University of Wisconsin–Madison

Advising Core Competencies

These competency statements were developed to provide guidance for hiring, training, professional development, and performance review of individuals with academic advising responsibilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

These statements are intended to reflect a core set of competencies common across schools, colleges and advising units at UW-Madison. They are articulated with the understanding that individual advising units may interpret the competencies somewhat differently and can add additional competencies depending on the advisor’s role and the student population(s) with whom the advisor works.

  • Knowledge of undergraduate students
    • Know student development, career development, and student learning theories
    • Understand demographic characteristics of UW-Madison students
    • Understand the unique characteristics of specific student populations (first-generation, underrepresented students, international, returning adults, transfers, etc.)
    • Are familiar with generational characteristics and trends
  • Understanding of higher education and UW-Madison
    • Are familiar with the purpose and goals of higher education
    • Are aware of equity, access, and achievement issues in higher education and at UW-Madison
    • Understand the “Wisconsin Idea” and the “Wisconsin Experience”
    • Are familiar with the Essential Learning Outcomes from “Liberal Education – America’s Promise” (LEAP)
  • Knowledge of academic disciplines, requirements, policies, & options
    • Have a fundamental understanding of the academic discipline(s) in which advising takes place
    • Help students make the connections between requirements and educational/disciplinary objectives
    • Know degree and major requirements
    • Understand program admission requirements and processes
    • Know academic policies, procedures, deadlines
  • Familiarity with the Advising Profession

     

    • Understand the role of advising in undergraduate education
    • Understand the structure of academic and career advising at UW-Madison
    • Are familiar with campus and national advising trends

     

  • Demonstration of Ethical Advising Practice
    • Effectively apply FERPA guidelines and confidentiality protocol
    • Understand professional liability and legal issues in advising
    • Exhibit appropriate boundaries with students

     

  • Effective Use of Campus Resources
    • Understand, utilize, and collaborate with campus units such as academic dean’s offices, Office of the Registrar, Office of Student Financial Aid, etc.
    • Appropriately refer students to academic and learning support resources
    • Are familiar with enrichment, leadership and co-curricular options
    • Appropriately refer students to mental and physical health resources

     

  • Effective Use of Career Resources
    • Understand the career development process
    • Are able to begin a career conversation with students
    • Appropriately refer students to career advising resources on campus
    • Help students make the connection between their educational experience and post-graduation options
  • Cultural Literacy
    • Engage in self-reflection
    • Are aware that cultural identities (nationality, race, social class, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, etc.) influence thinking and behavior
    • Exhibit the relational skills to advise effectively across differences
  • Communication Skills
    • Employ active listening techniques
    • Ask effective questions
    • Encourage student reflection
    • Demonstrate effective presentation skills
    • Exhibit effective written and email communication
    • Communicate effectively across cultural differences
  • Interpersonal Skills
    • Exhibit multicultural competence
    • Establish rapport
    • Establish appropriate boundaries
    • Balance challenge and support with students
    • Make appropriate and effective referrals
    • Collaborate effectively with colleagues
    • Empower students to develop educational and career planning skills

     

  • Effective Use of Advising Technologies and Tools
    • Undergraduate Catalog
    • Student record systems
    • Enrollment tools
    • Effective documentation
  • Knowledge of Self
    • Practice self-reflection and exhibits self-awareness
    • Articulate a personal advising philosophy
    • Recognize his/her own professional strengths and limitations
    • Demonstrate a healthy work-life balance
    • Exhibit self-direction
    • Engage in ongoing professional development

In spring 2013 a sub-committee of the Council on Academic Advising (CAA) created this list of core competencies for academic advising at UW-Madison.  The draft was vetted across campus and revised to incorporate feedback from the broader UW-Madison advising community.