Mission & Vision Statements

Mission & Vision Statements

In Penn State's 2009-2014 Strategic Plan, Priorities for Excellence, "encouraging better advising and student ownership of education" is explicitly stated as a strategy for reaching the University's goal of enhanced student success. Penn State Altoona strives to meet this challenge through a comprehensive academic advising program that lends support to both students and advisors as they work collaboratively to achieve this goal. Following are statements of the advising program's vision, mission, values, goals and outcomes.

Vision Statement

Penn State Altoona will strive to deliver an academic advising program that is committed to excellence and that seeks to foster and support student success.

Mission Statement

Penn State Altoona will provide students with access to well-informed academic advisors who will assist them as they explore, develop and implement realistic educational goals and plans.

Values Statement

Penn State Altoona's academic advising program values:

  • students as individuals with unique backgrounds, abilities, values and goals;
  • a developmental approach to advising that is designed to identify and meet the needs of students;
  • teaching and learning as processes that can encourage students to become actively engaged in their education at Penn State and beyond;
  • the role that faculty have in the advising system;
  • the University's advising network that serves as a resource for information and mentoring;
  • professional development as a means to expand and enhance knowledge and expertise and refine skills.

Advising Goals and Outcomes

Goal 1: Introduce students and advisors to the concept of academic advising and shared responsibility in building an advising partnership that has a foundation in mutual respect.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to articulate their responsibilities in building an effective advising partnership after participating in New Student Orientation and College Meetings.
  • Students will demonstrate the concept of mutual respect by consulting with their advisors on a regular basis, making and keeping appointments, preparing for advising meetings, and following through with recommendations and referrals.

Advisor/Delivery Outcomes:

  • Advisors will be able to articulate their role and responsibilities in building an effective advising partnership after participating in a mandatory advising orientation program.
  • Advisors will demonstrate the concept of a partnership by reaching out to students throughout the semester, by being prepared for advising meetings, by using multiple means of communication, and by being attentive to and respectful of students during advising interactions.

Goal 2: Convey the nature of higher education, the academic structure of the University, and the purpose of General Education.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be introduced to these concepts before and during New Student Orientation through completion of an on-line assignment and registration for first semester courses.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of these concepts during academic planning meetings and through the use of degree audits and Recommended Academic Plans.

Advisor/Delivery Outcomes:

  • Advisors will be able to convey this information to students at New Student Orientation and at subsequent advising appointments.
  • Advisors will reinforce these concepts during advising planning meetings through the use of degree audits, Recommended Academic Plans and various other advising tools.

Goal 3: Introduce students and advisors to technology resources and tools that will facilitate communication, information gathering, educational planning, and networking.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will activate their access accounts and will learn about Webmail at New Student Orientation.
  • Students will be introduced to and learn how to use LionPATH and the Schedule of Courses during New Student Orientation.
  • Students will be introduced to Academic Advising Portal and other electronic advising resources during New Student Orientation.
  • Students will learn how to access degree audits and Recommended Academic Plans at their initial advising meetings in their first semester.

Advisor/Delivery Outcomes:

  • Advisors will re-introduce LionPATH to students during their initial advising meetings in the first semester.
  • Advisors will teach students how to access and read degree audits and Recommended Academic Plans.
  • Advisors will introduce students to Websites, including Academic Advising Portal, that can help students to gather academic information related to majors, curricular requirements and policies and procedures.

Goal 4: Engage students in both short-term and long-range educational planning.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be introduced to the concept of academic planning at New Student Orientation and will demonstrate their awareness by actively participating in the creation of a first semester schedule.
  • Students will meet with their advisors at least once a semester to discuss their educational plans and evaluate their academic progress.
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to access degree audits and Recommended Academic Plans by bringing these tools to their advising meetings.
  • Students will be able to navigate on-line resources to enhance their knowledge of curricular requirements, entrance to major criteria, and other academic information.

