College to implement holistic advising model

New director of student planning, success to head up new approach

Laramie County Community College is developing a new advising model headed by a newly hired director of student planning and success.

Dr. Kathryn Flewelling plans to implement a holistic advising model that will lend students a natural support system during their time at the college.

“Holistic advising involves the idea of creating an ongoing relationship between the student and their adviser,” Flewelling explained. “The adviser works with the student on all aspects of their educational, personal and career development.”

This holistic approach will help with a smoother transition into college careers for students because from day one at LCCC students will be assigned an adviser. They will maintain a working relationship with that person to remind students of the resources available to them. While one of the primary concerns of the students may be this person is not in their major, Flewelling reminded students this system allows students to have several people in their corner as they work toward completion by having a faculty mentor help them along the way as well. The goal of the new advising system is students will not have to worry about taking missteps in their education because they are working so closely with their adviser.

Advising system to benefit communication

This advising system will also benefit the communication between faculty and advisers with a new alert system set up for students who don’t appear to be doing well. “We want to help students overcome barriers to their success as soon in their college careers as possible,” Flewelling said. “So we will be reaching out to students who look like they could use some extra guidance and working more closely with all students to help them make the best educational plan they can.”

This alert system will allow faculty to let advisers know immediately when a student needs resources, and the adviser can then find the appropriate resources for the student.

With the drastic changes coming to the advising area, the students could not be in better hands. “Kathryn had a great vibe about her; she was thoughtful, confident and very competent,” Julie Gerstner, student services business analyst, said about the standout candidate for the position. Gerstner has worked closely with Flewelling in regards to the syllabus for the advisers, the timeline and some of the systemic logistics for the holistic model. “The new model is going to be great for all students, traditional or nontraditional,” Gerstner said. “It’s going to be the go-to tool for navigating college.”

Flewelling also oversees the areas of career services, and the TRiO program. Flewelling said she hoped the new holistic advising approach would integrate all these services to serve the students better.

Flewelling has a doctorate in community college leadership from Ferris State University and spent many years around college students as she taught English for 10 years. “I started teaching some college courses and eventually became really taken with working with college students and working in the college atmosphere,” Flewelling said about her career path in higher education.

Gerstner said students may begin noticing changes in the next couple weeks, but more substantial changes will become apparent in the fall. The advising center will become a more visible part of the campus. The holistic model will be rolled out in phases with several check systems to monitor its success. Flewelling knows it may take some adjusting for existing students as they will adjust to being held accountable for their choices or working so closely with someone to make those choices. “I love working with such a diversity of people, both students and employees, and the variety of work I get to do in my job,” Flewelling said about her task at hand. “Higher education is a field that is constantly growing and improving. I love being able to be a part of that change.”