Updated: 3 /29 /2013
author: Kylie Gamble

'GPS for Success' Leaders Encourage Students to Open the Map

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Upon transitioning into college life at NOVA, many students find themselves lost, unaware of the path to success, according to faculty and staff.  Hence, the GPS for Success Program was created to better provide a map to a degree or certificate. The program is comprised of passionate professors, advisors, and counselors whose objective is to provide a unique advising experience for first time college students eighteen to twenty-three.  Although, the program has not garnered as much success as its potential, primarily for two reasons: students are not seeking advising and students are unaware of advantageous resources the GPS for Success Program supplies.

“Last night, I asked my students if they knew what a faculty advisor was, and only two of twenty-seven students are familiar with faculty advisors!” exclaimed Professor Debbie Naquin, one of the three faculty advising managers who help train their fellow faculty to better assist students as advisors. 

Another faculty advising manager, Professor Jeremy Cook agreed, chiming in that only a paucity of his students were familiar with faculty advisors as well.  As NOVA reaches advising week, the significance of students meeting with their faculty advisors is escalating, although only a few students know advising week is nearing, even fewer know the name of their faculty advisor.  The cause of students not seeking advising is contingent on two reasons—students are not required to see their adviser; consequently they choose not to know their advisor.  The Pathway Program, similar to the GPS for Success Program requires students to meet with an advisor; otherwise they are ineligible to schedule classes for the following semester.  The GPS for Success Program plans to insert the same consequence for students which do not meet with their professor next semester.

The GPS for Success Program administers an array of counselors and advisors to aid in the college process.  However, many students are unacquainted of the responsibilities of counselors, advisors, and themselves.  Andria Shoates, a counselor at the Loudoun Campus,  describes many students of the GPS for Success program: “I would describe many of our students as pampered.  They believe that the roles of a college advisor or counselor are the same as a high school counselor.” 

Many NOVA students do not realize it is their responsibility to take initiative, obtaining a goal with a general plan, faculty and staff involved in advising say.  It is neither the job of a counselor or advisor to tell students what their ambitions; however they can help in directing students.  An advisor specializes in aiding students in predominately academic subjects while a counselor specializes in aiding students in subjects involving acclimating or transitioning into various settings.  The program provides numerous counselors such as transfer, career, and disabilities counselors. 

The program even offers specialized advisors geared towards students major.  For instance, a computer science major can meet with an advisor who was also a computer science major.  While the GPS for Success program offers numerous benefits for students, students are not taking advantage of them because they are unaware of these advantages.  The program hopes to inform students by hosting events so students can cultivate connections between themselves and the members of the program.  Students looking for advising can attend advising week, April eighth through twelfth.

Professor Joseph Agnich, the third faculty advising manager, remarks his objective for the GPS Program for Success is “For students to get to the point that everyone can come and talk to someone they can trust.”  The board members of the GPS for Success Program are passionate individuals on the right path towards consummating their objective.  By introducing their new solutions, every GPS student will meet with their advisors and realize their advisor and counselor’s passion and trustworthiness.

Advising Week will be held April 8-12. Students seeking assistance can look for faculty and staff at advising stations across campus -- the LC, LW, LR and LS buildings will all be staffed daily. Advisors urge students to seek help!