Professional development course focuses on advising under-resourced students

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A new professional development course from Penn State aims to give all faculty and staff the knowledge they need to best support the students who may need more resources to be successful in college.

The course, “Excellence in Academic Advising: Under-resourced students,” consists of two parts and is being offered online in Canvas through Penn State World Campus Faculty Development’s Online Learning series during the fall 2020 semester. The two-part course will be taught by an instructor.

The course covers the best practices to support the student populations that are at high risk for not finishing their degrees or those that need additional resources. For instance, it will examine the kinds of factors that contribute to student success and failure, and it focuses on how proactive advising can meet the needs of these groups, which include students who are the first in their families to go to college, LGBTQ students, multicultural students, online learners and more.

“We all want to see our advisees be successful in their college careers and beyond,” said Dawn Coder, the director of academic advising and student disability services at Penn State World Campus and a co-author of the course. “Some of these students need a bit more. In this course, we will look at how advisers can make a real difference.”

Coder said students from these populations typically must disclose to their adviser or another staff member that they have a disability, are in the military, among others. Otherwise, Coder said, advisers would not know to provide additional resources of support.

“We want students to self-identify so we can provide them resources,” Coder said. “That’s why it’s so important to have that positive, open advising relationship.”

The first part, OL 3825 in the Online Learning series, runs from Sept. 1-30 and focuses on the following under-resourced student populations:

  • first-generation students
  • LGBTQ students
  • multicultural students
  • students with disabilities

The second part, OL 3850, will run from Nov. 1-30, and it focuses on the following populations:

  • nontraditional students
  • online students
  • transfer students
  • military students
  • student-athletes
  • high-achieving students

The first part is not a prerequisite to take the second part.

Coder co-authored the course with experts across Penn state, including staff from the Penn State World Campus Academic Advising and Student Disability Services team, Penn State’s Division of Undergraduate Studies, the University’s Multicultural Resource Center and more. A pilot version of the course started in July and has been reviewed by experts from across the University.

The course builds on the first academic advising course in the Online Learning series, OL 3800, “Excellence in academic advising,” which opened in 2019. It explores the best practices in advising as set forth by the National Academic Advising Association.

Visit the Penn State World Campus Faculty Development website to register for the new advising course.

Last Updated April 15, 2021