Estela Zarate

Presentation: Elevating Student Success through Academic Advising Enterprise Enhancement

Abstract: Executing large-scale organizational changes is difficult, especially in public higher education institutions where many stakeholders often need to arrive at consensus to effect change. California State University, Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton) analyzed different resources that could meet the goals outlined in the CSU system’s GI2025 Initiative, an ambitious plan to increase graduation rates, eliminate equity gaps in degree completion, and meet California’s workforce needs. Through a collaborative process with team members at all levels within the university, it was evident that revitalizing the university’s academic advising enterprise would be the a key catalyst of change.

The Cal State Fullerton academic advising project team sought to architect this transformative endeavor leveraging best practices in change and project management. Through a collaborative, iterative process, the project team designed a new academic advising organizational structure to increase student retention, close equity gaps, address staff training inconsistencies, foster advancement opportunities for staff, and create a consistent student experience across seven colleges. Through cross-division collaboration, the academic advising project team partnered with members of the university community to share the importance enterprise level change project to garner interest and support.

Throughout the change management process, the Cal State Fullerton academic advising project team had several touchpoints which influenced the project plan and success of this project. Presentation attendees will discover how the project team identified resources to meet strategic, system level objectives, created a project plan to foster organizational change, and discuss lessons learned should they wish to conduct a similar exercise at their organization.

PMI Talent Triangle: Strategic and Business Management (Business Acumen)

Biography: Dr. Estela Zarate is Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. She joined the Academic Affairs leadership team from the Department of Educational Leadership at California State University, Fullerton where she was Professor and coordinator of the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from University of California, Los Angeles. After completing her doctorate, she was Director of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute. Dr. Zarate earned her B.A. in Mathematical Economic Analysis and Policy Studies at Rice University. Her scholarship addresses the trajectory of immigrant students in U.S. schools, including the connections between schools and families and the experiences of multi-lingual learners. She co-edited a volume on educational interventions for migrant students. More recently, she has written about and developed professional learning opportunities to improve teaching for first-generation college students.