Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

TITLE: Academic Advising Specialist

CLASS: Academic Professional




The Academic Advising Specialists provide academic advising and specialized retention services to targeted groups as well as the general population of students enrolled in various education programs, transfer and vocational training programs at the College. Advising services include assistance in developing academic goals, long- and short-term academic plans, unofficial transcript evaluations, informal degree audits, evaluation of placement test scores and providing information on credit and non-credit programs at PCC. Academic Advising Specialists also address issues impacting student academic success which may include academic, work, relationships, personal, health and financial matters.

This position requires ongoing communication and liaison work with other colleges and universities regarding transfer programs. Incumbents work independently with decisions impacting students' educational goals.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTABILITIES (Includes some or all of the following)

  1. Provides advising services to potential and current college students by assisting students in developing academic goals and educational plans. Outlines appropriate classes needed to achieve those goals; conducts unofficial transcript evaluations and informal degree audits, evaluates placement test scores and provides information on credit and non-credit programs. Works with students on academic probation and suspension to develop an improvement plan and monitor progress against plan. Serves as student advocate in matters related to grievances, grading issues, tuition appeals and financial aid disqualification.
  2. Provides specialized support/retention services for students. Provides initial and ongoing assessment of the student's level of risk and resilience and facilitates student access to internal and external resources such as counseling, disability services, vocational rehabilitation, tutoring and community-based social services. Builds and maintains relationships with at-risk students; troubleshoots problems and develops resource plans. Empowers students by assisting them to develop skills in time management, financial planning, interpersonal communication and personal accountability.
  3. Creates and maintains active case files/documentation on individual students by recording information on paper and electronically via AdvisorTrac, GRAD Plan, Image Now and Banner software and other applications. Maintains statistical information and produces reports on students served.
  4. Leads/facilitates new student orientations, workshops, classes, and classroom presentations; participates in START (Student Training, Advising, Registration and Troubleshooting) labs.
  5. Refers students to placement testing. Reviews test results and explains what they mean relative to the student's schedule planning. Ensures computer placement is correct. Overrides placement based on evaluation and supporting information.
  6. Works with other colleges and universities in the exchange of academic information. Identifies transferable classes. Develops informal articulation agreements. Works with Academic Services management in formalizing agreements. Organizes college/university visits and fairs with in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities.
  7. Works with students transitioning to four year institutions. Advises on application and admissions process, transfer requirements, financial aid, etc. Writes letters of recommendation as requested.
  8. Maintains current knowledge regarding admission, transfer, and degree requirements of private and public universities both within and outside of the State of Oregon in order to provide academic advising to students wishing to continue their education.
  9. Works collaboratively with program faculty and management to support the development of strategies to enhance student retention.
  10. Participates in college fairs. Responds to questions, hands out college catalogs, and networks with other college representatives. Participates in professional associations. Responds to inquiries received over email system.
  11. Provides ongoing training and mentoring to part-time Academic Advisors and newly hired Academic Advisors, counselors and faculty advisors.
  12. May provide support and guidance to student peer advisor program. Recruits, trains, and mentors as needed. Provides back-up advising to High School Completion Specialists. May provide special advising to selected student populations.
  13. May forecast funding required for students and rehabilitation programs that need to project total terms, cost, and courses required to finish certificate or degree program.
  14. Performs other related duties as assigned.


Work is performed in an office environment. Occasional evening and weekend hours required. Incumbents may travel to businesses or college fairs requiring the use of a personal vehicle.


Occasional lifting of boxes of catalogs and/or other college material which may weigh up to 50 pounds.


Bachelor's degree in Education, Psychology, Liberal Arts, Social Science or related field. Relevant experience may substitute for the degree requirement on a year-for-year basis.

Demonstrated experience working in a post-secondary environment advising students. Demonstrated experience working with a diverse student population. Experience researching and interpreting complex rules and regulations. Experience reviewing or evaluating transcripts and placement test scores. Experience in assessing student needs in the development of educational success plans, which may include campus and community-based resources.


Knowledge of transfer requirements to four year institutions and articulation agreements.

Knowledge of policies and procedures relating to admissions, registration, testing, and placement.

Knowledge of available college and community resources and/or programs.

Skill in evaluating transcripts and graduation petitions.

Skill in researching and locating information in college catalogs.

Skill in operating a computer and various supporting software packages.

Skill in delivering classroom and public presentations.

Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks.

Ability to work with students of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Ability to defuse an emotional or tense situation and offer viable solutions.

Ability to operate a variety of office equipment.

Ability to effectively communicate in oral and written form.