Change Leaders: A Call to Action
Jeffrey McClellan, Theory & Philosophy of Advising Commission Past Chair
'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can
change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' - Margaret Mead.
Right now, astounding changes are occurring in academic advising
because of the work of a few dedicated leaders. These leaders often
hold no formal leadership role in their workplace or, if they do, do
not depend upon it. Their institutions do not likely possess better
executive leadership, cultures, or even resources. What they have that
brings about changes is informal change leadership. This leadership is
based not on formal authority, but rather upon five pillars of informal
leadership which will surface throughout this edition of Academic Advising Today: passion, compassion, initiative, attention, and persistence.
Change leaders are passionate about the causes in which they are engaged. In fact, Smart (2005) identified drive and positive mental outlook as central to the work of informal leaders. Pielstick (2000) also found that their fun-loving approach contrasted sharply with the
committed, business-like approach of formal leaders. The key difference
being that informal leaders do not allow themselves to “become [so]
obsessed with succeeding, or at least surviving in the world” that they
“lose touch with [their] souls and disappear into their roles” (Palmer, 2004, p. 15).
Great informal leaders are not, however, merely focused on the cause
they serve; they also focus on the people whom they serve and impact
through their work. Indeed, it is often their concern for others that
drives them to take up a cause. As Greenleaf (1977) wrote, “it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead” (p. 27). This caring, relational foundation and approach is a key aspect of informal leadership (Hoy & G., 2005; Pielstick, 2000; Smart, 2005). Tutu perhaps said it best when he wrote,(1999) “The true leader must at some point or other convince her or his
followers that she or he is in this whole business not for
self-aggrandizement but for the sake of others”(p. 39).
Greenleaf (1977) suggested, 'everything begins with the
initiative of an individual' (p. 28). The will to act is a central
characteristic of all successful people. Born of passion and compassion,
it gives rise to action. And, for informal change leaders, this call
to action represents an irresistible internal force.
What leaders attend to matters immensely. The attention of a
leader directs the attention of followers. Additionally, the engrossment
that follows focused attention is a key contributor to peak
performance (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, 1997). Csikszentmihalyi (2003) wrote, 'By paying attention one can transform even the least
promising task into a complex, satisfying activity' (p. 102).
Consequently, informal change leaders focus on their goals and the
process for achieving these and they do not allow themselves to become
The final characteristic of effective informal change leaders is persistence born of hardiness. Maddi and Khoshaba (2005) defined hardiness as encompassing three key beliefs or attitudes:
- Commitment -- the belief that staying involved even amidst stress brings success;
- Control -- the belief that one has the power to positively influence any situation;
- Challenge -- the belief that no matter the outcome, one can learn from what occurs.
These three attitudes lie at the heart of the
persistence needed to accomplish change. Consequently, I am convinced
that the ability to accomplish great changes is far more a matter of
will than skill.
Perhaps the most important element of these pillars is that they are
accessible to virtually all of us. They are not traits only a few
possess. In reading about the tremendous things taking places in
multiple institutions, it is my hope that this issue of Academic Advising Today will inspire all of us to lead change through passion, compassion, initiative, attention, and persistence.
Assistant Professor of Management/Academic Advisor
Frostburg State University
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life (1st ed.). New York: BasicBooks.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003). Good business: Leadership, flow, and the making of meaning. New York: Viking Penguin.
Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th Anniversary ed.). New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
Hoy, W. K., & G., M. C. (2005). Educational research: Theory research and practice (7 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Maddi, S. R., & Khoshaba, D. M. (2005). Resilience at work: How to succeed no matter what life throws at you. San Francisco: AMACOM.
Palmer, P. J. (2004). A hidden wholeness: The journey towards an undivided life: Welcoming the soul and weaving community in a wounded world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Pielstick, C. D. (2000). Formal vs. Informal leading: A comparative analysis. The Journal of Leadership Studies, 7(3).
Smart, M. (2005). The role of informal leaders in organizations: The
hidden organizational asset. Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
University of Idaho.
Tutu, D. (1999). No future without forgiveness. New York: Doubleday.
From the President: Member Contributions Move NACADA Forward
Kathy Stockwell, NACADA President
I am honored and humbled to be writing this article as the President of
NACADA, the premier organization for academic advising and student
success in the world. The recent Annual Conference was, again,
testament to the fact that advising is alive and well on campuses around
the world, advisors are heavily invested in the success of their
students, and NACADA plays an integral role in promoting and sustaining
academic advising as a critical component of student services at our
colleges and universities. There was a buzz in the air at the end of
each concurrent session as participants hurried to share what they had just learned with their colleagues, both old and
newly acquired. I went to the Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday
afternoon with a heightened enthusiasm and a renewed sense of purpose
to keep the organization moving forward for the benefit of all in our
global higher education family.
I am joined on the Board of Directors by a group of individuals who are
dedicated to maintaining NACADA’s reputation as an association that
benefits all members. To this end, the Board is focusing on the
following initiatives as we strive to fulfill our strategic goals:
- Continue to address the needs of higher education globally. We
have made great strides in our globalization efforts with the adoption
of our new tag line and logo and the inclusion of an international
attendee meeting during this year’s conference. As we move forward,
international members will be encouraged to become involved in
leadership activities, to submit award nominations for individuals and
programs, and to actively recruit members on their own and other
campuses throughout their countries. Our organizational structure will
be examined to determine the best fit for our international partners.
- Assess the technology needs of the Association. For the first
time, social media played a big part in this year’s conference. While
this and the recent implementation of MyNACADA are giant steps for us,
we still have a way to go in understanding and implementing technology
that will bring us up-to-date and carry us into the future. A
technology committee has been charged with assessing these needs and
determining priorities. A separate sub-committee will review the
functionality of the NACADA Web site to see how it can be more user
friendly for all members.
- Educate university and college decision makers about the role of quality academic advising in higher education.
A sub-committee has been charged with determining the best ways to
connect with upper level administrators at our colleges and
universities so we can share with them the great work being done by the
academic advisors on their campuses and to introduce them to the wealth
of resources available to them and their staff through NACADA.
The Board, the Council, and leaders at all levels of NACADA are
committed to making this the best organization possible for its
members. This can only happen with input from you, our members. NACADA
is a grassroots organization that is inclusive of all and thrives
because of the ideas that come to us from the bottom up. Who better to
tell us what goes on in the world of academic advising than those who
live it every day? Our leadership is available to listen to you. We
want and need to hear your thoughts, ideas, and opinions; they are all
important and help guide us as we develop new programming and other
resources that are critical to the success of academic advising around
the globe. Not only do we need your input, we need you to get involved!
