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Every week, EduNav rounds up three must-read articles about student success. The trends that they highlight, challenges they explore, and innovative thinking that they spotlight inspire us every day as we work to help our college and university partners meet their student success goals. On our must-read list this week: Award-winning advising, centralizing to scale, and addressing the transfer problem

Penn State celebrates a career-oriented academic advising superstar in its Department of Food Science

Academic advising is key to keeping students on track to graduation, and Chris Sigler, assistant teaching professor and academic advisor in Penn State’s Department of Food Science, offers a great example of the impact that great advising can have on student success. Sigler was recently awarded with the 2022 Excellence in Academic Advising Award and the 2021-22 Community of Advising Excellence Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. What sets Sigler apart? His career orientation. “He goes above and beyond, creating tailored recommended academic plans for students and personalized Canvas pages with links and instructions on all major advising topics,” said one just-graduated student. “And he organizes outreach events to help students build resumes, garner interview skills, and find internship and research opportunities.”

Will centralizing advisors under one unit help to scale advising? KU thinks so…

The University of Kansas has decided to centralize all of its academic advising within its Academic Success Department, rather than having advisors report to individual departments. As a part of this updated approach, faculty members will no longer serve as faculty advisors to students, but instead will have the option to take on less time-intensive faculty mentor roles.  “We have a campus-wide need to establish a consistent student-centered, proactive academic advising experience for all KU undergraduates, regardless of major,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer. “In addition to giving students an advisor whose sole responsibility is helping students progress toward earning a degree, this approach to advising allows faculty to focus more on mentoring, teaching and conducting research.”

Could a new approach to admissions fix falling transfer rates?

Dual and guaranteed admissions are becoming more common strategies as colleges aim to boost falling transfer rates, according to an article by The Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus. In an effort to provide a better transfer experience, many schools are exploring accepting students to both two- and four-year programs at the same time. To emphasize the scale of the transfer problem, Marcus quotes John Fink, a senior research associate at the Community College Resource Center: “Our transfer system, or nonsystem, was failing students even before the pandemic. It was extremely ineffective and inequitable, and now it’s in even more of a crisis.”