Feature Image Improving Advising Effectiveness with Rob Freidhoff

Boost Academic Advising Capacity & Effectiveness with Rob Freidhoff


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Today I’m speaking with Rob Freidhoff, Vice President of Community Development at Civitas Learning. Rob has extensive experience in higher ed as an academic advisor, advising administrator, Strategic Enrollment Manager, educational consultant focused on improving advising practices, and Associate Vice President for Student Success. 

In this episode, we’re talking about improving advising effectiveness. In our conversation, we cover how to use data analytics and intelligent case management technology to ease capacity constraints, why data analytics and intentional advising philosophies like appreciative and developmental advising need each other, and where to start when implementing data analytics and intelligent case management software on your campus.

Download the Full Transcript

Show Notes:

  • [2:40] – Rob has recently joined the Civitas Learning team. He shares his extensive background and talks about his newest role.
  • [4:59] – Having conversations and building relationships help Rob with his ultimate goal of student success.
  • [6:12] – Building a strong advising team is a loaded question. Rob says the most important first step is to be clear on expectations.
  • [7:33] – Most advisors are in positions where they are performing duties that shouldn’t need to be done by an advisor.
  • [8:40] – To avoid advisor overwhelm, software helps determine which students need priority.
  • [10:01] – By nature, academic advisors want to help. But some students need minimal assistance while others need more support.
  • [12:06] – How do we honor and respect differences between students who need less and those who need more support?
  • [14:07] – Having somebody else, even student workers, reach out to students over the phone.
  • [16:08] – A predictive tool that helps get students in the advisor’s office, but then the advising team must take over and know how best to help the student.
  • [18:05] – You don’t have to know it all. You have to become an expert at referrals.
  • [19:47] – When done well, advising is an art.
  • [21:24] – When the predictive analytics tool arrives on campus, users must learn how to use it.
  • [23:16] – What used to be different sources of information are now all combined into one robust system with Civitas Learning.
  • [24:40] – Creating groups is another helpful feature that Rob describes.
  • [26:35] – Now, students, especially those from K-12 public schools, are accustomed to having everyone access their school records.
  • [29:20] – Rob and Katy discuss the silos colleges can put themselves into. 
  • [30:42] – There should be a commonality between advisors.
  • [33:13] – How do we have check-ins to ensure we’re on the way to goals?
  • [35:47] – Advising is a challenging career path. Give yourself grace.
  • [37:04] – You can get started and make a difference even without knowing every aspect of the software you’re using. Start simple and then build from that success.
  • [39:35] – There can be some really good success if you develop a training team using people across advising teams.

Links and Resources:

Robert Freidhoff, Vice President of Community Development, Civitas Learning

Rob provides strategic support and collaboration around best practices for implementing and utilizing Civitas Learning solutions. In his 20-year higher education career, Rob gained experience and valuable insights as an academic advisor, advising administrator, strategic enrollment management specialist, an educational consultant focused on improving advising practice, and an Associative Vice President (AVP) for Student Success. In his role as AVP, Rob was part of the team to identify, select, and deploy the Civitas Learning Student Impact Platform on his campus.

Katy Oliveira, Host & Producer, Next Practices Podcast

Katy oversees content at Civitas Learning, where she showcases best practices and customer experience to help higher ed institutions improve student success and reach institutional goals. 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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