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Voices of the Global Community

Maura L. Ivanick, Core Values Task Force Chair

I was recently given a 2005 calendar based on Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance. I didn’t know why I was given this gift, but I suspected there was a message in there that I had to find for myself. I already kept too many calendars, but I loved what these pages said about simple things in life. I decided that I was only going to enter those things that were joyful and reflected my happy life moments this year. Happily, there have already been many simple entries like “watched Ice Age (again) with the girls” or “took a long walk in the sun.”

When I think about the challenges to academic advisors today and read the NACADA Statement of Core Values, I am reminded of the ‘simple things’ calendar in this way: the six core values are simple to believe, uphold, and value. They are easy to articulate to others and to apply when actively advising. They are responsibilities to reflect and act on, and in the quiet moments, they can hopefully inspire us to be bigger than our job requires. The message is in there; sometimes it takes time to find it and use it well. So, how do we do this?

If you were to use the Statement of Core Values in a meaningful way, what would that mean to you personally? What would “using the Statement of Core Values meaningfully” on your campus entail? How would you advertise them as a measure of how and why you work the way you do? What would you say to someone who asked you about the Statement of Core Values? How would you interpret them for you and your institution? Who else should know about them? Who else does know about them?

Here are three challenge questions for you and a general suggestion with each one:

  1. How would you use the Core Values Statement in your everyday work?  It’s important to read them, digest them, and decide how to convey that you actively address them in your everyday work with students, parents, faculty, colleagues and administrators. For instance, no matter how big or small our work areas, we all have items that show our interests, passions, and beliefs. Sometimes they are subtle, while others are prominent displays of our own design. One possibility is posting the ‘Six Areas of Responsibility’ logo on your file cabinet or bulletin board, demonstrating that you embrace the responsibilities of being an excellent academic advisor and inviting conversation.
  2. How would your colleagues in advising practice use the Statement of Core Values? Do you know? Is there a mechanism for discussion? Can you begin a dialogue? Okay, that was three extra questions, I know. On a car ride home from a Northeast Regional NACADA Conference, a discussion of values and our work and the realization that the practitioners did not have a good communication path led to the birth of an award-winning group of advising practitioners from across the campus. This group has been instrumental in fostering discussions, sharing and networking, presentation development, drive-in workshops and more for a group of advisors who were previously not well connected. Now that the Statement has been revised, I am sure this discussion item will be back on our group’s agenda. Ask around – you might be surprised at what you hear people want and need.
  3. In what other ways could the Core Values Statement be used to reach academic advising goals on your campus? If there is an articulated goal, say, of increased student awareness of the institution/school/department’s commitment to academic advising, how could you use the Statement of Core Values to create potent, creative education on your campus? Answer the previous questions and then use publications such as advisor handbooks, student posters, advising mailings, undergraduate and graduate bulletins/course offerings and opportunities such as faculty advisor preparation and meet-and-greet opportunities with students to educate the campus about academic advising increases the “visibility quotient.”

We’ve all heard the call to create a living document, something well-intentioned that can guide us in our work. But too often, these ideas get stuffed in the drawer, forgotten in the rush to meetings, preparation for appointments (and walk-ins!) or keeping up with the paperwork. The Statement of Core Values is too important to hide away, too necessary to ignore. We hope that when you use the Statement of Core Values, your work as academic advisors and administrators is enhanced and you are reminded that simple messages are often hidden in everyday tasks. You can reference the Statement of Core Values at any time in the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. Happy Advising!

Maura L. Ivanick
Syracuse University
mlivanic@syr.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Ivanick, M. (2005, September). It's simple to use the statement of core values. Academic Advising Today, 28(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]

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