Cultivating a High-Impact Advising Team with Leticia Wilson, Del Mar Community College


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Navigating through higher education can be tough, but combined with the other challenges students face in today’s world, it can be overwhelming. Advisors have the opportunity to play a huge role in guiding students not only to their desired academic path but to the resources they need to overcome obstacles. 

Today’s guest is Leticia Wilson, Director of Advising Initiatives at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. In our conversation, Leticia shares the high-impact advising practices being implemented at Del Mar and the results they have seen. Unsurprisingly, things have changed drastically in the last couple of years as institutions changed their advising strategies during the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to face challenges with the pandemic. Still, with the help of a team of advisors, students can make a human connection, receive the resources they need, and experience success. Leticia demonstrates the impact of advising certification courses, collaboration, and including student input in their strategies.

Show Notes:

  • [2:01] – Welcome to the show, Leticia! Leticia shares her background in higher ed.
  • [4:51] – Students experience a lot of challenges. One is that they are juggling a multitude of responsibilities.
  • [6:04] – Times have certainly changed in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, not only in how students experience education but also in the expectations of employers.
  • [7:43] – The average age of students at Del Mar College is 24. Needs change depending on where students are in their life.
  • [8:26] – Some students experience food insecurity and Del Mar has a food pantry to help.
  • [9:30] – There are different types of advisors but, ultimately, when students are connected to their own person that can help them overcome challenges.
  • [10:49] – At Del Mar, students come from all different backgrounds and several types of tutoring programs are available.
  • [12:48] – Students are surveyed to find out about challenges they face so advisors can help guide them. Leticia shares other forms of data collection they use.
  • [14:48] – Student government associations are also very helpful in strategizing.
  • [16:39] – Del Mar has been using Civitas for 5 years. They began using it in phases.
  • [18:24] – With Inspire as a tool, key indicators are allowing advisors to have real human connections.
  • [20:01] – The Covid-19 pandemic changed communication and Civitas Learning helped Del Mar navigate this change quickly.
  • [23:14] – Sometimes students don’t know what to ask or are not asking questions because they’re overwhelmed. Reaching out is important at Del Mar.
  • [26:11] – Leticia shares the purpose of an advising checklist.
  • [27:50] – It’s important to be intentional and collaborative in interactions with students.
  • [30:40] – Leticia describes the Pathway Model and the role of the community college in the community’s pipeline.
  • [31:48] – Del Mar has received a grant that has given them the opportunity to hire more advisors and champions an advising certification course.
  • [35:50] – The course was created to be sure that everyone is given the same foundational framework, but has also been helpful in collaborating across pathways.
  • [37:28] – Advisors must be intentional with each student. Combined with reaching out and getting the student in for advising, it creates a culture of care.
  • [38:31] – The core competencies of advising are conceptual, informational, and relational. The relational piece is crucial.
  • [40:01] – A goal for Del Mar is to increase the number of sophomores through persistence.
  • [41:21] – Whatever your role, lean into your needs.

Links and Resources:

Leticia Wilson, Director of Advising Initiatives, Del Mar College

Leticia Wilson currently serves as the Director of Advising Initiatives at Del Mar College. Where she fosters high-impact advising practices and professional development opportunities for dedicated professional and faculty advisors.

Prior to her tenure at Del Mar College, Ms. Wilson served in various Student Affairs positions and has over 15 years of experience and leadership ranging from track and field coach, head resident director for the Trio Program, Upward Bound, escalation specialist, a specialist in retention programming, academic adviser, and professional development facilitator within the for‐profit 4-year university and non‐profit 2-year community college settings.

When she is not assisting students, staff, and faculty, she enjoys being in the community, advocating for social justice, cultural humility, equity, empowering women, eliminating racism, and inclusion.

Not only does Leticia love what she actively engages in professionally, but she also enjoys social ballroom dancing, road cycling, trail walking, traveling, water sports, and Zumba. She is a self‐proclaimed natural hair enthusiast!

Katy Oliveira, Host & Producer, Next Practices Podcast

Katy oversees content at Civitas Learning, where she showcases customer experience and practices to improve student success and reach institutional goals with the Civitas Learning Student Impact Platform. In her 15-year higher education career, Katy gained extensive experience in student success as an academic advising, advising leader, and faculty member. She is also the creator and host of the Apple Podcast featured show, Collegehood Advice.

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