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Voices of the Global Community

Entries for 2009

As the nation continues down a turbulent financial path, we will undoubtedly be called upon to justify our advising programs and the impact our programs have on student success and student persistence. We have shown, and we can continue to show, the tremendous impact academic advising has on all aspects of the student experience.

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Academic advisors have always helped with a variety of student issues; however, as budget cuts are considered, it may become even more important that we be aware of the wide variety of knowledge and assistance we, as academic advisors, provide on a day-to-day basis.

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In the past 30 years, NACADA has grown substantially to nearly 11,000 members internationally and has become one of the key associations in all of higher education. 

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Academic advisors should play a major role in the recruitment process for education programs. There are several issues and barriers which are unique to recruiting students to enter teacher training programs. What strategies can be implemented to address these issues and barriers?

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Making lasting and meaningful changes requires commitment and effort. Advisors have been long committed to promoting and practicing diversity; the discussed approaches offer advisors down-to-earth ways to make the most of their efforts.

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Advisors who know their students' talents and understand their faculty colleagues' gifts for helping the student grow occupy an unique position where they can facilitate strong relationships between advisees and their professors.

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In the classroom, students compose essays in stages that include several drafts that are edited by peers and the instructor. Following steps enables students to see how the parts create and relate to the finished essay and requires writing with direction and purpose. When I look at these steps as an advisor, I see how they could occur on a smaller scale in one session, or how they may occur before, during, or over multiple sessions with one or more advisor(s). 

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Development and implementation of a peer advising program can create an additional resource for students and assist staff in meeting advising needs more efficiently. However, many staff and faculty are unsure how or where to begin in developing a peer advising program. A framework that helps ensure that crucial information is available can be helpful in beginning the development process. 

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All students, whether intentional or not, are subject to their school’s plagiarism policies. As advisors, we can work to curtail the proliferation of plagiarism on our own campuses and help students succeed.

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In recent years, there have been many references to “Advising as Teaching” in the academic advising professional literature... from my perspective as one who has spent almost 23 years plowing the fields as an academic advisor, and almost that much time growing roses as a hobby, I believe that a strong argument also can be made for using another metaphor, that of “Advising as Gardening!”

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In March 2007 at the NACADA Region VII Conference, we listened with interest as Charlie Nutt gave a short talk about a new NACADA program initiative. He described the Emerging Leaders Program as “exciting and innovative” – a great way to for individuals to spread their wings within NACADA... we both immediately decided to apply.

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Although “you had to be there” to truly understand the incredible experience... I encourage each NACADA member to experience a Summer Institute this coming summer or in the near future. Participants leave the Institute with a more thorough appreciation of what advising means, with a deeper understanding of the theory that supports our roles as academic advisors, and with more knowledge regarding how we can help our students succeed. 

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Results of Member Assessment at 2008 NACADA Annual Conference Terry Musser, NACADA Board of Directors Assessments of membership information wer...

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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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As members of the NACADA Board of Directors, the AAT Editorial Board, and the Executive Office staff have talked with our membership around the globe, it has become clear that we share a common concern about the pressures that we all face in the current economic climate. We open this edition with the positive, constructive measures that have been taken at Georgia Perimeter College to ensure the success of the academic advising program at that institution.

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The NACADA Board of Directors and Council convened in San Antonio March 21-22 for our mid-year business meetings. I thought it would be appropriate to use this column to give my fellow NACADA members an update on two of the more timely topics the Board and Council are addressing at this time.

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This is NACADA's 30th Birthday! In "association years," we are still in our adolescence, growing and expanding, reaching for new horizons, and finding innovative ways to connect with each of you and provide the highest quality support and professional development opportunities to enhance the success of your students.

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If academic advising is a form teaching, what do advisors teach?

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We are currently experiencing one of the worst economic downturns in our country's history... The severity of the recession has left America's education in a precarious position...Advisors must be prepared to deal with new challenges and situations.

