San Francisco State University


Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist (Student Services Professional III)

Multiple Positions (Open Until Filled)

Student Success Office

Full-Time (1.0)

Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

$4,554.00 to $4,721.00 ($54,648.00 - $56,652.00 Annually)

The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist supports the University’s strategic plan, the Graduation Initiative 2025, and the Campus Student Success Plan by providing comprehensive academic counseling to help undergraduate students achieve their academic, personal and career goals. This position is a shared advising role that is split between the Undergraduate Advising Center and one of San Francisco State’s colleges (College of Business, College of Ethnic Studies, College of Liberal and Creative Arts, College of Health and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, and the Graduate College of Education). The incumbent collaborates with faculty, staff, and administrators both in their assigned college and in the Undergraduate Advising Center to ensure student retention and success through graduation. The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist also collaborates on delivering general advising services, advising at new student orientations, participating in student retention initiatives, and offering academic success workshops.

The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist will assist students in exploring and declaring into a major, identifying strengths and interests, and overcoming academic and personal challenges. Additionally, the Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist will help students understand SF State’s general education and graduation requirements as well as to understand college-based and university-wide policies and procedures. The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist is responsible for providing consistent, accurate, complex, academic counseling services to undergraduate students. Working independently, the Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist will provide individual and group counseling that requires the use of advising and counseling techniques to evaluate students’ academic interests and to facilitate major and career exploration. The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist will assist students in setting goals to facilitate student success, persistence, and degree completion in a timely manner. In addition, the incumbent will independently lead, develop, plan, implement, and evaluate advising-related projects in the Undergraduate Advising Center and in their assigned college.

The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist reports directly to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education who oversees campus-wide advising efforts. The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist also works closely with the Associate Dean of their assigned college. The position functions under general supervision, but with a high degree of autonomy. This position requires strong judgment, flexibility, persuasiveness, and imagination in order to develop and institute coordinated advising approaches across SF State’s campus. The incumbent will need to apply careful administrative planning when cultivating and launching creative solutions to address specific advising problems and to implement new advising initiatives.

San Francisco State University has long-standing commitments to teaching, learning and social justice. Individuals interested in advancing the University’s strategic plan are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Academic Counselor/Retention Specialist splits time between their assigned college and the Undergraduate Advising Center. Typically, the split is 20 hours per week at each location. Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

Academic Counseling
• Advise students on academic probation, subject to disqualification, and who have been disqualified, providing follow-up guidance and support.
• Create and implement messaging campaigns to identified populations of non-enrolled students, resolving academic issues and offering resource referrals to facilitate their re-enrollment.
• Consult with students experiencing academic difficulty; assist them in identifying reasons for their academic difficulty and directing them to student support services.
• Provide outreach and support to students identified as at-risk in first-year English and math courses.
• Independently coordinate and deliver academic advising to an assigned group of students each year; develop action plan for success based on the unique needs of each student; monitor and assess student progress in achieving their path to success and make adjustments to their path based on the progress and changing needs of the student; identify current and potential challenges (e.g. adjustment to college, time-management) and counsel students through complex academic/personal challenges; make appropriate referrals to campus resources.
• Resolve complex advising-related situations by applying in-depth knowledge of academic policy and recommending an appropriate course of action to students; serve as an advising expert for faculty and staff who need assistance resolving complicated advising issues.
• Offer workshops on topics related to the retention of students (e.g. study skills, time management, choosing a major, etc.).
• Provide academic counseling to undergraduate students on general education, graduation requirements, college-based policies, and other related policies and procedures (through individual appointments, walk-in advising, and group workshops).
• Assist freshmen and sophomore students with rectifying academic issues, providing multiple solutions, including resource referral.
• Serve as a lead advisor at Freshmen Advising Events (FAE) held in the residence halls for lower-division students.

Project Coordination
• Lead, develop, plan, implement and evaluate Undergraduate Advising Center and college-based projects (priorities will be identified by the Associate Dean in the college and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education).
• Coordinate and deliver strategic advising initiatives established by the campus as part of the Campus Student Success Plan.
• Develop and implement strategies to address the academic support needs of students who are at-risk for retention.
• Partner with campus leadership to identify shared challenges and opportunities related to student success, especially as they relate to students from low-income, underrepresented minority and/or first-generation backgrounds.
• Research successful college/university retention programs to identify best policies, practices, and procedures. Make recommendations based on best practices identified.

• Gather and analyze retention/attrition data to identify trends and potential solutions.
• Notify academic advisors and faculty of student issues relating to performance, probation, and potential disqualifications.

• Develop, implement, and assess programs created to increase retention and facilitate graduation based on institutional and student need/demand.
• Maintain database of students served, challenges experienced, and overall outcomes.
• Regularly present information to the Associate Dean in Undergraduate Education and in their assigned college.
• Assist the Undergraduate Advising Center with coordinating, marketing, and implementing Freshmen Advising Events (FAE) in the residence halls.

