Rutgers University Senate Committee on Instruction, Curricula and Advising
Report on Student Advising Services
ACADEMIC ADVISING STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES
Approved as amended by the Council for the Advancement of Standards Board of Directors 5/2/97
These standards statements use the auxiliary verbs "must" and "shall" and appear in italic print throughout the text so that users can quickly identify standards and distinguish them from guidelines, which are printed in standard font.
Part 1: MISSION
The academic advising program must develop, record, disseminate, implement, and regularly review its mission and goals. Mission statements must be consistent with the mission and goals of the institution and with the standards in this document.
The primary purpose of the academic advising program is to assist students in the development of meaningful educational plans that are compatible with their life goals.
The institution must have a clearly written statement of philosophy pertaining to academic advising which must include program goals and expectations of advisors and advisees.
The ultimate responsibility for making decisions about educational plans and life goals rests with the individual student. The academic advisor should assist by helping to identify and assess alternatives and the consequences of decisions.
Institutional goals for academic advising should include:
The formal education of students is purposeful, holistic, and consists of the curriculum and the co-curriculum.
The academic advising program must be (a) intentional, (b) coherent, (c) based on theories and knowledge of teaching, learning, and human development, (d) reflective of developmental and demographic profiles of the student population, and (e) responsive to the special needs of individuals.
The academic advising program must promote learning and development in students by encouraging experiences which lead to intellectual growth, ability to communicate effectively, realistic self appraisal, enhanced self-esteem, clarification of values, appropriate career choices, leadership development, physical fitness, meaningful interpersonal relations, ability to work independently and collaboratively, social responsibility, satisfying and productive lifestyles, appreciation of aesthetic and cultural diversity, and achievement of personal goals.
The academic advising program must assist students in overcoming educational and personal problems and skill deficiencies.
The academic advising program must identify environmental conditions that may negatively influence student academic achievement and propose interventions that may neutralize such conditions.
The academic advisor must review and use available data about students’academic and educational needs, performance, aspirations, and problems.
The academic advising program must assure that academic advisors collaborate in the collection of relevant data about students for use in individual academic advising conferences.
Individual academic advising conferences must be available to students each academic term.
Through private, individual conferences with students, the academic advisors should provide assistance in refining goals and objectives, understanding available choices, and assessing the consequences of alternative courses of action. Course selection, understanding and meeting institutional requirements, and providing clear and accurate information regarding institutional policies, procedures, resources, and programs may be carried out individually or in groups.
The academic status of the student being advised should be taken into consideration when determining caseloads. For example, first-year, undecided, under prepared, and honors students may require more advising time than upper division students who have declared their majors.
Academic advising caseloads must be consistent with the time required for the effective performance of this activity.
When determining workloads, it should be recognized that advisors may work with students not officially assigned to them and that contacts regarding advising may extend beyond direct contact with the student.
The academic advising program must provide current and accurate advising information to academic advisors.
Supplemental systems for the delivery of advising information, such
as on-line computer programs, may be employed.
Referrals to appropriate institutional or community support services should be made as needed.
The program should provide academic advisors all pertinent research (e.g., about students, the academic advising program, and perceptions of the institution).
Part 3: LEADERSHIP
The institution must appoint, position, and empower the leader of the academic advising program to accomplish stated missions. Leaders at various levels must be selected on the basis of formal education and training, relevant work experience, personal attributes, and other professional credentials. Expectations of accountability must be defined for academic advising program leaders, and their performance fairly assessed.
Leaders of academic advising programs must exercise authority over those resources for which they are responsible to achieve their respective missions. Leaders must articulate a vision for their organization; set goals and objectives; prescribe and practice ethical behavior; recruit, select, supervise, and develop others in the organization; manage, plan, budget, and evaluate; communicate effectively; and marshal cooperative action from colleagues, employees, other institutional constituencies, and persons outside the organization. Leaders must address individual, organizational, or environmental conditions that inhibit the achievement of goals. Leaders must improve programs and services continuously in response to changing needs of students and institutional priorities.
Part 4: ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
The academic advising program must be structured purposefully and managed effectively to achieve its stated goals. Evidence of an appropriate structure must include current and accessible policies and procedures, written expectations for performance of all employees, and organizational charts. Effective management practices must be evident, including clear sources and channels of authority, effective communication, procedures to make decisions and resolve conflicts, responsiveness to changing conditions, accountability systems, and recognition and reward processes.
