Sac State University Policy Manual

Undergraduate Academic Advising

Policy Administrator: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Student Affairs
Effective Date:
October 26, 1989
Updated:  November 26, 2007
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: ACA-0100






Two critical factors which contribute to student success are 1) the student’s successful transition to the University and 2) the student’s ability to make positive connections with college personnel during their first term of enrollment and throughout their academic career.  In both cases, student success can be facilitated by initial and extended orientation and advisement programs.  Members of the University community that come face-to-face with students on a regular basis provide the positive growth experiences that enable students to identify their goals and talents and to achieve their goals and utilize their talents. The caring attitude of college personnel is viewed as the most potent retention force on a campus.


Academic advising is not just one of the various isolated services provided for students. Academic advisors, as indicated above, provide students with the needed connection to the various campus services and supply the essential academic connection between these services and the students. In addition, academic advisors offer students the personal connection to the institution that the research indicates is vital to student retention and student success.  However, academic advising programs cannot be solely responsible for student retention.  The University must provide students with an integrated network of advising resources and support so that any student that seeks advice from faculty, administrators or staff will receive advice directly or be directed to those that can provide the advice needed.  Advising in all its forms should appear to be seamless and easily accessible to all students. 


In this context, an effective academic advising system is essential to the realization of the University's instructional mission.1  Effective advising should be viewed as a systematic and on-going process based on a relationship between the student and advisor intended to assist the student in achieving educational, career, and personal goals through the utilization of the full range of University resources.  All students are entitled to accurate, reliable, and consistent advising by faculty advisors and Student Affairs staff complemented by advising publications.  Students are encouraged and in some cases required to utilize advising services.  Ultimately, responsibility for effective advising is shared by students, faculty, staff and administration.


II.  GOALS.  The goals of the University's advising program include, but are not limited to the following:


  1. To assist students in understanding the broader purposes of a university education.
  2. To assist students in planning their academic programs.
  3. To assist students in identifying a major that aligns with their interests, strengths, and career goals.
  4. To assist students in making appropriate course selections to successfully complete their degree. 
  5. To assist students in understanding the value of the University's General Education program and the relationship of this program to their interests and career objectives.
  6. To assist students that are not in “good standing” to return to “good standing” and to progress to their degree.
  7. To assist students in interpreting and applying University policies.
  8. To acquaint students with the University's student services and resources.










IX.      MONITORING ADVISING EFFECTIVENESS.  The advising goals specified by each unit are to be assessed by the unit.  As for student success goals, these are much broader in scope and, as indicated below, are not appropriately assessed by looking only at the unit goals.


A.       Advising plans and services should be periodically assessed, as related to their respective goals, and improvements made as necessary. Each of the appropriate units should develop their own formative assessment2 plan and the implementation of an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving the quality and results of advising their students.


B.       The effectiveness of advising programs as it relates to student success is difficult to assess directly in that advising is only one of a number of factors influencing student success.  It is necessary, however, that academic programs be attentive to signs that may suggest students are not making satisfactory progress toward achieving the goals identified above, and consider whether changes to advising programs may be necessary to address these issues.


In particular, academic units at all levels – department/area, college, and university – should identify a set of indicators that may warn of emerging problems or may alert the unit to a need for a modification to their advising policy.  In addition, academic units should be alert to other indicators that, while not indicative an emerging problem, may suggest that a review of the existing advising practices is warranted.  When indicators suggest, academic programs should also consider whether changes to their advising policy and practices are necessary to achieve their identified goals. 


X.  NECESSARY CONDITIONS FOR IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF ACADEMIC ADVISEMENT.  As suggested throughout this policy, a set of conditions must be put in place for increasing effectiveness of the University’s academic advisement system in improving retention rates to be realized. These conditions include but are not limited to the following:


A. Providing the resources necessary to encourage and maintain high quality and effective advising at all levels of the university.


B.  Providing strong incentives and rewards for advisors to engage in high-quality and effective advising.


C.  Strengthening advisor orientation, training, and development, and delivering these as essential components of the institution’s faculty/staff development programs.


D.  Assessing and evaluating the quality and effectiveness of academic advisement at all levels of the university.


E. Maintaining advisee-to-advisor ratios that are small enough to enable delivery of personalized advising.


F.  Providing strong incentives for students to meet regularly with their advisors.


G. Providing strong and effective campus-wide administrative support for collaboration, especially between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.





  • California State University, Sacramento Mission Statement (Approved on March 29, 2004)


2         An effective continual improvement process requires the use of formative assessment, as opposed to a summative assessment process.  A formative assessment process analyzes results to determine if improvement is necessary, and if so, initiates efforts to improve.  Those efforts in turn are assessed to determine if the desired results were achieved.  If not, modifications or new initiatives are implemented and this process continues.