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University Advising Receives Prestigious NASPA Award

The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) recently honored Cal Poly Pomona’s advising community for the design and implementation of proactive advising campaigns supporting student success.

NASPA recognized CPP with an annual Excellence Award, which is given to members who are transforming higher education through exceptional programs, innovative services, and effective administration. The “Implementing Coordinated Campaigns Strategies for Focused, Proactive Advising Support” initiative received the Gold Award in the Academic Advising, Careers, Graduate, Professional and related category.

Throughout the academic year, advisors in the college student success centers, Undeclared Advising and the Early Support team deploy coordinated advising campaigns to encourage students to connect with them. Using data about student progress, the advisors reach out to students at critical academic milestones or points of academic difficulty.

“This award is a recognition of the hard work our team has done over the past year to establish university-wide practices that meet the needs of all students, but particularly those who need it most,” said Erin DeRosa, executive director of university advising. “I am so proud of our leadership team for creating the interventions, our advisors for implementing these strategies, and our students for engaging with us.”

In summer 2022, the University Advising team within the Office of Student Success, Innovation and Equity worked to hire more advisors across colleges and launch a caseload model. For the first time, every undergraduate student at CPP was assigned an academic advisor that could help them meet their academic, career and personal goals. This model also aspires to support faculty’s role as mentors in introducing students to their discipline, research, and graduate school, and career opportunities.

The team also established the coordinated campaign calendar, giving advisors guidelines for which student populations to focus on, when to start campaigns and how to deploy them through the CPP Connect advising and tutoring platform. The campaigns typically start ahead of upcoming registration periods or at key times during the academic cycle.

“Building this model at CPP was important to proactively ensure that students across our eight colleges have access to the same resources and information at the exact same time,” said Vannessa Lopez, senior associate director of university advising. “We are now inviting students to set up an appointment with their assigned advisor. We are saying, ‘If you are looking for your person, it’s me and I am here to help you.’”

Whether it’s a one-on-one appointment, group advising, or a text or email nudge, students have multiple ways to get connected to an advisor.

“The coordinated campaign calendar has proven instrumental in fostering meaningful connections between advisors and students,” said Jay Ebue, interim associate director for student success advising. “By facilitating proactive and timely engagements, it creates a structured and engaging environment that promotes open communication and support throughout the academic journey.”

The team has been able to collect data from CPP Connect to understand how these campaigns have improved student success efforts. OSSEI advisors interacted with 92 percent of the undergraduate student population in 2022-23. Specific campaigns have shown promising outcomes: for example, students who were below good academic standing that attended an appointment had a much higher re-enrollment rate for the following semester compared to those who didn’t participate (78.1 percent compared to 49.4 percent from fall 2022 to spring 2023; 80.2 percent compared to 36.3 percent from spring 2023 to fall 2023), They also had higher cumulative GPAs and earned more units compared to those who didn’t participate.

“Data allows us to showcase the amazing work of our advising community,” said Pedro Navarro, interim associate director for student success advising. “It’s necessary for our advising practices and strategies because it illustrates our intervention outcomes and the areas where we need to continue supporting students.”

Cecilia Santiago-González, associate vice president for student success, says that receiving this award speaks to advisors’ commitment to student success.

“It is such a privilege to witness the incredible impact that advisors have on our students every day,” Santiago-González said. “These campaigns are just a small part of the life-changing work that our advisors do in helping students meet their educational and personal goals. I am thrilled that our advising community has gotten the national recognition it deserves.”

The team will be recognized at NASPA’s annual conference in March.

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