Advising & Student Services at Berkeley

At UC Berkeley, our approach to supporting students is equity-oriented and strengths-based. We are committed to self-reflection, continuous learning, and mitigating bias in all aspects of our work. Our vision for excellence in advising and student services at Berkeley is shaped by our collective dedication to supporting learning, engagement, and belonging for all students.

As a whole, Berkeley’s advising and student service professionals support students throughout their academic, personal, and professional journey. We serve pre-collegiate, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and visiting students. A wide array of advising and student support methods, approaches, and resources are used and often blended to effectively address the complex needs of our diverse and highly talented student populations.

Where do our 1000+ student services professionals work on campus?

 Student Affairs, 41%; Schools and Colleges, 39.9%; Equity & Inclusion, 8.2%; SSALLEX, 4.0%; Undergraduate Education, 3.6%; Research, Admin, BIO, Athletics, 2.2%; Graduate Division, 1.1%

Want to see how we are all interconnected organizationally?

Take a look at the Advising & Student Services Landscape that highlight the many places student services are located at UC Berkeley.

About Advising Strategy + Training

The student services community at UC Berkeley is united by a common purpose across divisions: promoting student success, and strong cross-campus partnerships make this possible. Since advising and student support staff are spread throughout the university, Advising Strategy + Training (AS+T) exists to engage this community in development, learning, and leadership. Our efforts are grounded in an equity mindset, with which we strive to create a culture of belonging and welcome for both the advising community and for students. By providing transformative advising and student support, we help build an environment at Berkeley that is as well known for its student experience as for its academic excellence.

Council on Advising and Student Support (CASS)

The Advising Strategy + Training (AS+T) Program works in partnership with the Council on Advising and Student Support (CASS), co-chaired by Lisa García Bedolla, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division and Oliver M. O'Reilly, interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. CASS promotes the craft, quality, and consistency of student support across the undergraduate, graduate, and professional student experience. Read more about CASS and the charge of the Council here

Meet Our Team

Donna Vivar (she/her), Manager of Advising Strategy + Training

Photo of a smiling person with dark hair standing in front of a wall of greenery.

How would you describe the journey to your current role at Cal?

Having explored different student services roles across different universities, I’ve alway ended up back at Cal.  I’ve had the privilege of working in units on campus where there is value alignment - where supervisors, mentors, and colleagues cared about me personally and professionally.  My current role with this community is no different.  With all of its faults, Cal is a place of growth for me. 

Tell us something surprising about yourself!

I’m the official winner of an unofficial hot dog eating contest and Fenton’s sundae challenge.  I still have the 2003 Fenton’s shirt to prove it.

Syrhonda Calhoun (she/her), AS+T Events & Office Support CoordinatorA smiling person with dark curly hair and a dapper hat smiling in front of fall foliage and a body of water.

How would you describe the journey to your current role at Cal?

Planning events is my thing! After working for 10 years in hotels throughout the Bay Area, I had the opportunity to plan and organize events and conferences at UC Berkeley in the Events & Conferences department. I enjoy the environment the campus has to offer; but wanted to explore a different side of events that allowed me to also expand my office management skills, and my current role allows me to do just that and still have time to plan weddings.

Tell us something surprising about yourself!

I enjoy Sherlock Holmes, and watching classic black & white movies, especially Cary Grant.

Liza Schlosser-Olroyd (she/her), AS+T Communications Lead Photo of a smiling person in tree pose standing in front of old growth redwoods.

How would you describe the journey to your current role at Cal?

Growing up in Berkeley, I always saw a future for myself as part of the UC Berkeley community. I first came to Cal as a nontraditional transfer student studying PoliSci and Arabic (shout out to the amazing PS advisors!!), and after graduating with highest distinction I went on to work for a local government agency before returning to Cal as a member of the staff. After joining Research, Teaching, and Learning (RTL) in another role and obtaining a graduate degree in information & data science, I am grateful for the opportunity to take on this role as Communications Lead for the Advising Strategy + Training Program!

Tell us something surprising about yourself!

 Alongside my work at Cal, I am an experienced yoga and meditation teacher, life coach, and an avid runner!