Asee peer logo

Changing the Advising Model

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5B: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Richard Wayne Freeman P.E. Northwestern University

visit author page

Prof Richard Freeman is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is one of four McCormick Advisers responsible for developing and implementing the First Year Advising Model. Prof Freeman has previously taught at The United States Coast Guard Academy, Valparaiso University and Iowa State University. Prof Freeman can be reached at

visit author page


Ken Gentry Northwestern University

visit author page

Ken Gentry is a Senior Lecturer and Adviser working mainly with first-year students. He teaches cornerstone design and courses in the biomedical engineering department.

visit author page

author page

Jenna Elyse Goldberg

Download Paper |


This evidence-based practice paper describes the work an Engineering School, at a medium-sized private Midwestern institution, is doing to implement change in how first-year students are advised. The school wanted to provide consistent advising to the incoming class, opportunities for students to feel a part of the school, and help to students develop the skills required to become self-reliant, resilient, and successful University graduates. The School decided to build an advising model based on a learner-centered concept sometimes called the Advising-as-Teaching paradigm.

Traditionally, First-Year students were assigned to faculty, in a department, based on their stated intended major. Undeclared students were randomly assigned to a faculty member. This advising model gave incoming students a home department, but not necessarily the department undeclared students wanted. In addition, students that changed majors, or were exploring majors, often needed to find their own connections with faculty in other departments. Lastly, faculty were tasked with teaching, building and managing research programs, advising graduate students, publishing and making progress towards promotion and tenure, in addition to helping students new to the university, higher education and Engineering. While the adviser training gave faculty the tools to help students build a schedule, it did not faculty had little time actually advise undergraduate students. This led to uneven advising across departments and the school.

Under the new model, Advisers are tasked with academic advising and teaching. This 55/45 split in duties means the Advisers are more focused on the task of advising incoming classes. In exchange, McCormick Advisers are advising each class through it’s first year. McCormick Advisers are also co-located in a suite. This office arrangement, along with a narrow focus, are able to collaborate on advising and mentoring students.

Outcomes of the model should come in the form of increased student satisfaction with academic advising, increased awareness of ,and participation in, academic programs such as Study Abroad, Exchange and Co-Ops Programs and increased knowledge of the Engineering School. The success of the advising change will be measured in multiple ways. Students will be participate in both summative and formative assessment activities throughout the academic year. This assessment will be conducted by Student Affairs as part of the First-Year Seminar. Additional assessment will be conducted by the Engineering School. Students will be given an opportunity to participate in an Advising Survey. In past years, sophomore and senior students were surveyed. Starting this year, all students will be given an advising survey. The University will continue it’s satisfaction survey as well.

This paper will explore the intended and unintended consequences of changing the advising model for First-Year Engineering students at the University.

Freeman, R. W., & Gentry, K., & Goldberg, J. E. (2016, June), Changing the Advising Model Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26478

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015