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Voices of the Global Community

Entries for August 2015

This past year has been one of the most amazing years in my life, both professionally and personally… Now that my term is almost up, I can truly say that it exceeded all my expectations.

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The influence and impact that NACADA is having in higher education globally keeps expanding across North America and the World and, thus, we are reaching more professionals who see the value of a NACADA membership.

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The student who does not complete their homework and then provides an outrageous excuse to their instructor is one of the most common tropes in popular culture.  An excuse is provided, the student shrugs their shoulders, the instructor gives a sideways grimace, and then the audience laughs.  Advisors know that, in academics, excuses are a regular occurrence and not as funny as television makes excuses seem.

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In an age where budgets are low and student numbers are increasing, advising has the opportunity to clarify curriculum and engage students in academic choices.  In an effort to streamline advising and propel students to take control of their education, the use of advising portfolios and an interactive department orientation were initiated in the Department of Visual Arts at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in a program called A PAART of NKU or Advising Portfolio as a Retention Tool.

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Race, ethnicity, and culture are powerful variables that influence the way that people behave, think, perceive, and define events. Academic Advising for African Americans can be complex and requires specific skills and knowledge from the in order to establish a more safe and welcoming environment that fosters a humanizing, holistic, and proactive approach.

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Female undergraduate students outnumber their male counterparts, yet there is a great underrepresentation of women in majors considered to be traditionally male.  This has led to a disproportionately small number of women in STEM areas of concentration: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These disparities persist despite women’s interest in STEM fields. It is crucial for colleges and universities to impact those statistics by counteracting the factors that enforce gender roles.

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Although the role of the advisor in the selection process of students within their professional program is often small, advisors can have a profound impact in the development of their advisees.  By being transparent at all advising sessions and by using intrusive advising strategies, advisors can assist their students in developing the dispositions required to be successful in their professional program.

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Advising dialogue in the humanities should address how master’s students can continue to stay relevant in the job market as they pursue their studies. By developing an advising plan that advocates both academic and professional options, starting at the bachelor’s level and continuing all the way to the doctoral level, students will be able to better demonstrate how vital the humanities are to society, both artistically and professionally.

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Traditionally, graduate students have been advised by faculty within their academic programs.  As faculty demands increase in other areas, there has been a shift at some institutions from faculty to professional academic advisors, mostly in master’s degree and professional programs. This is an area in need of attention and research to better train, prepare, and provide resources to assist graduate student professional academic advisors who come from staff positions other than faculty.

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What steps can advisors take to prepare them to ascend the campus career ladder? Regardless of their ultimate goal, it is important for advisors to strive to reach the next step in each and every area of their job.

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A supervisor’s time must often be divided among competing demands, sometimes to the extent that it becomes difficult to identify priorities and strategies for success.  Keeping the three themes of rapport building, technical competency, and leading by example at the center of our focus can promote productivity and healthy working relationships among members of the advising team no matter what the conditions or constraints.

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As trends in higher education shift from the recruitment of students towards retention, colleges and universities across the country are becoming more intentional about services and programming that will not only aid in their ability to keep students on campuses, but will assist with the student’s ability to accomplish their goals.

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For most of us in the academic advising community, there are never enough professional development dollars; we are always looking for ways to stretch funding and get the most that we can for our shrinking budgets.  Identifying professionals on our respective campuses or close by to present professional development programs takes time and expertise, and often our local experts are simply not available.  Many campuses look to NACADA Webinars to provide cost effective, timely, and quality professional development programs.

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Since 2007, the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program has encouraged members from diverse backgrounds to get involved in leadership opportunities within the organization.  

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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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