Journey of the Steering Committee

Early in the Spring 2022 semester, at the request of Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Andrew McConnell Stott, a steering committee of advising leaders and technologists was convened to guide the future of the Advise USC program.

This committee includes:

  • Grant Derderian, Chief Technology Officer, Provost IT
  • Dr. Sarah Holdren, Manager, Academic Advisement and Retention, Office of Academic Programs
  • Dr. Kedra Ishop, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Enrollment Services Division
  • Jenny C. Jones, Director of Enterprise Applications, Information Technology Services
  • Dr. Erica Lovano McCann, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Office of Academic Programs
  • Rebecca A. Romero, Senior Application Administrator, Provost IT
  • Steve Schrader, Assistant Dean, Academic Services and Programs, Viterbi School of Engineering
  • Dr. Harold Waters, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Academic Advising, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
  • Laura Yoneda, Associate Dean, Information and Technology, The Graduate School

The steering committee met weekly and engaged in analytical and research tasks to define the current state of academic advising at USC and explore the possibilities of change and transformation for an ideal future.

The committee evaluated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the following areas:

  • Aging or inadequate academic advising infrastructure to manage information and processes involved in student advisement at USC.
  • Impact of siloed processes on the student experience, both undergraduate and graduate.
  • Impact of siloed processes on the advisor experience, both undergraduate and graduate.
  • Support services and resources advisors need to consider when advising students.
  • A platform to bridge the gaps between a student’s academics and their identities.
  • Improving communication and collaboration among academic advisors, students, and student support offices.
  • The relationship between advisors and enrollment management offices, including systems and data.

Through these efforts the steering committee generated a multitude of ideas for our future platform and defined 9 program success criteria:

  • provide platform for all students and advisors, graduate and undergraduate
  • improve consistency and transparency of information to enable better partnerships between students and advisors
  • improve student experience by reducing silos with academic units and service units
  • focus on student engagement to inform the platform directly
  • sustain institutional knowledge across people, positions, and departments
  • provide transparency for service expectations
  • establish an accessible “source of truth” for advising and enrollment related data
  • allow scalable approach to meet varying requirements of programs, students, and advisors
  • improve process consistency to reduce administrative tasks for students and advisors

These criteria guided the selection of a new platform to replace the aging Advisement Database (ADB) and other siloed academic advising tools across the university. Eight popular advising technology products were evaluated and through demos, presentations, and meetings with peer institutions, a powerful and customizable platform was selected: Salesforce’s Student Success Hub (SSH).

What is Salesforce’s Student Success Hub?

Built to strengthen connections and provide equitable support, Student Success Hub is a complete student success software solution to understand and engage with students, identify risk trends, and ensure students stay on track. Student engagement is strengthened through a mobile-friendly student portal, appointment scheduling wizard, and modern communication technologies. Advisors will understand who their students are at an aggregate and individual level, which is made possible by a unified student record, early alerts, advising notes, and analytics. Advising offices will have the ability to have flexibility appointment bookings, case management options, and virtual and in-person queues. Additional features that promote student success are student success plans that outline specific action items for students to take to achieve their goals, and course pathways to empower students and advisors to work together to plan courses and stay on track to meet degree requirements.

Salesforce’s Student Success hub will bring increased collaboration and communication to the advising community at USC. The platform is highly customizable, allowing it to adapt to and transform USC academic advising processes and procedures.