PAC’s AlamoAdvise program receives NASPA Excellence Award

March 24, 2021

Marketing and Strategic Communications

Palo Alto College received the 2021 NASPA Excellence Silver Award in the category of Academic Advising, Careers, Graduate Professional for its AlamoADVISE program.

The NASPA Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding contributions of members who are transforming higher education through exceptional programs, innovative services, and effective administration.

“This award is a true recognition of the hard work that is conducted here at Palo Alto College,” said Mike Ximenez, Director of Advising. “None of this would be possible without our advisors that day in and day out are giving their all to the students.”

Palo Alto College has a longstanding commitment to excellence and the championing of innovative student success initiatives like the AlamoADVISE – an intentional case management approach to academic advising.

“In the award application, we focused on the prestigious history of advising here at Palo Alto College. We spearheaded the AlamoADVISE model, and we grew it by focusing on things like the Advising Scorecard [a data-informed tool to help advisors meet the needs of their students],” said Pedro Hinojosa, Director of Strategic Initiatives. “We now focus on a holistic effort, incorporating resources like the S.H.A.R.E Center, Early Alerts, and other types of advising.”

Piloted in 2014 with first time in college students attending Palo Alto College, AlamoADVISE has since been scaled across the Alamo Colleges District to impact more than 60,000 students. The program pairs each student with an advisor who will guide them from enrollment through graduation.

The AlamoADVISE program has achieved great strides since it was first implemented at the College.

  • In the 2012-2013 academic year, the average number of years to degree completion was at 4.2 years. In the 2019-2020 academic year, the time to degree completion is at 3.5 years.

  • In addition, these efforts have reduced the number of credit hours to degree completion. On average, students were earning 87 credit hours to complete their degree. They’re now at 76 credit hours to degree completion.

“Not only are students earning their degree faster at PAC, but they’re doing it with fewer credit hours, which means they’re using less financial aid,” said Ximenez.

Ximenez reiterated that the success of the program at Palo Alto College is due in large part to the advising team and the holistic approach of all the factors that impact student success.

“We treat every student as an individual. We look at where they are academically, financially, where are they're at within the community, where they are personally, and then we go from there,” said Ximenez. “No two students are the same. That's our key focus and what's made us successful with AlamoADVISE and at Palo Alto college.”

NASPA’s Excellence Awards cover eleven categories crucial to the success of students and the continued growth of the student affairs profession. Winners will be recognized during the 2021 NASPA Virtual Annual Conference.