2021 Mentoring and Advising Summit

Inclusive Excellence in Mentoring and Advising
Thursday, March 11, 2021

Thursday March 11, 2021 - 2021 Mentoring and Advising Summit

Welcome Video:

Session Recordings

Presentations from the event are available to view on the 2021 Summit Session Recordings page.

Read the recap in Pittwire

About the 2021 Mentoring and Advising Summit
The vision for the fourth annual Mentoring and Advising Summit is to explore how we can continue to build a strong culture of inclusion in our mentoring and advising work. As we strive to enhance and enrich Pitt’s educational offerings, it is increasingly important to embrace different ideas, critical perspectives, challenges, and lived experiences. During this virtual summit, participants will engage with and learn about specific tools, techniques, theories, and concepts to support students as they chart goals, develop enduring networks of colleagues and mentors, and sustain their pursuit of success after graduation. 

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, 950 people from over 100 institutions and organizations across the country gathered virtually at the 2021 Mentoring and Advising Summit.

Highlights Included:

  • More than 20 breakout sessions led by Pitt faculty, staff, researchers and students, organized with tracks and themes;
  • A fireside chat with Ann E. Cudd, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, and Darris Means, Associate Professor, School of Education;
  • Roundtable conversation with national experts from the Advising Success Network, highlighting the national conversation on advising and student success;
  • Insights from Jillian Kinzie from the National Survey of Student Engagement: "Doing Academic Advising Well: Findings about Advising Practice at Research Universities;"
  • Preliminary findings from Tyton Partners' 2021 Driving Toward Degree Report;
  • Opportunities for informal conversation, connection and networking.

Timely Topics in This Year’s Summit:

  • Mentoring and Advising during COVID-19
  • Successful Advising from the Student’s Perspective
  • Holistic and Inclusive Advising Practices
  • Creating University-wide Advisor Support Systems
  • Leveraging Technology to Improve Advising

Thank you to our partners and co-sponsors: Reinvention Collaborative, Pitt Athletics, Unpack U, The JED Foundation, and PeopleGrove!

Agenda Overview

9 a.m. Opening Keynote
Fireside chat with Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd and Darris Means, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Education
10:10 a.m. Concurrent Sessions I
11:20 a.m.  Plenary Panel
Advising Success Network
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Community Circle Conversations
1:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions II
2:40 p.m. Concurrent Sessions III
3:50 p.m. Closing Plenary
Pitt Student Advising Success Story

Session Spotlights

Opening Keynote (9-10 a.m.)
Welcome and introduction:
Joseph McCarthy, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Interim Dean of the University Honors College
Fireside chat: Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd and Darris Means, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Education 

Joe McCarthy Ann Cudd Darris Means

In this session, we will discuss advising and mentoring approaches to supporting student transition(s) to and within college. As access, inclusion and diversity are at the forefront of Pitt's strategic priorities, advisors and mentors have a key role to play in advancing our institutional goals, including building community culture, advancing social justice, and supporting student sense of belonging.

Plenary Panel (11:20 a.m.-12:15 p.m.)
Advising Success Network: A National Conversation

Chelsea Fountani Chris Hutt Elise Newkirk-Kotfila Kathe Pelletier


  • Chelsea Fountain, Program Coordinator, Advising Success Network
  • Chris Hutt, Project Director, NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
  • Elise Newkirk-Kotfila, Senior Director, NASPA
  • Kathe Pelletier, Director of the Teaching and Learning Program, EDUCAUSE

Moderated by Julia Spears, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation

Advising is a critical component of the student experience that has been underscored during times of disruption and crisis response. To ensure a holistic advising experience for students that takes intersectional identities into account requires stakeholders across campus to deeply collaborate. Join us to discuss the roles of primary-role and faculty advisors, IT, and Senior Leadership in an advising redesign process. National experts will share their perspectives by sharing examples of institutions implementing holistic advising to identify and address inequities for racially and socioeconomically minoritized students.

Closing Plenary (3:50-4:30 p.m.)
Advising Success Story: Reflections with a Student and Her Advising Team

Abby Andrasko Teresa Clinton Jesse Mullen

 Susan Meyer April Belback


  • Abby Andrasko, Student Intern on the Academic Innovation Team
  • Teresa Clifton, Director of Undergraduate Studies & Lecturer, Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures
  • Jesse Mullen, Academic Advisor in the College of Business Administration

Moderated by Susan Meyer, Director, Interprofessional Center for Health Careers
Introduction by April Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring

Pitt student Abbygale Andrasko is a junior who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with majors in Business Information Systems & Supply Chain Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, as well as a Business Analytics certificate and German minor. Like so many students at the University of Pittsburgh, she has taken advantage of numerous experiences inside and outside of the classroom, in Pittsburgh and around the world. Join her in a conversation with her advisors as they discuss their roles in guiding Abby along her journey to success at Pitt!

RC Track Plenary (3:50-4:30 p.m.)
Doing Academic Advising Well:
Findings about Advising Practice at Research Universities

Jillian Kinzie Julia Spears

Presentation by Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University Bloomington
Introduction by Julia Spears, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation

Advising is a key component of an integrated student success strategy. When done well, it provides students timely, accurate information and resources, guides students to special learning opportunities, contributes to student persistence, and fosters listening, respect and care. To assess fundamental advising practices in higher education, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) launched a new Academic Advising Topical Module aligned to NACADA core competencies. In this session, we will explore module results from about 50 research universities to initiate a conversation about advising quality and the distinctive challenges and opportunities for strengthening advising practice in the research university. New insights from the data gleaned from the 2020 survey were recently highlighted in the December Inside Higher Ed article, "Advising in the Time of COVID."