Today@Sam Article

Research Grant Helps Academic Advisers Adapt

Feb. 11, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

GTF-Logo-Featured-ImageThe Center for Assessment, Research, and Educational Safety (CARES) at Sam Houston State University continues to develop, engage in, and disseminate innovative research to better the lives of educators across the state of Texas.

Recently, CARES was awarded a $350,000 grant from the Greater Texas Foundation to conduct a study on the ways academic advising in Texas must change as a result of COVID-19.

Researchers will inquire educators about what has and has not worked well about institutional COVID-19 responses for academic advisers in Texas, as well as what elements of academic advising have and have not been effective.

Matthew Fuller, director of CARES and associate professor of Education Research at SHSU, says the aim is to find new factors that academic advisors must train for, as well as ways to transform advising and counseling needs following COVID-19.

“We want to learn if COVID-19 has changed the way students are looking at future careers. Many students may say they want to go into healthcare, epidemiology, or a career in mental health after this experience. We want to find out if colleges are ready for that push,” Fuller said.

This survey will help determine the work ahead for advisors across the state.

“We want to help these academic advisers be able to continue to help students and adapt in the future,” Fuller said. “If we find that advising is unprepared for distance advising or new pathways that students want to pursue, then the state will need to make opportunities available for Texas students.”

SHSU and CARES are well positioned moving forward thanks to their past experiences in querying Texas educators on COVID-19 responses as well as a school safety assessment requested by Governor Greg Abbott.

“We have an experienced team in place and we communicate really well,” said Stacie Szaal, project manager for CARES. “The work we have done in the past at CARES will lead to future success because we will be able to reach out to those same educators and advisors directly and get real answers. We are very adaptable and we want to help all Texas students and advisors and educators be successful.”

Work is already underway for the current survey and the generous grant from the Greater Texas Foundation will continue through June 2022. For further inquiries about the survey or to learn more about CARES visit https://www.shsu.edu/centers/cares/ or contact the center at 936-294-1865.

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