We Don't Need Advising: We Need Holistic Student Support

April 4, 2024

For most of the 20th century, course placement was designed to be a system to assess student needs and identify the appropriate interventions to support success. Yet research into student success showed that placement wasn't meeting those goals, particularly for students who enrolled in community colleges with the biggest hurdles to overcome.

A holistic understanding of student potential – built on powerful research on the role of noncognitive skills such as sense of belonging, goal commitment, and growth mindset – can help colleges better understand student strengths and challenges, identify interventions, and improve success. The challenge arises in building a meaningful mechanism for student support beyond traditional models and mechanisms for advising.

This session will discuss the importance of holistic student support. Moreover, two institutional examples – from El Paso Community College and Creighton University – will demonstrate various strengths institutions can leverage and challenges they may face when attempting to implement such approaches.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  1. Describe two noncognitive factors that play a key role in community college retention.
  2. Compare and contrast traditional and holistic advising.
  3. Identify two institutional practices and/or policies that facilitate holistic student support.

Presenters: Sandra Lujan, Director, First-Year Experience, El Paso Community College; Ross Markle, Founder, Managing Director, DIA Higher Education Collaborators; Cynthia Wilson, Vice President for Learning and Chief Impact Officer, League for Innovation in the Community College