Leadership opportunities are available at all levels, and we’d love to
have you join us. Contact information for all NACADA leaders as well
as the staff at the Executive Office is available on the NACADA Web
site. Please contact any of us; we’d be more than happy to explore your
ideas and/or concerns with you, or answer any questions you might have
about getting more involved with the organization.
Again, I am honored to lead this member-focused organization and look
forward to working with you during the next year to promote academic
advising and student success on our campuses. I hope to meet many of
you as I travel to regional conferences in the spring and would love to
hear from you at any time.
Kathy Stockwell, President
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Fox Valley Technical College
From the Executive Director: NACADA - The Most Cost Effective and Comprehensive
Resource in Higher Education!
Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
I am always on an emotional high after our Annual Conference, but this year I am even more so. It was exciting to open our conference with good news, including our membership rebound from a 2009 decline, increased participation at our spring Regional Conferences, and increased participation in Orlando, with nearly 2800 participants gathering for the NACADA Annual Conference. It is clear that NACADA continues to be a vibrant, growing association that is responsive to our members’ needs.
This was especially apparent in the special social media component of this year’s conference that connected our participants before, during, and after the conference, while sharing with those members unable to attend the conference. It was fascinating to see the Facebook postings, Tweets, and Blog postings as well as the sharing of videos and live pictures among participants and non-participants alike. These social media opportunities brought a new level of involvement to the conference. I want to thank Brad Popiolek (University of Texas at Austin) and Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas) who worked so closely with Rhonda Baker from the Executive Office in designing and implementing this wonderful opportunity for the association. Brad, Laura, and Board Member Jennifer Joslin (University of Oregon) will continue to work with the Executive Office to expand these opportunities for other association events and to connect more effectively with our members. With the addition of the MyNACADA on-line services and these exciting explorations into the use of technology, NACADA
will continue to grow and expand our work and connect across the globe!
This will be an exciting year for the association and for you as you
work on campus for student success! As we see significant changes in
higher education across the globe, academic advising and academic
advisors will be valued and respected more than ever before because of
our strong connection to students’ persistence to graduation. As
NACADA members, I know that you will continue to turn to us for the
most cost effective and comprehensive events and resources. These
- Webcast Series focused this year on the foundations of academic advising and on student success and retention;
- Winter Events: Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute, Utilizing Research and Data for Student Retention Seminar, and Assessment of Academic Advising Institute held in Florida in February;
- Ten Regional Conferences in the spring, two of which are in Canada, demonstrating the association’s commitment to our members outside the US borders; and
- NACADA Summer Institutes for Academic Advising and Student Success next summer in Colorado Springs or New Orleans.
In addition to our events, I know you also turn to NACADA for our vast free resources in the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources as well as our member-discounted publications and resources.
As NACADA members you know that NACADA is committed to providing you
with the highest quality, most cost effective resources and events to
support campus initiatives for student success, retention, and
persistence. We also know that your colleagues and top administrators
may not be aware of our comprehensive offerings. I strongly encourage
you to regularly share information on our events and resources with
those who make funding decisions on your campus so that NACADA will
become the FIRST PLACE campuses turn when developing and implementing student success initiatives.
Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
As a member of the Academic Advising Today
Editorial Board for the past several years and a current member of the NACADA Board of Directors, it has been my pleasure to watch the evolution of this publication over the past five years from a “newsletter” to a quarterly e-zine with a global perspective. Last Spring, the Editorial Board decided that, from time to time, we would like to see a themed edition, and thus for this December edition a “Vantage Point” theme has been chosen. A vantage point is a place from which to offer a perspective based on one’s view of events or circumstances. This point of view is in keeping with what I think is one of the strengths of NACADA, its member-driven focus. We hope that you will enjoy reading the narratives that our members have shared from their personal vantage points. –Jennifer Joslin, University of Oregon
Global Community: Don't Tell, But Ask
Oscar van den Wijngaard, Maastricht University (Netherlands)
While never oblivious to the world outside the US, over the last few years NACADA leaders have actively pursued the idea of a “global community for academic advising.” Clearly this raises the need to find common ground between advisors from wildly varying backgrounds. As Yung-HwaAnna Chow and others reminded us in the September 2010 edition of Academic Advising Today, once we start looking across borders we are confronted with the
challenge of a complex kind of diversity. Acknowledging “cultural
differences” requires us to recognize and understand how diverging
approaches to advising cannot be separated from major differences in
education systems. This acknowledgement in turn challenges us to
reflect upon often age-old ways of thinking about society and the
individual, about what constitutes learning, and about the role and
purpose of education.
These differences may be very obvious, but they can also be subtle –
particularly between cultures that seem to have a history and tradition
in common. From a Dutch perspective, for instance, I would say that
even though the Dutch share many of the same values regarding democracy
with the US, the traditional American idea that a primary goal of
education is the fostering of a sense of citizenship is much less
prominent in the Netherlands. On a different note, even though the
Dutch may have a reputation for being frugal -- and definitely want
“value for money” just as any assertive American consumer – it is
unclear what this means for student satisfaction when tuition in the
Netherlands is about one fifth of what American students pay. In turn,
although Americans may be known as highly individualistic, the average
Dutch student will look much more reservedly at any institutionalized
group activity, be it a campfire sing-along or a group advising session
(I will however, make an exception for soccer!).
And yet, I can say without exaggeration that “discovering” NACADA at a
2007 Summer Institute has made a huge impact on the way we at the
University College of Maastricht University think about and organize
academic advising. UCM is one of the first liberal arts colleges in the
Netherlands; we have what is called an “open curriculum” where
students, to a large extent, are responsible for determining their
academic focus, including deciding which courses to take. We employ a
model of advising that fits the description of many “faculty advising”
systems common in the US. The basic teaching method is Problem-Based
Learning (PBL), and students can choose courses offered by our college
or within other university departments.
