University of Wisconsin–Madison

Guiding Principles

The following Guiding Principles are intended to provide a broad foundation for advising practice as well as a vision toward which we can strive while doing our part to reinvigorate the undergraduate experience at UW–Madison. These Guiding Principles were created and voted on by the Council on Academic Advising (CAA) in 2009.

1. Academic Success

Academic advisors support student learning and development, facilitate academic exploration, help students connect their learning to themselves and their world, and share responsibility for campus-wide learning outcomes.

2. Career Development

From a developmental frame of reference, advisors help students reflect on their educational experiences and engage them in identifying, developing, and realizing their plans, goals, and possible careers.

Surrounded by a sea of flowering bluebells, undergraduate Sydney Rearick works on her laptop computer while studying under a historic bur oak tree near Nancy Nicholas Hall at the University of Wisconsin on May 13, 2013. A major in human development and family studies, Rearick was writing a paper for a class on family stress and coping during final-exams week of spring semester. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

3. Self-Reflection

Through careful listening and questioning, advisors create an open, respectful, and supportive environment in which students can explore and consider their experiences, feelings, values, aptitudes, and aspirations.

4. Effective Navigation

Advisors teach students about degree requirements, institutional policies and procedures, and university structure and culture, and refer them to campus support services

5. Timely Graduation

Advisors support student academic success and help students make reasonable and appropriate progress toward degree completion.

6. Value of Education

Advisors help students identify the knowledge, understanding, and skills they are gaining through their college experience; support the development of students’ critical thinking, integrative, and communication skills; and help link students’ learning and professional preparation to the workplace.

7. Wisconsin Experience

In the tradition of the Wisconsin Idea and the Wisconsin Experience, advisors encourage students to participate in out-of-class learning experiences, engage with and serve local and global communities to solve real-world problems, and integrate in-class and out-of-class learning.

Students in the Chadbourne Residential College (CRC) and the Multicultural Learning Community (MLC) participate in a social justice workshop hosted by social activist Bree Newsome on Oct. 12, 2016. Newsome asked the students to think about a time that they felt powerful and provide them with insights and a history of social justice. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

8. Cultural Literacy

Advisors encourage students to consider their own cultural backgrounds; to develop intercultural knowledge and respect for differences; and to take action on behalf of justice and equity.

UW students attend the spring semester Student Organization Fair at the Kohl Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Jan. 30, 2014. The fair is a promotional opportunity for student organizations to introduce themselves to the student attendees. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

9. Leadership

Advisors help students become effective decision makers who accept responsibility for their actions and the impact of their choices on their lives and their communities.

Participants take photos of bees during a bumble bee monitoring workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum on July 6, 2017. The workshop provided instruction on how to photographically document bumble bees for survey and monitoring use. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

10. Life-long Learning

Advisors foster in students a commitment to life-long learning and the “life of the mind”—and model that commitment in their own work and life.