The Purpose of the Advising Council

The Advising Council (AC) was formed by and is continually developed by Santa Fe College (SF) staff and faculty who provide students with academic advisement and guidance. The Council exists to strengthen communication, collaboration, and coordination among student support areas college-wide. A grassroots initiative, it continues to evolve, focusing on process improvement in student services to support the college’s goals of access, engagement and innovation.

Specifically, continual changes in admissions, registration and advising operations present special challenges for timely inter-departmental communication as we seek to spread awareness of changes and to adapt effectively. The college will always need innovative systems, processes, and program services to respond effectively and efficiently to daily change. The Council’s focus takes an aerial view, promptly identifying and bridging gaps in student support services that result from constant change.

The Advising Council also serves as a venue for support of and feedback to administration on policies and procedures that directly affect the college’s advising capacity. Most important, the Council provides assistance in professional development for staff and faculty so that they may be best informed and prepared for maximum performance in student support services.

A half-day AC meeting is held prior to every registration cycle: October, March and June.

The Function of the Advising Council Planning Team

Planning Team Process

The Planning Team provides leadership in support of the Advising Council’s purpose. The optimum number of members on the Planning Team (PT) is six (6). Members participate voluntarily and on a rotating basis.

During each Advising Council March meeting, PT members who have served for at least five (5) meetings (senior members) start rotating off so that new volunteers (junior members) can join and participate in the development and execution of the meeting agendas. Those who wish to volunteer must participate in the Advising Council (AC) meetings and ask that their names be placed on the PT volunteer list for future rotations. Senior PT members determine the PT coordinator for the next year during the debriefing session immediately following the March annual meeting of the AC.

The PT members, who may also discuss issues via email or conference calls, have three planning sessions (totaling at least five hours) per semester, in between AC meetings:

  • immediately following a meeting
  • one month in advance of the next meeting, and
  • one week before the next meeting.

The PT members scout for initiatives, changes, policies and best practices that would be most helpful to those in college-wide student support areas. In addition, other people throughout the college identify issues that they think will be important to the AC participants and forward them to the PT members for consideration. The Planning Team sets the AC’s agenda by majority vote. PT members subscribe to the team’s process and demonstrate commitment to communicate in a timely manner, to follow through on action, and to cooperate with the other PT members.

Planning Team Goals

  1. Scout areas of need and/or special interests for the population served by the AC.
  2. Foster continuous improvement of student advisement and guidance within SF for the benefit of all constituents:
    • Students
    • Advisors/Staff
    • Family/Guardian(s)
    • Faculty
    • Administration
  3. Plan, prepare and communicate the Advising Council agenda for semester AC meetings to a college-wide audience through the Advisement Registration listserv:
  4. Provide input to any program or departmental areas seeking insight into the student support services implications of new policies, changes or innovative projects.
  5. Support a leadership process that sustains accumulated knowledge about the evolution of the AC through senior members while including the influence of new perspectives or ideas through junior members. Building and sustaining this community will be accomplished by rotating the Planning Team (PT) membership for maximum impact on the PT goals.
  6. Encourage leadership opportunities for those who seek the challenge and desire to influence effective and efficient outcomes in student advisement

Planning Team Outcomes

During the March AC meeting, the PT will provide the AC with an annual progress report to help the Council participants address the effectiveness of the Planning Team and of the overall meetings. After each AC meeting, the PT will begin its debriefing session by reviewing evaluations completed by the AC meeting participants. Did the discussion items on the agenda provide assistance that allowed the participants to meet their need for information and improve their ability to perform their responsibilities for successful student persistence and retention?

The Planning Team members will continue to look at ways to assess how collaborations are formed through the AC and to determine if those collaborations are benefiting our students through the enhancement of collegial relationships and connections.