People tell me I’m spoilt: only 700 students and close to 60 academic
advisors in a teaching system based on small-scale (12 or fewer
students) sessions with a lot of student-teacher interaction. I don’t
feel a strong urge to disagree… Yet in all my contacts with NACADA
colleagues, I have been relieved to discover that we at UCM share many
issues and struggles with advisors in similar institutions across the
US – and sometimes our solutions aren’t so bad. Despite our differences,
apparently there will always be faculty who are slightly more
reluctant to take on advising responsibilities than others, or students
who think that the difference between core courses and electives is
negligible, or that showing up for an appointment on time is so 2009…
This “advisors anonymous” function (backed by a host of practical information and support) is one important benefit NACADA offers. At a more fundamental level, what makes NACADA a “connector” between advising traditions and methods across the globe is its invitation to advisors to reflect on why we do what we do, and how we should be doing it. Advising should not be a matter of prescribing to one fixed methodology. We have not transcended from prescriptive advising for all students to reintroduce it at the institutional level. The NACADA core idea that “advising is teaching” is a motto that could easily be discarded as a sales pitch, particularly in an environment where everything American is looked at with some level of suspicion. But it inevitably raises questions. How would I summarize my philosophy of advising? What actually characterizes the way we teach at our institution? How does the way we teach relate to the way we advise? Does my philosophy affect the way I advise – or the way we organize advising? If advising is teaching, then what do advisors teach? Marc Lowenstein’s response to that question in the.NACADA Journal (Fall 2005) has become part of an advising canon from which a set of
questions emerges that must be asked by anyone who sets out to advise
or design new advising programs. The answers to these questions are
relevant and crucial in all cultural contexts where facilitating
learning is the goal.
When we claim that advising is teaching, we must be aware of the
purpose and outcomes of our curriculum, the expectations that our
students, institutions, and society have regarding knowledge, skills,
relevance, and success. There is a risk that these things are taken for
granted, particularly since they are seldom seen as part of an
integral whole: the student’s study experience. There is probably no
other place where this interconnectedness is more tangible than in
advising. Or at least it can be, once we as advisors have asked
ourselves the kinds of questions that the NACADA maxim invites us to
It seems as if most of the time cultural differences are about answers,
not questions. Comparing notes between colleagues from across the
globe will no doubt show that while we may be driven by the same
questions, our answers may be very different; there is no “global best
practice”. But when we use NACADA as the means to engage in this
exchange with an open mind, the gain in ideas and insights promises to
Oscar van den Wijngaard
Coordinator Academic Advising
Faculty of Humanities & Sciences
University College Maastricht
Lowenstein, M. (2005). If advising is teaching, what do advisors teach? NACADA Journal 25(2), 65-73.
Venture to a New Frontier, Our Local High Schools:
The Need for Partnerships between Postsecondary Academic Advisors and
Amanda Hodges, East Carolina University
President Barack Obama’s educational priorities include improving college and career readiness and re-establishing America as the global leader in higher education. But if the United States is to have “the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020” (White House, 2010, ¶ 7), it is crucial to consider how academic advisors might be pioneers in this movement. As a starting point, advisors might look beyond what has traditionally been done to improve persistence and graduation rates within our respective institutions. The new frontier for academic advisors in today’s world of education could be as close as our local high schools.
Students seeking postsecondary success can be thrown off-course by academic, social, informational, financial, and bureaucratic barriers
(Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 2008). Academic
advisors can offer high school students, counselors, and educators the
tools to break down these barriers. Experience as an academic advisor
at East Carolina University has offered me invaluable help in guiding twelfth-grade students at a local
high school through the murky and often confusing waters of
postsecondary education. However, there are thousands of high school
counselors who have not advised at the college level; they could better
help their students if they had a connection with an academic advisor.
Stanford University’s six-year national study, the Bridge Project,
noted that “neither K-12 or postsecondary education can solve the lack
of student success working alone. They must work together to accomplish
their mutual goals to enhance student college completion” (Kirst,
2007). As such, I propose that academic advisors consider pioneering a
new frontier of collaboration between secondary and postsecondary
stakeholders in order to make dreams come true for countless high
Students want to pursue postsecondary education. Nearly 90% of eighth
grade students aspire to postsecondary pursuits (U.S. Dept. of
Education, 2007, ¶ 2); however, only about 70% of students succeed in
attending college within two years of graduating from high school
(Kirst, Venezia, & Antonio, 2003, ¶ 1). Unfortunately, there is
little time for high school counselors to educate students about their
postsecondary options and fully prepare them for higher education,
which results in a lack of “accurate, high quality information about
and access to courses that will help prepare students for college-level
standards” (Kirst, Venezia, & Antonio, 2003, ¶ 3). This is
“particularly the case in low-income high schools where access to
quality and timely information is often limited due to staffing
constraints and insufficient school resources…where a majority of youth
is potentially first-generation college students” (Malone, 2009, ¶
5). Among those students who do pursue postsecondary education within
two years of graduation, over half of all low-income and nearly half of
minority students will not complete postsecondary degree requirements
within six years (Malone, 2009, ¶ 2). Rather than being able to
dedicate time for educating these students regarding the world of
postsecondary education, high school counselors are called upon to
perform a variety of roles that have little to do with postsecondary
preparation for students. My experiences at South Central High School
support this statement.
South Central High School is a Title I school where about half of all students receive free/reduced lunches and
almost 70% are minorities. SCHS seniors often do not have access to the
Internet outside the classroom. They lack transportation beyond city
buses and, most importantly, they lack knowledge of postsecondary
expectations, requirements, and processes. Registrations for SAT, ACT,
and FAFSA are predominantly online as are most application materials
for postsecondary institutions. These disadvantaged students face
tremendous barriers from the beginning of the matriculation process. For
those who gain acceptance to a postsecondary institution, the
challenges of maneuvering this unknown world grow even greater. If
these disadvantaged students are to succeed, and if college persistence
and graduation rates are to improve, then academic advisors must
consider “an earlier, long-term investment, begun when students are in
secondary school” (Malone, 2009).
Bridge/transition programs exist to aid in students’ success such as
Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and dual enrollment. However, statistical
effectiveness of these programs has not strongly been established and
very few programs have an ongoing relationship with the students or
involve academic advisors. When academic advisors establish feeder
relationships, we team up with secondary school counselors to ensure
that future advisees begin their postsecondary careers with the
knowledge required to be successful.
