CDHE launches Advisors LEAD – an equity-focused professional development certification

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DENVER, CO, Aug. 3, 2021: The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) announces the launch of Advisors LEAD – a free, online professional development course for academic advisors at Colorado’s colleges and universities. The course includes comprehensive training on equity in advising, prepares advisors to operate effectively in a virtual environment, and provides guidance on how to help students find the right math course and discover broader curriculum to support their career goals.
“Students turn to their academic advisors to help them throughout their educational journey,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE. “An effective, culturally-responsive advisor can make an enormous difference in whether a student successfully reaches their goals.”
The Department developed these modules as part of its work with Strong Start to Finish, a network of higher education professionals focused on equitable student success and supported by Education Commission of the States. While the network emphasis is on students who need extra help in college-level math or English, the Department prioritized advisor training as a key component of the project because advisors play a critical role in helping all students get and stay on a path to success.
“Our goal is that advisors across Colorado will deliver even more effective, equity-driven, and purpose-focused guidance to ensure academic skill gaps are addressed and students achieve their goals," said Dr. Chris Rasmussen, senior director of academic pathways and innovation at CDHE.  
Student-Ready Strategies, an organization focused on success for historically marginalized students, curated the content for the course in consultation with subject-matter experts from the academic advising community.
“Student-ready colleges embrace the critical role advisors play in achieving equitable student outcomes and proactively empower advisors with tools and training,” said Sarah Ancel, founder and CEO of Student-Ready Strategies. “Colorado has shown exceptional leadership by providing this resource to campuses and advisors across the state.”
The Department has set an ambitious goal of 80% of Colorado’s academic advisors completing the Advisors LEAD course by December 2021. Community college advisors across the state have received personalized email invitations to complete the course. To date, more than 167 advisors have started the course, 84 are in progress and 27 have completed it and received certification. Beginning August 9, the program will be offered statewide to advisors at four-year colleges and universities.

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