~ By Nancy Barragan, student writer for the College of Arts and Humanities

Krista Hall, an academic adviser for the College of Arts and Humanities, recently received the 2018 Assessment Institute Scholarship. 

For the past two years, Hall has worked as an academic counselor for the College of Arts and Humanities Advising and Support Center, helping students achieve their academic goals.

She is currently enrolled in the master of education–curriculum and instruction option program in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development to learn more about assessment in higher education.

National Academic Advising Association is a global community for academic advising, an association of professional advisers, counselors, faculty and administrators working toward enhancing the educational development of students. Hall has been a member for just over two years.  

The NACADA Assessment Institute Scholarship is awarded to members who have demonstrated involvement in professional development and have made significant contributions to advising.

Hall was one of 10 recipients who received the award. The scholarship money covered registration to the 15th annual Assessment Institute, held in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Feb. 1-3.

“I was excited to apply for this scholarship because the cost of the Assessment Institute was more than the annual conference I usually attend for professional development,” Hall said. “Personally, it meant that the scholarship committee saw value in what I hoped to do with assessment on our campus. Professionally, it meant that I would have the opportunity to expand my current knowledge and experience with assessment (primarily course and program assessment) to include academic advising assessment.”   

This institute was an intensive two and a half days focused on developing a successful assessment program by providing strategies and tools for implementing assessment programs. It also provides networking opportunities and increases attendees’ ability to take home an action plan they can put to use on their campus.  

“I benefited immensely. It was a working conference, so I got to work on assessment activities that will be useful to our advising center and the university. I was able to clarify our goals and objectives for the Advising and Support Center. I was also able to draft some adviser and student outcomes that will guide future assessment efforts,” Hall said. “This information will be critical as we move forward. Finally, it provided a chance to network with the trainers and attendees from other universities about their assessment activities. I walked away with several business cards of people I can contact if I need assistance.”

Dr. Honora Chapman, associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said, “Krista will be learning how our university can best assess the impact of the academic advising that all of our students receive. Fresno State wants to see as many of its undergraduates reach graduation in four years, and if not four, then in six years. One way to help students reach this goal is to provide them excellent advising along the way. Krista will bring back practical information to help Fresno State implement an assessment program for campus advising; this assessment will show how we can improve the ways in which students are advised across campus.”

Hall said, “The goal of assessment is to make sure the course, program, or institution being assessed is doing what it has stated it will do. It’s a way to determine how well we are providing the products/services to our target audience. Since students are our target audience, they should be positively impacted by any assessment efforts. For example, if we have a goal to help students select the correct courses to stay on track to graduate in a timely manner, then we need to develop a process for assessing this goal. It might include having students complete surveys after an advising session to see if they received the help they needed. It could also include looking at student schedules to see if students are, in fact, taking the correct courses to progress in their degree.”

Dr. Mitzi Lowe, the interim assistant vice president for Academic Advising, said, “Excellent academic advising is a central component of student success. Assessing our current advising strategies and developing a comprehensive campus-wide plan will allow us the opportunity for continuous improvement. We currently have a decentralized approach to advising and assessment. The University Advising Council has identified a need for structures and processes grounded in the mission of our university strategic plan.  The NACADA Assessment Institute is one step in designing a more structured and engaged process to support student success.”

Lowe said, “The Division of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs are collaborating to develop a vision for assessing advising at Fresno State. Assessment of academic advising across divisions is essential for a successful and effective academic advising program at Fresno State.”

Hall said, “My goals for participating in the Assessment Institute were both personal and professional. Personally, I love assessment and am always eager to learn about how it can be successfully implemented to help programs and the institution determine if they are meeting their goals. As I mentioned earlier, my participation in the Institute was intended to help me grow professionally by expanding my current knowledge and experience with assessment to include academic advising assessment. It certainly did this. Additionally, an assessment sub council is being formed to look at advising across the university and develop a plan for assessment of academic advising, and I am hoping to be selected. I feel the knowledge I gained from the Institute will be helpful in this capacity.”

Chapman said, “After two years of directly supervising Krista Hall, I can say with complete honesty that she is one of the most efficient, organized and hard-working staff members I have ever had the pleasure of working with on any campus. Krista already holds a master’s degree in psychology from Fresno State, and she has also taught in higher education for over a decade. I am confident that with the expertise gained through NACADA, which will shape her graduate research in assessment, Krista will become a leader in advising assessment efforts — both on campus and in the State of California and beyond — in the near future.”