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A SMART Approach
Lynn Brabender
Program Manager,
Personalized Learning Consortium


A SMART Approach to Student Success

A broad consensus is growing among college and university leadership about the ability of campus-wide, proactive advising systems to drive student success in significant ways.  Implementing such systems, frequently requires significant change to institutional structures, policies and practices and can be complicated, costly and time consuming. 

To help college and university leaders implement new systems for redesigning advising and supporting students across their campuses, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) developed an online course entitled, A SMART Approach to Student Success: Strategic Management of Advising Reform and Technology

The course features in-depth video interviews with presidents, provosts, vice provosts for student success, vice presidents of information technology, advising personnel, and faculty from five institutions that have pioneered the implementation and use of proactive advising systems.  Drawing on these experiences, the six lesson, self-paced course, provides critical guidance to leaders in academic and student affairs in transforming advising systems to better serve today’s students. 

Sign up for a webinar to learn more.

Lesson 1: Proactive Advising and Technology in Student Success

  • What Will You Learn?
    • Understand the intersection of campus-wide advising reform, technology and student success objectives. 
    • Identify the structural, process and attitudinal changes required to implement campus-wide advising systems and plan for change.
    • Define goals and metrics for measuring progress.
    • Develop implementation and communication strategies to build cross-campus collaboration and address challenges.
    • Calculate and communicate about returns on investments in proactive advising systems and student success driven initiatives.


  • Format and Content
    • Video content addresses the topic of each lesson by illustrating a diversity of approaches, challenges and successes through interviews with executive and project level leadership from multiple institutions.
    • Resources developed by experts in the field highlight the current landscape of research around implementation strategies and best practices
    • Practical activities guide planning, implementation, evaluation and communication
    • Self-paced, asynchronous


“If you’re in the top 25% of Americans right now, you have about an 80% chance of holding a college degree. If you’re in the lowest 25%, you have under a 10% chance. So you’re talking about a ration of somewhere around 10 to 1 more likely based on what kind of family income youre born into. That’s not right. We all know that that’s not right. It’s also not healthy for the social life, the economic life of our country.”

Timothy Renick, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success, and University Vice Provost at Georgia State University

“It’s about a ‘one university’ focus. When you have everyone pulling together, it’s an amazing process to observe and be a part of. When you have Student Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, IT, Admissions, Athletics, the chairs for all the colleges, faculty governance…when everybody’s lined up, that’s where the difference occurs.”

Rick Sluder, Vice Provost for Student Success, Middle Tennessee State University

“Sometimes, our students don’t know what they don’t know, and they may be limited by the knowledge of the careers that may be available because of the limited exposure they have had to difference careers. And so having an advising platform that really opens opportunities for students is crucial.”

Virginia Fraire, Vice President for Student Services, Austin Community College