The academic advising program must provide channels within its organization for regular review of administrative policies and procedures.
The design of the academic advising program must be compatible with the institution's organizational structure and its students’ needs. Specific advisor responsibilities must be clearly delineated, published, and disseminated to both advisors and advisees.
In some institutions, academic advising is a centralized function, while in others, it is decentralized, with a variety of people throughout the institution assuming responsibilities. Whatever system is used, students, faculty advisors, and professional staff should be informed of their respective advising responsibilities.
Part 5: HUMAN RESOURCES
The academic advising program must be staffed adequately by individuals qualified to accomplish its mission and goals. The academic advising program must establish procedures for selection, training, and evaluation of advisors, set expectations for supervision, and provide appropriate professional development opportunities.
An academic advisor must hold an earned graduate degree or must possess an appropriate combination of education and experience.
Graduate students, interns, others in training, student employees, peer advisors, and volunteers must be carefully selected and adequately trained, supervised, and evaluated. When their knowledge and skills are not adequate for particular situations, they must refer students or others in need of assistance to a qualified professional staff member.
The academic advising program must have sufficient support personnel to accomplish its mission. Such staff must be technologically proficient and qualified to perform activities including reception duties, office equipment operation, records maintenance, and mail handling.
Appropriate salary levels and fringe benefits for academic advising program personnel must be commensurate with those for comparable positions within the institution, in similar institutions, and in the relevant geographical area.
The academic advising program must intentionally employ advisors who reflect the diversity of the institution's student population to ensure the existence of readily identifiable role models for students, and/or enrich the campus community.
Affirmative action must occur in hiring and promotion practices to ensure diverse staffing profiles as required by institutional policy and local, state/provincial, and federal law. The institution must designate a specific individual to direct the academic advising program.
The director of an academic advising program must possess either an earned graduate degree or equivalent combination of academic and educational experience, previous experience as an academic advisor, and knowledge of the literature of academic advising. The director must be skilled in fiscal management, personnel selection and training, conceptualization, planning, and evaluation tasks.
Academic advisors should have an understanding of student development; a comprehensive knowledge of the institution's programs, academic requirements, majors, minors, and support services; a demonstrated interest in working with and assisting students; a willingness to participate in pre-service and in-service workshops and other professional activities; and demonstrated interpersonal skills.
Sufficient personnel should be available to meet students’ advising needs without unreasonable delay. Advisors should allow an appropriate amount of time for students to discuss plans, programs, courses, academic progress, and other subjects related to their educational programs.
Academic advising personnel may be organized in various ways. They may be full-time or part-time professionals who have advising as their primary function or may be faculty whose responsibilities include academic advising. Paraprofessionals (e.g., graduate students in practice, interns, or assistants) or peer advisors may also assist advisors.
Support personnel should maintain student records, organize resource materials, receive students, make appointments, and handle correspondence and other operational needs. Technical staff may be used in research, data collection, systems development, and special projects. Technical and support personnel should be carefully selected and adequately trained, supervised, and evaluated.
Part 6: FINANCIAL RESOURCES
The academic advising program must have adequate funding to accomplish its mission and goals. Priorities, whether set periodically or as a result of extraordinary conditions, must be determined within the context of the stated mission, goals, and resources.
Special consideration should be given to providing funding for training and development of advisors, particularly those for whom the advisory function is a part-time and/or secondary assignment.
Financial resources should be sufficient to provide high quality print and non-print information for students and training materials for advisors. Also, there should be sufficient resources to promote the academic advising program.
Part 7: FACILITIES, TECHNOLOGY, AND EQUIPMENT
The academic advising program must have adequate and suitably located facilities, technology, and equipment to support its mission and goals. Facilities, technology, and equipment must be in compliance with relevant federal, state/provincial, and local requirements to provide for access, health, and safety.
The academic advising program must assure that technology assisted advising includes appropriate approvals, consultations, and referrals.
Computing equipment and access to local networks, student data bases, and the Internet should be available to academic advisors.
Privacy and freedom from visual and auditory distractions should be considerations in designing appropriate facilities.
