Comprehensive Report

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Utah Valley University
Comprehensive Report

Date: July 12, 2022

Prepared by: Elaine Lewis

Section 1: Executive Summary

In November 2021, Utah Valley University began the Excellence in Academic Advising (EAA) project in collaboration with NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising, to critically evaluate our current institutional state of academic advising and make plans for future enhancements to the student experience, advisor experience, and place of academic advising in the university community. EAA advances student success, persistence, retention, and degree completion through a comprehensive, standards-based assessment process to promote excellence in academic advising.

EAA provides a structural framework, designed through research and best practice by NACADA and the John N. Gardner Institute, to look at an institution’s academic advising community from a variety of angles to determine successes and opportunities for enhancement. EAA is an evidence-based self-study designed around nine conditions of excellence, with each condition having nine and forty key performance indicators (KPI) to gage the current situation of academic advising and determine recommendations for the future.

Throughout the course of this eight-month Phase 1 of the EAA project, over 200 individuals in the UVU community engaged in the various elements of the project, including launch participants, committee members, KPI collaborators, and retreat participants. Phase 1 resulted in nine thoughtful reports from the condition committees and exactly 100 recommendations to consider in future strategic planning for academic advising. We are grateful for the support of our academic advising community and campus partners, our executive leaders, David Connelly and Michelle Kearns, our vice presidents, Provost Wayne Vaught and Vice President Kyle Reyes, and our NACADA colleagues Charlie Nutt and Kathy Stockwell for their support to the EAA Phase 1 process. We look forward to the strategic planning and implementation of EAA recommendations which will take place over the next several years.

Section 2: Task Force

  1. Liaisons/Fellow
    Charlie Nutt ( Liaison
    Elaine Lewis ( Liaison
    Kathy Stockwell ( Fellow
  2. Steering Committee Members

    The full list of steering committee members is available external to this report. We are incredibly grateful for the dedication of each steering committee member for their thoughtful contributions to the EAA process, particularly through the final prioritization of committee recommendations.

  3. Condition Committee Members

    The full list of over 100 condition committee members is available external to this report. We are grateful to the academic advising community members and our key campus partners who engaged in the extensive and thorough review of UVU’s current landscape of academic advising in relation to each condition’s KPIs. The recommendations brought forth by each committee are thoughtful ways UVU can consider improvements to the academic advising community through an evidence-based best practice framework.

Section 3: Narrative on General Situation

From January 2022 – June 2022, the nine conditions of excellence committees worked to gather evidence in relation to their associated KPIs through institutional data, EAA survey data, and other sources. The recommendations outlined in Section 4 are the result of their work. Each of these recommendations is influenced by evidence and the general situation of academic advising at Utah Valley University. Therefore, it is important to consider a variety of institutional context.

EAA was first introduced to UVU amid major organizational change. Earlier in 2021, the academic advising community was officially structurally centralized under the Associate Provost of Student Success, in conjunction with the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management. Additionally, during EAA Phase 1, an academic college was reorganized, and several key academic support service providers shifted to the portfolio of the Associate Provost of Student Success, such as Academic Standards, Academic Tutoring, and Concurrent Enrollment. It is important to acknowledge these changes as they frame many of the EAA recommendations around transparency and enhancement in communication, organizational structure, and outcome alignment.

The academic advising community at UVU is made up of professional, staff academic advisors. These individuals have a variety of titles, roles, and compensation. Additionally, UVU acknowledges the importance of specialty advisors, such as Athletics Advisors, Multicultural Advisors, and Standards Counselors. Through the condition committee work, the importance of academic advising as a teaching profession became evident. This value and prioritization influenced many of the recommendations around commitment, professional development, and the need for a career pathway in academic advising.

UVU’s academic advising community strives to be data informed in our work with students. Academic advisors have access to a variety of technology tools, including degree auditing, predictive analytics, and the student information system. The condition committees reported challenges with technology and a desire to assess the work of our academic advising community in a more thoughtful and strategic way.

Section 4: Recommendations for Action

Recommendations were clustered into twelve categories at the EAA Campus Retreat on Friday, June 17, 2022. On this day, over 150 participants engaged in a prioritization of the recommendations as well, where individuals provided feedback on the most important recommendations to enhance our academic advising community.

The steering committee then refined the categories into six areas and prioritized the recommendations in each area on Thursday, June 23, 2022. The steering committee prioritization focused not just on the feedback of the academic advising community at the EAA Campus Retreat, but also on the natural progression of enhancement and improvement in the academic advising community. The six recommendation areas, and their associated prioritized recommendations, are linked below:

  1. Assessment
  2. Communication
  3. Organization
  4. Outcomes
  5. Quick Wins
  6. Technology

It is important to acknowledge that the successful implementation of many recommendations is dependent on a sequence of recommendation implementation. For example, recommendations related to assessment cannot be implemented until many recommendations related to outcomes have already been completed. The EAA Steering Committee acknowledged this and created a recommendation area identified as “outcomes” to prioritize recommendations which largely come from the commitment and learning condition committees to prioritize before many of the other recommendations.

Section 5: Discuss Strategies for Implementing the Recommendations

A. Implementation Strategies

We recommend the items in the sub-category “Quick Wins” are prioritized first and completed by October 2022. Much of this section will discuss the ways to achieve these “Quick Wins.” Simultaneously with the “Quick-Wins,” we encourage the implementation leader to establish an Implementation Committee.

This committee should represent a wide group of members from the advising community, as recommended by the Commitment Condition Committee, including front line academic advisors and key members of the Phase 1 Steering Committee. It may also be advantageous to organize sub-committees of the Implementation Committee around the five remaining recommendation sub-categories. These sub-committees could include a larger number of advising committee members and key campus partners. We recommend additional sub-committees run concurrently and communicate regularly.

