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Voices of the Global Community

Terri Reckart, NACADA Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient 

The 2011 Colorado Summer Institute: registration – free for scholarship recipients; airfare – $427; watching Charlie Nutt square dance at a dinner and mixer – priceless.

TerriReckart.jpgIt is so difficult for me to give NACADA enough accolades for my wonderful experience at the Summer Institute in Colorado. Immediately upon return to my institution, I was promoted from Student Success Advisor to Coordinator of Student Success Advising, and then three months later I was promoted to Director of Student Success Services, which includes Learning Support, Academic Resources, Student Success Advising, AAMI, and our Multicultural Affairs program. Undeniably, my professional credibility and perceived self-efficacy increased at a rapid pace following my attendance at the Summer .Institute, for which I am eternally grateful.

The Institute provided a plethora of experiential and didactic learning opportunities. I especially appreciated learning about the three essential components / competencies of high quality academic advising, which seemed to be embedded in all structured venues of the Institute. These components, according to Wes Habley (Gordon & Habley, 2000; Light, 2001) and many presenters at the Institute, are identified as conceptual elements, information, andinterpersonal/relational skills. The conceptual elements of advising, as defined by Blane Harding at the Institute, encompass curriculum, pedagogy, and student learning outcomes. Additionally, I learned that the contextualized informational component pertains to the strengths and needs of the advisee, advisor, and the campus environment; it is an introspective interface of advisor/advisee, the campus culture, and expectations of everyone involved. Last, the relational component concerns the symbolic interactions of an advisor that are grounded in proven theoretical research and the methodological scope of advising across all initiatives of a campus environment.

Conceptually, the Summer Institute was a parallel experience of the high quality academic advising that every professional in attendance strives for at their institution, just as the NACADA “gurus” provided for us by way of foundation sessions, group discussions and action plans, workshops, topical sessions, roundtables, individual consultations, institutional team meetings, and end-of-the-day dinners/mixers. Intermittently, I stood back to survey the overall process and wondered exactly who is the NACADA expert/guru and who is the NACADA developing professional, because the ideal transparency in all social and learning interactions seemed to blur the expected delineation of roles; everyone interacted as both learner and instructor of high quality advising.

Everyone should attend the Summer Institute, because it is invaluable for conceptual learning and professional development from beginning to end. For instance, one of many great moments that stand out to me came near the end of the Institute when I attended Charlie Nutt’s foundation session, Initiating Change: Leading from Your Position. It was obvious that everyone in my small group semi-regretted leaving this immersion experience of professional development – but at the end of Charlie’s session, I felt validated in my self-efficacy and readiness to try out my newly developed “wings” at my institution. Literally, upon my return, I became recognized on my college campus as an advising expert who was assigned an integral role in the strategic planning process for our student graduation and retention rates. I can say without hesitation that NACADA, my institution’s generosity and belief in me, and being given the opportunity to participate in the Institute all precipitated my success as I “came into my own” in a role of leader and expert advisor.

Don’t miss this opportunity!  Learn more about the Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarship and apply today!

Terri Reckart
Director of Student Success Services
Middle Georgia College
treckart@mgc.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Reckart, T. (2012, March). 2011 NACADA summer institute: Significant advising immersion experience. Academic Advising Today, 35(1). Retrieved from [insert url here] 

Posted in: 2012 March 35:1

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