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Academic and career advisors must keep up with economic forecasts to help students with career planning and to pay particular attention to the special needs that students may have in a down economy...Advisors who encourage students to gain practical experience, expand their skill sets, and remain flexible give students the tools needed to react to the range of economic cycles they will experience in their lifetime.

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Our world is becoming ever more interconnected, and the ability to examine life from a truly global perspective is a valuable skill that everyone should possess.

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As our collegiate communities contemplate revenue shortfalls and endowment shrinkages, many of our students are facing financial concerns. Regardless of external situations, it is incumbent that PDR advisors remember that the student is the heart of the educational enterprise.

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This article discusses tools that can be used to help academic advisors increase their happiness and positivity levels.

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Two advisors share some 'tried and true' tips for increasing the chances of attending off-campus professional development opportunities on the institution's dime.

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Motivational Interviewing allows the student and advisor to work in collaboration, with the student choosing initial behavioral changes to improve the current situation. These small first steps can lead to additional behaviors beneficial to the academic success of the student. 

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The number of students with documented disabilities - physical, cognitive, psychiatric or medical - has been steadily increasing on campuses across the country...Advisors are uniquely positioned to support students with disabilities and awareness of changes in the law, such as with the ADA Amendment Act, are important. 

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Advisors on campuses across the U.S. have noted increased numbers of military students enrolled at their institutions...higher education must respond to the needs of these students with programs that aid smooth transitions if these students' collegiate experiences are to be meaningful. 

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An increasing number of veterans are attending college campuses...It is important that academic advisors and counselors have an understanding of PTSD and the military culture in order to better serve these proud service members. 

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Advisors are one of the most important supports for returning veteran students as they get comfortable with being with younger and less mature students and decide if they want to stay in school. 

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Many experts see a nationwide decline in math-preparedness. The NACADA Two-Year College Commission suggests that advisors discuss a series of questions in regard to working with students underprepared in mathematics.

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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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There are four key areas where academic advisors need to be bold.  Hang tight on these, and you will fulfill the NACADA values.  More importantly, you will serve your advisees well.

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In 1979, a group of academic advising professionals successfully chartered a new association in higher education, the National Academic Advising Association. Thirty years later, we celebrate an organization that has become one of higher education’s premier educational associations.

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We are beginning our celebration with this important issue of Academic Advising Today, highlighting not only major events and achievements of our 30 years, but also celebrating key leaders in our history.

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I was working as a Counselor at Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey when my boss showed me the flier for the First National Conference on Academic Advising in Burlington, Vermont...

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Becoming an active member of NACADA provided me with expertise in the field and with a life-time of friends...NACADA was a gift that would keep on giving!

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The amazing feature, as I think back about my 21 nationals, is that the prints I developed during my 15 or so paparazzi years, both as the unofficial and official photographer, provide a record of members having fun, being confident and committed to the Association, modeling collaboration and community—even in spite of a few sibling squabbles.

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The early years of NACADA were full of interesting dilemmas, successes, and experiments...Many of the organizational policies, resources, and activities we now take for granted were born out of the needs and concerns that appeared in those early years.

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As 2009 brings economic woes to the world, NACADA members can feel secure in knowing that NACADA remains financially strong.  This strength is not by accident, but rather through the diligent work of past Treasurers, Boards of Directors and the Executive Office, who put the policies into place to create a firm financial base for the Association.

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In early 1988, the NACADA Board of Directors recognized the need to establish an Executive Office to handle the Association’s ever growing membership and financial tasks.

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At a time when the primary focus of higher education institutions was the recruitment and retention of the 18-to-22 year old college student, NACADA had the vision to examine the advising needs of the adult student.

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The low cost and burgeoning excitement about the field of advising attracted 56 individuals to attend that first ACT Summer Institute. The Institute was described as a “…participative, action-oriented, and in-depth exploration of the issues and concerns expressed by college administrators.”

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Through the years, it has been exciting to monitor how the LGBTA Commission has lived its mission.  Commission members have presented at several regional and national conferences, coordinated national preconference workshops, and developed print and electronic resources.

