Best Practices for Group and Hybrid Advising at Missouri State University

Excellent academic advising helps create positive experiences for students, shares information about academic rules, regulations, and programs, and helps students develop meaningful educational plans to help them pursue their life goals. As enrollment increases and numbers of faculty and staff advisors stay relatively constant, many advisors find themselves looking for creative ways to provide advising information. Some departments are turning to group or hybrid advising models to help provide timely and effective advice to their declared majors and/or minors. Information dissemination to groups of students may free up time, resulting in more meaningful conversations with individual students about their academic concerns and plans. Group/hybrid advising may be especially effective for cohort-based programs.

Departments who wish to consider group/hybrid advising should consider these best practices, as well as the mission of advising at Missouri State University and the overall Best Practices for Academic Advisors and Best Practices for Advising in Departments/Advisement Centers available at Provost's Academic Advising Council. Group/hybrid advising may not work for all programs.

1. Group/hybrid advising sessions provide effective opportunities to share information that all majors/minors in a particular program need.

  • Invite student groups by hours earned or by milestones in the department that have been achieved.
  • Advisors conducting group/hybrid advising sessions should use care to cover all necessary information with each group and all participants. Checklists for individual students with space for notes from advisors may be useful.
  • Information covered in the advising session may be reinforced with advising handouts, information posted on departmental websites, or Blackboard pages.

2. All group/hybrid advising sessions must be conducted with utmost sensitivity to FERPA regulations and student privacy concerns.

  • Students participating in group advising sessions should receive instruction about what confidential information may and may not be shared in these sessions. Students may need to sign releases or statements of understanding.
  • Students in computer labs pulling up academic records should be seated so that others may not view their screens.

3. All students must be offered an opportunity to speak individually with an academic advisor in addition to participating in a group/hybrid advising session. Individual attention to students and development of the relationship between advisor and advisee must be maintained.

4. Two or more advisors are strongly recommended at each group/hybrid advising session in order to address individual concerns.

5. Students should have sufficient notice to arrange to attend a group/hybrid advising session and should be able to choose a session that fits into their academic schedule.

6. Follow up with student participants should include exit survey/evaluation opportunities. Advisors should also follow up with students who seemed troubled or confused as well as students who did not attend.

7. Notations of participation in group/hybrid advising sessions should be properly documented in Advising Notes.

Approved as modified by the Provost’s Academic Advising Council on November 15, 2017.