When academic advisors create partnerships with secondary school
stakeholders, the results are far-reaching. Academic advisors can lay
the foundation needed for high school seniors to graduate with the
“skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college including
academic content competencies, college application guidance, cognitive
and critical thinking skills, civic awareness, time management and
teamwork strategies, and healthy social-emotional coping abilities”
(Malone, 2009, ¶ 4). When challenged to improve retention, persistence,
and graduation rates, academic advisors should take the road less
traveled and explore a new world of possibilities at our local high
schools. Advisors who accept this challenge will reap benefits beyond
compare both professionally and personally.
12th Grade School Counselor
South Central High School
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. (2008, May). Transition matters: Community college to bachelor’s degree. A Proceedings Report of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Washington, D.C.
Kirst, M. W. (2005). Separation of K-12 and postsecondary education governance and policymaking: Evolution and impact. In State of Education Policy Research. Edited by Fuhrman, S. & Cohen, D. Earlbaum Publishing Company.
Kirst, M.W. (2007). Enhancing college completion: Secondary schools and
colleges must work together. Paper Prepared for the Penn State
University Conference “Revisioning the American High School for an
Engaged Citizenry,” June 7, 2007. Stanford University.
Kirst, M. W., Venezia, A., & Antonio, A. L. (2003). The Bridge Project: Executive Summary. Retrieved from www.stanford.edu/group/bridgeproject/execsummary.html
Malone, H. J. (2009, Fall). Build a bridge from high school to college:
Transition programs are essential for many disadvantaged students. Phi Kappa Phi Forum. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com /p/articles/mi_qa4026/is_200910/ai_n39234016/
U.S. Department of Education. (2007). College transition programs: Promoting success beyond high school. High School Leadership Summit. Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/hsinit/papers/trans.pdf
White House. (2010). Education Issues. Retrieved from www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education
Advising as Teaching: A High School Advisory Program as the Vehicle for Student Success
The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr., Co-Founder & Head of School, The Neighborhood Academy
The Neighborhood Academy is a college preparatory, grades 8–12 school serving low income students from a cross section of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. It is our goal that TNA students, many of whom will be the first in their family to graduate from high school, will not only graduate but become competitive candidates for higher education and earn undergraduate degrees. In ten years, we have had 100% of our seniors accepted to a college or university.
TNA utilizes an “advisory program” to help our students learn the
academic, personal, and social skills needed to succeed. High school
advisory programs as defined by Schanfield (2010) are programs where
teachers meet in small groups to help students “develop a sense of
belonging, build strong relations and feel a connection to a school …
as they learn life-long problem-solving skills” (p. 19). Last winter
we undertook a comprehensive review of the TNA advisory program; it was
that review that led us to NACADA. With the help of a NACADA
consultant, we were able to expand our vision for advisory and set
goals and objectives which are much more clear, concrete, and
Our students are the sons and daughters of want, yet it is simplistic
to say that poverty is solely a matter of a dearth of resources. While
income factors into any discussion of poverty, a more holistic view
takes into account a broad range of values and experiences that we call
cultural knowledge. Successful college matriculation demands not only
the rhetorical commitment to higher education but to a life structured
to an acceptance that graduation from college is possible. Things as
simple as a consistent dinner, discussion of academic progress, and a
commitment to reading and discussion of ideas are crucial to a student
becoming successful. It is especially difficult for our students
because they are African American and quite simply, in many of their
neighborhoods, to be well spoken, well read, and purposeful is to “act
White.” How one spends time, energy, resources, and whether or not one
sees being educated as a betrayal of one’s ethnicity are crucial issues
to resolve in attaining the goal of a college education.
In the review of our advisory program, it was clear that we must be
intentional in addressing all these issues. We had to intentionally
teach students to organize their lives. To that end, teaching students
time and project management skills were as important as teaching the
“3Rs.” Second, we had to take on the difficult task of stating clearly
that becoming well educated was not a betrayal of their heritage;
difficult conversations given that the majority of our faculty is White
and all of our students are Black. Advisory and our group counseling
program provide the “safe” venue where these conversations can take
place. Third, teenagers from poverty (I would offer teenagers within all
levels of society) suffer from the absence of mature adults during the
critical and often crisis filled phase of adolescence. The advisor is a
resource for the student who is attempting to navigate the storms that
can, under certain circumstances, tear a life apart in a way from
which there can be no recovery: pregnancy, AIDS, gun violence, and drug deals that fill the eleven o’clock news.
It quickly became apparent that not all teachers want to be advisors.
Loving and teaching one’s discipline is quite different than wanting to
guide and nurture the “whole student.” Coupled with this is the
reality of guilt and denial. Teachers everywhere like to think of
themselves as caring people, but we found that some faculty are
reluctant to admit their lack of ease in the role of advisor because
they are afraid that they might be perceived by others (and themselves)
as being unkind and uncaring. Their inability to admit to others, and
themselves, their discomfort led to wide disparities in the quality of
student advisory experiences; thus we paired advisors who were more
skilled with those who were less skilled. Finally, we learned that we
must impress upon teachers that their role as an advisor is as
important as their role in the classroom, in athletics, or the arts.
Simply put, being skilled, diligent, and intentional as an advisor is
critical to our students’ success; this is not an “add on.”
What are the concrete “deliverables” from our review? First, we decided
that the college counseling process must “reach down” to the lower
grades. The role of the advisor is to assist the student in making
reasoned choices, acquiring needed skills, and serving as the “reality
check” that will make college possible. The “hidden curriculum” of the
advisory program is to create a situation where the student has
connected on a much deeper level with at least one person in our school
Second, the role of advisor is to prepare the student to access and
take advantage of the support services that are a part of the college
of their choice. How many students “crash and burn” because they either
didn’t know about the services that were available or were too afraid
or proud to ask for help in a timely fashion? We want our students to
know what academic advising is, how to use it, how to learn and
ultimately benefit from it.
What did we learn from studying academic advising at the college level?
What struck us all is that concepts like “intrusive advising” are
relevant and useful to high school advisors. The insights we gained
from articles on the NACADA Web site on advising underprepared students
and transfer students (all of our students are essentially transfer
students) are relevant to our goals and objectives. There is a wealth
of insight from those operating at the college level, especially for
those of us who are college prep schools serving the “under-served” in
the inner city.
Second, there are a lot of schools that claim to have advisory
programs, but how many teachers have been trained to take on this role?
