Sunday, October 22, 2017

UTSA staff shares academic advising best practices at NACADA annual conference

UTSA staff shares academic advising best practices at NACADA annual conference

Betsy Haddad, Margaret Garcia, Cynthia Rodriguez and Vanessa Hammler Kenon at the NACADA Annual Conference.

(Oct. 11, 2017) -- The UTSA Academic Advising team is sharing its best practices at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) annual conference, which runs through Saturday in St. Louis. NACADA is the premier international organization for the development and dissemination of innovative theory, research and practice in higher education academic advising.

Over the last few years, UTSA Advising has experienced dynamic changes in advising including the move to a centralized advising system, the introduction of student caseloads and the adoption of various advising technology tools.

Currently, UTSA Advising is using DegreeWorks, a degree planning and auditing tool, the Education Advisory Board (EAB) Student Success Collaborative Campus (SSC-Campus), the UTSA GUIDE and UTSA Mobile App, systems that have allowed UTSA’s academic advisors to better connect with students and enabled students to become more proactive in degree planning.

Executive Director of Academic Advising Barbara Smith, Advising Director Cynthia Rodriguez, and Academic Advisors Betsy (Elizabeth) Haddad and Margaret Garcia will present at the conference to share their experiences and best practices in adopting new industry tools to improve the advising experience.

Smith will present a session titled, “Survey Says: How to Become a Better Advisor,” with colleagues from Texas A&M and Blinn College. Rodriguez, Haddad and Garcia will concurrently present their poster, “Exploring Innovative Approaches to Academic Advising: How Utilizing Web Based Applications Has Influenced Student Success,” at the conference.

Both presentations will explore the successes, challenges and milestones the university has achieved with the support of its Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) grant, funding awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to encourage the design of new approaches, the navigation transformative change and pursuit better results for students.

Vanessa Hammler Kenon, assistant vice provost for Information Technology and principal investigator for UTSA’s iPASS grant, will also attend the conference to share experiences about the launch of new advising technology tools at UTSA.

UTSA was one of 24 institutions selected to receive the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s iPASS grant to support implementation of advising technology. The iPASS project is a joint effort between the Office of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Academic Advising, Institutional Research and the Office of Information Technology. The project initiatives follows three pillars to improve student degree completion rates: educational planning, counseling and coaching, and risk targeting and interventions.

“These advising technologies are enabling the advisors to be more proactive with their students’ caseloads and to follow up with the students before they become at-risk or off course. There are more deliberate and intentional appointment campaigns and outreaches ensuring students know their options and can make informed decisions,” said Smith.

UTSA’s trip to NACADA is funded by the New Media Consortium with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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