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Voices of the Global Community


2007 March 30:1

When teaching institutions highlight teaching in their hiring process, they send a message about the value they place on good faculty-student interaction in the classroom. When advising institutions begin to do the same, we may see a similar shift in the profile of advising on our campuses. We must practice what we preach: if we value quality advising in the way we work, a simple first step is to practice it in the way we hire.

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As a Board, we continue to work on those items noted in my December 2006 article for Academic Advising Today: building on and supporting goals and initiatives of the past, reviewing and codifying policies and procedures to strengthen and sustain our future as an association, and continuing to broaden our reach within higher education as the professional association for academic advising. I want to use this article as a way to update you on the Board's progress with regard to these items.

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We rely heavily on member comments about what is needed, so if you would like to see a particular topic addressed in some format or have an idea for a new resource that needs to be developed, let us know or convey that information to anyone in a leadership position and ask them to advance it for consideration. Your daily interactions with students provide the best opportunity for identifying issues of concern for you and your colleagues throughout the world and keep NACADA on the cutting edge and THE LEADER in academic advising.

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The NACADA Board of Directors recently approved a new program,The Emerging Leader Program, which has the goal of increasing the number of leaders from diverse groups in elected and appointed positions. The program will encourage members from diverse groups to get involved in leadership opportunities in their area of interest or expertise and to outfit the participants with the skills, tools, and resources as well as provide intentional and personal mentoring relationship with a past or current NACADA leader.

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As greater numbers of students enter our institutions, retention and ethical service to these students become even larger issues. Bradburn (2002) indicates that approximately one-third of entering students leave our institutions without a credential; these numbers are even higher for minority (Hodge & Pickron, 2004) and community college students (ACT, 2005). Although current scholarship (Lotkowski, et al. 2005) on academic retention shows that a relationship with an academic advisor helps to increase retention, many students do not take advantage of this resource.

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When academic advisors think of ESL advising, they may think in terms of working with the International Program Office on their campuses. However, it does not matter if advisors assist students in engineering, nursing, their first year, or those who are undecided about their major, most academic advisors have had contact with students whose first language is not English.

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Many students attend community colleges against all odds and yet they succeed. This success is due in no small part to the effort and dedication of community college advisors, faculty and staff. The culture of the community college is one that embraces, engages, and elevates students. As soon as a student enters a community college, he or she is welcomed. Welcome comes from staff at the information desk, from a recruiter in prospective student services, from the student worker at the admissions desk, from an academic advisor in a central advising office, and from faculty members walking down the halls.

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Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz, was transported from her beloved Kansas to a foreign land where she met several strange characters including the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. As academic advisors, we may sometimes think that we have been transported to a foreign land filled with some equally unique characters. However, even in 'Kansas,' change occurs, and we may find ourselves required to navigate a new 'Land Of Oz.'

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With the continuing development of online teaching, tutors are encouraged to take on the role of e-tutor and to provide tutoring and personal support through this mechanism. However, what works in a classroom does not always work online. With the loss of face-to-face contact and the visual impact that it brings, the question must be asked 'What makes a good e-tutor?'

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Technology like Facebook can be a tremendous resource for cash- and time-strapped advisors. The uses described above supplement traditional advising for little to no extra cost, but they greatly expand advisor-student contact by bridging distance and time. Virtual sites will never replace face-to-face advising, but if they enable students to connect with advisors in ways which make us more of a resource, we should not ignore this opportunity to expand our educational mission.

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How does one describe advising in and as an artistic exploration? The following collaborative effort aims to connect poetry and higher education to represent the unique relationship between a student and advisor through a descriptive mechanism not traditionally used in academic advising journals. The relationship is depicted through the eyes of the advisor

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I walked into a situation where the two people in the position before me were let go in fairly quick succession. Day-to-day academic advising was done by unionized, tenured, faculty counselors with a long history of doing things 'a certain way.' They really did not appreciate a non-counselor advising students, much less administering the college's academic advising program (my assigned task). Unionized faculty, while very devoted to students, were not contractually required to advise. Those who did advise were paid extra and usually scheduled after 2:30 p. This meant that retired faculty were employed to supplement the advisor corps. Faculty advisors were disheartened because there had not been advisor training in years. It was, needless to say, a tough, politically-charged situation. What should I do?

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Academic advising at Oregon State University has undergone remarkable changes in the last few years. Certain stars have aligned to give rise to these changes-shifts in administration and a focus on the student experience combined with the collaborative energy of advisors and administrators. George Kuh (2005) uses the term 'positive restlessness' to describe the climate of campuses truly working to be engaged in a culture of deep learning. At OSU there was a positive restlessness among academic advisors; they were struggling to find their collective voice. This is a story of their adventure and a narrative of change.

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It was the hottest summer Wisconsin had seen in ten years and I loved every minute of it. As a Summer Institute Scholarship winner, I was participating in the NACADA Summer Institute for the first time. In the air-conditioned comfort of the Concourse Hotel, I was surrounded by advising friends, both new and old, from around the country. In the evenings I strolled through the student quarter of Madison, a very lively place even in the beginning of August. At first I walked alone, but by the second day I strolled with new friends from colleges and universities across the country. I found this an ideal atmosphere to consult with the best advising experts in the nation.

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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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