Undergraduate Academic Advising

California State University, Long Beach                             Policy Statement


March 24, 2010



Undergraduate Academic Advising

This policy was recommended by the Academic Senate on February 11, 2010
and approved by the president on March 3, 2010.



This policy defines the philosophy, goal, objectives, responsibilities, and purposes of the undergraduate academic advising program at California State University, Long Beach.


A. Philosophy

Academic advising is an educational activity that is inextricably linked with student learning and success.  Advising helps students integrate personal development and intellectual learning, which are the pillars of a baccalaureate education. It also enhances students’ academic performance and ensures their progress toward graduation.  Faculty members mentor students in myriad ways, including conversations before and after class and during office hours.  In addition, although recognition is given to the critical role that staff professional advisors play in the development of students throughout their higher educational experiences, this policy addresses those involved in more formal advising activities, such as mandatory freshmen advising, graduation checks, and requests for exceptions to academic policy.


B. Goal

Undergraduate academic advising is an integral component of the mission of CSULB to promote students' academic excellence and personal achievement.  The goal of this policy is to ensure that all students are effectively served by comprehensive academic advising throughout their university careers.


C.  Objectives

The advising program of CSULB, as a whole, should meet the following objectives:

It should facilitate intellectual and personal development by helping students to

1.   choose, clarify, plan, and achieve educational and career goals;

2.   understand the relationship between academic experience and career opportunities/objectives;

3.   identify academic and personal skills that need to be acquired or enhanced to achieve educational goals; and

4.   access and assess information and obtain guidance for post-baccalaureate studies.


It should enhance academic performance by helping students to

1.   develop a strategy to monitor progress and development; 

2.   select courses to integrate educational and personal goals; 

3.   explore academic options to make meaningful short and long-term decisions; and

4.   increase awareness of the full range of campus programs and services.


It should ensure progress toward graduation by helping students to

1.   understand and follow the university's policies and procedures leading to graduation (e.g., requirements for completion of General Education, majors and programs, and other university requirements); and

2.   complete and submit appropriate forms and petitions necessary for   academic progress (e.g., request to graduate, petitions for withdrawal, academic warning, independent study, grade changes, and incompletes).


D. Responsibilities

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators share the responsibility to work collaboratively to achieve academic advising goals. To accomplish the objectives, students’ advising experiences should follow a chronological pattern. 

Ideally students would obtain regular academic advising throughout their academic careers.

Minimally, advising revolves around the following five benchmarks:

1.   When students enter the university, either as first-year or transfer students;

2.   When students enter the major, minor, or program;

3.   If and when the student experiences academic difficulty, including warning and possibility of disqualification;

4.   When students move into upper-division standing and closer to graduation; and

5.   As students prepare to graduate and move beyond their studies at CSULB.


E. Students are responsible for:

1.   Familiarizing themselves with requirements for the major or program, as well as graduation and other requirements, contained in the appropriate CSULB Catalog and other university publications;

2.   Attending a new student orientation program prior to the first semester of attendance;

3.   Declaring a major as required by university deadlines;

4.   Maintaining a personal academic advising folder and taking it to every advising appointment;

5.   Obtaining academic advising upon entering the university; upon entering any major, minor, or other programs; upon entering upper division standing, and upon preparing to graduate; and

6.   Seeking advising if and when experiencing academic difficulty, including warning and possibility of disqualification.


F. Faculty and staff advisors are responsible for preparing and understanding how to meet the advising needs of students.

This minimally includes:

1.   Attending advising orientations or in-service trainings provided by the department/program, college, or university;

2.   Acquiring familiarity with the CSULB Catalog and all current advising materials, such as program planners, road maps, class schedule, etc.;

3.   Developing proficiency in using electronic advising tools (e.g., CMS or other Degree Progress Reports and the university website, including but not limited to the Academic Advising Center and Enrollment Services websites);

4.   Understanding campus advising resources as listed in the CSULB Catalog and on the CSULB website;

5.   Providing accessible advising services to students by scheduling and maintaining regular office hours specifically for the purpose of advising activities; and

6.   Providing supportive academic advising assistance by responding to the differing needs of CSULB’s diverse student population.


