Proactive Advising (with Technology)

Team Members


Dottie Ives-Dewey, Professor of Planning

Shereen Majeeth, Software Engineer

Jessica McMahan, Student Success Coordinator, College of Sciences and Mathematics 


Deirdre Bertotti, Assistant Athletic Director and Compliance Coordinator

Jim Brenner, Chair and Professor of Public Health

Diane D'Arcangelo, Interim Assistant Vice President for Student Development

Susan Gans, Professor of Psychology

Meg Hazel, Assistant Director, Equal Opportunity and Title IX Investigator

Courtney Lloyd, Academic Advisor, Exploratory Studies

Thom Nixon, Student Success Coordinator, College of Education and Social Work

Tom Pantazes, Instructional Designer

Patrick Richard, Coordinator for Catalog and Curriculum

Chris Stangl, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science

Jordan Schugar, Associate Professor of English

Why is this important?

“Innovations in technology allow supports to be targeted to meet the needs of individual students. Early warning systems make it easy for institutions to track student performance in required courses and target interventions when and where they are most needed. For example, systems can automatically place a student on administrative hold and require a meeting with an advisor if a critical path course in the student’s major is not completed on time. This targeted approach allows professional and faculty advisors to focus their attention almost exclusively on students most in need of services instead of spreading themselves too thin.” (“The Four-Year Myth ,” a report by Complete College America)

What are we going to do?

  • WCU will conduct a review of their advising infrastructure, including student-to-advisor ratios, advising reporting structures, job descriptions, selection criteria, performance management systems, training, and professional development. Based on results of these reviews, WCU will seek to make infrastructure improvements needed to ensure the delivery of best practice proactive advising.
  • WCU will implement a comprehensive advising assessment plan and establish a process for utilizing assessment results to make continuous advising improvements.
  • WCU will deploy Navigate to manage advising data, degree plan structure, student reenrollment, and progress through degree plans and implement strategies to engage staff and faculty in early warning systems that signal student struggles to enable just-in-time advising interventions.
  • DCCC will encourage their students to make informed choices regarding specific degree programs aligned with the appropriate academic maps no later than the end of their first semester. WCU will encourage their students to select majors no later than the end of their first year.

Updates from the Team

August 2023: Moon Shot Proactive Advising Enabled by Technology goal team completed an assessment of advising practices and technologies in Fall 2022 term. While the overall assessment identified several areas where current advising structural practices need to be improved, we discovered that WCU can provide exemplary service by tracking and optimizing supports, managing / coordinating care, and intervening when students go off their academic plan or do not meet important milestones. In Spring 2023 term, we conducted structured interviews of department and college faculty, professional counselors, and support staff, where we identified inequities and a lack of a common advising experience for students. This summer, we will provide recommendations to the Moon Shot Advisory Board on ways to best serve our current students for the upcoming Fall 2023 – Spring 2024 academic year. In the short-term, we will find a means to provide quality, differentiated care to students through the utilization of WCU’s existing faculty and staff resources, technologies, and organizational structure. We will make suggestions toward an equity-minded lens to ‘level the playing field’ for our African American and Latinx students. Our long-term plan is to outline a ‘perfect world’ model of differentiated care at WCU, factoring in evidenced-based advising and technology practices and robust supports / team infrastructure.

September 2022: Our goal team has broadened our understanding of equity, equity-minded practice, and equity gaps. We have engaged in a discussion of the university vision for proactive advising with technology at WCU, described and delineated faculty vs. student support advising roles around four different domains of learning (e.g., information, skills, cognitive development, and affective support), and have begun assessing current technologies, advising practices, and organizational structures at WCU.