by Susie Ivy, Cory Hopkins, & Christi Campbell | November 2018
Provost Rafael L. Bras has approved the final report of the Academic Advising Task Force, an institute-wide initiative created in 2017. The task force was charged to examine academic advising at Georgia Tech and make recommendations to improve advising programs and practices.
“The task force did a wonderful job identifying key areas to improve how we reach and advise learners while they are at Georgia Tech, including navigating curricular choices, interceding with at-risk students, and mentoring students of all types.” said Bras. “The recommendations will keep us in line with the long-term goals of the Commission on Creating the Next in Education and the needed changes to realize the Georgia Tech Commitment to a Lifetime Education,” said Bras.
The task force was chaired by Beth Spencer, director of Advising. It was comprised of 15 members of faculty and staff including academic advisors, faculty from all six colleges, and representatives from the following campus units: Center for Career Discovery and Development (C2D2), the Division of Student Life, the Office of International Education (OIE), the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid, and the Registrar’s Office. Student insight and participation was provided by members of the Office of Undergraduate Education Student Advisory Board, which includes leaders of many academically-focused student organizations.
“I am very pleased with the work done by the Academic Advising Task Force, and very grateful to the other 14 members of the committee that served with me as we sought new and innovative solutions to the age-old problem of making sure students get the best possible coaching and advice throughout their educational experience,” said Spencer.
Based upon the committee's report and recommendations, the task force endorses Ruffalo Noel-Levitz's definition of advising as "an interactive process in which the advisor helps the student set and achieve academic goals, acquire relevant information and services, and make responsible decisions consistent with interests, goals, abilities, and degree requirements."
With that in mind, the recommendation of the task force is that all Georgia Tech undergraduates should have access to comprehensive, effective, and impactful advising designed to:
- Assist and guide students in their academic exploration, planning, and progress toward timely completion of their degree
- Promote students’ academic success
- Help students articulate their future goals and tailor their experience at Tech to help accomplish these goals
The Advising Task Force addressed the current situation at Georgia Tech and offered the following immediate and short-term recommendations:
- Ensure that all undergraduate students have equitable and accessible advising
- Align academic and career advising
- Centralize services and support
- Establish advisor training and professional development
- Establish common practices and standards for advising
- Improve technology, data, and analytics for advising
- Create advising assessment and evaluation
Looking forward, the Office of the Provost will use these recommendations to articulate a clear vision and mission for advising across campus. Student feedback to these recommendations is anticipated as well, and will also aid in the creation of a comprehensive list of “red flags” used to identify at-risk students for whom advising will be crucial to academic and educational success.
For more information about the Academic Advising Task Force, read the comprehensive report here.