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Voices of the Global Community


2014 December 37:4

Over the next year, I have asked the NACADA Board of Directors and the Council to focus on Research, Diversity, and Leadership as we determine where we want NACADA to be in the next five to 10 years.

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We can all soar in our work if we are willing to build our future “one brick at a time.”

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Creating an intentional program for students is always a multi-step journey and can feel uphill all the way. When revamping our academic probation program, we turned to the university community—and to students themselves—to help us in the trek.

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Most universities have academic probation, suspension, and dismissal policies for students who fall below accepted academic standards. While most suspension and dismissal policies require students to take time away from the university, many programs include provisions for students to either return to good academic standing or return to the university after a specified amount of time away. When Academic Support Office advising staff at Brigham Young University more than doubled in 2009, the director decided to implement the Option 3 Program with the goal of helping students on suspension and dismissal become more academically successful upon return.

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A key tool in facilitating dialogue among faculty, students, and advisors is an effective early alert process, which provides a communication channel among the three parties.

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A high-touch, multi-faceted approach coordinated by the Counseling & Career Center at Grand Rapids Community College provides opportunity for students to connect with faculty and staff.  Resources are emphasized by a variety of college personnel, and students begin to feel empowered to make positive changes in their academic standing rather than viewing probation as a punitive measure.  This difference in perception is the beginning of the path to academic success.

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The increasing number of college students with anxiety disorders necessitates updated training for academic advisors. Insight from recent research which highlights the developmental challenges and neurological differences in those who suffer from a mental illness can lead to improved practices and procedures.

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Based on the results of a study conducted at Bellevue University, advisors have developed several learning outcomes for academic advising.

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Academic advisors at access institutions whose missions, in part, are to break the cycle of poverty, often encounter root causes of social problems in their student populations.  One challenge that affects retention and graduation rates is unplanned pregnancy in college students. The key to breaking the cycle and providing better chances of positive outcomes is to design institution-appropriate interventions that effect change.

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Advising commuter students on a college campus is fraught with the challenges of trying to engage students during the limited time they are on campus. By definition, these students spend very little time on campus beyond class time.  When commuter students are at risk academically, there is an additional urgency to connect with them before they are placed on probation or suspended.

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Many students are entering college unprepared for the adjustments required to succeed, such as balancing freedom vs. responsibility, time management, problem solving, and study skills. A Probation Recovery Program helps students achieve the skills and confidence necessary to overcome those deficits, and plays a pivotal role in helping students achieve success.

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Presenting at a NACADA event is a very rewarding experience, but it can also be a little stressful.  The author shares tips for a presenting a successful conference session.

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Assessment is an integral part of the puzzle that connects what we do in our role as academic advisors. When we assess our departments, our students, and ourselves at our institutions, we are getting at the crux of the matter and opening ourselves up to a new conversation.

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Complete editions of AAT are provided to facilitate one-touch print capability, but readers are encouraged to view the individual articles to utilize the site's enhanced search and "related articles" features.

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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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