Academic Advising Certificate Program

Academic advising is critical to student success at the University of Montana. The Office for Student Success, in collaboration with campus partners, is offering the Academic Advising Certificate Program to ensure the consistency and high quality of academic advising at UM and to provide professional development opportunities for individuals interested in academic advising.

Through the training program, participants will learn about historical and theoretical foundations of advising, different approaches or strategies of academic advising today, UM-specific policies and procedures relevant to advising, various tools available to UM advisors, and support services and resources available to UM students.  In addition, participants will have the opportunity to learn about specialized advising services for various diverse communities of students and other topics relevant to advising. 

These trainings provide great introductions to advising for faculty or staff members who do official or unofficial advising on a daily basis in their positions and need a refresher.  The trainings are also useful for those who are interested in advancing into a professional academic advising position at UM.

  • Participants who complete the required trainings and specialized advising services trainings will be awarded a certificate of completion.  Observations of advising appointments are strongly encouraged for new advisors and individuals in non-advising positions.
  • All UM employees are welcome to sign up for and attend any of the trainings.  Employees can sign up for individual trainings and choose not to work towards the certificate.   
  • Additional trainings will be listed below as they are developed. 
  • Certificate Completion: Once completed please fill out a certificate application by following the link below. Anyone who completed any of the required trainings prior to the announcement of the full Academic Advising Certificate Program will not need to attend the trainings a second time to meet certificate requirements.
  • *Employees interested in attending individual trainings and/or pursuing the full certificate should contact Brian French to be added to the Advising Listserv.  All individual training announcements will be sent via the Listserv.  

Application for Certificate Completion

Core Trainings (all trainings required for certificate)

ADV 100: Foundations of Academic Advising, part 1 

Overview:  This training will provide a historical overview of academic advising in American higher education.  Through an examination of relevant seminal literature and contemporary research, participants will explore the relationship between advising and student retention.  Theoretical foundations of advising will be reviewed, focusing on student development theories.  The training will provide an overview of the different advising approaches or strategies employed today.  Participants will review the National Academic Advising Association's (NACADA) Core Values of Academic Advising and the CAS Standards for Advising.  

Learning Outcomes:  Participants will learn how the history of academic advising in the U.S. spans nearly the length of the history of American higher education itself, with the advent of formal and structured advising programs being a fairly recent development.  This historical overview will be divided into three "eras" of advising.

As stated by Gordon et al. (2008), "theory-building provides lenses through which academic advising can be seen more clearly. As with vision, so with theory: one lens doesn't last a lifetime because both the observer and the observed change over time" (p. 18).  Participants will explore the theoretical foundations of advising, focusing on student development theories such as psychosocial-identity formation, cognitive-developmental structures, and personal preference or types.  Through active discussion, participants will examine how a basic understanding of relevant theory can benefit advisors in their interactions with students. 

Participants will review different advising approaches or strategies employed by advisors today.  Developmental, intrusive/proactive, prescriptive, career, and appreciative advising approaches will all be reviewed.

Participants will examine and discuss the NACADA Core Values of Academic Advising and explore other helpful resources available through NACADA.

Participants will briefly review and discuss the CAS Standards for Advising.


Date and Time: Monday, February 11, 11am-12pm

Location: EL 272

Instructor: Brian French


Register for this training through IT Short Courses (link to IT Short Course website

ADV 101: Foundations of Academic Advising, part 2 

Overview:  This training will review UM academic policies and procedures and the various resources available to assist advisors in their work with students.  Using the Advising Manual as a guide for discussion, participants will review topics such as the UM Advising Guidelines, FERPA, documentation of advising appointments, placement tests, registration and course change transactions, student withdrawal, academic standing, the general education requirements, and prior learning assessment-related coursework and college-equivalent credit.  Presenters will briefly review the UM Catalog and tips for navigation.  

Learning Outcomes: 

Participants will review UM academic policies and procedures in detail, the UM Advising Guidelines, and discuss available resources to stay up-to-date when working with students.
Participants will examine FERPA basics and discuss best practices related to student privacy and confidentiality.
Various aspects of academic advising at UM will be reviewed, using the Advising Manual as a guide for discussion.
Participants will examine the General Education Requirements (GERs) in detail.  Participants will briefly review the Montana University System Transferable Core as an alternative set of GERs for eligible students. 
Participants will review prior learning assessment (PLA)-related credit such as AP, IB, CLEP, GAC, and high school pilot/dual enrollment coursework and examine UM policy on accepting these sorts of college-equivalent credits.

