Articles and Publications | Advising Models | Presentations | Webinars | Downloads


Student advising is a critical step in the Guided Pathways model and a very critical step in VIP-PASS implementation. As we begin to explore more resources and tools for academic advising, it’s important to make the distinction that advising in the context of making impactful connections with students, is not a faculty role or a student services role. It is a role that everyone at the college assumes formally or informally to ensure students not only take the right courses that lead to transfer and/or degree completion, but it is also encompasses facilitating meaningful connections with students to grow their self-confidence and competencies along the way. 


We need thousands of advisors! 

That is correct. We need every employee of the VCCS to understand that they play a critical role in advising students, and that role is not limited to identifying which courses a student should take. We need advisors who understand their college and community and who understand that the student experience starts long before the classroom. We make connections with students through our websites, outreach efforts, and in our parking lots. Before a student makes it to a classroom, they have had numerous opportunities to make connections with faculty and staff through the application and enrollment process. They have also had opportunities to observe our campus culture by visiting our offices and by trying to navigate our buildings and campus layouts.


What kind of advisor are you?

Hopefully the answer is, an engaged advisor! Remember, while formal academic advising meetings occur, there is a greater chance for all faculty and staff to engage in forming meaningful connections with students and to have conversations around career paths and making choices that are beneficial to the college experience and beneficial for life after college. While we will explore resources that enhance and improve formal academic advising models, our greatest asset at our colleges are the people who work there. The more you are familiar with the student populations you serve, the more you are well-versed in the breadth of programs and services, and the more we each own the responsibility of making a meaningful connection (not a transactional connection) with students, the more we can directly impact student success!



Articles and Publications


Driving Toward A Degree: A Data Driven Resource for Advising Reform


Launched through a partnership between Achieving the Dream, EDUCAUSE, Tyton Partners, NACADA, NASPA, and NACAC with support from Babson Survey Research Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the hub is a site for information, including relevant statistics, new research, institutional assessments, and an Advising Reform Roadmap to identify and assess the most likely roadblocks that prevent an integrated system for student success. This first annual initiative is the largest publicly available study to date on academic advising in higher education including 1,400 responses from over 1,000 institutions.

Check out some of their latest research below:

The Evolution of Planning and Advising in Higher Education

Visit the site or follow the conversation on Twitter with #iPASS.


What We Know About Technology-Mediated Advising Reform

This practitioner packet summarizes CCRC’s research on technology-mediated advising reform, and discusses how community colleges and open-access four-year institutions are attempting to use this type of reform—sometimes called e-advising or iPASS (Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success)—to transform advising systems so that they can support a more intensive and personalized case-management model.


ATD Data Discovery Guide

Data Discovery is a comprehensive guide to student success through the lens of data, customized for Achieving the Dream Network institutions. The digital guide is media-rich and interactive and is mobile optimized to adjust for viewing on a smart phone, tablet and PC. The guide includes embedded resources such as webinars, data templates and resources and is a living publication that will be updated annually. Data Discovery includes the foundational data that all colleges should be collecting and analyzing to cultivate a culture of evidence to support student success.



Aligning iPASS and Guided Pathways

ATD’s President/CEO, Dr. Karen Stout, and CCRC’s Dr. Melinda Mechur Karp talking about how taking an aligned pathways and iPASS redesign approach can help colleges transform their student experience.   

Watch the webinar here:


Integrating Student Success Initiatives

One consistent challenge that we are hearing from grantees is about initiative fatigue and the need to integrate student success initiatives into a cohesive strategy that can be communicated across the institution.  In this webinar, three grantees will share their work in creating visual maps of their integration efforts as well as their process for crafting a vision and structure for collaboration and alignment across the institution.  We will present four steps for integrating initiatives and discuss the often difficult conversation of how to stop doing or how to engage in “planned abandonment.”

Mei-Yen Ireland, Associate Director of Data and Technology for Student Success at Achieving the Dream, facilitates a panel of the following grantee representatives:

  • Christine Lemerande and Heidi Thomas, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  • Maribeth Ehasz, University of Central Florida
  • Sam Hirsch, Community College of Philadelphia

Watch the webinar here:


Student-facing interfaces in iPASS

Student-facing Solutions to Address iPASS: Current Views from Several Institutions

During this first year of iPASS work, a key challenge we have heard from many institutions is having a way for students to view, interact and leverage the information and resources available to support their success. The student interface needs to be intuitive, comprehensive, integrated with as many of the systems and applications as possible, and visually appealing. Following our June convening, where the Stanford Design School will be leading us through design exercises that put the student at the center, this webinar will provide an opportunity for us to share several student-facing dashboards our iPASS grantee institutions have in place. Let’s leverage what we already have built and collaborate to move forward in addressing this need. 


Watch the webinar here:


Definition and Strategies



Advisor Competencies

Watch the webinar here:

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Advising Models 

Throughout the VCCS there has been a lot of discussion around improving advising and which advising models work the best. While we would all agree that improving advising is a goal for every college, the choice of advising model depends largely on institutional scale and culture. No matter where your college stands on model choice, it’s important to first understand what is happening to students under your current process. Do you know and understand the student experience? Are advising roles defined? Does your college invest in providing advisors with the knowledge and resources needed to meet the needs of students? Does your college promote cross functional and cross departmental professional development and meetings to ensure everyone is well-informed and able to collaborate to improve advising access and quality? These are just a few questions to think about before continuing or changing your current advising model.


Advising Mapping Exercise

  1. Convene a diverse group of faculty, staff, and administrators and process map the student advising experience at your college. Draw the process step by step for the advising experience/process that “all” students receive. 
  2. Next, complete the same exercise for the advising experience that some students receive through your high touch programs and services.
  3. Finally, map the advising process that you “want” for all students at your institution. What should advising look like at your college?


Advising Models Explored 

Achieving the Dream and NACADA


Who is responsible for assessing and supporting academic advising at your college? 


This is a very important question. If you agree that advising is mission critical and directly tied to the academic mission of the college, how do you assess advising? Who is responsible for taking a macro and micro look at advising services and providing supports college-wide? 




In 2013-2014, Germanna Community College included strengthening the advising system as a central goal in their Academic Master Plan. Upon review of advising practices, the college determined that students were being served primarily upon demand with advising appointments largely consisting of triaging their selection of courses semester by semester. Believing in the value of advising, the college committed to reevaluate their approach and to determine expectations and outcomes for successful advising. This led to one central goal, restructuring the advising model to provide comprehensive and purposeful advising experiences for all students. 

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