Advising Certification and Training Program

The University of Pittsburgh Advising and Certification Training program (Pitt ACT) is a suite of online onboarding and training materials designed for faculty and staff at Pitt who work with undergraduate students in an advising and mentoring capacity. The main goal of the program is to provide standard resources for all advisors and mentors across the University. Pitt is committed to helping advisors and mentors build networks and grow in the profession, And Pitt ACT is one key resource that allows advisors and mentors to refine their skills and advance their professional development. The program was launched on September 1, 2021 and has since enrolled more than 150 advisors and mentors from around the university community. 

Read the official announcement from Joe McCarthy, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and April Belback, Director of Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring

Watch the Introduction to Pitt ACT session recording to learn more about the program.

Read the University Times article "Training program hopes to give advisors equal access to information."

Register for Pitt ACT Today!

We've made enrolling it Pitt ACT as easy as possible; simply complete the online registration form and you will receive a welcome email along with information to get you started in the training. If you encounter any difficulties during this process, please reach out to pittact@pitt.edu for support. We would be happy to assist you!

Testimonials

Thank you to all who participated in building this! Even though most of us probably use parts of each one, it is important to go back to basics sometimes and rethink what your actual advising strategy/philosophy is-- reflecting on what we like best.

I found it very helpful to learn about the different resources available to students on campus. It's great to know that when we encounter a student with a particular need, there are offices dedicated to addressing that need.

Pulling these university resources into one training is an important way to on board new staff. I have been at Pitt for about 6 years. This would have been extremely helpful in my first few months when I was searching for this type of information. Thank you to the many collaborators who pulled this information together...

As a long-time member of the Pitt community and current advisor I love the idea of mentorship, continued training, etc.  I think a dedicated space where veterans and newer advisors can interact, ask questions, collaborate, etc., is essential in continuing our mission to be a top advising community in the nation.

FAQ

Who can participate in the training?
  • All new undergraduate advisors and mentors at the University of Pittsburgh are encouraged to take the training upon the start of employment and as part of onboarding. 
  • Depending on an individual’s role, upon completion of the Pitt ACT Program: Advising and Mentoring Foundations Training, a new academic advisor will gain access to important technologies within University systems for use in the advising and mentoring workflow: PeopleSoft/HighPoint CXPathways for Success, and Catalog of Opportunities.  
  • Pitt ACT is not just for new advisors and mentors. Anyone in an advising and mentoring role is welcome and encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.  
How long does it take to complete the training?

On average, we tend to see most enrollees take 4-5 hours to complete the entire training, or 30-45 minutes for each module. It is important to note that the training does not need to be completed in one sitting, and instead can be completed at your own pace.

What information is covered in the Foundations level training?

There are six modules to complete for the Advising and Mentoring Foundations level training:

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

The modules were developed based on competency areas identified by the Workgroup on Advising Training––a diverse team of advisors, staff and adminstrators––and on the NACADA core competency model. 

These competency areas will also be carried through for future trainings as well.

What are the benefits to taking the Pitt ACT training?

There are several benefits to enrolling in Pitt ACT:

  • First, completion of the training may be necessary for you to gain technology access if you are a new advisor at the university
  • Once you are enrolled in the training, you will gain access to a vast array of advising resources that are specifically designed to be helpful regardless of where you are located at Pitt
  • Being enrolled in Pitt ACT gives you the ability to connect with other advisors and mentors from other schools and departments, by utilizing the discussion boards to share ideas, resources, and other helpful information
  • Completion of the Foundations level results in a certification that can be leveraged to grow your career
  • With the implementation of Levels 1-3, there will be more benefits to enroll in the program
How does an advisor gain technology access in the training?

After completion of the training, our technology partners will provide access to whichever systems are needed for your role. You can also follow the workflow to better understand the process. For questions about federated authorization, contact your security contact.

Is the training only for undergraduate advising?

While the training was developed for, and has a focus on, undergraduate student advising, we believe the training has resources and information that can be valuable to all advisors and mentors. We encourage you to enroll and explore the training for yourself!

Can advisors and mentors from regional campuses take the training?

Of course! We encourage all advisors and mentors at Pitt to enroll in the training. We have recently added campus specific resources to the training, so that all advisors can personalize their training, while having access to all of the resources the institution has to offer.

Project Collaborators

The following individuals were appointed by the Directors of Advising Committee and assisted in development of the project:

  • Marques Redd, Pitt ACT Levels 1-3 Project Manager
  • Lindsay Onufer, Program Manager, Assessment of Teaching Effectiveness
  • Jennifer Cooper, Instructional Designer
  • Brett Soltysiak, Office of the Provost
  • Stephanie Crespo, Department of Psychology
  • Ed Giles, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  • Susan Gleason, University of Pittsburgh Bradford
  • Devin Ulm, Swanson School of Engineering
  • Michele Lagnese, TRIO Student Support Services 
  • Jennifer Marco, Office of University Registrar
  • Susan Meyer, Interprofessional Center for Health Careers
  • Danielle Richardson, School of Computing and Information  
  • Jessica Wandelt, Department of Biological Sciences