Evaluating Academic Advising using the Listening Rooms methodology

Helen J Parkin (Sheffield Hallam University)
Emma Heron (Sheffield Hallam University)
Melissa Jacobi (Sheffield Hallam University)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

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Session Outline

This session provides an overview of how the Listening Rooms methodology was used to evaluate the implementation, delivery, and impact of Academic Advising from both an individual and an institutional perspective. We conducted Listening Rooms with 46 students (23 pairs) and 14 staff (7 pairs) across all three colleges of a UK Higher Education Institution to understand student and staff experiences of Academic Advising as part of continually enhancing practice.

Academic Advising at Sheffield Hallam University is an integral part of the Student Support Triangle, where all students on taught courses are allocated a named Academic Adviser, Student Support Adviser and Employability Adviser to provide support throughout their studies. There are two models of Academic Advising for Undergraduate courses:

  • Academic Advising being embedded in modules (typically a skills or professional practice module)
  • Academic Advising outside the curriculum, where the minimum 3 points of contact a year are scheduled between Academic Advisers and their students.

Listening Rooms is a data collection method that focuses on the importance of friendship-based conversations around key themes. In this context, the method was used to give students and staff the opportunity to share their lived experiences of Academic Advising. Importantly the method maximises the benefits of no researcher present during the conversation and as such findings reflect the personal navigation of the themes.

Round Table Analysis embraces the power of key stakeholders to analyse data collaboratively and democratically and encourages stakeholders to use their audience and influence to create positive change. The approach is designed to give equal voice to all stakeholders regardless of position and authority. In this context the approach was used to analyse the Academic Advising Listening Room transcripts and invited stakeholders with a Student Experience remit to the table.

This session will also share findings from this project which reinforce the importance of community and identity in Academic Advising. Participants explored the importance of relationships and shared experiences of how they have been supported by, and advocated for, their Academic Advisers. Best practice in models of delivery was also investigated.

The audience will learn how to use innovative methodologies to understand student and staff experiences of Academic Advising. They will also participate in discussion on best practice, sharing their own experiences and learning from others.