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Voices of the Global Community


2006 June 29:2

Academic advisors can play an integral role in promoting student success by assisting students in ways that encourage them to engage in the right kinds of activities, inside and outside the classroom.

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Greetings! I hope this has been a happy spring for each of you! As I have traveled to Regional Conferences, I have been reminded how special NACADA members are, and I deeply appreciate your enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication to our mission of providing quality academic advising for our students and to our Association.

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The NACADA Board of Directors and the Council met in Indianapolis in April for their annual mid-year meetings and found “Indy” to be a wonderful venue for NACADA’s upcoming annual Conference. The folks at IUPUI were terrific hosts and provided an opportunity to see more of the city by hosting a wonderful reception at Dean Evenbeck’s home and providing transportation through a beautiful historic district. Couple this experience with a vibrantly beautiful downtown area adjacent to the Convention Center and our host hotels, and everyone was convinced that NACADA Conference participants in October will be very pleased with their Indy experience! Restaurants and entertainment and parks galore offer a multitude of opportunities for exploration.

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The learning community is an important asset to college campuses around the country. As an advising community, we should consider what we can discover from learning communities and explore methods of applying these lessons to our advising duties.

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When using Facebook, both higher education professionals and students should proceed with caution. When talking with students, we should warn them to be cautious regarding the content that they post on their profiles. Students believe that Facebook is a students-only site, and that what they post there will only be seen by other students. We should make them aware that professors, administrators, and employers are learning about the site and can sign up for their own accounts with an institutional email address. When considering how we as advisors might use the site, we must keep our ethical standards in mind. Our goal should be to serve the students to the best of our abilities and support their success. We will need to use our best judgment when deciding whether or not to use Facebook contents in disposition assessments and be honest with our students about the impression the profile presents. Before including content from a Facebook profile in any assessments or recommendations, we should have a conversation with the student about how that content could affect the student’s career. Doing so will give students insight into how their profiles represent them and provide them with the opportunity for growth and maturity. Our students should be able to express themselves in their own networks, but we should encourage them to do so with integrity.

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Each year, tens of thousands of college students across the United States are placed on probation as a result of the low grades they earned during the previous term. Regardless of class standing, no students—freshmen through seniors—are immune to academic performance issues. Even the most academically talented students with impressive academic credentials often find themselves struggling for the first time when they enroll in college. Reasons for student academic difficulties are not impossible to address or remedy. However, colleges and universities struggle with developing and implementing effective programs to assist students on probation. In addition, advisors have experienced difficulty locating resources that adequately address the specific needs of this student population. So what can advisors do to overcome their own frustration at working with this challenging population while at the same time assisting students to achieve academic success?

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Advising is changing daily. Technological advancements and increased distance education have the potential to drastically change current advising practice. Calls for accountability and the increasing litigious nature of American society have added more concerns and pressures to advisors' daily activities. Increased caseloads and lack of resources often preclude advisors from being able to engage in holistic developmental advising. This article will present the integrative approach to advising, which is a more flexible method that draws from a variety of other perspectives (Church, 2005). Many advising approaches have merit, but they may not correlate to the hectic work environment faced by many advisors.

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Most department or office budgets do not stretch very far. Without budget growth, trying to offer additional programs and services to a multitude of students and provide adequate salaries or stipends for staff members or faculty advisors can be challenging in the face of growing student populations. In times of budget cuts, this challenge becomes nearly impossible. One method institutions have used to confront this challenge is assessing an advising fee to students. These fees may be used to provide new services or to continue to provide existing advising services. The objective of this article is to share with advising administrators methods and means by which some institutions and departments have initiated and used advising fees.

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Institutions of higher education continually face budget constraints as they struggle to provide high quality services to students. Today many institutions turn to academic advisors for assistance in meeting this challenge. 'Academic advising is the only structured activity on the campus in which all students have the opportunity for on-going, one-to-one interaction with a concerned representative of the institution' (Habley, 1994). While the delivery of advising services varies among institutions, one option can help address the needs of both students and institutions: the employment of graduate assistants (GAs) within advising offices.

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Teaching college was supposed to be freeing and provide me with the ability to teach students who pay to be in class, who want to be in class. These are supposed to be students who are eager to soak up what I have to offer, who come to class and behave, and who are responsible. I began my higher education career as an adjunct the semester before my contract as a full-time assistant professor began. As I watched my soon-to-be colleagues manage teaching responsibilities, committee assignments, and advising sessions, I became more and more eager to begin working with students. My first semester began, and I realized that my doctoral work had prepared me to teach, but nothing prepared me for academic advising – not even my own experience on the other side of the desk. What I had imagined would be the easiest part of my job became both one of the most challenging and most rewarding.

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I have long heard a saying that I would chuckle over, “Those who can’t teach, consult.” Mind you, I am neither formally a teacher nor a consultant (as of this writing), so I beg the pardon of the author of this quote because I think the truth is quite the opposite, “Those who consult, teach.

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The NACADA Board of Directors and the Executive Office appreciate the time that NACADA members took to study the qualifications and platform statements of the candidates and cast their votes online. We also thank all individuals who participated in the election—the candidates who ran for office as well as those who nominated them. Congratulations to those who have been elected to leadership positions. Their willingness to make this commitment to NACADA is greatly appreciated.

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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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