Advising Strategic Plan

Academic Advising Strategic Action Plan: Draft 5 (updated 10/6/2023)

GOAL 1 – An academic advising program valued by students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

• Examine the purpose of the Advising Consultant Group (ACG) which was originally organized to serve as true consultants and representatives of university academic advisors.
o Timeline: Fall 2023
o Consult and inform ACG Leadership; collect info as to what ACG would like to see as the purpose of the group;
• Grow and support the Advising Learning Program (ALP) for training of Academic Advisors.
o Invite ALP Coordinator to attend an advisor meeting on every campus and college to discuss and exchange initial thoughts, expectations, ideas, needs for training;
 What should advisor training or on-going professional development for advisors look like? Determine training expectations for advisors (e.g. How many trainings, in what time frame)
 Create an effective tracking mechanism for individual advisor use so advisors can easily produce a transcript of training attendance/participation.
 Identify, examine, and address barriers that get in the way of advisors attending/participating in advisor training. (e.g. timing, mode, supervisor support, financial support, etc.)
o Survey the advising community on:
 training needs or desires
 barriers advisors face that impact training attendance/participation.
 How is professional development resourced? (e.g. financial support of conferences, webinars, association membership dues, etc.) Determine resource needs.
o Build an advisor training program track specifically for Faculty Advisors. (Goal 1 & 3)
• Build an advisor mentoring program for new advisors.
o Approach WSU ACADA execs and ask them to resurrect and reinstitute the mentoring program;
o Timeline: Fall 2023
• Address advisor compensation and duties which challenge advisor hiring and retention to the department, college, and/or institution.
o Ensure/aspire/strive to create accurate, consistent position descriptions that are student centered and focused on the Core Responsibilities of Advising. (Goal 1, 2 & 3)
o Address incongruence between the “Core Responsibilities of Advising” and the additional responsibilities assigned that are not relevant to the position and/or may be in direct conflict with the advising position.
o Determine what percent should be administrative vs. advisor responsibilities.
o Best practice is to include an academic advisor as a member of a search committee whose goal is to recruit and hire an academic advisor. Work to ensure that this is common practice at WSU.
o Form a group to include Advising Directors, Dept. Chairs, Associate Deans, HR to work on this task/action (possible members – Debby Handy-dept. chair, Sharon Games-HR, Jason Peschel-Director/SDC, ?)
o Clarify what is advising and what is not (use A. Chows document as a starting point)
• Identify and promote pathways for career advancement for advisors (e.g., dept., campus, system)
o Reexamine Career Ladder from past as a starting point
• Create an Advising Annual Report that is shared broadly with University stakeholders
o Include tangible outcomes to include advising assessment, accomplishments, new initiatives, strategic plans/goal updates, etc.
• Advisor awards & recognition (Goal 1)
o Increase and advance the recognition of advisors by the university; not by Co-workers and WSU-ACADA only;
o Create a University-wide advising award sponsored by the President’s or Provost’s office, or by the Chancellor’s Office from each campus.
o Develop an Advisor Appreciation Day or Event that is systemwide.
• Increase awareness of the role of an advisor and best practices for supporting advising at WSU. (Goal 1, 2, 3)
o Disseminate the “Core Responsibilities of Advising” document broadly
 Ensure that every individual that supervises an advisor receives a copy of the document.
 Encourage and direct questions to the Executive Director of University Advising and UAAEC.
o Attend chairs/director’s meetings throughout WSU to discuss core responsibilities and address any questions.
o Create an academic advising elevator speech for the Provost, President, Chancellors (leadership)
o Educate the University on the differences between advising vs course scheduling and other transactional efforts
o Develop and implement an Advising Conference for faculty, staff, and administrators in Recruitment, Admissions, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, and other student service areas to help WSU partners understand the Role and World of Advising.
o Identify and dismantle incongruent policies and practices at the institution that works against the support of advising.
 Include a list of what advisors don’t do (A. Chow);
 Include a visual overview of the cycle of advising (e.g., no longer a season)

