The Advising Center employs professional advisors who serve seven majors during their freshman and sophomore years: Biology, Mass Communications, Criminology, Pre-Nursing, Psychology, Sociology, and those students who have not yet declared a major (i.e., Undecided). The advisor reviews each student’s history and degree progress to place him/her into one of four tiers and to determine the best level of service for that individual. This Targeted Tier Populations model applies specific service plans to best meet students’ needs, while simultaneously making efficient use of institutional resources. The four tiers and a summary of their service plans follows:
- Tier 1 ‘Action’ Students are those whose overall hours earned indicate they will graduate in 5 or 6 years. Advisors pursue these students via intrusive methods to schedule face-to-face meetings, teach them how to use advising resources effectively (e.g., DegreeWorks/WolfWatch, Class Bulletin, websites), review current schedules for appropriateness of major and enrollment in 15 credit hours, email encouragement for progress and desire to accelerate progress, and follow-up with resource referrals. Research indicates that these ‘murky middle’ students perform well when advising is more intrusive than not; thus, advising holds are placed on these students’ records. The holds require them to meet with their advisor.
- Tier 2 Students are ‘Action-New’ Students. The service plan for these students is similar to that of Tier 1 students, with exceptions that tailor interactions to address the needs of students who are new to the institution. These students are required to meet with their advisor.
- Tier 3 Students are ‘Star’ Students. These are returning students whose overall hours earned indicate they are on track to graduate within four years. Services are similar to those of Tier 1 students, except that they are advised upon request.
- Tier 4 ‘No Action’ Students are those whose overall hours earned indicate that they will not graduate within 6 years. Most are on Academic Warning or Probation and receive Academic Coaching through the Center for Academic Success. Tier 4 Students are strongly encouraged to see an academic advisor for help in determining appropriateness of the major and how best to progress more quickly toward graduation; however, scarce resources have been directed to those students who will make best use of meetings with their advisors (Tiers 1-3).