Counselors, Faculty Advisors to work together to prepare students for graduation and beyond


Photo by Maria Barragan - Photo Editor

Academic Services is restructuring how students access advising.

Madisyn Morin, Reporter

California Lutheran University Academic Services is reorganizing how students can access academic advising in aim to give students more support.

“We are really defining sort of whose role is what,” Deputy Registrar of Academic Services Angela Naginey said in a Zoom interview. “We’re shifting responsibilities.”

Student Success Counselors will now help students make sure every box is checked as they progress toward graduation, while Faculty Advisors will solely help students with issues related to their major.

Students will be notified about the change sometime this spring, giving them a sneak peek of what to expect in the fall. They will be able to find the name of their Student Success Counselors, similarly to Faculty Advisors, under the ‘Student Planning’ page on WebAdvisor.

In previous years, Student Success Counselors were split alphabetically for students, however, starting in the fall, they will be divided by major.

“The counselors right now in the work that they do with the alpha-split they have almost a thousand students to each counselor,” Naginey said. “The Student Success Counselors will just focus on undergraduate students so they will have a smaller case load.”

Matt Ward, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, said this decision involved input from multiple parties within the Cal Lutheran community, as well as other institutions.

“Through networking and my experience at other institutions, it led me to believe that this was a better division of labor than what currently exists,” Ward said in a phone interview. “The feedback from faculty with this change from my vantage point has been positive.”

Maria Kohnke, associate vice president of Academic Services and Registrar, said in a Zoom interview that having Student Success Counselors there to guide students side-by-side with the Faculty Advisors will be an improvement in the resources Cal Lutheran offers students.

Kohnke said Faculty Advisors will continue helping students with internship possibilities and seeing how their majors fit into their career goals while Student Success Counselors will help students with their course planning.

Every student currently has a Student Success Counselor, but this change will realign the counselors’ responsibilities so they may focus solely on being academic advisors for students.

“Their [Student Success Counselors] soul purpose will be to help students graduate,” Kohnke said. “We’re adding an additional person from an advising standpoint so that students have more support.”

Kohnke said this change came from the university examining areas in which they can improve at providing for their students. They looked at how the school as a whole could offer more support without taking faculty away from the students.

“Where can we improve what we are providing for students,” Kohnke said. “Advising is one of those things that we looked at and thought, ‘maybe we could do something better.’”

Ward said this change gives the Student Success Counselors more time for counseling. As of now, Ward said the university is falling short when it comes to giving students the level of attention and counseling they deserve.

Ward said he hopes this change will enhance students’ experience at Cal Lutheran and that with the upcoming registration process, he hopes students will notice the positive changes they have worked on to make the registration process easier for students.

“This is round one among many,” Ward said. “As we head into the future, my hope is that we see a lot of improvements that are student-centric.”