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Undergraduate Advising Center wins international award for innovation

Friday, October 23, 2015

LAWRENCE — Details matter. A University of Kansas initiative to provide advisers with more detail about student activity and help those professionals see trends and potential warning signs has earned the Undergraduate Advising Center an international honor.

The National Academic Advising Association honored KU with the 2015 Advising Technology Innovation Award at its annual conference this month. The award recognizes the most creative and unique uses of technology that support academic advising.

“This is great recognition for a collaborative and creative use of information designed to help even more KU students stay on track and graduate,” said Sara Rosen, senior vice provost of academic affairs. “We’ve harnessed data to close the time and distance between seeing that a student may be at risk and helping that student with the services they need.”

Randall Brumfield, director of the Undergraduate Advising Center, said the KU initiative combines conventional student information — such as major, GPA and academic standing — with additional detail from databases across campus that report student behavior indicators. The resulting visual “dashboard” allows advisers to have a more detailed understanding of the students assigned to them. The system also allows advisers to more effectively coordinate efforts in order that timely outreach and interaction can be provided to students whose information suggests they may need additional resources or support.

The dashboard, now in its second year at KU, involves several units across the KU campus, Brumfield said. KU’s Office of Institutional Research and Planning provided support to conceptualize and develop the advising dashboards. Enrollment Management and KU IT provided access to many of the data points used. The dashboards can by modeled by other advising offices at KU, serving students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or the various schools. The system has even helped reach students where they live.

“University Housing partnered with the UAC to utilize the dashboard to implement ‘Knock and Talk’ interventions with on-campus students,” Brumfield said. The effort provided support and advice for students who didn’t complete advising and enrollment in a timely manner as well as students who were flagged by instructors for low class attendance.

David Mannering of OIRP and UAC advising staff worked on the dashboard initiative. Since its development, the dashboard has helped shape the functionality of the EAB Student Success Collaborative, an analytics platform unveiled last academic year that helps staff and faculty strategically shape student pathways to degree completion.

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