If we learned nothing else in our review, we have come to believe that
advising is a necessary form of teaching. It is a form of teaching
that can make the large school small and a small school that much more
intimate. Advising as teaching has ramifications for the culture of the
academic community, retention, and the school’s reputation. Two
factors, professional development and evaluation, are crucial to
embedding the role of the advisor as a norm in a school community. If
the institution truly values advisory at any level, it must become a
factor in hiring, training, and evaluation of faculty.
Third, for the urban poor to reach college, an advisor and the advisory
program are essential. The deficits are more than academic. While
quality classroom instruction is critical, the shaping of a student’s
character, the learning that takes place at the dinner table in more
affluent homes, and the need for an adolescent to be known is crucial
in moving from the academic, emotional, psychological, and spiritual
confines of poverty to the exploration of the sciences, the beauty of
the arts, and the exhilaration of creative thought. The education that
makes college a possibility extends far beyond the classroom; advisors
and advisory programs become the vehicle for this education.
It is hoped that the sharing of our review, study, and visioning
process makes some small contribution to what we believe is an
important discussion in education at all levels. Teaching, in all its
forms is critical, especially for the sons and daughters of deficit.
The advisor as guide and teacher and the advisory program as vehicle is
critical to removing the obstacles brought on by those deficits.
The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr
Co-Founder & Head of School
The Neighborhood Academy
5231 Penn Avenue, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
TEL: 412-362-2001 x203
Schanfield, M. R. (May – June 2010). Advisory advice. ASCA School Counselor
Professional Advisors and Faculty Advisors: A Shared Goal of Student Success
Joan M. Krush, North Dakota State University
Sara Winn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The advising role brings with it a number of responsibilities, including course identification, career counseling, personal counseling/referral, and professional reference (Petress, 1996). These responsibilities multiply for faculty with the number of assigned advisees. In a study of 1,500 institutions, Habley (2004) found that 73% (p. 30) require faculty to advise an average of 29 students (p. 34). To help manage the additional workload tied to faculty advising, more colleges and universities may consider adding professional advisors housed within a department or college. In these situations, professional advisors are often more readily accessible to students and can ensure that faculty have access to advising resources.
When professional advisors work in conjunction with faculty advisors
within a department or college, competing priorities may develop.
Commonly, faculty focus on research and grant writing, teaching,
service and curriculum commitments, along with advising. On the other
hand, professional advisors have as their first priority the advising
of students, and then work on retention, outreach, service, career
development, teaching, publications, and curriculum. Such competing
priorities can make it difficult for personnel within a department or
college to be aligned in their quest for consistent and clear
Drake (2007) encouraged faculty to approach advising as a teaching
process, rather than a means of information transmission (p. 4). We
suggest that professional advisors can assist faculty advisors in this
teaching process. Recognizing that each campus is unique, we offer a few
suggestions regarding how professional advisors can work effectively
One way to successfully connect with faculty and with undergraduate
students is to be actively involved in first-year introductory courses.
Many institutions offer an orientation or academic skills class to
first-year students. Professional advisors who teach this class can
invite a faculty member to co-teach the class or ask faculty to assist
in other ways. Faculty could present their research or teaching
interests or aid with an exercise within the class. Incorporating
faculty can create a working environment that aligns advising goals
with services advisees need. Where a first-year orientation course does
not exist, professional advisors could ask faculty who teach
first-year students if they can visit their course for a quick
introduction. During the introduction, advisors can describe the
advising role and encourage students to foster relationships with
faculty and professional advisors during their undergraduate careers.
Second, we suggest that professional advisors collaborate with faculty
advisors in the development of an advising syllabus. Numerous examples are provided within the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. The syllabus details expectations for advisors, such as providing
accurate information, treating students with respect, and allowing
students to make final decisions. In addition, the syllabus describes
expectations for the advisee (e.g., participating in the advising
process, taking personal responsibility for their actions, and being
adequately prepared for classes). The syllabus provides a solid method
to outline expectations for the first-year student.
Third, professional advisors,
working in conjunction with registration and records personnel, can
develop a means to track student progress toward graduation. Early
review of student records and timely communication by professional and
faculty advisors is a proactive step towards graduation. Communicating
often with students can help simplify the senior check process.
Fourth, professional and faculty advisors should work together to
identify potential career options for students. In some instances,
student interests and talents may lie with career options outside the
declared major. While such conversations may be difficult, open lines
of communication help us shepherd students through the steps in
deciding if a selected degree program is the best fit. Occasionally,
faculty may be so engrossed in their discipline that it may be difficult
to suggest a student look outside the department. Professional
advisors who work closely with faculty can help students who seem
disconnected or out of place.
Fifth, professional advisors should consider a variety of ways to
integrate within a department. Consider incorporating advising elements
into the department’s or unit’s regular activities by attending
faculty meetings (if possible), holding advising update meetings with
faculty advisors, and inviting faculty to join advising sessions.
Professional advisors should consider meeting individually with faculty
to provide key advising updates to new faculty, or to refresh senior
faculty advisors with abbreviated updates. Another approach might be to
invite campus constituents to special topics meetings (e.g..,
career services, counseling, wellness, alcohol task force, registration and records, study abroad)
Finally, we suggest professional advisors work with faculty to develop a
system to ensure consistency during the advising periods. Faculty and
professional advisors can develop a schedule to contact advisees prior
to campus’ advising week(s). They can work together on an e-mail to
- students are provided with the advisor locations and availability.
- students are informed of expectations for the
advising meeting, such as having a class schedule identified for the
next semester or bringing pertinent paperwork to the advising session.
- a schedule/sign-up sheet is posted with availability
or that students are encouraged to contact their advisor via email to
schedule an appointment within designated parameters.
Where the advising relationship is shared, it works best
when all stakeholders make decisions together for the betterment of
their students. We submit that professional and faculty advisors can
develop a strong, valuable relationship that aids the institution and
Joan M. Krush
Department of Computer Science
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
School of Natural Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Drake, J.K. (2007). Components of a Successful Faculty Advising Program. Pocket Guide 5. Manhattan, KS: NACADA.
Habley, W.R. (Ed.). (2004). The Status of Academic Advising: Findings from the ACT Sixth National Survey. (Monograph No. 10). Manhattan, KS: NACADA.
Petress, K. C. (1996). The multiple roles of an undergraduate's academic advisor. Education.117: 91.
