Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming to Higher Ed and it is going to impact several areas of the university, especially student services. AI will not replace advisors, but it will require tapping into a different skill set. This is an exciting thing as I believe AI will allow advisors and student support staff to focus on what they love most – transforming students.
Academic Advisors and student support staff are, by nature, motivated to support others succeed. Unfortunately, when you combine student support staff’s increasing caseloads with cumbersome systems it is difficult to have consistent, transforming discussions. AI is helping solve this problem by taking the hundreds of data points that exist on campus and providing prescriptive insight into what a student requires to succeed.
While there are several emerging solutions that claim the use of Artificial Intelligence, if it is not allowing an advisor to purely focus on the core of why they are advising then it is not true AI for student services. Here are 5 things advisors, faculty and student support staff can look forward to when their institution adopts student service oriented artificial intelligence:
- Student Transformation
AI is no good if it does not provide an advisor with a legible prescription for each student derived from the success and challenges exhibited by your own students. This prescription should contain both factors that will lead to success as well as risk factors. The instantaneous insight into students allows an advisor to take a few precious minutes and focus on building strengths while mitigating obstacles. With vital student information seamlessly integrated within advising tools, the advisor simultaneously advises and transforms.
- Confronting Students
Another skill necessary in the age of AI in student services is the ability to confront damaging student behavior. It’s a vicious cycle in that some student behavior sabotages their success and eats away at confidence and eventually the student drops out. AI will illuminate these damaging behaviors and a skilled advisor will use the student success factors to build up their confidence to confront and overcome their obstacles (notice a theme here…). The skill of empowering a student when confronting these damaging behaviors is critical to keeping the student engaged.
- Adapting Quickly
It is challenging to be in the business of transforming many lives each day, but it is also what draws advisors to this important job. We are drowning advisors in student information, sometimes leading to paralysis by analysis. AI should show the right student information, no more and no less, so advisors can adapt quickly to each student engagement. This leads me to my next point…
- Remain in the Moment
Being present with a student involves active listening. Cumbersome systems, multitudes of data and jam-packed schedules inhibit active listening. True student transformation happens when an advisor is fully in the moment with their student focused on what will lead to success and building confidence to navigate through obstacles. An AI solution should largely eliminate these distractions so an advisor is able to remain in the moment with the student.
- Emotional Intelligence
An important trait of an advisor is the ability to read and interpret student emotions. Emotional intelligence as a skill goes beyond this and a big ingredient is regulation of their own emotions. Our students live busy, chaotic lives and the ability of the advisor to support a student emotionally while also regulating their own is going to be essential to impacting more students each day.
Artificial Intelligence is not an evolution for student services – it’s a revolution. It is time to embrace and practice these essential advisor traits that certainly existed previously but were not as prominent. AI is going to create an ecosystem where advisors flourish doing what they love to do – this can only have incredible impact on their students.
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