Advisor/Delivery Outcomes:

  • Advisors will use academic tools such as degree audits, Recommended Academic Plans, flowcharts and curricular checksheets to assist students with academic planning.
  • Advisors will help students to evaluate their progress towards their academic goals through the use of the Academic Review module in LionPATH each semester.
  • Advisors will introduce students to on-line resources that can facilitate both short-term and long-range academic planning.

Goal 5: Stress the importance of regular communication through face-to-face meetings, email correspondence, and documentation of advising interactions.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will learn about the importance of a strong advising partnership and will be assigned to academic advisors at New Student Orientation.
  • Students will meet with their assigned advisors at College Meetings immediately before their first semester begins and will be informed of the process for scheduling advising meetings.
  • Students will be expected to meet with their advisors at least once each semester and to communicate with them via email on an as-needed basis.
  • Students will be expected to read email from their advisors and respond to communication, as appropriate, within a day or two.

Advisor/Delivery Outcomes:

  • Advisors will meet with new students at College Meetings to welcome them, to stress the importance of an advising partnership, and to outline the process for making appointments.
  • Advisors will be proactive in reaching out to their advisees by sending email messages via the LionPATH module.
  • Advisors will respond to communication from their advisees within one to two business days.
  • Advisors will document contacts on the LionPATH Advising Notes module.

Goal 6: Introduce students to opportunities that can enhance their educational experiences.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be encouraged to engage in activities that can facilitate the development of team building, communication and leadership skills.
  • Students will be able to identify campus and university resources that can help them to achieve their educational goals through job shadowing, internships and research experiences.
  • Students will be encouraged to participate in activities that will expand their knowledge and awareness of the importance of diversity, community involvement, and global issues.

Advisor/Delivery Outcomes:

  • Advisors will encourage students to participate in clubs, organizations, athletics and honor societies to help students to develop essential skills in team building, communication and leadership.
  • Advisors will introduce students to University resources such as Career Services and will help students to identify courses that can enhance students' development of educational/career goals and plans.
  • Advisors will promote the value of participation in learning activities such as study abroad, community service, internships, research experiences and diversity opportunities.
  • Advisors will encourage students to develop professional relationships with faculty and staff that may lead to the acquisition of letters of recommendation.

Goal 7: Encourage advisors to participate in a variety of professional development activities that will expand their knowledge base and refine their advising skills.

  • Advisors will participate in a mandatory advising orientation program during their first semester as academic advisors.
  • Advisors will be introduced to resources such as the National Academic Advising Association, The Mentor, and the Center for Excellence to promote their knowledge of the advising field.
  • Advisors will be subscribed to Penn State Altoona's advising listserv and encouraged to use this resource as a means for communication and learning.
  • Advisors will be encouraged to participate in College/University sponsored advising information sessions, video conferences, Webinars and professional development conferences.
  • Advisors will be invited to participate in New Student Orientation to introduce students to the academic structure of the University and the concept of academic advising and educational planning.
  • Advisors will develop an advising portfolio that will be used to demonstrate and document their advising effectiveness.

Methods of Assessment

A variety of assessment methods will be used to periodically measure the effectiveness of the advising program and the achievement of learning and delivery outcomes. Methods will include the following:

  • Student surveys that will: assess student behaviors and measure student achievement of learning outcomes; measure the effectiveness of the academic advisor in meeting delivery outcomes; and evaluate the student's level of satisfaction with the advising program.
  • Advisor surveys that will assess the advisor's achievement of delivery outcomes and measure level of satisfaction with the advising program.
  • Advisor self-assessments that will allow advisors to track their success in meeting expectations.
  • Focus groups that will allow for more qualitative feedback from both students and advisors.
  • Advising portfolios that will: demonstrate an advisor's effectiveness through a statement of advising philosophy; document participation in professional development activities; provide evidence of advising meetings/communications with students; and measure achievement in meeting advising expectations.