Part 8: LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Academic advisors must be knowledgeable about and responsive to law and regulations that relate to the academic advising program. Sources for legal obligations and limitations include constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and case law; mandatory laws and orders emanating from federal, state/provincial, and local governments; and the institution through its policies.
Academic advisors must use reasonable and informed practices to limit the liability exposure of the institution, its officers, employees, and agents. Academic advisors must be informed about institutional policies regarding personal liability and related insurance coverage options.
The institution must provide access to legal advice for academic advisors as needed to carry out assigned responsibilities.
The institution must inform academic advisors and students, in a timely and systematic fashion, about extraordinary or changing legal obligations and potential liabilities.
Part 9: EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, ACCESS, AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
The academic advising program must ensure that programs and services are provided on a fair and equitable basis and are accessible to all students. Hours of operation must be responsive to the needs of all students. The academic advising program must adhere to the spirit and intent of equal opportunity laws.
The academic advising program must not be discriminatory on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, and/or veteran status. Exceptions are appropriate only where provided by relevant law and institutional policy.
Consistent with the mission and goals, the academic advising program must take affirmative action to remedy significant imbalances in student participation and staffing patterns.
Part 10: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
The academic advising program must establish, maintain, and promote effective relations with relevant campus offices and external agencies.
Academic advising is integral to the educational process and depends upon close working relationships with other institutional agencies and the administration. The academic advising program should be fully integrated into other processes of the institution. For referral purposes, the academic advising program should provide academic advisors, for referral purposes, a comprehensive list of relevant external agencies, campus offices, and opportunities.
Part 11: DIVERSITY
Within the context of the institution's unique mission, multi-dimensional diversity enriches the community and enhances the collegiate experience for all; therefore, the academic advising program must nurture environments where similarities and differences among people are recognized and honored.
The academic advising program must promote cultural educational experiences that are characterized by open and continuous communication, that deepen understanding of one's own culture and heritage, and that respect and educate about similarities, differences, and histories of cultures.
The academic advising program must address the characteristics and needs of a diverse population when establishing and implementing policies and procedures.
Part 12: ETHICS
All persons involved in the delivery of the academic advising program must adhere to the highest of principles of ethical behavior. The academic advising program must implement statements of ethical practice. The academic advising program must publish these statements and ensure their periodic review by all concerned.
Ethical standards or other statements from relevant professional associations should be considered.
The academic advising program must ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all records and communications (i.e., paper and electronic), unless exempted by law.
Information disclosed in individual academic advising sessions must remain confidential, unless written permission to divulge the information is given by the student. However, all academic advising personnel must disclose to appropriate authorities information judged to be of an emergency nature, especially when the health and safety of the individual or others are involved. Information in students’ educational records must not be disclosed to non-institutional third parties without appropriate consent, unless classified as "Directory" information or when the information is subpoenaed by law. The academic advising program must apply a similar dedication to privacy and confidentiality to research data concerning individuals.
All academic advising personnel must be aware of and comply with the provisions contained in the institution's human subjects research policy and in other relevant institutional policies addressing ethical practices.
All academic advising personnel must recognize and avoid personal conflict of interest or appearance thereof in their transactions with students and others. All academic advising personnel must strive to ensure the fair, objective, and impartial treatment of all persons with whom they interact.
When handling institutional funds, all academic advising personnel must ensure that such funds are managed in accordance with established and responsible accounting procedures.
All academic advising personnel must maintain the highest principles of ethical behavior in the use of technology.
All academic advising personnel must not participate in any form of harassment that demeans persons or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive campus environment.
All academic advising personnel must perform their duties within the limits of their training, expertise, and competence. When these limits are exceeded, individuals in need of further assistance must be referred to persons possessing appropriate qualifications.
All academic advising personnel must use suitable means to confront unethical behavior exhibited within the educational community.
Part 13: ASSESSMENT
The academic advising program must regularly conduct systematic qualitative
and quantitative evaluations of program quality to determine the extent
to which stated mission and goals are being met. Although methods of assessment
may vary, the academic advising program must employ a sufficient range
of measures to ensure objectivity and comprehensiveness. Data collected
must include responses from students and other affected constituencies.
Results of these evaluations must be used in revising and improving the
academic advising program and in assessing the performance of personnel.