Providing on-going training and professional development is critical to the success of your organization. By helping employees develop and advance their skills, you can maximize the effectiveness of your service to students and clients. We offer customized training to you in formats that meet your needs. Training can range from hourly, half-day, full-day, or multiple-day sessions. Training can be delivered on-site, at regional locations, or online.
Training sessions include topics below, but customized, targeted content can be developed to meet your specific training needs.
Student Engagement and Support
As higher education professionals, we are dedicated to supporting our students in a variety of ways. By developing initiatives, programs, and services designed to support students, we strive to maximize student success and persistence. With the development of multiple departments and programs comes the risk of a siloed approach to student services. This approach can leave students confused, overwhelmed, an unsupported, or may cause them to overlook opportunities throughout the institution. Learn how to identify key players in the student support team: academic advisors, student success personnel, student services, registrar, financial aid, residential life, student activities, and faculty, as well as identify strategies for improved integration of services and how to avoid duplicated efforts.
Effective Organizational Communication
Ask employees in most institutions what their number one source of frustration or challenge is, and you’ll most likely hear, “lack of communication.” Without effective, timely communication, employees can be caught off guard and providing incomplete or inaccurate information to students and colleagues. Additionally, at times, students are inundated with multiple communications from various departments, yet other times they are not informed of pertinent changes or information that is critical to their success. In this session, we will explore strategies for effectively communicating information throughout the institution which results in improved service to students.
Students rely on academic advisors to answer the questions that they have. But what about questions that they don’t know to ask? Academic advisors can play a critical role in providing comprehensive information to students by anticipating their needs. Addressing students’ questions, along with related issues that students may not be aware of, allows advisors to effectively support students in successfully navigating their academic journey. By adding value in this way, advisors go beyond replicating information that can be found on a website or in a catalog and act as a catalyst for student decision-making and problem resolution. In this session, we will examine ways of anticipating student needs through the exploration of real-life student scenarios and best practices.
Higher education institutions are increasingly concerned with declining enrollments and student attrition. Front line student support professionals can pay a critical role in helping students to overcome the personal, academic, and social barriers that threaten to derail their academic careers. This session addresses the challenges that are common to traditional and non-traditional aged students such as isolation, transition, work-life balance, family, and health. Participants will examine scenarios and engage in the analysis of real-world examples and learn how to provide interventions and support to assist students in continuing their academic pursuits. Additionally, participants will learn how to assess students’ level of resilience when faced with perceived obstacles. Learn how to dissect student problems in terms of events, outcomes, impact, consequences, and influencers. Strategies will be introduced to help students solve academic problems including peer and faculty communication, personal problems including stress and health issues, and work-related challenges. Participants will learn how to assess and identify risks for student departure by examining student issues, exploring underlying beliefs, and identifying options and resources.
Advising via Email
Email advising has readily taken center stage as the preferred method of communication for both students and advisors. Students are able to write their questions as they occur to them, and advisors have found email useful in documenting interactions with students. However, email advising can impact the quality of advising relationships, can hinder developmental advising, and can facilitate students’ continued dependence on advisors for information. A poorly composed email can result in an on-going need for information and clarification on the part of the student. Further, ineffective emails can also send messages such as “you are wrong and I am right” and “you can’t do this and you must do that.” These types of messages are counter to comprehensive developmental advising methodology, and can hinder the establishment of productive advising relationships. This session focuses on common pitfalls that occur in email advising, and examine limiting factors such as tone, intent, and prescriptive advising. Participants will examine real-life examples and engage in discussion as to how to strategically infuse developmental advising techniques into email communication, as well as determine when email advising is not appropriate to address students’ concerns.
Comprehensive Developmental Advising
Academic advisors are faced with increasing student loads, decreasing resources, and a seemingly unending parade of students needing their assistance. The students with whom they work expect immediate responses and answers to their questions. Academic advising is a complex activity with diverse functions, subtleties and nuances. Academic advisors are faced with many challenges, including understanding and interpreting policies and procedures, performing detailed administrative duties, processing documents, and establishing productive advising relationships with their students. In addition to the technical skills and knowledge required of academic advisors, it is essential that advisors develop critical thinking and interpersonal skills in order to effectively assist their students in a proactive manner. This session summarizes the key components of a successful advising session. The components include assessment, anticipating students’ needs, exploration of options, moving the student forward toward the resolution of their problems and attainment of academic and career goals, and acknowledging preferences in communication style.
Academic advising administrators are challenged with developing a skilled advising staff to support students; creating systems and processes to effectively deliver advising services in support the university’s mission; and engage in problem-solving while meeting the demands and expectations of diverse internal and external constituents. The ineffective operation of an advising department can lead to increased liability due to misadvising, staff turnover, escalated student complaints and increased scrutiny from university administration. It is essential to build a comprehensive program that addresses student, staff, and university needs and expectations. Participants will be encouraged to identify and establish themes to promote shared vision and goal achievement. Examples of effectively responding to identifying needs and concerns of staff through development of tools and systems will be introduced. Discuss strategies for developing a comprehensive understanding of the critical roles and functions of your staff. Learn to design programs that address student needs without jeopardizing the motivation or performance of advising staff.
Integrated Approach to Student Services
Higher education institutions are faced with providing comprehensive support to students through a wide variety of services and departments. Admissions, financial aid, registrar, and academic advising are just some of the departments with whom students commonly interact throughout their tenure with the institution. It is critical for these departments to work together to provide students the comprehensive assistance they are seeking. All too often, these departments develop their own record-keeping, processes, and communication plans with little or no consideration for the other departments that serve students. This may result in mixed or confusing communication with students. This session provides participants ideas on how to collaboratively serve students in order to maximize effectiveness. Real-life examples will be examined to demonstrate common pitfalls which can negatively impact students and the services they receive.
Academic advisors are often inundated with tasks such as registration inquiries, updating records, and performing administrative duties. They are called upon to explain policies and procedures, provide deadlines, and complete forms. However, comprehensive academic advising goes far beyond completing forms and citing facts. In order to successfully advise students in an effective, holistic manner, advisors must integrate a variety of competencies into each advising session. By providing facts, teaching processes, using tools and resources, demonstrating compassion and applying critical thinking skills, advisors can maximize their effectiveness when working with students. Academic advisors can more effectively assist students in making informed decisions and developing sound academic plans when they approach advising in a comprehensive manner. In this session, we examine the essential competencies which contribute to advisor effectiveness. Advisors will learn ways to add value to their advising sessions by incorporating multiple skills and competencies into their process. Advising administrators will learn how to identify advisor proficiency levels and provide coaching regarding increasing competencies and improving effectiveness.
Electronic Records and Documentation
Higher education institutions rely heavily on electronic communication (email, instant messaging, online class discussion boards, chats) and records (student databases, internal databases) to conduct their daily business. We communicate with students electronically, as well as with each other. Since students readily have access to these communications (either through copies or FERPA mandated access), institutions must be careful how they communicate with students, as well as how they communicate with others about students and document those interactions. Higher education personnel must be cognizant of inflammatory or biased comments, or charges of poor or no delivery of service. In this session, we will address ways to maximize effective communication with students while effectively documenting delivery of service. We will also examine the concept of Educational Record (as defined by FERPA), as well as who should have access to records (legitimate educational interest) and discuss important relevant behaviors such as forwarding emails, copying colleagues, and copying and pasting into student records.