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Voices of the Global Community

Entries for 2005

Many advising programs strive to connect faculty, student advising, and learning in an effort to move from “advising as class scheduling” to “advising as teaching.” Likewise, many instructional development programs assist faculty with learner-centered instructional methods that better serve our under-prepared or under-served student populations. It would seem likely that the advising and teaching strategies that better serve these students would have significant overlap (Hemwall and Trachte, 2003).

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A short while ago I was talking with a student about academic advising. I casually mentioned that it is important that students become familiar with the degree audit system at Penn State and use it often. The student first responded by agreeing that the Penn State system was good, but then said (much to my surprise and I paraphrase): But if we encourage students to use the degree audit, they won’t ever see their advisors. And then it hit me—how often advising is confused with scheduling and registration procedures and how easy it is to assume that some form of technology can replace human contact and interaction.

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The reorganization of the Association in 2002 has led to a more efficient and dynamic governance structure which in turn is more quickly generating ideas and authorizing more projects in support of the members. Coupled with the premise that the volunteer leaders should be able to rely on the Executive Office staff to manage or implement projects, the day to day operations in the Executive Office have changed significantly. I thought it might be helpful for the members to read about what a typical day might entail.

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Embarking on a journey into the unknown... Boldly going where no relative has gone before... Blazing new trails. These are brave and exciting statements, but to any student who is first in the family to have the experience, it is an intimidating venture. First Generation College Students (First Gens) often receive mixed messages from their families—make us proud/don’t leave us. These students are “breaking,” not “keeping” the family tradition. Without guidance, First Gens often get lost in the maze of college life.

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Without fail, institutions claim to value diversity. Yet institutions often limit their understanding of diversity to the inclusion of individuals from racial or cultural minorities. While seeking out under-represented individuals is an admirable response to a symptomatic lack of diversity, real enrichment is achieved not by counting heads, but rather through learning to prize individuals whose origins, viewpoints, values, and traditions may not be consistent with those of the campus majority. In this sense, transfer students are one of the most commonly encountered yet frequently overlooked sources of diversity.

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We know that the most worthwhile discussions about diversity can be filled with disagreement and contradiction. Yet, we believe that as representatives of higher education institutions, we must model behavior where issues of diversity are discussed frequently and with increased ease. In turn, practicing such behavior is certain to inform our work as advisors and administrators, giving us something truly powerful to take away from NACADA and bring back to our campuses.

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Like many academic advisors, I occasionally receive email messages from former students who are somewhat disillusioned by their first post-graduation jobs and speak with some nostalgia about their alma mater. After all, finding a job, meeting workplace expectations, relocating, seeking new friends, and planting roots are all hard work. This unsettling life transition is the theme of the Broadway musical, Avenue Q (Lopez, Marx, and Whitty, 2003), which was written for the twenties generation finding their way in an uncertain world. Avenue Q can be fictitiously found in the furthest and least expensive borough of New York City.

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From it's debut online in June 2002 through February 2005, this publication was titled Academic Advising News: Communicating Critical Issues in the Field of Advising. Articles included in these archived editions will be presented in a compiled version as well as broken down into individual articles to facilitate search capacity.  News features from this period may be attained by contacting the Managing Editor.

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Over the past few decades, eighty-five percent of all immigrants to the United States have arrived from either Asia or Latin America; today Latinos are the largest American minority group. These demographic trends have impacted the recruitment efforts of many institutions and caused many campus administrators to incorporate diversity into their strategic plans. Furthermore, recognizing that diversity extends beyond race to include ethnicity, traditional/non-traditional status, military experience, disabilities, etc., administrators have increased recruitment efforts to attract an increasingly diverse population to our campuses. However, while administrations have focused on recruitment, the efforts to retain these students has largely become the responsibility of others, particularly those involved in academic advising.

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It was recently announced that the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) is closing its doors. As president of NACADA, this stunning announcement gave me reason to think about NACADA’s future. While I can only speculate as to the reasons for AAHE having to shut down (much of the public statement had to do with declining membership and the concomitant financial issues), it seems like a good time to raise some questions about how NACADA functions and what our future can look like.

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We attempt to have a NACADA Officer and Executive Staff member at every regional conference to enhance communication with the membership. We find this very helpful in identifying new issues facing our members, in identifying members who want to get more involved in the association, and in hearing what the members want from their association.

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Academic advisors face increasing challenges each year. What are the most effective ways to deal with enrollment increases when there has been little or no increase in budget? How do we handle the advising needs of these students? How can colleges effectively cope with the increasing numbers of transfer students? How can we use orientations to enhance advisement? These are just a few of the many challenges faced every day by advisors at most colleges, but particularly at two-year colleges.

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Peer advising offers several advantages, including versatility, compatibility with pre-existing academic advising programs, sensitivity to student needs, and the ability to extend the range and scope of advising to times and venues when advising is not usually available. 

