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Strategy 1.4: Encourage Better Advising and Student Ownership of Education

Students who take responsibility for a direct and active role in charting their own education will ultimately be more successful students and graduates. The University has occasionally used the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data to assess the extent of undergraduate student involvement in and experience with their educational process. Penn State will increase its use of the NSSE instrument along with our own studies using Penn State Pulse to more directly confront aspects of our educational programming that fall short of expectations.

Sound decision making is clearly essential to students’ ownership of their education and its progress. Opportunities to participate in decision-making processes are valuable learning experiences for students. Extensive opportunities are available at Penn State to participate on search committees, task forces, the University Faculty Senate, student government, clubs, and the like. Such participation should be encouraged.

Students continue to have uneven experiences with advising, and the University must revisit—program by program—the ways in which we provide relevant information, the involvement of the faculty in the advising process, and how to best engage students and encourage them to take ownership of their educational experience. All First-Year Seminars or related first-year experiences should assist students to articulate their own statements of personal academic goals. The scaffolding that enables students to take on the responsibility of charting their own education also helps them build the necessary social, cultural, and academic skills and understanding that will be the foundation for their success upon graduation.

Effective advising and mentoring are equally important for graduate students. Excellent advising can reduce time to degree by helping graduate students focus early on key course work and research topics that will best prepare them for the future.

  • Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education—Primary
  • Academic Leadership Council—Secondary
  • Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School
  • University Faculty Senate
  • Vice President for Student Affairs