Advising and Student Persistence: The Pressure Rises...
Brett McFarlane, Oregon State University
After speaking with many colleagues this year
at the NACADA Annual Conference in Chicago, I found one common theme
resonating: the continued pressure put on advising administrators to
show a correlation between academic advising and student persistence.
This age old issue has received heightened awareness in these difficult
economic times. As always, the most significant challenge we face is
that much of the available research shows that high-quality academic
advising has an “indirect” rather than “direct” relationship with
student persistence (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
How do we “prove” that academic advising can increase
student commitment to educational goals and to the institution? How do
we “prove” that academic advising provides support services that aid
students in negotiating higher education? How we do show that academic
advising provides a holistic institutional map for students? More
importantly, how do we connect all of these pieces to show our
relationship with student persistence?
A 2004 ACT study found three interventions responsible for higher than
average rates of student persistence: (A) academic advising, (B)
first-year programs, and (C) learning support. Some practices cited as
noteworthy were: integrating advising with first-year programs,
intrusive interventions with high risk populations, comprehensive
learning assistance centers, combined advising and career/life centers,
summer bridge programs, recommended course placement testing,
performance contracts for students in difficulty, joint residence hall
advising programs, and extended first year orientation for credit.
Seidman (1991) randomly assigned State University of New York system
students to either (A) a control group receiving a “regular” orientation
process, or (B) a test group. The test group received pre- and
post-admission advising, were advised on becoming more socially and
academically involved on campus, and met with their assigned academic
advisor an additional two times during the term to discuss overall
progress and academic adjustment. At the conclusion of the term, the
test group persisted at a rate 20 percentage points above that of their
peers in the control group. This study, and several others reviewed by
Pascarella and Terenzini (2005), indicate that participating in an
advising program can have a statistically significant impact on student
Most of us have been unwilling to create such a test environment knowing
the “control group” will suffer, but what if we considered our current
practice to be the “control group”? We could then create a “test group”
using statistically random selection criteria with a manageable number
of students; design a higher-quality advising experience for this “test
group”; and finally, assess the results with our administration and
other policy stakeholders on campus.
At Oregon State University, inspired by work from Temple University,
we have created a Student Success Module housed in Blackboard© that will
be piloted in three of our academic Colleges for all first-year
students placed on Academic Warning. Each student will begin the module
with a “self-assessment” that will help the student, and that student’s
advisor, understand what issues may have contributed to inadequate
grades during the term. This self-assessment will then lead each student
through a series of personalized, interactive modules directly
applicable to the challenges identified through the self-assessment. At
the completion of the series of modules, the student’s advisor will then
receive a report with the self-assessment results and a notification of
module completion for use in a follow-up advising appointment where
appropriate campus referrals will be made. We will then compare student
persistence of this Blackboard© success group to last year’s cohort who
did not have this type of intervention. Although not a perfect test
environment, we will be able to compare certain attributes that will
help us assess the effectiveness of this program.
Pointing to research done at other institutions is
certainly useful, but in my experience, funding primarily follows
programs that have been successfully tested and proven “within” the
institution. Completing research at our individual institutions allows
us to provide irrefutable evidence; it allows us to combat the “our
students are different” argument; it allows our administration to see
the “value” of additional research at our institutions; and most
importantly, it allows us to collaborate with faculty on a common cause.
As the nation continues down a turbulent financial path, we will
undoubtedly be called upon to justify our advising programs and the
impact our programs have on student success and student persistence. We
have shown, and we can continue to show, the tremendous impact academic
advising has on all aspects of the student experience. In fact, the more
often we are able to present research indicating that what we do
“matters,” the more valuable we become to the institution and to higher
education as a whole.
Director of Undergraduate Programs
College of Engineering
Oregon State University
ACT. (2004). The role of academic and non-academic
factors in improving college retention. Iowa City: ACT. Retrieved
November 18, 2008, from http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/pdf/college_retention.pdf.