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 12, 10am-12pm

Location: EL 272

Instructors: Brian French and Nathan Domitrovich



Register for this training through IT Short Courses (link to IT Short Course website

ADV 102: Advisor Toolkit 

Overview: This session will provide hands-on training for the various informational and technological tools available to academic advisors. We will cover Banner screens that are most critical to academic advising, the use of Academic Planner and Cyber bear for schedule building and registration purposes, a review of the advising directories, and an overview of the UM catalog and how to effectively use it when advising students. This training will also briefly demo new Advising technologies, including Degree Works, Starfish, Student Educational Planner, and Banner XE Student and Advisor Profiles.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this training, participants will know where to locate and how to effectively utilize:
  • The UM Catalog
  • Important Banner screens for academic advisors
  • The Transfer equivalency guide
  • The course number translations guide
  • Important date and deadline information critical to academic advising
  • Academic Planner, Cyberbear, Banner XE Student and Advisor Profiles and Navigate
  • Degree Works and Student Educational Planner


ADV 103: Student Support Services and Resources 

Overview:  This training will provide an in-depth review of available student support services and resources.  Units from the Divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology, Missoula College, Bitterroot College, and the Mansfield Library will be included.

Learning Outcomes:

Participants will examine available student support resources and services on campus, including but not limited to:

Office for Student Success (Undergraduate Advising Center, Writing Center, TRiO SSS, UM Financial Education Program, Four Bear, KPCN: The Peer Connection Network, Study Jam), Tutoring Services, Admissions, Financial Aid Office, American Indian Student Services, Veteran's Education and Transition Services, Counseling Services, Student Advocacy Resource Center, Career Services, Behavioral Intervention Team, Disability Services for Students, Residence Life Office, Office for Academic Enrichment, IT Central, Missoula College Academic Advising Center, Missoula College Student Learning Center, Mansfield Library services, and various student support services available in academic departments across campus.

Participants will understand the services provided by the above units sufficient to make meaningful student and parent referrals and connections.


Specialized Advising Services Trainings (at least two of these trainings are required for certificate)

ADV 105: General Associate of Arts (AA) Degree: What UM Advisors Need to Know

Overview: This training will provide participants with an overview of Missoula College UM’s general Associate of Arts (AA) degree. We will cover the specific degree requirements and also discuss how to identify students on any UM campus who may be close to or eligible to earn their AA degree. Completing graduation applications and providing contact information for proper Missoula College referrals will also be discussed. In addition, the presenters will discuss the advantages of earning the AA degree and some specific situations in which academic advisors may want to recommend their students consider earning the AA degree as part of their larger educational journey.

Learning outcomes:

  • Participants will learn about the AA degree requirements, including lower-division general education requirement cores available to students.
  • Participants will learn about specific AA degree options and areas of emphasis, as well as Baccalaureate Tracks and the Broad Exploratory Studies (BESt) programs.
  • Participants will understand the role of the Missoula College Academic Advising Center (AAC) and will also receive information on important Missoula College contacts and resources to which they may refer students interested in the AA degree.
  • Participants will learn about the advantages of earning the AA degree and will be able to identify a breadth of situations in which recommending non-AA students consider earning the AA degree would be appropriate.
  • Participants will learn about the Missoula College AA degree graduation application process, including deadlines and the specific paperwork involved.

ADV 106: Career Advising

Overview:  The purpose of career information and exploration is to provide tools and information necessary for Advisors to guide students to make informed decisions about choosing appropriate courses to align with majors/career fields and to ensure advisors refer students to and utilize services provided by the University of Montana Career Services office.  Career Services encourages Advisors working with undecided students to have their students consider a career-related assessment to help them with the decision-making process. In addition, students who are completing the Career Exploration by Occupational Clusters (CEOC) assessment should schedule an appointment with a Career Services Counselor to discuss their assessment results.  Advisors will become familiar with using Montana Career Information Systems (MCIS), an on-line career exploration and training program.   Advisors will receive tools, information and support from Career Services to help students wherever they may be in the career planning process

Learning Outcomes:

Advisors will learn about the career exploration and planning process by understanding the services provided by UM Career Services.  Including:

