Advisors LEAD

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Course Overview

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) has launched Advisors LEAD - a professional development course designed to help Colorado's advisors increase their skills and competencies in four key areas: equity and inclusion-driven practices, math pathways literacy, purpose-driven advising, and effective virtual advising. 

The course is free of charge, online, and self-paced. It provides interactive, pragmatic, and action-oriented content. Advisors LEAD was informed by a survey of Colorado advisors and co-created by CDHE staff, Student-Ready Strategies, and a cadre of NACADA-endorsed experts, with funding from Strong Start to Finish.

Learning Outcomes for Advisors

Effective Virtual Advising

  • Recognize what supports all students need to be successful in a remote environment
  • Create a virtual space in which students are able to engage as their authentic self
  • Appropriately inquire about students’ non-academic challenges and needs
  • Determine what additional supports may be needed to ensure equitable learning outcomes in these environments
  • Make effective virtual referrals to institutional and external resources to resolve academic and non-academic challenges
  • Understand the importance of prioritizing self-care, especially in personally challenging times

Purpose-Driven Advising

  • Describe the importance of proactive academic planning, to include curricular and co-curricular activities, that is rooted in students’ professional and personal goals
  • Facilitate students’ career exploration process with a focus on connecting their interests, skills, values, and personality with specific career goals
  • Direct students to academic disciplines that are aligned with the students’ aptitudes and career interests

Math Pathways Literacy

  • Describe the purpose of math pathways
  • Explain the concept of math pathways in accessible, student-friendly language
  • Distinguish among different gateway math courses, in terms of general content and applicability to various disciplines
  • Advise students into appropriate math gateway courses aligned to their major or program of study

Equity and Inclusion-driven Practices

  • Differentiate between asset-based and deficit-based language
  • Identify how advising practices might unknowingly perpetuate dominant beliefs, unconscious biases, and microaggressions related to privileged and marginalized social identities
  • Implement structures that are equity-oriented and culturally relevant with an understanding of students’ lived experiences
  • Maintain an inclusive advising environment in which students are able to engage as their authentic self

Commitment and Timeline

Advisors can access this self-paced, asynchronous course at their own convenience for 12 months from the date of the invitation acceptance. Each of the courses’ four modules takes approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.

Course Access and Questions

Access to the course is by invitation only. Academic advisors at all public institutions of higher education have been invited via an email that was generated by Upskill, the learning platform for Advisors LEAD. The email includes customized login information and more details about accessing and completing the course. We are currently exploring other populations of student support and advising staff who would benefit from this professional development opportunity. This includes academic advisors at private institutions, high school counselors, faculty advisors or others who may not be full time academic advisors but who have advising duties in their primary roles. Access to the course for those audiences will be available later this year. 

For more information on the modules, contact Christina Carrillo, Academic Policy Officer and Advocate, at