Past Workshops: Mentoring & Advising

See how past workshops aligns with the competencies in the Pitt ACT Advising and Mentoring Foundations Training. Use this color-coded chart and competencies list to find workshops in the categories that most interest you.

Chart showing various Pitt ACT Competencies categories

Pitt ACT Competencies:  

  • One: Advising at Pitt
  • Two: University Policy and Procedures 
  • Three: Academic Programs and Requirements 
  • Four: Technology for Student Success 
  • Five: Campus Resources 
  • Six: Advising Profession and Practice 
     
Mentoring and Advising Workshops – Summer 2022

 
Navigating Challenging Advising Conversations
June 7, 2022 at 3 p.m.

Pitt Act Competency Two: University Policy and Procedures
Pitt ACT Competency Six: Advising Profession and Practice

Watch Recording

In this workshop, participants will learn about navigating challenging advising conversations and follow the format: Define, Depict, Discuss. The presentation will address four areas related to this topic: Academic Standing, Holistic Student Support, Families and Parents, and Faculty. Each topic will include a discussion about inclusive practices and considerations then conclude with an exercise so that participants can consider how they can apply strategies within their respective institutions and advising practices.

Presenters:

  • Devin Ulm, Academic Advisor, Swanson School of Engineering
  • Danielle Bonatesta, Academic Advisor, School of Computing and Information
     

 
Flourish at Pitt – Promoting Emotional Well-Being
July 20, 2022 at 2 p.m.
Pitt ACT Competency Five: Campus Resources
Pitt ACT Competency Six: Advising Profession and Practice

Watch Recording

Student Support Guide

Student well-being is a shared campus responsibility—one that requires each member of the Pitt community to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to effectively support our diverse student body. This workshop will explore ways for advisors and mentors of the Pitt community to enhance their knowledge and skills in supporting the emotional well-being of our students. Participants will have an opportunity to learn ways to increase student well-being and promote human flourishing, how to support students experiencing mental health concerns, and how to manage a student in crisis.

Presenters:

  • Ahmed Ghuman, Associate Director of Strategic Programs and Services, University Counseling Center
  • Bernadette Smith, Assistant Director of Outreach, University Counseling Center
Mentoring and Advising Workshops – Spring 2022

Pitt Act Competency 2: University Policy and Procedures
Understanding and Delivering Appropriate FERPA Messages in Advising Interactions (Jan. 25, 2022)
Pitt ACT Competency Two: University Policy and Procedures
Watch the FERPA Messages in Advising workshop recording in Panopto

The University Registrar’s Office has been intentional about providing the University community with updated training and resources on FERPA (the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) and the related University policy and procedure, “Access to and Release of Education Records” ( AC 04). 

However, mentors and advisors often have many questions surrounding the understanding of FERPA. During 2021, the Office of the Provost led a NIC (Network Improvement Community) where we discussed FERPA and how to better deliver appropriate messages to students in an advising and mentoring context.  This session will present the work of two different NIC teams and their approach on the delivery of FERPA to our students at Pitt. 

Presenters: 

  • Jennifer Marco, Assistant University Registrar
  • Jill Harvey, Director of First Year Advising, Swanson School of Engineering
  • M. Kathleen Kelly, Associate Dean of Academic Outreach & Advising, School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Elizabeth Nagel, Associate Professor of Practice and Associate Co-Chair, Department of Health and Human Development

Pitt ACT Competency 6: Advising Profession and Practice
Developing a Holistic and Collaborative Advising Approach: Case Studies from Pitt Advisors and Mentors
(Feb. 10, 2022)
Pitt ACT Competency Six: Advising Profession and Practice
Watch the Holistic and Collaborative Advising workshop recording in Panopto

There are myriad ways to approach advising and mentoring to fit the diverse Pitt student body and different academic units across our institution. This session will feature a panel discussion of four academic advisors at Pitt who approach their advising practice in different ways yet offer holistic and collaborative strategies for advising students. 

Presenters:

  • Strengths-Based Advising – Elizabeth Adams, College of Business Administration
  • Learning-Centered Advising – Rachel Parkes and Jen Gentzel, School of Computing and Information
  • Advising as Coaching – Michele Lagnese, TRIO Student Support Services 
Student Success Series – Fall 2021

The University Center for Teaching and Learning in collaboration with the Office of the Provost will present a series of workshops on Student Success during the Fall 2021 semester.

