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Mandatory advising at COCC

Thurman Holder, academic advisor at COCC, advises students on what courses they’ll need to stay on track with their education goals.
Thurman Holder, academic advisor at COCC, advises students on what courses they’ll need to stay on track with their education goals.

Few Oregon community colleges require advising for degree-seeking students.

Of all the community colleges throughout Oregon, approximately half have a mandatory advising requirement for students, explained Alicia Moore, dean of student and enrollment services at Central Oregon Community College.

“We haven’t looked at records for a few years,” Moore said, “but a couple of years ago there were definitely more community colleges [in Oregon] not requiring advising, than those requiring it.”

COCC has had a mandatory advising requirement for degree-seeking students for over 20 years, according to Moore.

In 2007, COCC shifted to a shared model of advising that combines professional advisors with faculty advisors. This change from a centralized advising model to a shared model was the result of an enrollment increase, explained Moore.

“We used to have just faculty advisors,” Moore said, “then as the college grew, about six years ago, we went to the shared model.”

Few Oregon community colleges have faculty involved in advising, explained Moore.

“It’s something we’re pretty proud of,” Moore said. “We are definitely one of the few that has a high number of faculty involvement.”

Moore believes this faculty involvement helps to encourage student success, as well as helping to give students specific advice on their career field.

“We know that connections with faculty, and feeling that sense of connection to the institution, is really strengthened when faculty have a role with advising,” Moore said. “Faculty have the content expertise, so if you want to know what it’s like to work in that particular career, faculty members are a great resource for students.”

COCC is also one of the few Oregon community colleges that have mandatory placement information, according to Vickery Viles, CAP Center director.

“Mandatory placement information is just requiring students to provide either a placement test score or previous college transcripts, so we can guide them on courses to take,” Viles explained. “We don’t have mandatory placement, which would only allow students to take what class they placed into.”

With only mandatory placement information required and not a required placement, COCC students have more control of what classes they take, explained Viles.

“COCC generally has very few forced prerequisites,” Viles said, “so regardless of what courses a student places into, there are few restrictions on what they can take.”

Not having many prerequisites makes it important that students are meeting the advising requirements, explained Viles.

“Part of the advising process is to teach students to make good decisions about placement, and give them good guidance,” Viles said. “Advising supports students in what will help them to be successful.”

Viles believes that more community colleges are starting to implement mandatory placement information and mandatory advising.

“There are a number of colleges in Oregon that are starting to initiate student success strategies,” Viles said. “Colleges now want better connections with students, and mandatory advising is part of that.”

–Molly Svendsen

The Broadside





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