Astin, A.W. (1993). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Pascarella, E. & Terenzini, P. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Seidman, A. (1991). The evaluation of a pre/post
admissions/counseling process at a suburban community college: Impact on
student satisfaction with the faculty and the institution, retention,
and academic performance. College and University, 66, 223-232.
Tinto, V. (1993 ). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Upcraft, M.L., Gardener, J.N., & Associates (1989 ). The freshman year experience: Helping students survive and succeed in college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
ACT Research and Policy Reports http://www.act.org/research/policymakers/reports/index.html.
NACADA Clearinghouse Resources on Retention. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/clearinghouse/advisingissues/retain.htm.
Nutt, C.L. (2003). Academic advising and student retention and persistence –Retrieved November 18, 2008, from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/retention.htm.
From the President: Demonstrating Adaptability in a Challenging Economic Climate
Casey Self, NACADA President
As I write my comments for this column, I am feeling many emotions that I
am sure are shared across institutions around the world. For many, the
United States presidential inauguration of Barack Obama has created
excitement, hope, and a renewed sense of energy. Yet as I write this on
the day President Obama takes office, it is also a time when the
economic climate of the world and questions about the financial welfare
of our institutions are creating a great deal of anxiety and stress
within academic advising communities. Many of us are hearing of
impending cuts on our campuses which may directly affect academic
advising services for our students. It is a time when we must be
sensitive to the economic realities of our world and institutions and
yet be there for students who are dealing with their own uncertain
financial and educational circumstances.
Academic advisors have always helped with a variety of student
issues; however, as budget cuts are considered, it may become even more
important that we be aware of the wide variety of knowledge and
assistance we, as academic advisors, provide on a day-to-day basis. If
institution jobs are cut, advisors may have to pick up new duties,
become more adaptable, and be even more sensitive to the various needs
of our students. And we will, most likely, do this without pay
increases, or even accustomed annual cost of living increases.
In the midst of this turmoil will be the students who
show up every day on our doorsteps, who e-mail us, or who call in a
panic with their emergency situations. As professionals, we must never
forget that our students’ needs must come first, even when our lives are
altered. The economic situation requires that many students, and
especially adult students who must reconsider their professional
options, are facing new financial situations. For our traditional-aged
students, Mom or Dad may have just lost their jobs or institutional
financial aid may have decreased. Returning adult students who have lost
their jobs may require remedial assistance which they may not
understand, appreciate, or want to pay for. Our skills and knowledge as
professionals will certainly be tested with new student situations; all
at a time when we are also dealing with potential personal losses or
stressful situations resulting from the current economy.
Economic challenges may affect our ability to participate
in academic advising professional development activities at the same
levels as the past, e.g., conference or institute attendance. I
encourage my administrator counterparts to do their best to avoid the
total elimination of travel-related professional development
opportunities. If cuts are required, consider setting priorities on who
should attend events, i.e., send one or two new advisors who have not
had previous NACADA experiences in cases where larger numbers of staff
have attended in the past. Utilize budgets creatively, such as paying
for some expenses, e.g., airfare or conference registration, for the
fall annual conference in San Antonio out of year-end funds; then pay
for hotel and meals out of next year’s budget. Ask staff to share hotel
rooms. Require those who are fortunate enough to attend a conference to
come back and share highlights with the staff who were unable to attend.
These types of strategies may help to keep NACADA event participation a
It is times like these when our academic advising community across
the world can be most beneficial in helping us address the tough issues.
We should pay close attention to maintaining our professional
relationships whether those are on campus or at other institutions.
These relationships can be critical when we are in the job market, when
we must deal with new issues on our campuses, when we are the
administrator making very tough decisions relating to the loss of jobs,
or if we are the one in charge of maintaining high academic advising
standards with less financial support. Network with others in the
Association: join at least one NACADA Commission or Interest Group,
participate in a listserv or have an online conversation with others
with similar interests or values. Now is the time to make this happen!
Let NACADA be the gateway to the professional communities that benefit
members in the good times as well as these more challenging ones. NACADA
members often tell me how important these connections are and how nice
it is to know that they are not the only ones facing these challenges.