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Increasing numbers of high school graduates with learning disabilities are enrolling in colleges and universities each year. A learning disability may be manifested by deficits in the student’s reading ability (dyslexia), speech ability (dyspraxia), writing ability (dysgraphia) or math ability (dyscalculia). A student with a learning disability may also have difficulty with sustained attention, time management, and/or social skills. Some students think that when they transition to college they will “outgrow” their learning disabilities and be able to handle their studies on their own. Individuals do not outgrow a learning disability, although they may develop a host of strategies for compensating for the disability. Still, these students find that when they transition to college they continue to need academic accommodations.

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For each of these three visitors the adviser plays a critical role. It is much more than course selection and graduation requirements. The relationship with Mike, Selina, and Caroline and many others like them can become a key ingredient in their undergraduate experience, and the success of the relationship depends on a full range of talents. In truth, Mike, Selina, and Caroline are drawn from advising experiences I have had over the years. While they may be literally fictional, I have seen such students, and so have you. They are a daily reminder of the challenges and rewards of our profession.

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Since Fall 2003, over 180 learners have taken courses in the Graduate Certificate program. Originating faculty member Charlie Nutt, NACADA Associate Director and Assistant Professor at Kansas State University, stated, “All the students have been so dedicated and hard working – this teaching experience has been one of the most rewarding and challenging of my career.”

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The election of NACADA leadership positions for terms beginning in October 2005 began on January 14, 2005 when the online voting system was made accessible to all eligible voting NACADA members. Login information and passwords were e-mailed individually to members using special mail-merging software. The positions for which candidates were seeking election included NACADA President, Vice President, Board of Directors members, Region Chairs, Commission Chairs, and Committee Chairs. The election process for these positions concluded on February 11 after which all valid votes were tallied.

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From June 2005 through December 2011, this publication was titled Academic Advising Today: Lighting Student Pathways. Articles included in these archived editions will be presented in a compiled version as well as broken down into individual articles to facilitate search capacity. News features from this period may be attained by contacting the Managing Editor.

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Ultimately, assessment is about understanding and improving. In this regard, the assessment process provides a systematic way through which information about student learning and program effectiveness can be obtained. Done in the collective and continuous way intended, the assessment process provides a systemic way to use that information to support improvements in student learning and the advising process. In the end, assessment is systematic, systemic, and relational; there are steps to the process; the process is intentional in the gathering of evidence to support improvement in learning and process; and all of the steps within the process are inextricably intertwined.

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I find myself at this time more than halfway through my year long presidency. You have already elected a new president (Jo Anne Huber from the University of Texas-Austin) to take office in October at the end of our National Conference in Las Vegas, and the editor of Academic Advising Today tells me that this is my last column as president. The natural tendency might be to do some sort of reflection on the past year, but I think I will reserve that for another forum. Suffice it to say that NACADA continues to grow in numbers (we have now exceeded 8200 members), and we are looking forward to a capacity crowd in Las Vegas.

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Welcome to a new academic year that promises many new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for academic advisors! These same expectations apply to NACADA, as we work to develop and deliver new methods for helping you address the academic advising needs of your students to enhance their success. There are always new initiatives underway at NACADA!

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At a large gathering of advisors from multi-versities during the 1990 Anaheim annual conference, several raised the question: do we have a Code of Ethics to guide us? No one knew of one. Some asked, shouldn't we have one? From that initial discussion, a small group began to consider ways that the larger NACADA membership might begin to address the question.

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When I think about the challenges to academic advisors today and read the NACADA Statement of Core Values, I am reminded of the ‘simple things’ calendar in this way: the six core values are simple to believe, uphold, and value. They are easy to articulate to others and to apply when actively advising. They are responsibilities to reflect and act on, and in the quiet moments, they can hopefully inspire us to be bigger than our job requires. The message is in there; sometimes it takes time to find it and use it well. So, how do we do this?

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As America ’s ethnic and racial demographics continue to shift, not only on college campuses but throughout the nation, it is essential that administrators and practitioners prepare to effectively deliver cross-cultural services. Professionals of all ethnic and racial backgrounds need to gain multicultural awareness and multicultural competency.... The preparation we receive should require a highly collaborative and interactive self-awareness and include a racial consciousness component that allows us to gain an awareness of our their beliefs and attitudes as they pertain to multiculturalism. This exploration provides an opportunity to to check biases and stereotypes that can affect our delivery of adequate cross-cultural service. Becoming aware of our values and biases is a move toward positive orientation of multiculturalism (Sue, et. al, p. 633)..

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Great law school applications don’t start with a high LSAT score. They come from years of engagement with academics, the community, and an understanding of what the study and the profession of law is really about. Get your freshmen started right by incorporating this eight point “academic advising curriculum” into your work with first-year pre-law students.

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From a loose affiliation of advising and student affairs professionals to a dynamic professional organization – how did the Kent Academic Support and Advising Association (KASADA) get there? In 1989, about 30 professional advisors got together at Kent State University to talk about forming a university-wide organization for those of us who work directly with students. We sought to establish a network that would help facilitate information sharing and provide a mechanism for diminishing the bureaucracy faced by students. There was also a need to provide professional development opportunities and establish a visible presence on campus.