GOAL 2 – An academic advising program that is student ready and focuses on student-centered relationships.
• Establish a culture of inclusivity and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Justice
o Ensure ALP includes regular advisor trainings
o Ensure DEIBJ part of the advisors annual review process
o Survey students at the beginning of every semester and include questions regarding belonging, inclusivity, etc.
o Conduct student focus groups, possibly led through a consumer business class project; find out what students think of advising at WSU; what are their expectations?
o Research what is happening around the University system with regard to establishing the culture of DEIBJ and partner with that area (e.g. Student Affairs campus climate survey?)
o Eliminate barriers students face (#7 language on student purpose and pathways-NACADA document on “Excellence in Acad. Advising)
• Establish reasonable caseloads for all Advisors (Goal 1 & 2)
o Use NACADA, Council of Advancement of Standards (CAS), and the Boyer 2030 report as guidelines to define what is reasonable for a large university with an increasingly diverse undergraduate student population.
o 250:1 advisor-to-student ratio for full-time primary role advisors and 25:1 for full-time faculty are “realistic maximum ratios at large, complex, and academically demanding research universities” according to the Boyer 2030 Commission.
o Research and share best practices with department chairs, deans, etc.
o Differentiate between full-time advising vs. advisors with other responsibilities beyond advising students.
o Advising Directors/Leads will work to gather information from their areas.
• Create learning outcomes that focus on student success.
o Form a working group to identify learning outcomes for student success
 Present a draft of learning goals to the advising community for feedback.
 Develop an assessment to determine if we are meeting learning outcomes.
• Provide Advisor Training: Retrain advisors to work with the students of today; who are our students? What does it look like to be student ready?
• Provide WSU students with the same level of service regardless of campus/department. (Goal 2 & 3)
o Determine the advising tools/technology needed and expected to be used throughout the WSU system;
o Provide equal access to advising tools/technology, training of tools/technology
o Conduct student focus groups (possibly led by consumer Business class project) to collect data to measure student satisfaction with and the strengths/challenges of academic advising.

GOAL 3 – An academic advising program with consistency and clarity of message.
• Develop a standard advisor transition process for students who change majors, academic interests, and campuses. (Goal 2 & 3)

o Form a working group with representatives from each campus and college
o Identify campus partners and stakeholders who should be part of the work group (e.g. Registrar’s Office, students, etc.)
o Identify current practice by location (i.e. campus or college); determine effectiveness and identify any barriers to students.
o Timeline: One semester
• Examine the purpose and function of the advising website ( to determine who the audience is (e.g., advisors or students). (Goal 2 & 3)
o If this is to be the Advising 411 site, survey advisors to see what they want on the site. What resources would be useful for their everyday practice?
o Advising 411 should be led by the ALP coordinator
o Determine if there is a need to have a centralized advising website for students.
 Survey students to identify their needs or desires for a website.
• Post the proposed Advising Strategic Plan to the website.
o Remove “Revised Strategic Plan – 2018” from Advising website
o Collect feedback from the advising community on the Advising Strategic Plan posted and use the feedback to inform, refine, and revise the Strategic Plan.
 The Advising Directors/Leads will take the lead on rewriting the Strategic Plan.
o Present the revised version of the Strategic Plan to ACG for final comments.
o Present the revised version of the Strategic Plan to UAAEC for adoption.
o Post the final version of the Strategic Plan 2023-2028 to the website.
• Develop a communication plan for current students.
o Form a working group with representation from each campus and college
o Develop a plan for best communication practices with students.
o Identify one communication software/platform (Slate?) to be used by the advising community.
 Create a template to assist advisors in creating decentralized messages that can be sent directly to an advisor’s assigned students. Ensure that communication appears to be/is coming from advisor
o Determine what we need students to know and when should they know it;
o Make limited but strategic use of Text messages with call-to-action questions and prompts
o Create Social Media guidelines to determine best use of Social Media (timely) in conjunction with emails/texts
 Follow WSU Students on XXX
o Provide training to advisors on the communication plan; provide support to advisors or a place to troubleshoot problems or review trainings
o Ensure all campuses have a similar level of messaging for students.
o Centralized vs. de-centralized communication plan. Determine who sends what message and when?
 Determine common messages ALL students should receive with timeline.
 By college/department common messaging.
 By advisor
o Ensure advisors and advising support areas (e.g., front desk workers, student mentors/advisors, etc.) have access to all advising communications sent to students to aid in addressing questions and concerns from students.
o Challenge – Note: Students are set up in the recruitment process to get a high level of service that becomes difficult to deliver on the promise of programs and services once they are enrolled students;
o Timeline: Work group meets for a semester to develop the communication plan, then meets 1-2 times a semester after the initial launch to tweak things as needed.
• Advisor Training
o Establish required training for all new advisors. Post training requirements.
 Content is based on established student learning outcomes of advising and aligned with the Core Responsibilities of Advising.
o Establish ongoing training for current advisors (faculty and professional staff)
 Content is based on established student learning outcomes of advising and aligned with the Core Responsibilities of Advising.
o Establish a system or process to hold advisors accountable for training and development upkeep.
 Consider removing the ability to lift advising holds in myWSU unless faculty and staff are current with training;
• Obtain a list of all roles advisors need and the trainings offered to prepare the advisors for the role;
• Create transparency in the role and row permissions within myWSU;
• Determine who will be responsible for tracking faculty and staff readiness to advise and remove holds.
 Explore possibilities/functionality of percipio


Advising at Washington State University is a valued partnership with students, faculty, and administrators that builds educational relationships integral to academic success.


Academic advising builds collaborative student-centered relationships that support achievement of personal development and academic success.


  • An academic advising program valued by students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
  • An academic advising program that focuses on student-centered relationships.
  • An academic advising program with consistency and clarity of message.