  • Value of various assessments
    • Career Exploration by Occupational Clusters (copy provided)
    • Strong Interest Inventory
    • Myers-Briggs Type Inventory
  • Referring students to Career Services (multiple opportunities b/c of our developmental approach)
  • Career Counseling ; one-on-one appointments
  • Major exploration
  • Job search
  • Resume’ construction & cover letters
  • Interviewing
  • Career Fairs
    • Big Sky Employment Fair
    • Educator’s Career Fair
    • Student Employment Fair
    • Health Professions Career Fair
    • Industrial Technology Fair
  •  Workshops
  •  National Student Employment Week/Student Employee of the Year
  •  Griz eRecruiting (Student Employment) Tutorial
  •  Peace Corps

Advisors will be given a general overview of how to access and navigate Montana Career Information System (MCIS).  Sections include:

  • Create Portfolio
  • Assessments
  • Occupational Information
  • Education
    • Financial Aid & Scholarship data bases
  • Portfolio

ADV 107: Best Practices for Advising Students Utilizing VA Benefits 

Overview: This training will provide an overview of the Veteran’s Degree plan initiative and give a current breakdown of the number of students using VA benefits in each academic department. Program participants will become knowledgeable about the different types of VA Educational benefits and student requirements to ensure certification of each respective benefit, in addition to best practices for advising students using VA benefits. Participants will review the Veteran’s advising directory to ensure advisor listings are current and will have the opportunity to engage in an open conversation relating to advisor needs with respect to advising students using VA benefits. 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will learn about the Executive Order collectively known as the Principles of Excellence, and the 8 Keys of Academic Success.
  • Participants will learn about the different types of VA benefits and requirements and rules pertaining to student utilization of each respective benefit.
  • Participants will learn about best practices when advising students using VA benefits.
  • Participants will be exposed to ‘red flag’ indicators to look for when advising students using VA benefits.
  • Participants will receive updates on VA benefits as they relate to residency requirements, last-date-of-attendance requirements, and procedures for excused absences relating to military activation.
  • Participants will learn about campus resources and support available to students using VA benefits.
  • Participants will review the Veteran’s advising directory to ensure accuracy and will be invited to participate in Veteran’s Degree Plan initiative in the case that their department doesn’t currently have a designated representative. A degree plan template will also be distributed to interested participants.

ADV 108: Academic Advising for Students with Disabilities 

Overview: This training covers modifications and support that Disability Services for Students (DSS) provides to eligible students for equal access to the University’s courses and programs. This training will inform academic advisors about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the process of students requesting reasonable modifications such as test modifications. This training will also give advisors suggestions for referring students who either have a disability, or suspect they have a disability, with the DSS office. Lastly, this training will provide an overview of the graduation appeal process, as it pertains to students with disabilities and their requests for course substitutions for graduation requirements.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will become familiar with Disability Services for Students and the services they provide to students with disabilities.
  • Participants will learn about reasonable modifications, including test modifications, for students with disabilities.
  • Participants will become familiar with advising students with disabilities and the importance of the graduation appeal process in assisting these students to request appropriate substitutions for graduation requirements, which may create academic barriers to student success.
  • Participants will learn how to make appropriate referrals to the DSS office and to communicate information to students who have or suspect they have a disability.
  • Participants will be introduced to the Access Partners program and will be encouraged to participate.

ADV 109: Academic Advising for International Students 

Overview: The purpose of this training is to provide guidance to the advising community on how to advise international students. Topics will include: Differences in higher education systems throughout the globe and the importance of explaining the purpose and value of a Liberal Arts education to international students; measuring language preparation and language/writing placement based on test scores; basic academic requirements for students to maintain visa status; tips for building course schedules and strategies to assist students facing academic difficulty and other challenges that impact academic performance.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will learn about the differences in higher education systems in countries where international students come from and the value of explaining and stressing the importance of a Liberal Arts education to international students.
  • Participants will be provided with a breakdown of EASL and Writing course placement based on test scores in order to make appropriate recommendations based on student’s English language proficiency level.
  • Participants will learn about best practices when advising international students and strategies used to ensure international students abide by visa regulations and academic course load.
  • Participants will learn about difficulties international students’ face that aren’t academically related but impact academic performance, and support and resources available to them.

ADV 110: Advising First-Generation College Students

Overview:  Who is a first-generation college student?  Advisors will learn the unique characteristics of first-generation college students, first year challenges these students face, and discuss academic advising models, strategies and best practices for working with first-generation students. 

