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Excellence in Academic Advising (EAA) is a collaboration between NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising and the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The process combines NACADA’s expertise in academic advising and the Gardner Institute’s acumen with guiding institutional student success strategic planning efforts. The partnership brings together two international associations committed to improving student learning and success. NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising has long been involved in helping institutions review and restructure their academic advising programs to align them with institutional goals in support of student success in college. The Gardner Institute is the pioneer in engaging institutions in comprehensive review of policies and practices to improve teaching, learning, persistence, and graduation.
Through its extensive experience in reviewing academic advising programs both nationally and internationally, NACADA found that institutions, while different from each other, share similar issues regarding how best to improve academic advising. By the same token, the Gardner Institute found that many institutions identified advising as an important element in their quest to improve the overall student experience. The EAA partnership is timely and important and aims to provide the higher education community with a framework to empower and guide institutions through a self-assessment as well as a process for systemic and cultural change in support of student success through academic advising.
EAA is a two-year process. During Year 1, institutions will be guided through a self-study that includes gathering relevant data and documents that will serve as evidence to support decision-making. Year 1 will culminate in the development of an action plan that prioritizes improvement initiatives based on institutional goals and available human and financial resources.
Implementation of the priority initiatives will begin in Year 2. The role of the NACADA consultant will be to provide objective insight into implementation processes and assessment strategies.
Timeline for charter cohort*
*The timeline for future participants will follow this general framework; adjustments may be made based on the experiences of the charter cohort.
Charter institutions are essential to the revision and validation of the nine Conditions of Excellence in Academic Advising and the comprehensive process to support systemic change. The expectations include:
NACADA is committed to providing financial support to charter institutions in the form of a 50% reduction of costs for each year of the process.
Institutions will designate and support manager(s) who will serve as the liaison(s) with the NACADA consultant and be part of the EAA partnership team. This individual(s) will be the primary contact(s) between the institution and NACADA and work directly with the NACADA consultant.
NACADA holds the content expertise for academic advising. The consultant assigned to the institution will not only have this content expertise but will also have experience working with a range of institutional types. The NACADA consultant will provide guidance and support in the self-assessment process, development of the action plan, and implementation of priority initiatives. Most important to this process, the NACADA consultant will offer constructive feedback regarding institutional conclusions—based on the self-assessments--about each of the nine Conditions of Excellence in Academic Advising.
The Gardner Institute brings nearly two decades of wisdom and experience to evidence-based strategic planning for student success. The Institute’s staff possess both the cultural change skills and the technical expertise that have shaped and will support the EAA project’s platform, inventory, data analysis, and intellectual content. As experts in evidence-based strategic planning for student success, the Gardner Institute will provide support for the EAA process’ technology platform and serve as critical friends to the NACADA consultant and the institution regarding analysis of evidence as well as managing organizational change.
This process draws upon the research on academic advising as it relates to student success in college, more specifically, student learning success. The NACADA Concept Statement on Academic Advising serves as one of the important documents informing this work as it links academic advising with the teaching and learning mission of an institution. In addition, the EAA is framed around both the Core Competencies for Academic Advising and the Core Values to expand the knowledge, skills of advising, and the promotion of student success. Academic advising supports the academic mission of an institution and draws its strength from ways in which it engages students in the self-reflection necessary to navigate the curriculum and to make sense of how it relates to their careers, life interests, and goals.
Institutions ready to participate:
Of critical importance is a desire to look holistically at academic advising through multiple institutional lenses as well as a commitment to improving and sustaining a model of academic advising that is culturally responsive and supports student learning. A commitment to go “all in” is important to the success of this process and, in the longer term, to this framework for systemic change.
The design of EAA provides feedback on a regular basis, and the NACADA consultant is available to work with the institution throughout the two years. Feedback will center on data and artifact collection, data analysis, assessment, and recommendations for change, as well as guidance through action plan implementation.
The charter cohort will be comprised of 12 U.S. institutions representing a range of institutional types. Because both NACADA and the Gardner Institute are commistted to global academic advising and all student success communities, we intend to expand the process beyond the U.S. once the charter cohort has helped to refine the process.
Interested institutions will submit an application responding to questions related to their desire, commitment, and readiness to participate, as well as engage in a conversation with members of the EAA process team. In the end, we seek charter institutions that can best contribute to the goals of the process including the revision and validation of the nine Conditions of Excellence in Academic Advising.
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