We know Pitt faculty are committed to the welfare and success of students. Sometimes, putting these ideas into practice can be challenging and complex. Given that the demographics of our students are changing at Pitt, we aim to provide practical tools to increase the efficiency of your daily work in your interactions with students. Join us in conversations to support all students as we return to campus this fall.

Pitt Act Category 1 AP
Understanding and Supporting Students Admitted under the Test-optional Process

In this session, we provide an overview of the test-optional admissions policy at Pitt and data from the current admissions cycle for Fall 2021. We also identify and discuss possible implications and strategies for student success to support all our students as we prepare for the fall term.

Watch the session recording: Understanding and Supporting Students Admitted under the Test-optional Process


Pitt ACT Category 1 AP Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
In-class Belonging Initiatives to Support Student Sense of Belonging  

Join us to learn more about the collaborative efforts between the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), Office of the Provost, and the Teaching Center which involves teaching instructors to deliver an in-class exercise at the beginning of the term that is designed to change classroom norms about the meaning of adversity and belonging in that course. We have focused thus far on large, gateway STEM courses and our efforts have shown good results. This session provides faculty with tools to implement and adopt the intervention in your course content. We also announce train the trainer opportunities.

Watch the session recording: In-class Belonging Initiatives to Support Student Sense of Belonging


Pitt ACT Category 1 AP Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Creating a Culture of Caring in the Classroom 

In our most recent Pitt Gallup Study, one of the key findings included that students favored professors exhibit behaviors in their teaching and approach with students that demonstrate an interest in students and the subject matter – and is reflected in the energy they bring to the classroom. Specifically, students indicated the importance of creating a culture of caring in the classroom by:

  • taking time to notice students
  • extending to accommodate students
  • affirming and encouraging students

This session will dig deeper into these behaviors and discuss practical ways to incorporate them into teaching and learning.

Watch the session recording: Creating a Culture of Caring in the Classroom 

 

Mentoring and Advising Series Workshops – Fall 2021

Join the Office of the Provost as we bring together mentors and advisors around the University for a series of workshops and professional development opportunities to learn about relevant issues. 

Pitt ACT Category 1 AP
Introduction to Pitt ACT  
Watch the recording of the Introduction to Pitt ACT session  

For the Fall 2021 semester, the Office of the Provost is launching the Pitt ACT (University of Pittsburgh Advising Certification and Training) Program: Advising and Mentoring Foundations Training. This suite of online onboarding and training materials provides standard resources for all advisors and mentors across the University. We are excited to introduce this new resource to the campus community! In this session, we will present background information about the project, highlight key aspects of the training curriculum, introduce logistics about how to register, and provide a forum to answer questions. You can also sign up to have the Pitt ACT Team to present on the project to your unit. Reach out with questions at pittact@pitt.edu.  


Pitt ACT Category 4 TSS
Introduction to the Catalog of Opportunities for Advisors and Mentors  

Watch the recording of the Introduction to the Catalog of Opportunities for Advisors and Mentors session

The Catalog of Opportunities is powered by Suitable, which is the same platform used by the OCCmyPittGlobalHonors OCC, and Business Outside the Classroom. The catalog displays the existing Suitable platforms in one unified view so that students can search all activities across multiple disciplines. The catalog also includes opportunities that don’t fall under a specific theme, as well as those that are not assigned a level or competency under one of the formal programs. Students can use the catalog to search and filter by keywords and phrases and also view in-progress achievement privately. The catalog is also open to Pitt staff and faculty to contribute opportunities that are relevant for students. 

Academic advisors have access to the Catalog of Opportunities via single sign-on to review their student's engagement beyond the classroom and encourage purposeful involvement to help them achieve their educational goals. In this session, we will review advisor access and workflow integration. 

 

Mentoring and Advising Series Workshops – Spring/Summer 2021

Pitt ACT Category 3 APR
Advising Students Foreclosed to Academic Major Decisions and Assisting with Academic Exploration Opportunities at Pitt

Presented by April Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring, and Julia Spears, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation 

Higher education academic advising and student success professionals understand the value of exploration for our students. However, students are sometimes unaware or hesitant to explore major and career choices, which may put them at risk of not persisting. Some students in this status are “foreclosed” to their commitments and academic plans, meaning they have prematurely committed to their goals despite exploring. In this session, April Belback will outline proactive advising strategies for students in foreclosure status which help them to explore different opportunities. Then, Julia Spears will highlight a new Pitt resource—Degree Finder—aimed at assisting prospective students, families and current students who may be exploring new academic opportunities.   