Advising at Orientation
• Collaborate as a team member with their college and the Undergraduate Advising Center to deliver advising at New Student Orientation for both freshmen and transfer students.
• Facilitate presentation workshops at New Student Orientation for both freshmen and transfer students (e.g. Gators Path to Success, Gator Scheduler, PeopleSoft Enrollment Module).
• Collaborate with the Developmental Studies Office to accurately advise new freshmen students into their first-year English and math courses at orientation.

Other duties as assigned.

Additionally, at all times, demonstrate behaviors that are in line with User Friendly Principles (P530C) and Priniciples of Conduct for a Multi-Cultural University (P30D). Also, demonstrate safe work practices for oneself, others and the office environment.


Knowledge and Abilities:
Thorough knowledge of the principles of individual and group behavior. General knowledge of the principles, practices and trends of the Student Services field as well as general knowledge of the policies, procedures and practices of the program area to which assigned; general knowledge of individual counseling techniques; general knowledge, or the ability to rapidly acquire such knowledge, of the organizational procedures and activities of the specific campus to which the position is assigned. Working knowledge of student services programs outside the program to which immediately assigned.

Ability to analyze complex situations accurately and adopt effective courses of action; advise students individually and in groups on complex student‑related matters; determine appropriate courses of action and proper techniques to utilize while engaged with individuals in personal interactions of an argumentative or sensitive nature; interpret and evaluate descriptions and explanations of problems brought forward by individuals or student organizations, analyze and define the problem, draw valid conclusions and project consequences of various alternative courses of action; carry out a variety of professionally complex assignments without detailed instructions; and establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with a variety of individuals.

Possession of these knowledge and abilities is typically demonstrated through the equivalent of three years of progressively responsible professional student services work experience. One year in the program area to which assigned may be preferred but is not required.

A master’s degree in Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Social Work, or a directly related field may be substituted for one year of experience. A doctorate degree and the appropriate internship or clinical training in counseling or guidance may be substituted for the three years of experience for positions with a major responsibility for professional career or personal counseling.

Equivalent to graduation from a four-year college or university in a related field, including or supplemented by upper division or graduate course work in counseling techniques, interviewing, and conflict resolution where such are job-related.


Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in counseling, higher education, student affairs, or job related-field.

• advising underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students, and working effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
• developing programs to support a diverse population of students and providing effective academic counseling to university students from diverse cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, academic, sexual orientation and disability backgrounds in one-to-one/group settings
• assisting lower-division undergraduate students in exploring major options
• providing information on Title V, California State University, and San Francisco State University policies and procedures
• serving as a lead to develop, plan, implement and evaluate a project
• conducting presentations in small and large group settings; facilitating workshops using effective public-speaking techniques
• using PeopleSoft – Campus Solutions, Microsoft Office Suite, and Learning Management Systems
• applying counseling/student development theories in an academic advising setting
• assisting students with academic, personal, and career planning/goal setting

Ability to:
• apply problem-solving and conflict resolution strategies
• use current software, technology, and online resources related to academic counseling
• provide accurate, respectful and effective communication (oral and written) to students, staff, faculty and administrators
• exercise confidentiality, discretion, and independent judgment
• keep supervisor informed and demonstrate regular attendance and positive performance evaluations
• use technology tools to manage and report on data
• quickly learn and apply Title V, California State University, and San Francisco State University policies and procedures
• master complex information and communicate changes in university policy, regulations and requirements to students, faculty and staff

Embody the Following Competencies:
• Bias toward collaboration and teamwork
• Effective oral, written and nonverbal communication skills
• Customer/Client Focus with an emphasis in problem solving and resolution
• Personal effectiveness and credibility as demonstrated by interpersonal and professional confidence
• Diversity and inclusion

Threaded through our Total Compensation package is a commitment to Bridging Life's Transitions. SF State is committed to providing our employees with a comprehensive program that rewards efforts that are appreciated by your colleagues, students and the customers we serve.

We offer a competitive compensation package that includes Medical, Dental, Vision, Pension, 401k, Healthcare Savings Account, Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Vacation and Sick Leave as well as State Holidays and a dynamic Fee Waiver program, all geared towards the University's commitment to attract, motivate and retain our employees.

For the complete job description and qualifications of current openings, please go to SF State’s online job posting Submit an online application and upload (in one file attachment) your resume and cover letter, describing your specific qualifications for each position. The online recruitment system will allow one file attachment for each submission.

Additional positions will be available throughout the year. Please visit SF State’s Human Resources website for job postings or contact Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education Kim Altura at for more information.


The Human Resources office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at (415) 338-1872.

SF State is Equal Opportunity/Americans with Disabilities Act employer and has a strong commitment to the principles of diversity.

Additional Information
Position Type: Employee
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Contact Information
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, 94132