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NACADA was incorporated in Vermont in 1979 with 429 members and 18 members on the Board of Directors. Twenty years later, in 1999, there were 5318 members in the Association and more than 50 members on the Board. While not all Board members had voting rights, they all attended the meetings and had a voice in discussions where there was much conversation regarding who should speak and who should vote as representatives of different member constituencies... At the Fall 1999 Board meeting in Denver, President-elect 
Betsy McCalla-Wriggins (Rowan University) was appointed to chair a Task Force to investigate possible restructuring of the Association to better address these issues.

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In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as institutional interest in academic advising began to grow seemingly exponentially, the need to support those in administrative positions became apparent. In much the same way that the first annual conference and, indeed, the Association itself were the result of a conversation between concerned individuals, so, too, the conceptual framework for the first NACADA Administrators’ Institute was the result of a conversation between advising administrators and the newly appointed Associate Director of NACADA, Charlie Nutt.

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NACADA’s Awards Program every year salutes the accomplishments of advising professionals and the innovations of advising programs on campuses everywhere.

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At the 1999 mid-year Board of Directors meeting ,Skip Crownhart(Metropolitan State College of Denver), 1999 Annual Conference Chair, challenged the Board of Directors to bring more people of color into positions of leadership within the organization. NACADA President Nancy King responded by appointing a Task Force to investigate diversity within the organization. For the next several years, Skip and others continued to repeat the message of opening leadership doors.

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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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Great thought leaders represent one of the major driving forces of history and an underlying power for constructing local and global culture patterns...Just such individuals are now needed within NACADA to catalyze its march into the future.

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Students walk into our lives as they enter the academy in search of their academic goals and career aspirations.  With our help, they shape an academic plan that sets them on a course that changes them inevitably—once and for all—for good.

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NACADA and the role of academic advising in the lives of students have definitely grown together in the past 30 years in a very symbiotic manner.  NACADA has had a direct impact on higher education’s understanding of the value of academic advising in student persistence and success, and the recognition of academic advising as both a profession and an integral component of student success initiatives has had a direct impact on NACADA’s growth in membership and influence in higher education.

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As we look at the current landscape of theories, philosophies, and approaches to advising...I urge advisors to consider the ways in which the disciplines shape the advising discourse and how that might shape the development or selection of an advising model consistent with that disciplinary discourse...Rather than seeking one model of advising across your institution, consider how the major disciplines can help promote a rich array of advising conversations. 

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Some people fare better than others when faced with life stressors, disasters and loss. Resilience has been identified as a fundamental explanation for this difference.

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Recovering from disasters is a process that takes time – for us and for our advisees. We must recognize our own stages of recovery and realize that our stages impact how we respond to students. We must be patient with ourselves and with advisees if we are to help achieve recovery.

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For advisors at research universities, one important framework for advising students and their parents often goes unused, and that is the research mission of the institution.

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While academic advisors can, and do, provide guidance and the occasional shoulder, advisors cannot serve as a substitute for the camaraderie and support that comes from a fellow student, someone who is in the trenches.

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Academic advisors should work closely with their global education/study abroad/international programs office to stay on top of the Bologna reforms and how these reforms impact advising at their schools.

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Foster Care Alumni are an often overlooked student subgroup within the First Generation student population.

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Advisors play such an essential role in a college student’s experience.  We are a teacher, a guide, a coach, a case manager, and an attorney all rolled up into one.  We are presented with cases, complaints, and offenses all the time. However, before we make our closing arguments, before we are ready to rule, I believe that we should first take the time to dig.

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If the cure for apathy has anything to do with its antonym, then the best way we can overcome this epidemic is to increase our activism, vigor, and purpose. It is a daunting task, but as professional and faculty advisors, we can reverse the effects of apathy in order to strengthen our institutions and promote student retention and success.

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While advisors often encourage students to become lifelong learners, they themselves are often so strapped for time that they shortchange their own lifelong learning pursuits. Fortunately, there are cost-effective options that advising administrators can use to promote lifelong learning.

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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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