Pitt ACT Category 4 TSS Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
A Networked Approach to Mentorship and Support

Join us in a conversation with Julia Freeland Fisher, Director of Education Research at the Clayton Christensen Institute.

Effective student support and advising hinges on students having access to a broad and diverse web of relationships with peers, faculty, mentors and industry professionals. Although campuses are social hubs, they often leave access to these networks to chance. In turn, valuable social capital—that could help students get by and get ahead—goes untapped. But a strategic approach to fostering and measuring connection can take the chance out of chance encounters. In this session, Julia Freeland Fisher will walk participants through a new playbook which distills five steps for building and strengthening students’ networks, guided by decades of research on the power of relationships, innovative strategies, and emerging measures from the field. 

Julia Freeland Fisher leads a team that educates policymakers and community leaders on the power of disruptive innovation in the K-12 and higher education spheres through its research. Her team aims to transform monolithic, factory-model education systems into student-centered designs that educate every student successfully and enable each to realize his or her fullest potential. Julia is the author of Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks (Wiley, 2018). The book focuses on emerging tools and practices that leverage technology to radically expand who students know—their stock of “social capital”—by enhancing their access to and ability to navigate new peer, mentor, and professional networks.


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Career Champion Program

Presenters: Karin Asher, Associate Director of the Career Center; Ryan Sweeny, Assistant Director for Career Development; and Alyssa Camerota, Career Consultant for Undecided Students

Through the Career Champion program, Pitt’s Career Center aims to educate and empower our faculty and staff partners when having conversations with students about their career plans.  Participants will learn about the career decision-making process, hear best practices for career conversations, and learn about ethical considerations in the field of career services. Pitt’s Career Center recognizes the importance of our faculty and staff partners in the career education process, and this program will establish consistent University-wide messaging around career education for our students.  Participants will receive a certificate of completion and a digital badge to showcase that they are a member of the Career Champion community at Pitt. Note: This is a 2-hour training, and participants should commit to the full training time to receive all the content.


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Financial Wellness and Services: Referrals and Information for Advisors and Mentors

Presented by Joel Philstin, Director, Financial Wellness Program and Janet McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Financial Aid Services
View the Slide Deck from the Presentation

Financial Wellness is a growing concern in higher education. From coverage on the student loan debt crisis, to reports on students struggling to pay their basic educational charges, students are constantly confronted with financial decisions and need more information on financial resources. Join us to discuss how the Financial Aid Wellness Center and the newly created Financial Wellness Program are helping to provide more financial information and creating programs to better inform and assist students for both short-term and long-time financial success.


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Language as an Opportunity Multiplier:
Changing the Language of Our Language Advising

Presented by Andrew Lotz, Academic Advisor and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

From global and cultural competency to raw earning power in their careers, students––especially incoming and first-year students––need to change the way they understand language training. This means we, as their advisors, need to think about how we're discussing it. This workshop will discuss the underinformed ideas about language instruction that students and their families carry (e.g., their high school language experience is comparable to a college language experience, or language training takes too much time to fit with other majors or pathways). Then we will address how we, as advisors, can structure the way we speak about languages to give students the kind of opportunities that languages provide: if students don't start early with a language, the big benefits––such as higher lifetime salaries, expanded job options, and taking language training when it comes "free" with tuition––can be lost. The session will be broken into three parts and will feature model student interactions with students, breakout sessions that will focus on the benefits of language training within four different pathways of careers (medical, industry, public service and creative), and a hands-on portion at the end where we can practice these things in creative ways to improve our advising practice together. We're planning on a host of voices to join in, including faculty, students and people in a variety of career paths to talk about the practical value of language in their field.

 

Mentoring and Advising Series Workshops – 2020

 

Pitt ACT Category 4 TSS Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Virtual Advising Strategies: What We Learned the Fall 2020 Semester

Discussion Lead: Jessica Wandelt, Lecturer II & Academic Advisor, Department of Biological Sciences


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Career Champion Program

Contact Karin Asher for information about the Career Champion Program

Presenters:

  • Karin Asher, Associate Director of the Career Center
  • Ryan Sweeny, Assistant Director for Career Development
  • Alyssa Camerota, Career Consultant for Undecided Students

Through the Career Champion program, Pitt’s Career Center aims to educate and empower our faculty and staff partners when having conversations with students about their career plans.  Participants will learn about the career decision-making process, hear best practices for career conversations, and learn about ethical considerations in the field of career services. Pitt’s Career Center recognizes the importance of our faculty and staff partners in the career education process, and this program will establish consistent University-wide messaging around career education for our students.  Participants will receive a certificate of completion and a digital badge to showcase that they are a member of the Career Champion community at Pitt.


Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Lunch and Learn: Holistic and Intrusive Advising Approaches for Student Retention

Discussion Leads: Michael Farabaugh, Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes and April Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring
Download the slide deck


Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Taking Care of Yourself First: Advisor Self-Care

Video Recording (Pitt login required)
Presentation Deck (Pitt login required)
Handout: Self-Care While Working from Home

Presented by the University Counseling Center: Ahmed Ghuman, PsyD, MBA, LPC, Associate Director of Strategic Programs and Services, and Cassandra Long, LSW, Psychotherapist, Care Coordinator

Explore new ways to engage in self-care. Members of the University Counseling Center will guide participants through a variety of self-care activities, as well as discuss ways to engage in self-care while working from home. This event will provide an opportunity to rebalance, restore, and rejuvenate yourself!  In the words of Maya Angelou, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” So come join us and learn new ways to take care of yourself! 


Pitt ACT Category 4 TSS
Documentation in Pathways: Best Practices, Guidelines and Sensitive Situations

Video Recording (Pitt login required)
Presentation Deck (Pitt login required)

Presenters:

  • April E. Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring
  • Amanda Brodish, Director of Data Analytics and Pathways
  • Ashley Christopherson, Undergraduate Academic Advisor

The Pathways platform provides several ways for advisors and mentors to document student interactions.  Maintaining records of student interactions are important for several reasons (institutional memory, personalizing the advising experience, enhanced collaboration) but advisors and mentors often struggle with what to include in a student record.  This session will consider some best practices in writing reports and notes in Pathways and review guidelines, including standards all users have to follow.  Last, we will review how to document and make referrals for sensitive situations in Pathways.


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Wellness and Resilience for College and Beyond: An Undergraduate Course to Foster Student Wellness

Email abelback@pitt.edu for access to the recording.

Presenter: Carla D. Chugani, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

This workshop will provide advisors with an overview of the Wellness and Resilience Course (WRC) offered at the University of Pittsburgh. The WRC was originally developed at the University of Washington, where nearly 1,000 students per year enroll. The WRC teaches students evidence-based skills for improving mental health and wellness from the fields of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and positive psychology. This presentation will focus on the course content, delivery, and student experience to allow advisors a detailed understanding of what this course is about and what the experience of participating is like for students. Also discussed will be Dr. Carla Chugani’s research related to the course to show how participating can help support student mental health and wellbeing.


Pitt ACT Category 1 AP Pitt ACT Category 2 UPP
Engaging with New Students Town Hall

Town Hall Recording

Panelists:

  • Joseph McCarthy, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies​
  • Marc Harding, Vice Provost for Enrollment​
  • Kenyon Bonner, Vice Provost and Dean of Students

See also: Virtual Town Halls for Students


Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Improvisation for Mentoring Conversations

This fun and unique workshop is offered in celebration of Graduate-Professional Student Appreciation Week. Participants will be introduced to the principles of improvisation and practice using improv in everyday situations. Focus will be placed on building conversational and networking skills, in particular as they relate to initiating and cultivating mentoring relationships.

Presenter: Olivia Hartle, Project Manager, Office of the Provost and Applied Improvisation Practitioner-Scholar

This event is part of Pitt's Year of Creativity initiative.


Pitt ACT Category 4 TSS
Referrals in Pathways: When and How to Make Them

Presentation Deck
Case Management Referral Information

In this workshop, you’ll learn about the referral process in Pathways, Pitt’s new advising and student success platform. We’ll cover when and how to make a referral in Pathways as well as what different offices do in response to a referral. Amanda Ries will share how Residence Life responds to referrals and Mary Bigante will provide guidance on when to make a referral in Pathways vs. call Pitt Police vs. reach out to the CARS Team.

Presenters:

  • Amanda Brodish, Director of Data Analytics and Pathways for Student Success, Office of the Provost
  • Mary Bigante, CARS Team Care Manager
  • Amanda Ries, Assistant Director, Academic Initiatives, Residence Life

Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Understanding the Unique Path of an International Student

Workshop Recording

International students face obstacles in their educational journey, beginning even prior to the application process.  This workshop will describe the unique challenges inherent in the international student path, including visa regulations, restrictions on their stay in the U.S., and cultural adjustments necessary for success.  This interactive session will include case studies and discussion about the resources available on campus, with plenty of time reserved for Q&A.  

