Academic Advising BPT Dedicated to Student Success

Ohio State is home to one of the nation’s largest undergraduate populations, as more than 50,000 undergraduate students enrolled at the university at the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year. As such, university leadership determined that improving the business processes in undergraduate academic advising falls within the scope of the Enterprise Project.

A diverse group of academic advisors and student services staff worked together during business process transformation (BPT) workshops to map the current state of academic advising and re-design those processes. The workshops were primarily led by John Wanzer, assistant vice provost in the Office of Undergraduate Education. Wanzer’s expertise stems from nearly three decades of supporting advising services at Ohio State.

John Wanzer
John Wanzer, assistant vice provost in the Office of Undergraduate Education, said participating in these workshops was a career highlight.
“I think one of the important roles of advising is to put a human face on a large institution,” said Wanzer. “And I think the advisors approached [the workshops] with that in mind, and with the ultimate goal of making it easier for students to find their way.”

The participants agreed that these tools and enhancements, among others, would elevate academic advising to better serve students:

Academic Degree Planner

The planner would forecast course offerings to assist students in gauging time to degree. Students at every campus and in all majors would be able to manage course selections, track deviations from their initial academic plans, add notes to communicate with their advisors and monitor financial impacts. Students, advisors and other student success staff would have the opportunity to collaborate through the academic degree planner.

Self-service Appointment Scheduling

Students would be able to easily schedule and confirm appointments with advisors online. The goal would be to standardize this process across the university, reducing student confusion.

Data-driven Reporting

Sophisticated reporting capabilities would enable advisors to holistically assess student progress. Insights into a student’s academic plan, enrollment status and graduation eligibility would encourage proactive outreach.

Streamlined and Transparent Workflows

The petition, graduation application, change of study and campus change processes would each be simplified so that students could clearly identify and navigate the needed steps.


Moving forward, the project’s Student team is partnering with Workday developers to determine how these proposed features might come together in Workday Student or other enterprise technologies.

Additionally, one of the key dependencies for improved advising is consistency in academic advising positions across Ohio State. This includes aligning job responsibilities and salaries across colleges, as well as developing a career ladder. The Enterprise Project will support the Office of Undergraduate Education in efforts to enhance academic advising roles across the university.

Sarah Howard, an academic advisor in Exploration, acknowledged that participating in the BPT workshops was a valuable professional development activity.

“This was an opportunity where you’re acting sort of like an administrator but using front-line knowledge,” said Howard. “I really enjoyed being part of the process. I’m hopeful that as we move forward, a lot of these changes get implemented.”

Beth Hume
Following a read-out of the team’s proposed future state, Vice Provost Student Academic Success and Dean of Undergraduate Education Beth Hume applauds the “students first” approach.