However, we encourage the Implementation Committee to first consider many of the key recommendations from the Outcomes sub-category, as many of the other recommendations are dependent on establishing a mission/vision for academic advising, creation of student learning outcomes, and linked advisor outcomes. Due to their foundational nature, we encourage largescale input when fulfilling these recommendations.

Additionally, we recommend the Implementation Committee place early priority on the scaffolded approach necessary to pursue the creation of a career progression program in academic advising to incentivize advisor professional development and decrease turnover in the profession. This specific strategy was recommended by multiple condition committees and received the most votes, by far, of all recommendations in the EAA Phase 1 Retreat prioritization activity involving the entire advising community.

B. “Quick Wins”

“Quick Wins” are listed in alphabetical order. These are recommendations the steering committee identified which could be easily implemented by October 2022.

AS8: Provide regular opportunities for scholarly inquiries, discussion, collaboration, and presentations. We recommend each advising director take ownership of this recommendation within their center for a quick win. Directors can prioritize professional development centered discussion in staff meeting, and larger centers may be able to develop internal professional development committees. Directors can prioritize collaboration on research and presentations by encouraging advisors to set time aside to work on these projects and by recognizing individuals who make achievements in this area.

CC3A: Advising needs to meet more often as a community; advising townhalls and newsletters should be instituted; more frequent meetings of advisors to share knowledge and updates. We recommend the Office of University Advising takes leadership on this recommendation by increasing the frequency of Advisement Forum meetings, soliciting feedback from the advising community about the content of Advisement Forum, developing content and a newsletter for academic advising, and developing informal socialization opportunities for the advising community to connect and learn from each other.

CC10B: Frequent/recurring advisor training on campus offerings and resources to better service students. We recommend deeper incorporation of campus partner services into the semester professional development series led by University Advising. We also encourage the consideration of Advisement Leadership Council (ALC) as a venue to share new campus partner information as a way to disseminate information and also invite campus partners to department staff meetings for deeper detail, discussion, and collaboration.

CC13: Concurrent Enrollment should be part of larger academic advising conversations. The Phase 1 Steering Committee amended this recommendation to also include Athletics Academic Advising and Academic Standards. We recommend these three groups become part of Advisement Council and a strong consideration is made to include these groups in the ALC. If a decision is made to exclude the groups from ALC, then we ask that this decision is clearly communicated to the larger community with justification, rationale, and how ALC information will be communicated to the group.

CC16: A campus-wide texting platform is needed for all advising areas as well as other areas on campus that are student processing/student resource facing. In collaboration with Digital Transformation, UVU is in the early stages of implementing a text messaging platform (Mongoose – Candence). A pilot group will begin using the tool in mid-July 2022.

CC17A: Institute the practice of recording meetings on Teams and sharing for those who were not present to receive the information to improve communication and collaboration. We recommend University Advising and each advising director take ownership of implementing this practice immediately in their respective areas.

CC17B: Create MS Teams channels with campus partners with a designated set of specialists to answer questions. We recommend the Implementation Committee consider ways to better collaborate and communicate with campus partners to achieve quick response to important student questions/needs. MS Teams or another alternative, like the existing “Ask the Registrar,” may be developed to fulfill this need.

PP8: Utilize social media and/or digital signage on campus to remind students their advisors are here and available to help. We recommend University Advising identify a small group of advisors and peer advisors familiar with social media, marketing, digital design, and communication to develop and implement a creative marketing strategy for this recommendation.

SD8: Supervisor and the Office of University Advising collaboratively submit all winners of advisor of the year and new advisor of the year awards for NACADA awards at both the region and national levels. We recommend the Manager, Advisement Training/Assessment coordinate the packet revision and submission for both nominees and recipients in accordance with established timelines for NACADA national and regional award cycles.

SD9: Increase the number, frequency, and array of types of recognition and awards. We recommend University Advising, in collaboration with ALC, determine the best way to increase recognition in the advising community and the parameters of such recognition. Once the parameters are established, we recommend a cross department group, such as the existing Professional Development Committee, review recognition and award nominees to determine recipients. The recipients should be widely recognized, such as through Advisement Forum messages. One easily established recognition is an Advisor of the Month.

SD10: Incorporate advisor recognition and reward at campus-wide events where administration, faculty, and staff might be made aware of the successes and impact of advisors. We recommend the Senior Director of University Advising take leadership on identifying campus events where academic advising can be recognized and acknowledged for its achievement. Such events could include Annual Academic Affairs Celebration, Planning, Budget, and Assessment Presentations, Talk with Tuminez, or Thank You Thursday.

SD 11: Develop/enhance systems that allow recognition and awards based on merit that include consideration of student interactions and student surveys. We recommend formalizing the way student interactions/surveys are assessed in the performance development rubric and in the nomination packet for advisor/new advisor of the year. The ALC and Professional Development Committee are included in the specifics of these decisions.

SD12: Formalize more recognition and reward at the Center level. We recommend each advising director consider the ways to create a departmental recognition and reward program at the center level, as the size of the center likely plays an important part in how this recommendation is implemented. One easily established recognition is a “kudo of the week” where an advisor is recognized for going above and beyond to help a colleague or a more formalized way to share positive comments from student after appointment surveys.

Section 6: Sources of Evidence

Sources of evidence for each recommendation are found in the accompanying final report. The final reports are linked below:

SD: Advisor Selection & Development
AS:  Assessment & Scholarship of Advising
C: Commitment
CC: Collaboration & Communication
EID: Equity, Inclusion, & Diversity
L: Learning
O: Organization
PP: Student Purpose & Pathways
TE: Technology Enabled Advising