Advising at Maastricht University

The UM Advising project aims to enhance student success by formulating a vision of student guidance based on collaboration between faculty and students, promoting transparency and personal as well as professional growth.

UM Advising: optimising the student journey toward success through excellent student guidance

This initiative benefits students by offering more personal and academic development avenues in line with UM's educational approach. It also recognises and rewards staff, highlighting varied roles and career paths within student guidance.

UM will benefit from more explicit roles, streamlined efforts, and the sharing of best practices, all while demonstrating its commitment to the well-being and learning of students and aligning with our educational philosophy.

Project update

Student guidance is a collaborative effort, and so is this project. The project captures the input of many through individual and group conversations.

We use the Nine Conditions for Excellence in Academic Advising*Institutional commitment; Learning; Adviser Development; Improvement and Scholarship of Advising; Collaboration and Communication; Organisation; Student Purpose and Pathways; Equity, Inclusion and Diversity; Technology.

The figure below provides a framework to map our objectives and our progress.

Academic Advising

Overview of goals and projects

Below, you will find an overview of goals that have been realised and projects in progress. A strategic plan articulating ambitions for the future is beginning to take shape.

Institutional Commitment

  • Through a bottom-up process, a vision of student guidance is emerging (see below). In the fall of 2023, a coherent statement on student guidance will be formulated from the key concepts we identified.
  • A strategic plan for turning that vision into a collective and sustained practice will be formulated following the vision statement.


  • Study Smart has been teaching students to use effective study strategies since 2017. In 2022-2023, updates and revisions have been made to the programme, as well as the development of knowledge clips and a blended training version.  
  • The project team has provided in-house consultations with mentoring programmes.

Adviser Development

  • A competence framework for advisers is in development, in conjunction with a draft for a shared approach to professional development. 
  • After several large and generic ‘best practices’ days and ‘education’ days, SUMa is now preparing a thematic co-learning event on monitoring and duty of care.
  • A professional development knowledge base was developed for SUMa members (Available on MS Teams for SUMa Members)

Improvement and Scholarship of Advising

  • In the fall of 2023, a research meeting between UM mentoring researchers will take place.

Collaboration and communication

  • Efforts to enhance collaboration across units include developing an MS Teams environment and contact lists (Available on MS Team for SUMa members).
  • A handbook was developed for student advisers on essential topics like studying with a disability, talking to students after sexual violence or harassment and serving Ukrainian and (Bela)Russian students after the war broke out (Available on MS Teams for SUMa members).


  • of mentoring and academic advising programmes of all faculties. Furthermore, newly formed positions that deal with student guidance and well-being have joined the SUMa network.
  • A new tradition was started in January 2023, with a ‘New Year’s breakfast’. This will receive follow-up in 2023-2024 with ‘After summer drinks’ in September and a ‘New Year’s breakfast’ in January. A 'new to advising’ get-together will be scheduled for starting student advisers.

Student purpose and pathways

  • A conversation tool is being developed and tested to discuss the student journey through UM with staff and students. This tool provides insights into critical moments in the student journey and the role student guidance can play.
  • UM Advising is a member of the core team Vision on Student Communication project.

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

The student journey game is used to explore typical and atypical university experiences, aiming to identify potential achievement gaps.

Technology enabled advising

The project is represented in the sounding board for the UM e-portfolio. Several piloting projects on automation via Corsa have been initiated. A technology agenda is currently being drafted.

Happening in fall 2023

Welcome back after summer drinks

End of September 2023

Research in Advising

1st week of October 2023

Co-creation session Vision Statement

4th week of October 2023

Competence Framework taskforce

November 2023

Monitoring and "Zorgplicht" (Duty of Care) – community of practice

December 2023


During the past academic year, the UM student guidance community and other stakeholders engaged in productive discussions regarding their priorities for student guidance. Through meaningful conversations, four key ideas surfaced as crucial to all parties involved.

Where we are

Academic Advising

Student Guidance enhances the feeling of being included and valued in the UM (student) community.

Our goal is to create a strong sense of inclusion and value among students at UM. This means emphasising the importance of belonging so that every student feels like they are not just attending a university but are also a vital member of a supportive community.

This principle is based on the idea of relatedness from the self-determination theory*, as well as the concept of collaborative learning inspired by CCCS*.

Student Guidance scaffolds how students shape and structure their personal journey towards success by helping them articulate the value of their education.

At the heart of our vision is the goal of helping each student on their personal path to success. We believe in giving students the necessary tools to understand the true worth of their education. This involves creating a situation that fosters constructive learning experiences, allowing them to take the essential initial steps towards their own personalised version of success. This process relies on the development of competence, following the principles of self-determination theory. Our student guidance aims to assist students in discovering the first independent step they can take on their journey.

Student Guidance plays a crucial role in bridging gaps by (co-) creating individualised learning conditions.

Student guidance at UM plays a pivotal role in mitigating potential success gaps. When standard conditions do not suffice, we collaborate with our students to tailor learning conditions to meet the diverse needs of each student. This commitment to equity and diversity means that we also strive to reduce unnecessary hurdles for (sub) populations and individual students.

Student Guidance helps students learn to develop agency and resilience as they take ownership of their personal development now and beyond.

Our approach focuses on nurturing agency, resilience, and personal leadership. We understand that these characteristics aren't fixed traits but rather skills that require time and effort to develop. Our students are encouraged to take charge of their learning, enabling them to acquire the tools necessary for lifelong growth, both during and after their studies. Our role is to aid their self-reflection and empower them to take control of their personal development. Emphasising autonomy is a core component of our vision at Maastricht University.

Co-creating our shared Vision for UM Student Guidance and Advising

During the October session, we aim to bring all ideas together to create a vision statement representing UM’s ambitions for 2030. We want to focus on the common ground, the foundation, of your practices to create a vision that everyone can identify with but still give enough freedom for the variety of practices and roles.

All bodies involved in advising have received an invitation to this session, including a preparatory exercise.

For more information, please contact the UM Advising Project Team:

Iris Burks, Lena Gromotka and Oscar van den Wijngaard


Nine Conditions of Excellence in Academic Advising by NACADA

Self Determination Theory was developed by Ryan and Deci, and explains people’s motivation.

CCCS is refers to a specification of PBL as elaborated on in the UM Educational Vision and the EDVIEW report