Twenty-two percent of Wayne State students are on academic probation and 13 percent of students graduate within four years. The Board of Governors Student Affairs Committee met to discuss this problem and implement changes to support students through advising, tutoring and professional career-oriented opportunities.
As part of a campus-wide initiative to give students more attention and support, 45 advisors were hired this past year. With this focus on students’ academic success and available exploratory activities, students will be able to explore their career options. Through this philosophy, advising will become a planned approach to pro-activeness rather than reactiveness.
“Reactive advising is more ‘putting out fires,’ while proactive advising supports students in a more intentional, developmental approach as they progress toward their degree, explore their interests and tackle their challenges,” said Cheryl Kollin, director of the University Advising Center. “The close relationship (between student and advisor) also fosters an environment of belonging.”
Audrey Whitfield, Academic Pathways for Excellence associate director for advising and enrollment services, agrees that comfortable student-advisor relationships are the key.
“Our mindset is to be there for students,” she said. “Our advisors are trained to be able to coach students through courses, seek help and manage time so that students feel comfortable asking advisors questions.”
In an attempt to provide a support system for the significant number of students on academic probation, WSU currently has an Early Academic Assessment Program. This program works by having advisors reach out to students who show mid-semester academic issues. Together, students and advisors will then work to develop a success plan.
“The bottom line is that we want to develop relationships with students and we want them to feel a sense of belonging here in the university,” said Monica Brockmeyer, associate provost of student success.
Kollin believes that the increased amount of advisors at WSU however does not only help students as individuals, but also the university as a whole. Kollin believes that it will raise the four-year graduation rate.
The amount of students not showing up for advising appointments has decreased from 40 percent to 13 percent.
In the fall of 2014, 15 percent of students were undecided majors. Advisors are currently working with students to help them find their career paths through advising meetings, career events and offering advice on jobs and internship opportunities.
“Proactive and developmental approaches are deliberate, they show interest and care for students and provides an environment to encourage students to explore options and take academic risks,” Kollin said.
Full article via: The South End