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  • The Insight First Year Advising Program: When Collaboration meets Retention NACADA International Conference, Maastricht, Netherlands, June 2013 Presented By: Connie Aramento, Associate Director of Academic Advising and First Year Programs,,
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Goals of Todays Presentation To introduce you to WPIs signature First Year Advising Program, Insight Program Structure Collaboration efforts between Academic and Student Affairs Assessment methods Training and accountability of Faculty and Student Advisors Technology tools helping us move forward How Insight improved our first to second year retention rate Provide opportunity for discussion 2
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Information about WPI Located in Worcester, MA (35 miles west of Boston) Founded in 1865 Primarily Engineering and Life Sciences Private four-year institution 3,841 Undergraduate (32% Women, 68% Men) 1,734 Graduate (28% Women, 72% Men) Project-based curriculum Seven-week terms (A,B,C,D) Grades of A, B, C and NR awarded 3
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute What is Insight? College Transition Program for First Semester Mentoring Program Academic Advising Program 4
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Where did the Need Come From? Student retention was at a record low Academic advising was not widely used Students were having difficulty with academic curriculum, connecting with faculty, and with their peers Students not given consistent advice Desire to bring concept of advising within Residence 5
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Goals of the Insight Program Successful transition from high school to college Build community at WPI Inform students of the resources and services available Feel connected to the institution academically and socially Prevent students from reaching academic difficulty 6
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Insight Program Model 7 Resident Advisor Faculty Advisor Community Advisor = Building Community
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Faculty Advisor Role Work closely with the Community Advisors and Resident Advisors to Plan academic programs for students Help students with course challenges and scheduling Represent the Faculty voice Utilize electronic advising folders B-term Check-insmeet with students Serve as Mentor to first-year students Help students overcome the fear factor Offer advice to resolve problems or refer to campus resources 8
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Community Advisor Role Role Model Work closely with the Faculty Advisor and the Resident Advisor Student mentor for the first-year students Help the students make a successful transition academically and socially Help students resolve issues / refer to advisor or other campus resources Build Community at WPI Meet with Insight group a minimum of five hours per week in A term and three hours in B term B term Check-ins 9
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Resident Advisor Role Role Model Develop a rapport with the residents Assist students with their concerns and needs Collaborate on programming with the Community Advisor and Faculty Advisor Foster an atmosphere of respect and tolerance Build community in the residence halls Have the additional eyes on the floor 10
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Profile of an Insight Group Based on Residence Hall floor or Commuter group Housing selection completed through Residential Services Designated Commuter group Each Insight team (CA/RA/FA) has a team of 25- 30 All female, all male, or co-ed Staff assignments are at random RAs may be shared by two groups 11
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Structure Prior to 2007 No accountability, very loose structure Little collaboration with Insight team (CA/RA/FA) Lack of program recognition Low attendance at events Students slipped through the cracks 12
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Current Program Structure The Insight team (CA/RA/FA) collaborates to generate ideas for activities and programs: CAs must plan, organize, and execute four educational programs and two social programs in A term. CAs must plan, organize, and execute two educational and three social programs in B term. CAs must collaborate with the RAs to present two programs, educational or social, in A and B terms. CAs must present an academic advising program with their Faculty Advisor during A and B terms. Weekly staff meetings, summer and fall training Share important and required information with students 13
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Current Program Structure Required programs Alcohol Awareness Academic AdvisingHopes/fears, scheduling, major declaration Collaborative programs with FA and RA Optional programs Time Management Stress Management/Sleep Management Health and Wellness Career Development Academic Resources Diversity Programming 14
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute What Makes Insight Unique? Not your typical College 101 course Students do not receive academic credit Program attendance is optional Programs mostly occur within residence Faculty and student advisors have access to First year students group/floor Faculty and student staff receive stipend Student staff receives a budget for programming Faculty receive $50 on meal card Faculty have access to academic record 15
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  • Collaboration Between Academic and Student Affairs: Bridging the Gap 16
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Insight Staff Team Associate Director of Academic Advising, Coordinator and Manager of Program 42 Faculty Advisors 43 Community Advisors 4 Senior Community Advisors 32 Resident Advisors Director of New Student Orientation Associate Director and Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Programs Responsible for recruitment of CAs and Summer training Residential Services Staff Resident Advisors and training Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies 17
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Office Program Collaborations Student Development Counseling Center Weekly workshops, faculty and student training Career Development Center Weekly workshops Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division Explanation of project requirement Dean of Students Office Academic Integrity Library Research Student Activities and Greek Life Academic Resources 18
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Collaboration Spring meetings to coordinate all training, program and evaluation review Community Advisor and Senior Community Advisor selection Weekly meetings during Fall with Residential Services to discuss at risk students Insight Faculty Advisor Group 19
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute The Collaboration Weekly CARE team meeting to inform necessary offices of student concerns Dean of Students, Advising, Campus Police, Greek Life, Judicial Affairs, Registrars, Counseling, Residential Services, Health Services, Risk Management Faculty Advisors early alert E-mailed list of students identified as at risk during A or B terms (First semester) Weekly meetings with staff Full insight team (CA/RA/FA) All Community Advisors based on Residence Hall floor (Encourages building community and programming) 20
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  • Training 21
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Faculty Advisor Training For past five years: 76% retention of faculty advisors Recruit in Spring from departments Spring meet and greet Day long training during Summer with Resident Advisors and Community Advisors General advising Orientation meeting planning/review student schedules New information/handouts/materials Motivational interviewing Two fall trainings Weekly e-mail contact 22
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Community and Resident Advisor Trainings CA and RA group trainings Community Advisor: One week curriculum based training with staff and Senior Community Advisors Focused on the Relational Model of Leadership (Komives), and Kolbs Experiential Learning Model Three day joint trainings: teambuilding and Insight roles/expectations Three formal Fall training meetings 23
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  • Establishing Accountability 24
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Accountability of Students (CAs) Weekly staff meetings Weekly meetings with Faculty and Resident Advisor Program plans Weekly timesheets Five hours per week in A, three in B (CAs) Attending trainings Contract B term Check-ins Budget Stipend 25
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Accountability of Faculty (FAs) Attending the trainings Academic advising with students Student grades Course selections Meet at least twice per term Academic programming Meet with Resident Advisors and Community Advisors weekly B term Check-ins Evaluation 26
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  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Accountability and Technology TechSync (Orgsync) CAs and RAs submit program plans, weekly reports and timesheets/evaluations and reimbursements On average hold 400 programs total per semester Each Insight team has its own portal to use for their Insight group Senior Community A


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