After seeing a demand for an easier advising opportunity, Lisa Stone, director of advising in the James I. Perkins College of Education, and Sara Cole, lead academic adviser for the college, worked with IT to create an online advising form for advising holds to be removed faster to make the process quicker for students. This also helps professors visualize their students’ class for better advisement as well.

“Our original problem is that our faculty in the [James I. Perkins College of Education] would often ask our advisers how many students that we’ve advised to take classes,” Stone said. “Which was very time consuming for us to go back and look at that. We kept spreadsheets for a time, but that was very time consuming as well. We knew we needed [some] technology to help us do that.”

Stone and Cole worked with the Information Technology Services on campus to create the form, both using their perspective of the necessities for the form to create a usable platform. They began their work in the summer of 2018 when it was evident that students in the education department needed an easier way to be advised.

“It was such an easy process,” Cole said. “Brad Fox and Rich Barnhart were the two that we work with the most. Brad, he kind of took over, emailing back and forth, fine tuning. I’m advising students every day, so I just am more into that. He was great. He was responsive. I know nothing about technology. He knows nothing about advising, so I just told him what we needed, and he said, ‘Well hey, will this work?’ We just went back and forth, and it just went very smoothly.”

So far, the online advising forms are being used in the James I. Perkins College of Education and the Nelson Rusche College of Business, but it has been brought to the attention of other colleges around campus. The intent of the online advising form is to help students and teachers work together to help each student’s college career excel. This improvement of the advising program is one that Dr. Scott Gordon, the new president of SFA, has advocated for.

“If you are a student, you know about holds and what you have to go through for registering for where certain things can happen,” Gordon said. “[You can be] dropped from a class if your financial aid isn’t in. All of these things, we want to find a way to [streamline advising for students.]

With the use of this new program, students will be able to remove advising holds from their mySFA accounts, have their schedule in a an easily accessible place and will let students and their teachers be able to communicate more efficiently about the class schedules.

So far, the student responses to the online advising form have been positive, and Stone and Cole hope for the form to spread to other colleges on campus.

Raquel Torres contributed to this report.

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