The Academic Advising Enhancement Program (AAEP) is a partnership between the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services and the various academic colleges at UCF to improve undergraduate education through academic advising.

Last year this initiative allowed the university to hire 13 new advisors that support the university’s goal to offer the best undergraduate education in the state through targeted advising services for undeclared and academic alert first-year students, assist with sophomore student retention and progression, and support transfer students using data-driven practices. The group participated in a series of training opportunities designed specifically for the group; and this led to the beginning of a learning community of advisors.

In July 2010, the group convened in their first brown bag lunch meeting to share best practices and discuss issues they face in advising students at UCF. The first meeting focused on information discussed at orientation with students, the new Academic Advising Council Web site training section and tutorials, the advisor assignment process on PeopleSoft, and other advising questions.

In August, the group discussed issues the advisors face with new student’s overdependence on their parents and their difficulty in making decisions. Several ideas and recommendations included helping students focus “on goals, get in majors that interest them, and have open conversations on balance/time management, and help high school parents understand how to prepare their child for living on their own and taking responsibility” said Troy Hahr, coordinator of advising in the College of Business. Chris Cook, coordinator of advising in the College of Sciences, suggested “a required [no credit, pass/fail online course] SLS for transfers can only help.” Additionally, Harry Jernigan, coordinator of advising for the Sophomore and Second Year Center (SSYC), recommended for consideration the development of a parent/advisor connection at orientation.

The brown bag lunches were facilitated by Brendali Melgoza, coordinator of advising for First Year Advising and Exploration, in July and Harry Jernigan(SSYC) in August. Sessions have been scheduled for once a month in the fall semester with including a session in September 2010 where advisors learned of the new DirectReConnect program.