We Are Known by the Company We Keep
Becky Olive-Taylor, Elon University
Jayne Drake’s presidential column in the June 2010 issue of Academic Advising Today on student identity development might lead advisors to consider how true her remarks are for us. Identity Matters as we make daily value judgments about our work and construct
professional development plans for ourselves. But advisors’
self-constructed identities and our campus-constructed reputations may
differ depending on the company we keep. Outside of our most obvious
company, students, what company do advisors’ keep on our campuses? Or
more importantly, what company should advisors keep?
Of course, the answer to these questions may vary by campus and by
advising delivery system, but advisors have a lot of good student
information to share that can do more than just inform the ranks of our
fellow advisors. As advisors, we should proactively forge liaisons
across key campus offices to better inform and in turn be better
informed (American Association for Higher Education Joint Task Force on
Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning, 1998). As
we regularly communicate across campus to fully understand our
colleagues’ work and uncover intersection of that work with academic
advising, we must be sensitive to our connections with important
What better way to profess advising as teaching than to partner with
our institution’s center for teaching and learning to deliver workshops
on academic advising. Even if professional advisors formally advise
students within a department or institution, faculty still need
advising awareness to aid in their mentoring and informal advising.
Advisors can work with such a center to uncover learning needs,
consider our own areas of advising expertise, and partner with the
center personnel to craft pertinent development sessions for both new
and continuing faculty. Partnering with the center staff to
specifically deliver new faculty orientation on advising means that new
faculty receive experienced input and professional advisors are
perceived as a meaningful resource. Depending on campus culture, faculty
advisor training delivered through a teaching and learning center may
attract some faculty who might not otherwise attend advising focused
Another area for coalition building is the admissions office.
Admissions officers may seek campus support to program for visiting
student prospects. Advisors have a role to play by sharing with
students and their families how academic advising works on campus.
Advisors can explain philosophical underpinnings of the delivery system
and introduce campus advising resources. When advisors partner with
admissions in this way, it signals to prospective students that
advising is valued and is an important part of a successful college
experience. Such ongoing associations with admissions may have the
unanticipated benefit to better align recruiting messages with actual
campus practices. Thus, incoming students have more accurate
expectations of academic advising prior to enrollment.
Connections should be made with colleagues in the financial
aid/financial planning office. At a time when student access is limited
by rising tuition costs, advisors must be aware of how financial aid
works on our campuses and how students can best access this assistance.
For example, students in poor academic standing whose financial aid
packages are jeopardized need advisors who both understand the financial
aid system and the accompanying student stress. Other areas of concern
are learning about the general conditions surrounding the repayment of
loans and helping advisees understand how they can minimize
post-graduation debt burden.
Finally, advisors know it is important to keep company with personnel
in campus offices charged with supporting potentially at-risk students
(e.g., multicultural center, athletics, counseling services, and
disability services). Ongoing dialog with personnel within these
offices may reveal a more complete picture of at-risk students’
experiences and the types of programming and advising needed for
All campus connections must extend beyond an understanding of the
referral process. To be a healthy functioning campus of inter-connected
teams, colleagues should regularly converse with each other.If making
the rounds of these suggested academic and student service areas feels
daunting, advisors might create a representative advisory council to
accomplish the task. Such an advisory council may also have the
indirect benefit of creating a high functioning, interconnected student
services network that crosses both academic and student affairs
As advisors we are shortsighted when we solely depend on our defined
interactions with students to guide all decisions about an advising
program. Administrative constraints or particular institutional
histories can complicate efforts to keep good company across campus,
but given time and perseverance coalition efforts create change
(Whiteside, 2001). Academic advisors can pursue these coalitions on our
campuses knowing that the better we understand the complexities of
students’ lives, the better we can advise. After all, the quality of
our advising is truly affected by the company we keep.
Associate Dean for Academic Support
Academic Advising Center
Peer Tutoring, and Disability Services
American Association for Higher Education, American College Personnel
Association, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators,
Joint Task Force. (1998). Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning. Retrieved from www.aahea.org/bulletins/articles/Joint_Task_Force.htm
Whiteside, R. (2001). Models for Successful Change. In. J. Black (Ed.), The Strategic Enrollment Management Revolution (97-108). Washington, DC: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
Recognize, Realize, and Utilize New Advisors and their Unique Skills
Amy P. LaRocca,Georgia Perimeter College
Adapted from a presentation at the 2010 Region 4 NACADA Conference
I was lucky. About four months after graduating with my master’s degree, I secured a position as an academic advisor. I was thrilled with the possibilities within my new career and began seeing students almost immediately. As a new advisor, I have learned many lessons, often through trial and error. I have also realized that I possess skills that are unique simply because I am a new advisor. Thankfully, I have learned how to use these skills and how to
make veteran advisors aware of them. When veteran advisors recognize
the unique talents new advisors possess, they can work together to
maximize these skills and better assist students.
New advisors generally come into the field with one thing in common:
lots of questions. Some questions I had as a new advisor were: What makes one advisor “better” than another? What makes an advisor
“the best”? “the worst?” Do poor advisors give inaccurate or incomplete
information? What do I say to student who flunked chemistry and cannot
apply to a nursing program? With so many questions, it can be hard for a new advisor to focus on the most important issue: student success.
However, while new advisors come into the field with many questions and
much to learn, they also bring with them a unique skill set. Most new
advisors possess three distinct skills. First, they are enthusiastic
and excited. Most new advisors are more than willing to volunteer. They
want to attend conferences, participate in graduation; they seek out
new experiences and ways to learn. If a guinea pig is needed to test a
new idea, seek out a new advisor. Second, new advisors actively seek
improvement (Haydon, 2004). They often request input from students,
supervisors, and fellow advisors in an attempt to find useful feedback
and ways they can improve. Third, new advisors are likely to use
research within the advising field to improve themselves and their
campuses (Folsom, 2007). They comb the NACADA Web site for new tools
and articles; they research successful programs at other institutions
and borrow ideas that can be used in their own setting.
New advisors should learn their strengths and feel confident displaying
them to their veteran counterparts. Teamwork between new and veteran
advisors can lead to a better overall advising experience for students.
While veteran advisors have the benefit of experience, they may need
to be reminded of what it is like to be new.
