A Data-driven Resource for Advising Redesign

A Research and Action Collaboration for Advising Redesign

Driving Toward a Degree is an initiative to help institutions make informed decisions toward redesigning their academic advising to improve overall student success and persistence. Through the initiative, Tyton Partners has launched three studies focused on the roadmap to advising redesign:

  • 2015 Driving Toward a Degree: The Evolution of Planning and Advising in Higher Education
    • Supplier landscape: >120 companies
  • 2016 Driving Toward a Degree: Establishing a Baseline on Integrated Approaches to Planning and Advising
    • National survey: 1,000 institutions, 1,400 respondents
  • 2017 Driving Toward a Degree: State of the Academic Advising Field
    • Supplier landscape: >180 companies
    • National survey: 1,400 institutions, 2,200 respondents

Tyton Partners worked with the Babson Survey Research Group and several other partners like NACADA – The Global Community for Academic Advising, Achieving the Dream, Central Carolina Community College, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Reinvention Collaborative, the Community College Resource Center, and EDUCAUSE to develop and administer these studies across a national sample of postsecondary administrators, faculty, and advisors, as well as to host conversations with several product and service vendors.

From these studies, Tyton Partners created a redesign roadmap for academic advising that highlights five key elements to improve advising—leadership, advising capacity, advising coordination, technology, and student engagement. These elements emerge for institutions from our analysis of the survey results, depending on where institutions are on the road toward an ideal advising situation.



  • Leadership – Commitment to and vision for advising, and structures to support effective leadership
  • Advising Capacity – Resources to support advising including technology funding and staffing
  • Advising Coordination – Structures to enable communication and collaboration on advising
  • Technology – Technology solutions to support advising
  • Student Engagement – Mechanisms to increase utilization of advising programs and resources


Moreover, four institutional segments emerge based on respondents’ perspectives and attitudes toward the five key areas of intervention.


Institutions that fall in the Limited Technology Users segment that do not report widespread use of any advising technology.

The Check Engines segment contains institutions that do not view themselves as having yet achieved success. More favorable toward technology adoption to improve advising but struggle with technology integration (eliciting a metaphorical “check engine” light).  and lack strong ownership and coordination.

Those institutions in the Refuelers segment favor people over technology as a solution for advising. They increasingly see themselves as successful in advising, and report rising levels of collaboration and clarity of ownership.

Finally, the Equipped Navigators segment is for institutions that have both the people factors and the technology factors in place to form an integrated planning and advising function.


These institutional segments reflect the different points at which institutions may find themselves on the road toward ideal advising, and therefore define which of the five types of interventions should be prioritized. The segments also allow institutions to discover what is the best advising performance being achieved and what barriers are preventing that institution from equaling or exceeding best in class.