USM Advising Plan Overview

The USM Dual Advising Program is designed to assist students in identifying and achieving their educational and career goals utilizing an advising as teaching model and a strengths-based approach.  This approach assists students in constructing meaning, skill identification and development, critical thinking, learning strategies, and helps to build the scaffolding of knowledge and transferable skills while identifying the student’s individual strengths.  Institutional and academic integration is a priority within the advising model.  The dual advising model relies on the critical role faculty play in the success and retention of students, making partnerships and collaboration between faculty and professional advisors a key component of its success.  

The key programmatic goal of the USM Dual Advising Program is to increase student retention through student advising and support strategies. This will be accomplished by the following:

  1. Connecting student academic, career, and life goals to major, general education, and community based learning opportunities.
  2. Helping students understand the value of both faculty and professional advising.
  3. Supporting student learning through learning strategy assistance, career advising, and proper referrals.
  4. Assisting students with institutional navigation by teaching students how things work, how to maximize available resources, and how to understand and become part of the campus ecology.
  5. Contributing to University-wide efforts to promote institutional integration.
  6. Providing current and accurate advising information.
  7. Being as accessible to students as possible.
  8. Developing meaningful relationships with students.
  9. Identifying and removing barriers that prohibit student success.

Advising at the University of Southern Maine will be improved by implementing a training and development plan for professional and faculty advisors.  This plan will be informed by current faculty and professional advisors and will include best practices of advising, utilization of MaineStreet, electronic advising notes, campus resources, building the advising relationship, transitioning students to faculty advisors, understanding the value of faculty advising, FERPA, using the degree progress report, developing graduation planners, career advising, and the different types of advising meetings.  The model will also follow the national standards and best practices set forth by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education for Academic Advising, NACADA Core Values, and the professional principles of the National Career Development Association.  An assessment program will be employed and continuously revised to influence and improve practice, measure goal attainment, and guide decision-making. 

The general programmatic responsibilities of USM’s Dual Advising Model are as follows:

Undergraduate Advising:

  • Advising is responsible for advisement, support, development of graduation plan, and course registration of all students 0-53 credits.  At 54 credits students transition to faculty based advising model with professional advisor acting as a resource. Professional advisors support the early student-faculty connection.
  • Faculty are primary advisor of record responsible for developing early ongoing connection beginning in the first year as well as advisement and course registration for 54-120 credits.

Graduate Advising:

  • Faculty are primary advisor of record responsible for developing an early connection and advisement/course registration preparation throughout their enrollment with the professional advisor acting as a resource.

The following roles and responsibilities are divided by student, faculty, and professional advisors.  The Dual Advising Program is designed to be collaborative in nature while utilizing the strengths of both types of advisors.  The faculty and professional advisors work together to assist students in their success while encouraging students to be independent college-level learners. 


  1. Takes responsibility for their educational experience and progress toward meeting major and degree requirements in order to graduate
  2. Works collaboratively with assigned faculty and professional advisors
  3. Plays an active role in the advising experience
  4. Reads advising notes in and utilizes other advising tools in MaineStreet (DPR, transcript, wish List, course search, financial tools, etc.)
  5. Makes regular advising appointments with faculty and professional advisors
  6. Utilizes the advice of advisors
  7. Makes informed decisions
  8. Understands that advisors advise and the student decides
  9. Creates and follows a graduation plan
  10. Enrolls during the priority registration time period

Faculty Advisors:

  1. Provides mentoring (first year and ongoing faculty connection)
  2. Serves as primary academic advisor from junior year through graduation (mentoring, course selection/approval, PIN)
  3. On-going interaction with professional advisors and Advising unit        
  4. Advises core curriculum and major
  5. Provides information (USM, programs, requirements, policies, procedures, MaineStreet)
  6. Reviews graduation plan at registration and other meetings
  7. Conducts a graduation plan review for each advisee at junior standing
  8. Documents advising interactions using Advisor Notes (electronic)
  9. Provides appropriate referrals and advocacy (withdrawals, financial aid, etc)
  10. Advises students on course work/life balance
  11. Provides Career and Academic Development related to
    1. internships, service learning, and departmental/university programming
    2. resources (books, journal articles, websites, videos) that pertain to academic and/or career goals
    3. graduate school exploration and planning
    4. shares knowledge and expertise regarding employment opportunities making on- and off-campus referrals as appropriate (career services, companies, etc.)
    5. Encourages academic balance - adding a minor, second major, or thoughtful selection of elective courses
    6. Creates awareness of the course schedule plans in their major(s)
    7. Encourages involvement in the department’s programs and student organization

Professional Advisors:

  1. Serves as primary academic advisor through sophomore standing (Strengths-based model; course selection/approval)
  2. Connects students with faculty advisor for initial introductory meeting and on-going interactions
  3. On-going interaction with faculty advisors and departments
  4. Advises core curriculum and major
  5. Acts as resource through graduation
  6. Provides early career planning
  7. Offers learning strategy support
  8. Provides information (USM, programs, requirements, policies, procedures, deadlines)
  9. Conducts early and ongoing retention outreach (calling newly admitted students, wish list development with newly admitted students, calling all non-registered students throughout summer and winter break)
  10. Conducts outreach activities (probation/academic recovery, learning strategies, academic advising, early career development—cc faculty advisor)
  11. Establishes initial graduation plan
  12. Creates student awareness of advising process (MaineStreet, Advising Notes, academic support services, involvement activities, etc.)
  13. Provides appropriate referrals and advocacy
  14. Documents advising interactions using electronic advising notes
  15. Encourages involvement in academic department programs and student organizations