Brock University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 8177-8186
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0874
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Demographic projections in North America indicate a lower number of 18 to 21 year old individuals entering post secondary education in the coming years. In Canada alone it is estimated that this age category will decline by approximately 10% over the next four years, rebounding only by 2030 (AUCC, 2011). Consequently student retention, graduation rates and time to completion are of increasing concern to many universities. A critical element in student retention and success, often not receiving the requisite budgetary and strategic focus, is the role of academic advising.

Many unresolved issues exist in the area of academic advising including the role of faculty in the academic advising function; university wide centralized versus faculty or program decentralized functions; the impact of the nature of programs and degree complexity on the organization of the advising function; the use of technology in the advising function; and the relationship of academic advising to other university units such as international student services (King, 2008) . The role of academic advising within the context of student engagement (Filson and Whittington, 2013), student loyalty (Vianden and Barlow, 2015) learning goals and professional school accreditation requirements is also of increasing importance. Despite growing evidence of its impact on student satisfaction and retention (Swecker, 2013; Tinto, 2006 among others) academic advising is frequently carried out within the context of budgetary constraints, resulting in a drive for efficiency (Soni et al., 2014).

This study relates the organization and processes of academic advising at the Goodman School of Business at Brock University, Canada, an AACSB accredited business school. In particular, its transition over a fifteen year period from a faculty advisor-based system to an efficient centralized school-based unit, separate from the central institutional academic advising unit. Its organizational structure, strengths and weaknesses, is examined in light of the current literature on academic advising. In addition the experience and impact on students of the adoption on an online academic advising portal is reviewed. The paper will summarize with suggested best practices for academic advising structures and processes, particularly within business schools.

[1] AUCC. (2011). Trends in Higher Education: Volume 1 – Enrollment. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
[2] Filson, C., & Whittington, M. S. (2013). Engaging undergraduate students through academic advising. NACTA Journal, 57(4), 10.
[3] King, M. C. (2008). Organization of academic advising services. In Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook, Chapter 2.
[4] Soni, R. G., Kosicek, P. M., & Sandbothe, R. A. (2014, July). Applying Business Process Improvement Concepts to Academic Advising: A Case Study on the Efficiency Improvement Approach. In Competition Forum 12(2), 102-110. American Society for Competitiveness.
[5] Swecker, H.K., Fifolt, M. and Searby, L. (2013). Academic Advising and First-Generation College Students: A Quantitative Study on Student Retention. NACADA Journal, 22(1), 46-53.
[6] Tinto, V. (2006). Research and practice of student retention: What’s next? Journal of College Student Retention, 8(1), 1–19
[7] Vianden, J and Barlow, P.J. (2015). Strengthen the Bond: Relationships Between Academic Advising Quality and Undergraduate Student Loyalty. NACADA Journal: Fall, 35(2). 15-27.
Academic administration, academic advising, business schools, student retention.