Veteran advisors who work with new advisors can benefit in several ways. First, there can be a cycle of misunderstanding between veteran advisors and new students. Veteran advisors can become accustomed to repeating information and may be unaware that they are explaining things in an unclear manner. Often it takes a new advisor who says, “I am confused by that explanation” for a veteran advisor to realize how a student might also be confused. Similarly, veteran advisors can forget what it is like not to know certain things. All students may not know how to access an
academic calendar from the institution’s homepage or that a “W” and a
“WF” are not the same thing. A new advisor who asks can remind veteran
advisors that this information is also new to some students. Further,
new advisors can work with advisor training coordinators to provide
feedback and reflections on new advisor training activities. It is
important that those who create training programs receive feedback from
participants within the program (Folsom, Joslin, &Yoder, 2005). New
advisors can be a great resource for evaluating new training systems.
Another way both new and veteran advisors can gain skills is to partner
for individual and group advising sessions. Some of the best
experiences that I had during my first weeks as an advisor came from
sitting in on advising sessions with a veteran advisor. Observing
another’s advising session gives an advisor the chance to experience
diverse advising styles. New advisors typically use prescriptive
advising, and while this is an effective way to convey valuable
information to the student, prescriptive advising may not allow an
advisor to appreciate students as individuals outside of their academic
role (Hale, Graham, & Johnson, 2009). When new and veteran
advisors co-participate in advising sessions, it gives the new advisor a
chance to see a more interactive style of advising. In addition, when a
veteran advises alongside a new advisor, the veteran advisor can see
the new advisor’s unique skills in action. This partnership can help
new advisors gain confidence while increasing their knowledge base.
I was lucky that I found an amazing job and lucky to work with advisors
who value my skills and perspective. However, I realize that I was not
the only one who was lucky. Having a new advisor on staff can create a
wonderful opportunity for veteran advisors to improve and for new
advisors to learn. Both new and veteran advisors should realize the
value in their relationship and should continually foster that
relationship. Such cooperation does much for each advisor, but more
importantly; these relationships further our opportunities to improve
student success through high-quality academic advising.
Amy P. LaRocca
Student Affairs Counselor
Advising, Counseling, and Retention Services
Georgia Perimeter College
References and Resources
Altiparmak, M. (2004). Reflections from the field: Advice for new advisors. Advising Today, 27(4), 12-13.
Folsom, P. (Ed.). (2007). The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising Through the First Year and Beyond. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.
Folsom, P., Joslin, J., & Yoder, F. (2005) . From advisor training
to advisor development: Creating a blueprint for first-year advisors.
Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: www.nacada.kse.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/First-Year-Advisors.htm
Grewe, M. E. (2010). Reflections of a first-time adviser. The Mentor, electronic publication about academic advising in higher education. Volume 1, number 1. Retrieved from: www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/
Hale, M., Graham, D., & Johnson, D. (2009). Are students more
satisfied with academic advising when there is congruence between
current and preferred advising styles?.College Student Journal, 43(2), 313-324.
Haydon, L. (2004). If I were to write a book about academic advising for new advisors. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: www.nacada.kse.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/Advising -book.htm
Miller, M. A. (2002, December). How to thrive, not just survive, as a new advisor. The Academic Advising News, 25(4). Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: www.nacada.kse.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/newadvisor.htm
Advisement Blogging for the Millennial Generation
David Lichtenstein, University of Southern California
The inspiration to start a blog stemmed from frustration during my time
as an undergraduate student. As typical at many universities, I
received information about internship and research opportunities from
academic advisors via email. Though stuffed with useful information, I
found these emails cumbersome to read as they often were long,
patchwork collections that frequented my inbox. In truth, I began
ignoring these emails altogether when I was not actively seeking a
position, and later it proved challenging to locate the information
when I looked for experiences and jobs. When I became an academic
advisor, I thought there must be a better way for students to browse
and search for these valuable opportunities using a familiar, Web-based
interface. That’s when I turned to Blogger©.
At first, my Biological Sciences (BISC) Blog was simple: an Internet
age reimagining of the cork bulletin board. My colleague and I posted
such things as internships, volunteer, and scholarship opportunities,
and campus events; we built viewership among our biology students by
marketing the blog in email communications, one-on-one advisement
sessions, and presentations. To our happy surprise, the blog was a huge
success. Since its inception, we have posted more than 700 events and
opportunities and have received over 80,000 visits (the only intended
audience being USC’s 900 biology majors and minors). From a qualitative
survey of our students, we discovered that over 70% were satisfied
(and less than 1% were dissatisfied) with the BISC Blog.
Given the enthusiastic response from our students, I became curious why more advising units do not consistently use this communication platform for student information. During my exploration of the use of technology in higher education, I found that most college academic advising blogs are managed by an individual advisor or small group in a single department. Most of the blogs I visited use stock templates, have few or infrequent posts, or are simply no longer active. Typically, content consists of advising dates and procedures, recommendations (e.g., “make a course plan to ensure positive movement toward your graduation goals”), or more general academic and career advice. I believe that consistent and timely delivery of content as well as overall presentation of material impact how students perceive blogs as reliable and trusted resources that can enhance their educational experiences. Positive
perception can increase site viewership and thus augment a blog’s
influence as a vehicle for teaching and advising.
Building on student feedback and my exploration of academic blogs, I
began adding new features to the BISC Blog, including social
networking, embedded media, a subscription option for daily email
updates, and Google Calendar. My goal was to create a visually-appealing
and social Web site for students while avoiding the temptation to add
flashy-yet-frivolous features. Though I do not have formal computer
science training, the availability of good documentation and open
source code allowed me to create a major redesign over a few months.
Other advising units were impressed with our efforts and soon wanted
similar blogs of their own. To assist our college’s efforts to
centralize academic advising, I expanded the redesigned BISC Blog into
three sibling blogs for each of the academic divisions of our college:
Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. I believe these blogs
help students profit from the collective knowledge of a vibrant
community of advisors with diverse backgrounds and experiences. To
create ownership for each department, we allow individual advisors to
submit content on behalf of their department. As is the case in any
group writing effort, it was imperative that we establish style and
editorial guidelines to ensure consistency and professionalism. For
example, we maintain a standard format for all postings and do not
allow advertisements or classifieds on the site. I am proud to report
that we already have a budding community of academic advisor-bloggers
from various departments within the college.
Technology is constantly evolving and student needs change. As a result, the blog will continue to be an in vivo experiment. At this time in biology advising, we have phased out the
practice of sending “opportunities and events” emails as we feel
confident that students actively use the blog. By not overstuffing
students’ inboxes, we have increased the salience of higher-priority
email communication. My hope is that our students will contribute to
and view the blogs as more than just another campus information kiosk,
and advisors will continue to blog substantive academic and career
advice in addition to passing along opportunities. The blog platform
allows unprecedented student access within our college community and
helps us improve the continuity of the information stream to students.
