UAC Assessment Guidelines

Introduction

The University Faculty Senate policies of Section 32-00 delineate the responsibilities of the various academic advising systems adopted throughout the University. Each academic unit is to establish an academic advising system designed to meet the goals set forth in 32-00. The University Advising Council has developed the material presented here; it is intended to help advising units develop strategies and means for assessing advising in accordance with Section 32-00.

Developing Assessment Strategies

Assessment should be an ongoing aspect of advising systems and will be most effective when approached strategically, perhaps as a multiple-step process. The purpose of assessment is to provide information that is useful for the ongoing development of advising systems. Assessment suggestions are presented here in two parts, one aimed at describing existing advising systems, and the other aimed at evaluating those systems from the perspectives of both students and advisers. Different strategies may be appropriate for different units at different points in time. Possible strategies include:

PART I: Describing the State of Advising in Your Unit

The University Faculty Senate policies of Section 32-00 delineate the responsibilities of the various academic advising systems adopted throughout the University. Each academic unit is to establish an academic advising system designed to meet the goals set forth in 32-00. The items correspond to the first eight elements of section 32-20, which delineates advising responsibilities. For each item, you may attach existing documents (e.g., statement of advising philosophy, listing of resources), highlighting relevant portions as appropriate.

  1. Describe how your unit disseminates its advising philosophy and practice, and communicates to students what they can expect from the advising system.
  2. Describe your unit's organizational model for delivery of advising.
  3. Describe your unit's information, resources, and electronic systems for working effectively with students.
  4. Describe your unit's ongoing training for advisers.
  5. Describe how your unit's advising program accommodates the specific advising needs of its students.
  6. Describe how consultation each semester with an academic adviser is assured for all students (including transfer students) in their first two years of study.
  7. Describe your unit's guidelines concerning the ratio of advisees to adviser and frequency of consultation.
  8. Describe how your unit recognizes advising in the general rewards structure.

PART II: Evaluating Your Unit's Advising Program

Sample Assessment Items (not exhaustive)

These items are designed to solicit evaluations of advising from advisers and students. Most items should be presented with a 5-point “Likert-type scale”: 1-strongly disagree 2-disagree 3-neutral 4-agree 5-strongly agree. Other items call for simple yes or no or “fill in the blank” responses.

The items here are intended as samples that may be modified for your specific purposes. Instruments specific to particular units' assessment strategies can be designed by selecting items from the list shown here, and by using these items as models to develop new items. Items should be prepared so that scale responses can be interpreted as evaluative information – for example, “strongly agree” should indicate a positive experience with or outcome of advising.

Policy

Questions for advisers:
My department has clearly communicated its expectations of me as an academic adviser.

I understand the lines of communication and academic responsibility in my unit.

Questions for students:
I understand what to expect from academic advising in my college/major.

I understand college and University rules and policies that apply to my program.

My adviser has helped me to understand college and University rules and policies that apply to my program.

Structure
Questions for advisers:
I am aware of who my advisees are.

I am able to access information with respect to who my advisees are.

Questions for students:
I know who my primary academic adviser is.

I know how to contact my primary academic adviser.

I know how to contact an academic adviser in the department of ______________.

I know where to find the answers to my advising questions.

My academic adviser has provided me with the information necessary to complete my course schedule independently.

I understand how to complete my course schedule by myself.

I understand how to use the on-line course-scheduling system.

Support
Questions for advisers:
I have ready access to the information (including electronic media) I need as an adviser.

I have ready access to the data warehouse.

I have ready access to ISIS.

I have ready access to eLion.

I understand how to use the data warehouse.

I understand how to use ISIS.

I understand how to use eLion.

I have access to appropriate information on students' previous advising contacts.

Questions for students:
I am able to find the information I want using paper material from my major department.

The information in my major department's website is up to date and informative.

I know how to access the departmental website.

I know how to access the eLion on-line advising system.

I know how to contact my adviser via e-mail.

I am able to find the information I want on my major department's website.

The information on my major department's website is up to date and informative.

The staff in my major department's advising office is helpful.

Training
Questions for advisers:
I have participated in ongoing adviser training.

I receive adequate ongoing training as an adviser.

I understand the general education requirements.

I understand the requirements for students in my major.

Questions for students:
My adviser accurately answers my questions or refers me to the appropriate person/office that can.

My adviser discusses with me the University policies and procedures related to my academic plans and actions.

My adviser discusses with me the relevant academic requirements of my major(s) of interest.

My adviser discusses with me the relevant academic requirements of the major(s) for which s/he is responsible or refers me to the relevant academic adviser.

My adviser has helped me to understand my degree audit.

I know how to read a degree audit.

Delivery
Questions for advisers:
I am accessible to my advisees via e-mail, telephone, and personal interviews.

I am accessible to my advisees via e-mail, telephone, and personal appointments.

Questions for students:
My adviser helps me make my own decisions.

My adviser respects me as an individual student with unique goals and needs.

First Year Students
Question for advisers:
I meet with first year students an average of ____ times during their initial year.

Question for students:
During my first year at Penn State, I consulted with an academic adviser ____ times.

Frequency of Consultation
Question for advisers:
In the context of all my professional responsibilities, I am the primary adviser for approximately ____ students.

Questions for students:
I have access to academic advising when I need it.

My adviser responds promptly to my e-mail inquiries

My adviser returns my phone calls promptly.

I am able to make an appointment with an academic adviser, within a reasonable timeframe when I need it.

Items about adviser/advisee relationship (Section 32-30)
Questions for advisers:
I help my advisees take responsibility for their own academic choices and progress.

I prepare for and document advising contacts.

I prepare for advising contacts.

I document advising contacts.

I treat each advisee as a unique individual.

Questions for students:
I take responsibility for seeking advice when I need help with academic issues.

I prepare well so my advising sessions are productive.

I take advantage of all available advising resources, including electronic media.

Help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals
I have received information about the courses that are available in the field of _________.

I have received information about the degree requirements in the _________major.

My adviser is helpful in clarifying my academic goals.

My adviser is helpful in clarifying my professional and career goals.

My adviser helps me to choose courses that further my academic and professional goals.

To promote intellectual discovery:
My academic adviser encourages me to be thoughtful in choosing general education courses.

I understand why general education is an important part of my whole educational experience.

My academic adviser has discussed a possible focus or sub-area of study in the field of _______.

I understand the primary sub-fields of my major field.

To encourage students to take advantage of both in-class and out-of-class educational opportunities.
My academic adviser encourages me to participate in campus cultural and intellectual activities.

My academic adviser and I have discussed involvement with faculty research in the field of _____________.

My academic adviser and I have discussed completion of a practicum in the field of _____________.

My academic adviser and I have discussed membership in an honor society in the field of _______________.

To become self-directed learners and decision makers.
I am confident in selecting appropriate courses that meet my educational goals.

I take responsibility for finding and pursuing educational opportunities such as study abroad, research, and lectures.

I take responsibility for contacting faculty to discuss my education.

Examples of unit-specific items that might be added:
Questions for students:
I met with the following academic adviser(s) in the __________________ department.

I was able to access relevant information on the _________ departmental website. (Please complete this question only if you have accessed the departmental website).

My questions were adequately answered through e-mail advising. (Please complete this question only if you have utilized e-mail advising).

I understand the degree requirements in my major.

I understand my progress toward completing the degree requirements in my major.

I know how to find information on career opportunities in my major field.

I know how to find information on graduate study in my major field.

My adviser helps me to understand the role of specific courses in my academic program.