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Operational Excellence Program's Student Advising Initiative Update


The Operational Excellence Program has announced an update on its Student Advising Initiative.

A Quick Take

The student advising initiative is on schedule with the development of a draft plan to be even more supportive of our students, from major selection to job prep. Review recommendations and attend one of seven upcoming forums. Feedback is welcome from all. Read on for details.


In March, the University launched an operational excellence initiative to improve the student advising experience. An initiative team was formed and charged with building upon the ongoing efforts of the Student Government Association to assess and enhance advising. After gathering input from the SLU community in the spring and reviewing leading-edge practices, the team spent the summer developing recommendations. Advisors, deans, vice presidents, and members of the Operation Excellence Program steering committee have provided input.

Now, the student advising team is seeking input from the campus community.

Recommendations for Review

The team has prepared a brief, at-a-glance version of its recommendations. This is an abbreviated version of a full report on the team’s work-to-date, which is also available for the SLU community's review.

Community Forums

This month there will be a series of community forums that are open to all students, faculty and staff. While a brief presentation will highlight key recommendations, participants are asked to review materials in advance. RSVPs are not required, but you are welcome to email the Operational Excellence Program in advance if you plan to attend. Below is the schedule.

  • Friday, Sept. 15: 2-3 p.m., Tegeler Hall, Carlo Auditorium
  • Friday, Sept. 15: 3-4 p.m., Tegeler Hall, Carlo Auditorium
  • Monday, Sept. 18: 11-a.m.-noon, School of Nursing, Room 117
  • Tuesday, Sept. 19: 9:30-10:30 a.m., Busch Student Center, Room 251B
  • Tuesday, Sept. 19: 4-5 p.m., Busch Student Center, Room 256 (SGA Chambers)
  • Monday, Sept. 25: 3-4 p.m., Allied Health Building, Room 1040
  • Monday, Sept. 25: 5-6 p.m., DuBourg Hall, Room 102
Undergraduate Student Focus Groups

Focus group sessions with undergraduate students will be held throughout the day Friday, Sept. 29, in Room 102 of DuBourg Hall. If you are an undergraduate student and would like to participate, email the Operational Excellence Program team. Student organizations can also reach out to schedule a meeting time for their group.

Online Feedback Forms

Two anonymous online forms have been created to capture your feedback. The following forms will remain open until Friday, Sept. 29. 

Next Steps

The initiative team will review your feedback and consider revisions before submitting plans to the Provost and CFO in early October.  Consistent with other initiatives, the Provost and CFO will make a recommendation to Dr. Pestello for final approval. After that, work will begin on an implementation plan, and some new members will be added to the team depending on the skills and expertise needed. Please let us know if you want to be involved.

Important Note

Many focus areas described in last summer’s diagnostic report are budget neutral, with a focus on improving processes and reducing bureaucracy. Cost reduction is not an expected outcome. Student advising is one of these focus areas, and there is no goal to reduce staff or other costs associated with SLU’s advising services.

Thank You

The careful and thoughtful work of the initiative team deserves our community’s gratitude. Through strong collaboration, the team has articulated an exciting future state for advising as we strive to become a national model for a student-centered network of support.


Student Advising Initiative Team


  • Mark Higgins, Ph.D., dean, Chaifetz School of Business (sponsor)
  • Lisa Israel, assistant dean of students and director of the Student Success Center (sponsor)
  • Debra Lohe, Ph.D., director, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (manager)
  • Margaret Bultas, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor, School of Nursing
  • Jay Haugen, University registrar
  • Grant Mayfield, vice president for Academic Affairs, Student Government Association (2016-2017)
  • Lisa Michigan, M.A., academic advisor, Parks College
  • Kim Reitter, Ed.D., director, Career Services,
  • Denise Sleet, Ph.D., assistant dean, College of Arts and Science