Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Valeri Helterbran, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer V. Rotigel, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Amber N. Racchini, D.Ed.


The purpose of this study is, through a systems perspective, to examine and describe the functions, purposes, and identity of a university advising system comparing the ideals espoused by advisors and administrators to actual practice at a satellite campus of a large public multi-campus university. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and publically available university documents. The product of this qualitative study is a rich description of the academic advising system at Mid-Atlantic University (pseudonym) viewed through the lens of systems theory. This study found that the academic advising system at MAU is based on the ideals of developmental or learning-centered advising. These ideals are not always realized due to systemic flaws, such as a lack of understanding of these ideals by various personnel, poor assessment practices, and misaligned incentives. Good advising happens primarily due to professional and faculty advisors who enjoy advising, but they are often overwhelmed due to myriad competing demands for their time and energy.