Supporting Online Student Success Cross-Functionally: The Collaborative Work of the Office of Advising and the Online Campus at Columbia University’s School of Social Work

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

This session will share the unique and comprehensive student advising model at Columbia University’s School of Social Work (CSSW), as well as how the Online Campus administration works with the Office of Advising to support the success of online students who live across the U.S.  


Matthea Marquart has focused her professional life on education and training, both online and in person, since 2005. She currently serves as the Director of Administration for the Online Campus at Columbia University's School of Social Work, where she created the award-winning Institute on Pedagogy and Technology for Online Courses. She also serves as an instructor for Master's of Science in Social Work courses. Matthea's prior professional experience includes roles as National Director of Training at Building Educated Leaders for Life, President of the NYC Chapter of the National Organization for Women, and Director of Foundation and Government Relations at Inform, Inc. She has also worked internationally, in England, South Korea, and Spain. Matthea holds an MS in Social Work from Columbia University and a BA in English from Emory University, where she completed a year at Oxford University and additional coursework at UC Berkeley. She has been a Network for Social Work Management Policy Fellow, a United Way of NYC Senior Fellow in the Nonprofit Leadership Development Institute at Baruch College, a member of the Community Resources Exchange Leadership Caucus, and a blogger for New York Nonprofit Press. She earned a Certificate of Professional Achievement in Business by completing online business courses at Columbia University's School of Professional Studies, which has helped her understand the student perspective of taking online courses. She completed OLC's IELOL (Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning) program in 2018, and is enrolled in the Council on Social Work Education's 2019-20 Program Director Academy. She was honored to receive the Network for Social Work Management's Exemplar Award in 2019 for exemplary performance and leadership as a social work executive leader. She enjoys writing and speaking about the unique opportunities and challenges of online instruction, and welcomes invitations to speak or facilitate workshops. She has published a dozen training and education-related articles since 2006, and her latest publications include the article Taking Online Social Work Courses -- 7 Professional Benefits, and the book chapters How Co-Teaching and Other Strategies Promote Lively Student Engagement, Instructional Strategies for Synchronous Components of Online Courses, and That Human Element: Fostering Instructor Presence Through Online Instructional Videos. She has presented at numerous conferences, including the Online Learning Consortium's Accelerate Conference, the Social Work Distance Education Conference, the International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace, and The eLearning Guild New England Regional Instructional Design Symposium.

Extended Abstract

CSSW offers a fully online Master’s of Science in Social Work degree, with field placements within 90 minutes of each student’s location.  To support our online students’ success, our unique advising program encompasses both academic advising and fieldwork advising. The majority of our advisors for online students are local and meet with students in person, either one-on-one or in small groups, which means that the Office of Advising recruits, trains, and monitors advisors across the country.  This remote contracting of advisors requires intensive quality control during the hiring and training process, and it also presents challenges when students’ geographic locations change from year to year. In this session, the presenters will share the logistics, challenges, and successes of this advising program model.
The Office of Advising works with students directly, and it also works with online instructors and with the Online Campus administration to support student success and address students’ issues.  Online instructors and administrators consult with the Office of Advising about classroom conflicts, poor student performance, disputes about grades, and more. In this session, the presenters will share ways that the Office of Advising and Online Campus administration collaborate.  

The goals for this session include:

  • Describing the advising model for online students at the Columbia University School of Social Work
  • Describing how the CSSW Office of Advising and Online Campus administration collaborate to support student success
  • Sharing successes and challenges with providing advising services to online students
  • Asking questions and discussing solutions to potential issues