Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
Each quarter as I prepare to write my column for NACADA’s Academic Advising Today, I follow the advice I gave my students in my English composition classes for twenty years…research…. brainstorm…. outline…. write the first draft…. the second draft…the third draft….and then start all over! And after all that, right before the final final FINAL deadline I find an article that inspires me greatly and so I start from scratch again!
This time the article that inspired me is by Dr. Joshua Kim, a columnist for Inside Higher Ed and Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning. His article in the May 23 issue of the Inside Higher Edu entitled “Are You a Student of Higher Education?” intrigued me, challenged me, and inspired me as NACADA and the College of Education at Kansas State University move toward opening the first Global Center for Excellence and Research in Academic Advising and Student Success with our newly appointed Director Dr. Wendy Troxel, formerly of Illinois State University. In our 38-year history, NACADA has always focused on our members as students of academic advising. With our new Center, the association is even more focused on this concept.
Therefore, after reading Dr. Kim’s article, I immediately contacted him to tell him how much I enjoyed his article and asked for permission to cite his article and use his concept in my column. He graciously agreed – thank you, Josh!
In the same manner that Dr. Kim’s article explored how we define a Student of Higher Education, I want to discuss how we as a profession and an association can define a Student of Academic Advising. Consider these attributes:
- You have a powerful curiosity about the theory, practice, and impact of academic advising on student success.
Just having the title “academic advisor” or “faculty advisor” does not make one a student of academic advising. This innate curiosity goes far beyond solving course scheduling/registration issues, investigating the latest software because your institution has purchased it, or finding solutions for long lines during registration periods.
The Student of Academic Advising will investigate how theory is driving the practices on his or her campus, will dig for data about the students he/she advises and their specific retention, graduation, and completion rates, and will constantly view advising as a profession, not a job.
Students of Academic Advising are those who attend NACADA regional, annual, and international conferences and institutes to delve more deeply into their curiosity about the field by networking with and learning from others. They will take advantage of the NACADA Web Events to learn more about theory and practice and to have the opportunity to hold campus discussions about the webinars.
- You feel a strong connection to the academic advising community on your campus, in your state, and at the national and international level.
We stress to our students that in order to be successful they must work to become part of a community of learners and scholars who have the same curiosities they have. Being a college student is not a spectator sport in which students sit on the sidelines and watch learning, but instead are part of a culture of learning they have built themselves.
Students of Academic Advising don’t work in isolation. Advisors need to learn from each other at all levels, discussing and even debating issues of the profession and field. It is imperative that Students of Academic Advising be part of multiple communities in the field and find ways to connect regularly with their fellow community members.
A responsibility that NACADA has taken seriously and our Board of Directors, Council, and Executive Office work on constantly is how the association can assist in building these communities and finding new ways for members to connect, discuss, and debate.
- You read constantly about the field and work diligently to find ways to become part of the academic advising scholarly community through your own informal and formal research and publication.
Our students cannot be successful if they only attend class and never read a textbook or article, and never reflect through writing their own thoughts on their education. Successful Students of Academic Advising find the time and space to read about the field and the profession. Obviously that will include reading NACADA Clearinghouse articles, the NACADA Blog, the NACADA Journal, NACADA books and other publications, and additional resources such as the Penn State Mentor or ACPA’s About Campus. You cannot be a Student of Academic Advising and a professional if reading about the field and finding ways to add to the literature in the field is not a priority for you.
- You are passionate about the field of academic advising BUT have a deep desire for it to improve and a deep desire to be a part of those improvements across the profession.
As a Student of Academic Advising and a longtime NACADA member, it has been so exciting for me to see the increase in the number of academic advisors who view their role as a career and not a job, as well as observe faculty advisors who view academic advising as part of the teaching and learning process they are involved in every day with students in their classrooms.
However, a Student of Academic Advising will never be satisfied with the status quo of the field and the profession. He/she will always be focusing on improving the field and working as part of NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising to move the profession and field forward internationally.
So, where do you fall in my definition of a Student of Academic Advising? And how can NACADA help you move closer to being a strong, powerful, and impactful Student of Academic Advising?
Thank you again to Dr. Joshua Kim for his inspiration!
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Kim, J. (2016, May 22). Are you a student of higher education? Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/are-you-student-higher-education
Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2016, June). From the executive director: Are you a student of academic advising? Academic Advising Today, 39(2). Retrieved from [insert url here]