advising.(Note: the monograph with results and analysis of this online survey will be published by NACADA will in early 2012 as a searchable CD. Follow up surveys on specific aspects of the survey will take place beginning in the 2012).



Question: “Which advising models best describe your advising situation?”(Check all that apply).

  • Self Contained(all advising occurs in a center staffed primarily by professional advisors or counselors; faculty may also advise in the center.
  • Faculty only(all advising is done by a faculty member, usually in the student’s academic discipline.
  • Shared Supplementary [professional staff in a center support advisors (usually faculty) by providing resources/training]
  • Share Split(faculty provide advising in academic discipline while staff are responsible for a subset of students, e.g., undecided, pre-majors)
  • Total Intake(all incoming students advised in a center; students may be assigned elsewhere later)
  • Don’t know
  • Choose not to rely
  • Other:(with space to comment)


Preliminary results:Respondents could check all models that apply to their situation and 25% of respondents did just that.  Thus percentages add up to more than 100%.


Two-year colleges: 239 respondents.

  • Self-contained (centralized unit staffed mostly by professional advisors/counselors): 32.6%
  • Faculty only (mostly decentralized/advising in their offices): 8.8%
  • Shared: 51.4% (split the most common type)
  • Total Intake: 18.8%
  • Other: 11.7%


Four-year (public and private specializing in awarding baccalaureate degrees): 104 respondents.

  • Self-contained: 15.3%
  • Faculty only: 39.4%
  • Shared: 51% (split and supplementary are most common types)
  • Total Intake: 7.6%
  • Other: 12.5%


Four-year (public and private masters): 206 respondents.

  • Self-contained: 18.9%
  • Faculty only: 20.9%
  • Shared: 58% (“split” the most common type)
  • Total Intake: 15%
  • Other 10.7%


Four-year (public and private awarding through Ph.D.): 197 respondents.

  • Self-contained: 38%
  • Faculty only: 08%
  • Shared: 54.3% (“split” was the largest group)
  • Total Intake: 16.8%
  • Other: 16.8%


Note: The “shared models” differed greatly. The most common was the “split” model  noted by 53% of respondents (e.g., a center for some populations - most often noted were undecided students -- with faculty advising students in specific majors. The “shared supplementary” model had its largest percent (23%) at baccalaureate institutions.


Additional note: 10% of respondents have peer advisors working within their model.


Cite this resource using APA style as:

Miller, M.A. (in press). Structuring the conversation: Shifting to four dimensional advising models. In Carlstrom, A., 2012 national survey of academic advising. (Monograph No.  25). Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: [insert url here]


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