Presenter: Delo Blough, J.D., Director, Office of International Services


January Is National Mentoring Month!
And we’re marking the occasion on Pitt Commons. Join us weekly at commons.pitt.edu for information, resources, and helpful tips on how to be a mentee and mentor. All month long, we’ll pair interested students with alumni, faculty, and staff for a flash mentoring meeting—a quick mentorship-based chat designed to showcase the opportunities that are available in these important relationships.

Mentoring and Advising Series Workshops — 2019

Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Improvisation for Advising Conversations

Training Video, Online Resources, and More
Pitt Magazine Article

Improvisation is becoming increasingly recognized as a critical skill for engaging in productive conversations. Recently, improv has been brought into higher education spaces as a key training modality for academic advising. Through a series of facilitated simulations and role-playing with real Pitt students, advisors will have a chance to learn, share, and practice new approaches to bring to their advising work.

Presented by: Olivia Hartle, Project Manager and Applied Improvisation Practitioner-Scholar; and April Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring, Office of the Provost

This event is part of Pitt's Year of Creativity initiative.


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
The Benefits of Innovation

Presentation Deck

This workshop will explore how the process of innovation benefits students—during their time here at Pitt and in their careers post-graduation. Take advantage of a hands-on demonstration of how students can learn innovation through a mini-Big Idea Blitz that condenses a 24-hour program for students into a one-hour session designed to help advisors and mentors communicate the powers of innovative thinking to your students.

Presented by: Babs Carryer, Director, Big Idea Center, University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR
Helping Advisors Help Students Navigate Disability Resources and Services (DRS)

Presentation Deck

Join this workshop for insights into how advisors and mentors can assist students in navigating the DRS office and processes. Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including education. Get an overview of disability information and best practices on language for advising and helping students. DRS disability specialists will also share how to provide proactive outreach to students, specifically with resources related to Pitt.

Presented by: Chad Jurica, Disability Specialist, and Amy Arnold, Disability Specialist, Disability Resources and Services


Pitt ACT Category 5 CR Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Incorporating Civic Engagement into Advising 

August 12, 2019
Workshop Recording

The Pathways for Civic Growth project team presented on integrating civic mindedness and engagement into advising and the institutional culture at Pitt. As this project continues to scale up in its second year of funding through the Provost’s Personalized Education Initiative, the team looks forward to collaborating with new partners across Pitt’s many schools and departments to make the Pathways for Civic Growth a part of every advisor’s toolbox. The focus of this meeting was to introduce attendees to the civic diagnostic tool, mentoring protocol, and resources for directing students to civic experiences that fit their needs via a central location for opportunities.

Presenters:

  • Linda DeAngelo, Associate Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies, School of Education
  • Lina Dostilio, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement, Community and Governmental Relations
  • Holly Hickling, Academic Community Engagement Advisor, University Honors College
  • Sarah Kurz, PhD Student and Graduate Researcher, Administrative and Policy Studies, School of Education
  • Meredith Mavero, Manager of Student Programs and Community Outreach, Institute of Politics
  • Alka Singh, Director of Experiential Learning, School of Computing and Information

Pitt ACT Category 4 TSS
Understanding Enrollment and Advisement Tools Available to Students in the PeopleSoft Student Information System

Workshop Recording

This presentation provided an overview of enrollment and advisement tolls in PeopleSoft from the student and advisor perspectives.  Special emphasis was given to the Schedule Planner and the Plan By My Requirements tools.

Presenters:

  • Christopher Coat, associate university registrar
  • Jeffrey Bastian, senior systems analyst for student services 

Pitt ACT Category 1 AP Pitt ACT Category 6 APP
Inclusive Mentoring: Using Social Psychological Interventions to Improve Mentoring and Learning of All Students

Workshop Recording

College mentors often de-emphasize students’ motivational characteristics—e.g., their sense of belonging, self-efficacy, and their views about whether intelligence is fixed or malleable.  These characteristics can especially impact learning outcomes of women and underrepresented students, and stereotype threats exacerbate these issues.  This session discussed research studies that show how mentoring and coaching students using different types of social psychological interventions can improve the motivation and learning of all students, especially women and those from underrepresented groups.

Presenters:

  • Kevin Binning, research scientist, Learning Research and Development Center, and assistant professor, Department of Psychology
  • Chandralekha Singh, director, Discipline-based Science Education Research Center, and professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy