Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

2015

Thesis Director

Catherine L. Polydore

Abstract

This study examined students' perceptions of academic advisor effectiveness as well as perceptions of the importance of academic advising functions, in relation to the contribution these constructs have on student success as measured by GPA and continuous semester enrollment. Participants included students 18 years or older who were enrolled at the institution of interest at the time of data collection. Quantitative causal-comparative and correlational designs were utilized. A 41-item instrument was adapted with permission from Smith and Allen (2006) to measure students' perceptions of advisor effectiveness and importance of the academic advising functions. Findings indicated that a change in students' GPA can be explained by perceptions of academic advisor effectiveness, and academic advisor effectiveness impacted student success. Students perceived advisors to be most effective in performing the functions: Accurate Information, Major Connect, and Share Responsibility, and least effective at performing Know as Individual, Referral Nonacademic, and Out-of Class Connect. Findings also indicate there is a difference between students' perceptions of academic advisor effectiveness and students' perceived importance of the academic advising functions. The functions with the highest dissonance were Know as Individual, Skills Abilities Interests, Out-of Class Connect, Overall Connect, and Accurate Information. This study found a practical and significant difference between perceptions of effectiveness and importance and highlighted the benefits that come from effective developmental academic advising. Based on the research, student affairs professionals should address areas that students identified as highly important yet had low perceptions of advisor effectiveness.

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