"The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) identified thirteen standards (components) that should be included in an institution's academic advising program."

Tomorrow's Professor Msg.#560 Components of an Effective Advising Program


The posting below looks at what are the essential components of an academic advising program. It is from Chapter Twenty-Three: Assessing the Effectiveness of the Advising Program by Michael L. Lynch in Academic Advising A Comprehensive Handbook by Virginia N. Gordon, Wesley R. Habley, and Associates. Published by Jossey-Bass. A Wiley Company. Copyright ? 2000 Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, California 94104 and the National Academic Advising Association, Kansas State University, 2323 Anderson Avenue, Suite 225, Manhattan, KS 66502. Jossey-Bass is a registered trademark of Jossey-Bass, Inc., a Wiley Company. Reprinted with permission.


Rick Reis
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Tomorrow's Academy

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By Michael L. Lynch

This chapter focuses on how to evaluate an institution's academic advising program-specifically, how to evaluate the advising process and the outcomes produced. While most scholars view the advising
process and its outcomes as the primary indicators of a program's success or failure, this success or failure is influenced by other, often ignored components of the advising program. What are these
other components and how might an institution assess or evaluate them? The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) identified thirteen standards (components) that should be included in an institution's academic advising program (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, 1998). For each of the thirteen components, CAS provides a performance standard and guidelines that suggest actions that may be taken to meet the standard. The thirteen standards or components of an academic advising program are as follows:

1. Mission (statement): A clear delineation of the program's philosophy, goals, and objectives, with statements of expectations for advisors and advisees

2. Program: A delineation of program components along with a description of how they operate individually and collectively, and the expected outcomes

3. Leadership: An identifiable individual or individuals with designated responsibility, authority, and accountability for leading and managing the advising program

4. Organization and management: An organizational structure and management system that positions the advising program and its leadership in a manner that allows for the effective delivery of advising services

5. Human resources: Staffing sufficient to deliver advising services and accomplish program goals

6. Financial resources: A funding level sufficient to allow goal accomplishment

7. Facilities, technology, and equipment: The location of program components in facilities conducive to service delivery, and the provision of the technology and equipment necessary for service delivery

8. Legal responsibilities: Advising leadership and academic advisors who are knowledgeable of relevant laws, policies, and procedures and who provide advising services in accordance with these.

9. Equal opportunity, access, and affirmative action: Procedures, policies, and practices that ensure that program staffing and academic advising are conducted without discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status

10. Campus and community relations: Creation and maintenance of effective working relationships with relevant campus and community offices and services

11. Diversity: Recognition of the value of diversity and the promotion of opportunities that foster awareness of and appreciation and respect for the cultures of other people

12. Ethics: Policies, procedures, and practices that ensure that advisors and the advising program adhere to high standards of personal and professional ethics

13. Assessment and evaluation: Routine quantitative and qualitative assessment and evaluation of the academic advising program for purposes of program and personnel accountability and improvement

Some of the CAS standards (program, organization and management, human resources, fiscal resources, and facilities, technology, and equipment) are more directly related than others to the delivery of advising services and the outcomes achieved. However, serious deficiencies in any one of the thirteen standards can impair the advising process and the program's ability to achieve its desired outcomes.

Before an institution develops an assessment and evaluation plan for academic advising, it may wish first to undertake a comprehensive self-assessment such as that outlined by CAS. Doing so will
facilitate the planning and implementation of assessment and evaluation of the actual advising process and outcomes. The self-assessment process underscored the complexity of the advising program and helps delineate those areas that should be included in any program assessment. Further, the self-assessment will help identify problem areas and suggest improvement strategies in the
event that the program evaluation discovers problems or deficiencies. For example, if the self-assessment reveals that the institution has failed to conceptualize a clear mission statement and definition of academic advising, this failure is likely to have an impact on the results of a process or outcomes evaluation. For institutions wishing to undertake such a self-assessment of their advising program, CAS provides a detailed self-assessment guide (CAS, 1998).
(Note: Although phrased differently, many of the program components and practices included in the CAS standards are assessed in ACT's fifth national survey. Viewed together, the ACT results provide a national benchmark for some of the CAS standards.