Academic advising, eh : a profile of undergraduate academic advising at Ontario universities
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Despite its importance to postsecondary students' success, there is little known about academic advisement in Canada. Academic advising can be a very intensive and demanding job, yet it is not well understood what duties or student populations of advising make it so. On a practical level, this study sought to learn more about academic advisement in Ontario universities and provide a general overview of who advisors are and what they do. This study also investigated academic advising duties and time allocation for these responsibilities in an attempt to relate theory to practice incorporating Vilfredo Pareto's theoretical underpinnings to confirm or negate the applicability of the Pareto Principle in relationship to time utilization by advisors. Essentially this study sought to discover which students require the greatest advisement time and effort, and how advisors could apply these findings to their work. Academic advising professionals in Ontario universities were asked to complete a researcher-designed electronic survey. Quantitative data from the responses were analyzed to describe generalized features of academic advising at Ontario universities. Discussion and implications for practice will prompt advisors and institutions using the results of this study to measure themselves against a provincial assessment. Advisors' awareness of time allocation to different student groups can help focus attention where new strategies are needed to maximize time and efforts. This study found that caseload and time spent with student populations were proportional. Regular undergraduate students accounted for the greatest amount of caseload and time followed by working with students struggling academically. This study highlights the need for further evaluation, education, and research in academic advising in Canadian higher education.