Faculty advisors shall accomplish the goals of academic advising by:

1.   Assisting students in making their own informed and responsible decisions, setting realistic goals, answering students’ questions, and making students aware of the possible short- and long-range consequences of their choices;

2.   Providing information regarding the wide range of programs, services, and educational opportunities at the university that may be pertinent to students’ educational objectives;

3.   Informing students of relevant policies, procedures, and programs of the university;

4.   Identifying practices to assist students to shorten their time to degree (e.g., identifying courses that can double count for general education and major requirements and identifying equivalent transfer courses for the major when appropriate); and

5.   Informing advisees of special opportunities of interest such as internships, employment opportunities, and educational enrichment.


G. Colleges, departments/programs, and college-based advising units are responsible for:

1.   Coordinating and providing oversight of department/program advising activities in their unit such as drafting and implementing college advising policies and procedures;

2.   Developing consistent and transparent guidelines for workload compensation for faculty members who assume advising responsibilities such as reassigned time commensurate with the number of student advisees in the department or program;

3.   Determining whom in the college is responsible for academic advising;

4.   Designating liaisons with important campus advising resources;

5.   Developing criteria for those who serve as advisors;

6.   Keeping advising materials current and available to advisors and students;

7.   Designating an area on department bulletin board or electronic equivalent for public display of advising procedures and information and a list of faculty advisors, with their office hours and office locations;

8.   Maintaining electronic means for disseminating advising information to students and faculty; and

9.   Creating, publishing, and implementing assessment plans that include measurable outcomes (e.g., time to degree completion data) and information on how the results will be used for program improvement.


H. University Center for Undergraduate Advising is responsible for providing advising support services to the university academic community.

This minimally includes:

1.   Providing advising services to students who are undeclared majors, entering transfer students, students on warning, disqualified students, re-entry students, and other students without a clear departmental affiliation;

2.   Providing advising services to students who experience academic difficulty or are subject to disqualification;

3.   Providing general advising information workshops, drop-in quick questions, and advising appointments by referral (GE and general graduation requirements) for all students;

4.   Providing appropriate academic advising materials to assist college, department, and program advising coordinators, including GE and graduation checklists and other resources for effective advising;

5.   Acting as a referral service to questions from the college, department, and program advising coordinators, as well as from faculty and students;

6.   Participating in the preparation, review and update of all-university publications that are related to academic advising (e.g. CSULB websites, CSULB Catalog, Student Handbook, Class Schedule, Advisors’ Handbook, etc.);

7.   Taking a leadership role in the development and implementation of training for academic advisors;

8.   Preparing advisors to meet the differing needs of diverse student populations; and

9.   coordinating and training student peer advisors and graduate student interns with academic advising assignments (e.g. orientation of new students, first week of classes, etc.).


I. Student group-based programs and services are responsible for providing advising support services to their targeted academic communities.

This minimally includes: 

1.   Coordinating an orientation to the university with developmental programs as necessary (e.g., EOP Summer Bridge Program);

2.   Providing comprehensive academic planning support leading to successful entry and/or continued success in major programs and progress toward graduation;

3.   Providing effective programming and referrals that link students to campus resources (e.g., Career Development Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, Financial Aid, Testing Center, Disabled Student Services);

4.   Implementing mandatory programs requiring students on academic warning or subject to disqualification to meet with an advisor as a prerequisite for on-going registration; and

5.   Creating, publishing, and implementing assessment plans that include measurable outcomes (e.g., time to degree completion data) and information on how the results will be used for program improvement.


J. The university administration is responsible for supporting academic advising as follows:

1.   The provost (or designee) shall:

a.   Provide resources, incentives, and recognition necessary for an effective and efficient advisement system, in conjunction with the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Academic Senate, the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies, the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, and college deans; and

b.   Ensure that academic advising of students is fully recognized, duly supported, and periodically evaluated.

2.   The associate vice president for undergraduate studies and academic advising (or designee) shall:

a.   Provide leadership in the area of university-wide advising endeavors by working closely with advising-related committees and programs (e.g. General Education Governing Committee, University Advising Council, Academic Appeals Committee, college advising coordinators, etc.) to ensure coordination and effectiveness of university advising;

b.   Coordinate with college and departmental advising units and special student group advising units;

c.   Coordinate university advising orientations and in-services; and

d.   Oversee periodic and thorough reviews of academic advising culminating in a report to the Academic Senate.


All advising programs and units shall undergo regular program reviews.  University-wide programs and units will fall under the purview of either the Program Assessment and Review Council or the program review process in the Division of Student Affairs.  College offices will be responsible for departmental advising and college-based advising units.  The associate vice president for undergraduate studies and academic advising will collaborate with advising units and programs to communicate assessment plans and results-based improvements.


EFFECTIVE: fall 2010