For the USC College Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences blogs, visit http://college.usc.edu/blog-directory
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Office of College Advising
University of Southern California
Looking for a Few Good Mentors!
Pssst…over here. We’ve been looking for you. Yes you, Commission Chair. And you, Board Member. Yes, you too Regional
Conference Chair. We don’t want to alarm you, but we’ve been searching
high and low for you, and we believe we have finally located a perfect
fit. We need you. For what, you ask? For the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program. What is it? Well, let us tell you…
Developed by the NACADA Diversity Committee, the Emerging Leaders Program was designed to encourage members from diverse groups, as defined by the Board of Directors (including ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disabilities, sexual orientation, institutional type, size, and employment position), to get involved in leadership opportunities within NACADA. Ten Emerging Leaders and Ten Mentors are selected each year for this two year program. Mentors work closely with the Leaders, connecting them to areas within
the association they are interested in and helping them develop a plan
for continued involvement and growth in the association.
Sounds important? You bet. With the entry of the fourth class of Emerging Leaders, NACADA has already seen Leaders from the first three classes serve on Committees and Advisory Boards, act as Region and Commission Chairs, and Chair the Annual Conference, just to name a few successes. What do we need from you? Ah yes, what we need from you…come closer. This is very, very important. We need you and your talents to act as a Mentor to one of our 2011-2013 Emerging Leaders. Don’t feel qualified? You might be surprised. Mentors from the Emerging Leaders Program come from all walks of NACADA life and all levels of leadership and involvement. To qualify as a Mentor, you must be either a current or past NACADA Leader. This can be at the state, regional, or national level; in an elected or appointed position; as chair or member of a committee, advisory board, or task force; chair or member of a regional or commission/interest group steering committee. Whew! After all that info, we are certain you can find yourself somewhere in that list.
So is that it? Well no, that is not all. We refer you to the Emerging Leader Program Web site for Mentor requirements, but we are certain that once you read through the information, you
will find that you are qualified and should consider applying for this
exciting opportunity. The best piece of news is that we changed the
application process for Mentors. We no longer need a statement of
support from your immediate supervisor. Simply answer the question
prompts with thorough and thoughtful responses, and you are well on
your way to a life-changing experience.
You know the Emerging Leaders will get something out of this program, but what about yourself? We are glad you asked. Perhaps, some words of wisdom from past Mentors
in the program will help you see the benefits of becoming a Mentor:
'Although this might sound like hyperbole, put simply, this is the most innovative and rewarding program we have put together. You can really make a difference in the lives of new leaders and familiarize them with the guiding principles of NACADA while simultaneously learning from the Emerging Leaders new trends in advising.”
'My experience as an Emerging Leader Mentor has been one of the highlights of my career. I have learned as much from my mentee as I hope he has learned from me.”
“This experience has been life altering for me in the sense that I have had the opportunity to meet a number of truly wise and talented people whose commitment to the profession, to their own professional development, and to each other is a lesson in humility and dedication.”
"Set the stage for the next generation of advisors and leaders in our association."
“The act of mentoring causes us to stop and take stock of our own values, the paths we choose, and what we still have to learn.'
So, it sounds like something you would like to do? Fantastic, we knew we found the right person for this very important responsibility. Remember, being a Mentor is about so much more than what you can give of yourself. That is an important part, but it could really be an important opportunity to get much more in return. We need Mentors like you, leaders who have moved the Association forward on its path, to help us develop our leaders of the future. For only a two year commitment of your time, you could receive a lifetime of rewards.
Sandy Waters, ELP Advisory Board Chair
Todd Taylor, Emerging Leader, 2008-2010 Class
Accessing the Hidden Job Market
The job search can be a daunting experience, even when the job market
is at its peak. During an economic downturn, such as the one the
United States is currently facing, the job search process becomes even
more difficult and requires a new set of strategies.
The more traditional resources for finding job postings through print or online job announcements are certainly still worth checking. Some examples of organizations or companies used by institutions of higher education include The Chronicle of Higher Education, NACADA resources and listservs, academiccareers.com, specific college
and university Web sites, and other professional associations and
listservs. But remember that hundreds, if not thousands, of other job
searchers are also accessing these resources. With this said, it is now
even more important to tap into the “hidden” job market.
The hidden job market is accessed by networking, a practice that is
more easily embraced by the extroverts of the world, but there is ample
opportunity for the less socially inclined as well. Consider the
following practices to find positions in academic advising:
- Prepare for your first professional academic advising position by
volunteering or interning at an institution of higher education in your
community. If you are employed as an academic advisor and want to
learn more about administrative positions and other opportunities for
promotion, try job shadowing or conducting informational interviews
with your director/supervisor. To help prepare for this type of
position, try offering assistance with managing budgets, developing and
planning day-to-day activities and future events, and supervising
- Attend and present at regional, annual, and
international NACADA conferences as well as other association
conferences, workshops, and seminars.
- Solicit feedback and respond to professional email
listservs you subscribe to; submit articles for publication in the
associations’ print and online resources.
- Serve as a member of professional associations’ committees based on your specific interest areas.
- Share your knowledge and expertise with community
groups in need of assistance with the populations they serve. Consider
topics on preparation for and attainment of educational, career, and
- Take time to earn additional college degrees and
professional certifications. Gain other professional knowledge to
remain current, if not ahead of the curve, by developing innovative
program and service ideas.
- Take time to assess your interests, needs,
strengths, transferrable skills, and work-related values to determine
the type of institution and the type of students you would like to
- Manage your job search and networking efforts by
recording who you’ve communicated with, when, where, and how. Follow up
any communication and experience you’ve had with a potential employer
or colleague by sending a note of appreciation.
- Keep your resume and CV current so it will only require a
minimal amount of customization when you find a position you want to
apply for. This will allow more time and effort to be directed to the
cover letter. Have your resume available when you anticipate
encounters with higher education professionals; consider a business
card style resume for initial meetings.
- Stay positive, take care of yourself, and treat
yourself to something rewarding each time you accomplish one of these
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Chair
Academic Advisor and National Student Exchange Coordinator
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Member
Academic Advisor and Coordinator of Academic and Career Exploration
University of Nevada, Reno