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Amy Sannes, Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute Scholarship Recipient

Amy Sannes.jpgIf I only had time I would love to… 

How many times have we said those words related to wishing we could develop a component to our advising program?  I chair the Advising Committee on Minnesota State University Moorhead’s campus, and we have great ideas during our committee meetings, but never seem to find the time to develop and implement the ideas.  We needed to make a time commitment to our ideas, but we also needed some leadership and direction. To achieve these goals, we decided to send a team to NACADA’s Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute.

The faculty of the Institute are knowledgeable and eager to help participants apply the information discussed during the plenary and concurrent sessions.  The faculty presenting the sessions are actually practitioners in the advising field and bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to their sessions.  These professionals have been where we are and are excited to give practical advice and direction in moving advising programs forward.

Registration for the Institute is kept small to allow for more group work, individual sessions, and feedback.  Our small group leader, NACADA Past President Jennifer Joslin, even commented, “we keep the groups small so I can get to know you and come find you if you are missing from group!”  We never missed a group meeting but, I’m pretty sure she meant what she said!

I was fortunate to receive the Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute scholarship to attend the 2013 Winter Institute in Savannah, GA.  Receiving this scholarship allowed our campus to send a team to the Institute. The experience allowed our advising committee to actually spend time together to develop a plan to bring back to campus.  We created an advising mission statement, drafted a proposal promoting advising as the theme for our fall faculty development workshop, and created the shell for a LEAD Advisor program for our institution.

Attendance at the Institute, along with the interaction with the Institute Faculty and our colleagues from other institutions, were the motivation and support our campus team needed to establish an educated foundation to take back to MSUM and “talk advising.” Upon our return to campus, our team received approval from the Faculty Development Committee to proceed with advising as our theme for the fall workshop and approval from our provost to proceed with the development and implementation of the MSUM LEAD Advisor program.

Our campus has a faculty advising model with most students advised by faculty in the major and undeclared students advised by professional advisors.  As with most campuses, reaching all faculty with training and development on advising topics is difficult due to their teaching loads and already busy schedules.  Keeping this in mind, the LEAD Advisor program was developed to identify a key faculty advisor from every department who would attend all advising training and update sessions and would be responsible for taking that information back to their individual departments and serve as the mentor for new advisors.  The LEAD Advisor would also be included in a collaborative advising team of department chairs and peer advisors during our new student registration sessions.  The LEAD acronym is being used to structure our program and design our training components.  Part of the process this first year of implementation is to further develop the components of each area.

Components of the MSUM LEAD Advisor Program

  • Lead: Serve as the lead advisor for the department.  Attend all training offered and train department advisors (and, perhaps, other departments as needed).  Serve as a mentor for new advisors in their own department.
  • Engage:  Assist faculty advisors in developing mentoring relationships with College majors.  Engage students in the education process and encourage academic success.
  • Advise: Assist in the advising of College transfer students and new students.  Collaborate with department chair and student relations coordinator (where appropriate) in covering the department for Transfer Dragon Days and summer advising.  Participate as lead advisor for department at Freshman Dragon Days. 
  • Develop: Develop meaningful relationships with students in the College.  Collaborate with the Director of Academic Support Center and the Coordinator of Faculty Development to develop advising tools and advising workshops.

The LEAD Advisor program has the support of the provost and the College deans as evidenced by their willingness to support the program financially and by allowing time at their college meetings to present the program to all faculty members.  The program is a leadership development opportunity for faculty and there is no additional regular compensation or release time for participation in the program.  However, LEAD Advisors will be compensated for an extra duty day for the LEAD Advisor training workshop and for additional summer and Saturday new student registration days that are necessary.  The additional costs to the program are meals and training materials.

Discussions with Charlie Nutt, Executive Director of NACADA, during the Institute were valuable in forming our LEAD Advisor program. He further supported our program by participating in the facilitation of the LEAD Advisor training workshop and served as the keynote speaker for the fall faculty development workshop for all faculty on MSUM’s campus this fall. 

The exposure our team received to the ideas of advising through the NACADA lens was invaluable.  As a team attending the Institute, we were able to split up and attend multiple sessions, which allowed us to maximize our investment.  The greatest part of the Institute was to have the dedicated time to actually discuss with my colleagues how we were going to apply the information to our institution and to have a plan ready to implement upon our return to campus.  Our committee is still struggling with getting things accomplished; however, we would not be moving forward with advising as the focus of our faculty development workshop, nor would we be implementing an amazing LEAD Advisor program, without our attendance at and support from the Administrators’ Institute.  

Special thanks to Theresa Hest, Professor, Communication Studies Department, Minnesota State University Moorhead, for her contribution to the team and to this article.

Amy Sannes
Director Academic Support Center
Minnesota State University Moorhead
amy.sannes@mnstate.edu   

Editor’s Note: Learn more about attending a NACADA Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute (http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Events-Programs/Events/Administrators-Institute.aspx)

Cite this article using APA style as: Sannes, A. (2013, December). If I only had time. Academic Advising Today, 36(4). Retrieved from [insert url here] 

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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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