UAA Student Academic Advising 2.0 Launch

by Green & Gold News  |   

Dear UAA campus community,

In April 2022, Chancellor Parnell issued a student-first academic advising charge to Provost Runge in designing a student-first academic advising plan. Through a cross-campus collaborative effort, recommendations were made to establish an Executive Director role to oversee the professional academic advising operations, to align advising practices to improve the student advising experience, and to align advising caseloads, professional development, and advancement opportunities to improve the advisor experience. In late Fall 2022, Valerie Robideaux became the interim executive director of student advising for the Anchorage campus, the first step in establishing a unified academic advising team (temporarily termed “Advising 2.0”) within the student success unit.

Following HR’s guidance and processes, three academic advising directors have been identified to each lead a team of 8-9 advisors. Lynda Hernandez leads the COH programs advising team,  Andrea Jones leads the CBPP, CTC, and COEng programs advising teams, and John Mun leads the CAS programs advising team. In addition, an assistant director of retention and completion is being identified through an internal search process. This position will support the directors through best-practice research, advisor training, utilization of retention, persistence, and progression data, and inter-office coordination. 

I am pleased to report that all college academic advisors remain with their original teams, and first year advisors join the college programs teams according to their program knowledge and interests. Each advising team will remain closely associated with their colleges through dotted reporting lines between the directors and the respective dean’s office. In fact, nearly all advisors will remain in their current office spaces and advising their current caseloads of students! Faculty and staff are encouraged to continue their working relationships with advisors, and faculty advisors will continue to advise students according to their college practices. 

Over the course of the Spring semester, we will continue to improve the student professional academic advising experience through the following ways:

  1. Review the current advisor to student ratio and identity strategies to ensure all degree-seeking students are able to meet with and contact their advisor in a timely manner. 
  2. Provide professional development opportunities for advisors to increase their academic advising proficiencies and program knowledge.  
  3. Develop, implement, and assess a common student outreach plan for Fall 23 advising and registration.
  4. Update student-intake and appointment scheduling practices to provide friendly and helpful support.
  5. Establish a career ladder and professional development plan to provide advisors opportunities for professional growth and advancement.

The goal of this initiative is to improve the student experience while also providing stability to students, faculty, staff, and administrators who rely on the important work of our advisors. Relationships between the campus community and professional academic advisors are vital in providing a student-centered environment. Academic advisors support the work of faculty and staff colleagues through their interactions with students, and we want to make sure this dynamic not only continues but improves. 

Student-facing websites and information will be updated over the course of the next couple of weeks. And, students will receive direct communication if there has been a change in their assigned academic advisor. Currently, all pre-existing advising center phone lines and email addresses remain operational to ensure there is no disruption in student communication.

In the coming weeks, Valerie Robideaux and the advising leadership team will provide more updates and opportunities for collaboration. In the meantime, please review the current organizational chart and reach out to with any questions. We look forward to working with advisors, deans, faculty, and staff more closely as we advance our goals this semester and in the next academic year.  

Thank you,

Melanie Hulbert, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Student Success and Dean of Honors College

University of Alaska Anchorage

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