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In October of 2003, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) introduced The Affordability in Higher Education Act, H.R.3311, a proposed amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965. H.R.3311 featured language that alarmed many of us in postsecondary education who routinely deal with transfer of credit issues. In an attempt at alleviating the rising cost of higher education, McKeon’s bill proposed a College Affordability Index, which would supposedly indicate the general affordability of institutions based on a number of factors, including their rate of acceptance of transfer credit....

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I profess that the most important job duty of an advising administrator is to hire the right people, because no other function done improperly or poorly will so quickly damage the advising operation and the mission of providing quality advising services to students. Over the twenty plus years that I have been an administrator/manager, both in higher education and private industry, I have observed that the art of hiring the right people is constantly cussed and discussed. One must continually hone hiring skills, especially in light of the ever-changing workforce landscape.

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From June 2005 through December 2011, this publication was titled Academic Advising Today: Lighting Student Pathways. Articles included in these archived editions will be presented in a compiled version as well as broken down into individual articles to facilitate search capacity. News features from this period may be attained by contacting the Managing Editor.

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Here we will begin to explore how best to approach advising relationships in a multiculturally competent way, mindful of both the individual and cultural similarities and differences between advisor and advisee, and how those factors may influence the advising process. Suggestions are based on the author’s personal experience in helping relationships (i.e. mental health and career counseling), as well as the counseling psychology and intercultural communication literatures. The intention is to provide a description of a “both/and” approach to preparing for multicultural helping relationships. This approach can be useful with all students, regardless of how culturally similar or dissimilar advisor and advisee are, because all people are cultural beings. The objective of this article is to provide advisors with questions and principles to consider in interactions with students.

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I am so proud to be the first president of NACADA from Texas! Without family support and the support of my colleagues as well as the backing of the Academic Counselor’s Association at The University of Texas at Austin, a NACADA allied member, none of this would be possible, so I am very grateful to all. Years ago, when I was coerced into running for Regional Representative from Region VII, I never dreamed it would lead to this day. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and look forward to working and learning from my distinguished predecessors.

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The NACADA Board of Directors’ meetings in Las Vegas focused on the future of the organization – the strategic plan and finances. Let me assure you that they are watching things closely – trends in higher education, in academic advising, and in associations – to ensure that NACADA remains a strong, member-centered, financially sound organization.

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The unique qualities that shape the lives of Millennials must be considered when creating plans for their benefit. Solutions that worked for previous generations must be modified to be effective. Advisors and administrators must utilize millennial student research in order to help these students effectively manage their time. We must embrace this research to facilitate an environment that is most beneficial to our students.

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Success is having students who see all the possible links for their degrees rather than seeing limitations. A liberal arts degree is more than a checklist. It is a blueprint for building the foundations for lifelong education. Advisors are the linchpins that articulate options, challenge decisions and illuminate the links from the curricular and co-curricular educational processes to the world of choices.

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Each year, many individuals are nominated to receive a NACADA Outstanding Advising Award. Some find compiling an advising portfolio daunting without the assistance of someone familiar with the process. Regardless of your comfort level, here are a few tips that may be beneficial in navigating the NACADA award nomination process.

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Academic advisors must be in tune with the remarkable changes unfolding in today’s workplace. By expanding or refining their career advising competencies they can play a vital role in helping students understand the importance of educational and career goal setting and how the decisions they make in college might influence satisfaction and success in their future personal and work lives.

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This fall the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) adopted updated academic advising standards that require the assessment of academic advising on our campuses and specifically the development of student learning outcomes. As discussed previously, assessment is a systematic, systemic, relational process. It that begins with the identification of reasons for doing assessment and ends with reporting and acting upon the assessment results. ‘Ending’ is really a misnomer since the ‘end’ of the assessment process really represents the beginning of the next cycle of assessment!

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Suzanne M. Trump (Assistant Dean of Retention and Academic Advising, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia) and Janet Spence (Director, University-Wide Advising Practice, Office of the Provost/Undergraduate Affairs, University of Louisville) share what they gained from the NACADA Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes.

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After advising for several years, in 2000 I had the opportunity to attend the NACADA Summer Institute in Lexington, Kentucky as an SI Scholarship recipient. I am not sure that in the telling, I can do justice to the experience and the difference it made in my professional life.

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A record number (3,380) of advising colleagues came to Las Vegas October 5-8 to share information on current advising topics. To quote one participant: "In all of the sessions I attended, I heard the buzz of collegial networks being established and reinforced.”

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Mentor Connection is a program in which students on academic probation work closely with a graduate assistant mentor who helps the students strategize for class success and monitors their progress throughout the semester. The program is housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ undergraduate advising center at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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From June 2005 through December 2011, this publication was titled Academic Advising Today: Lighting Student Pathways. Articles included in these archived editions will be presented in a compiled version as well as broken down into individual articles to facilitate search capacity. News features from this period may be attained by contacting the Managing Editor.

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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.

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