Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kit Kacirek

Committee Member

Kenda Grover

Second Committee Member

Michael Miller


Adult Learners, Advising, Holistic Advising, Online Education


The University of Arkansas System eVersity was established in 2014 by the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. More than 80% of the student population at the institution is non-traditional, with time or location restrictions that prevent participation in on-campus degree programs. eVersity Engage is a required orientation course completed by all students before enrolling at eVersity. Engage is intended to introduce students to institutional policies and resources, set student expectations for online learning at the institution, and provide the foundation for academic success as an online student. After completing Engage, students schedule an appointment with their Academic Success Advisor. This appointment is called the Engage Advising Appointment. When eVersity began enrolling students, institutional leadership envisioned the Engage Advising Appointment as an interactive conversation between students and advisors that would serve as the foundation of the student-advisor relationship, and this relationship would be strengthened over time through student-centered proactive advising. In 2020, after four years of operation and an assessment of Engage and the Engage Advising Appointment, institutional leadership learned that Academic Success Advisors were spending most of their time providing prescriptive advising during the Engage Advising Appointment.In 2020 Engage was revised, with substantial additions to curriculum and an instructor assigned to oversee student progress through the course, and a holistic approach to advising was adopted. An important aspect of the revised course content, and the focus of this study, is a module designed to obtain information related to the student’s individual academic, professional, and personal journey, as well as motivating factors for seeking a credential at the institution, and personal and professional goals. This study represents the first effort to collect data related to student-advisor communication during the Engage Advising Appointment. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explore advisor perceptions of how student data submitted during the revised Engage course informed their initial student advising appointment. A qualitative research method was used for this study because the researcher hopes to gain an understanding of student-advisor communication during the initial advising appointment, by exploring advisor experiences before and after the revision of Engage and associated work processes. The findings of this study can be used to inform holistic advising practice.