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of workshop, UM advisors will be able to:

  • Define first-generation college students
  • Understand the unique characteristics prior to college entry
  • Understand characteristics after first-generation students enter college
  • Define some of the challenges first generation student encounter in their first year
  • Advisors will discuss advising models that work best with first-gen students
  • Use of institutional data to assist in identifying  students
  • Strategies useful for working with first-gen students

ADV 111: Students of Concern: strategies to address distressing, disruptive or dangerous behaviors

UM faculty and staff serve an increasingly diverse and at-risk student population, which at times means they face concerning behaviors that range from poor class attendance to threats of harm to self/others. This workshop will provide practical ideas and resources necessary to manage and mitigate these types of behaviors that may enter the classroom or more commonly your email inbox.

ADV 112:  Facilitating High-Impact Educational Practices

Overview:  Due to positive associations with student learning and retention, many out-of-class activities have been designated “High-Impact Educational Practices” (HIP) and have been found to be life-changing for students. HIP activities have been widely tested and show to be especially beneficial to historically underserved students who often do not have equitable access to high-impact learning. The National Survey of Student Engagement (2007) found HIPs facilitate out-of-classroom learning, create meaningful faculty interactions, encourage collaboration with diverse others, demand considerable time and effort, and provide frequent and substantive feedback.” This training will provide an overview of University of Montana’s Academic Enrichment program and campus HIPs, as well as associated historical trends and data reports regarding the effect of HIP on student persistence, retention, and graduation. Additionally, we will discuss ways advisors can “place student success at the center of all we do” in a more powerful way through appreciative advising around HIP.


Learning Outcomes: Participants will review and/or learn . . .

  • History and definition of HIP
  • Why HIP matters
  • What HIPs the University of Montana offers (AE facilitates 5:11 HIPs)
  • Who participates and why so few do 
  • How HIPs support President Bodnar’s “Five Key Priorities for Action”
  • Ways to optimize HIP educational experiences through appreciative advising
  • To use gentle career exploration as a compass to guide student learning
  • To embed HIP in academic planning
  • Academic Enrichment’s role in facilitating HIP activities and reporting data


Date and Time: Wednesday, February 27, 11am-12pm

Location: EL 272

Instructors: Cheryl Minnick


Register for this training through IT Short Courses (link to IT Short Course website)

ADV 113:  Joint Services Transcripts Training for Advisors

Overview:  The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education has tasked all schools in the Montana University System to improve the methodology used when working with Prior Learning Assessment for Veteran students. The Veterans Education and Transition (VETS) Office, Undergraduate Advising Center, and Undergraduate Admissions Office have developed a policy and procedure that best serves the interests of our Veteran students. This training will cover policies and procedures to ensure best practices when evaluating Veterans Joint Service Transcripts and the credits they can receive from their experiences in the military.


Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understanding the process/procedure for the Admissions Option Selection Form
  2. Understanding the process/procedure for the Department Substitutions/Equivalencies Evaluation Form
  3. Understanding the structure and content of a Joint Service Transcript (JST)
  4. Understanding how to use the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Military Guide to evaluate classes on a JST


Date and Time: Thursday, April 4, 12pm-2pm

Location: EL 272

Instructors: Shawn Grove, Daryl Lee, and Nathan Domitrovich


Register for this training through IT Short Courses (link to IT Short Course website)


ADV 104: Advisor Assignments and the Use of SGAADVR in Banner 

Overview:  This session will train advisors on the proper use of SGAADVR in Banner to assign/change advisors on student accounts while exposing advisors to different scenarios in which advisor assignments must be changed and what the proper protocol is based each respective scenario.

Learning Outcome:

Participants will learn how to properly assign and/or change advisor listings on student accounts in Banner.


Date and Time: Wednesday, February 13, 10:30am-11:30am

Location: EL 272

Instructors: Jason Granvold


Date and Time: Thursday, February 14, 2pm-3pm

Location: EL 272

Instructors: Jason Granvold


Register for this training through IT Short Courses (link to IT Short Course website)

  • Academic Enrichment: Education Abroad, National Student Exchange, Internships, Civic Engagement, and more
  • NCAA eligibility and Athletic Academic Services
  • Montana University System Transfer Core
  • Accessibility of online advising forms
  • Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes in Advising
  • Software-specific trainings (Degree Works, Student Educational Planner, Starfish, etc.)