The NACADA Board of Directors encourages suggestions and
comments on how they or the NACADA Executive Office can assist members
with the challenges they are facing. Please don’t hesitate to contact
Casey Self, President
National Academic Advising Association
From the Executive Director: Celebrating NACADA's 30th Anniversary
Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
Thirty years ago, in 1979, a small group of professionals made a bold
step for the future of student success and academic advising by
chartering a new higher education association, the National Academic
Advising Association. In the past 30 years, NACADA has grown
substantially to nearly 11,000 members internationally and has become
one of the key associations in all of higher education. Our members,
consisting of college and university Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts,
Vice Presidents, Deans, professional advisors and counselors, faculty
advisors, and graduate students, touch every aspect of our colleges and
universities and our students’ lives.
As we move into our 30th year, a year of financial
challenges in higher education, what are the ways in which we can
celebrate this important milestone in our association’s history? How can
we benefit the most from our membership in NACADA and become part of
NACADA’s history in the next 30 years?
First, how can each of us celebrate NACADA’s 30th year?
- Share a NACADA publication (monograph, Academic Advising Today issue, Journal issue, or Clearinghouse
article) with a key campus administrator to celebrate NACADA’s 30 years
of focusing on student success and academic advising. What a great way
to inform a decision maker of the value of NACADA and its connection to
the success of students!
- Invite a colleague to join NACADA! Share the NACADA resources and benefits you have found so helpful to your advising practice.
- Host a campus brown-bag workshop for the academic advising community to celebrate NACADA’s 30th anniversary.
And, how can you benefit the most from your NACADA membership during this 30th Anniversary year?
- Attend one of the outstanding professional
development events that the Association will offer this year, including
one of the ten Regional Conferences, one of the two Summer Institutes,
and our Annual Conference in San Antonio this fall.
- Utilize a NACADA Webcast, CD recording of a Webcast, or the professional development DVD for a campus, college, or department-wide professional development workshop.
- Initiate an Institutional Common Reading program utilizing an article from the NACADA Journal, Academic Advising Today, or the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources.
- Subscribe to the NACADA Podcast series to grow professionally in your own knowledge and skills.
And, last, how can you work during the 30th Anniversary year to become part of NACADA’s history for the next 30 years?
- Write an article for the NACADA Journal, Academic Advising Today, or the NACADA Clearinghous e – become part of the literature in our profession.
Run or volunteer for a leadership position in the
Association – become a part of our association’s future leadership.
- Mentor a new advising professional or graduate
student as he or she moves into our profession – become a part of the
development of our future advisors.
- Apply for a NACADA research grant, graduate
scholarship, or institute scholarship – become a part of insuring your
own professional growth for your future.
For some of us, remembering being 30 years old is a
distant memory; for some of us imagining being 30 years old is a
nightmare! But for all of us – NACADA’s 30th anniversary is an awesome
opportunity to celebrate, grow, and prepare for our next 30 years.
Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
The Role of Advisors in Recruiting
Darcie Peterson, Advising Education Majors Commission Member
Lee Kem, Advising Education Majors Commission Past Chair
Editor's Note: The information provided here is drawn from a presentation and brainstorming session that occurred at the2008 NACADA Annual Conference in Chicago.
Recruiting is a vital component within any college or university
interested in attracting students. Everyone at the institution is
involved with recruitment, including students, faculty,administration,
and especially, academic advisors. Without recruitment, and the
subsequent retention of students, an institution will perish!
Nonetheless, in today’s competitive college market, which is compounded
by current economic issues, recruitment requires more than a single
informational letter from an academic advisor to potential students.
There are several issues and barriers which are unique to recruiting
students to enter teacher training programs. What strategies can be
implemented to address these issues and barriers?
There are many barriers in recruiting education majors, including
false perceptions, lack of diversity, and differences in state
standards. One false perception is that anyone can teach, an idea that
can result in students with higher GPAs gravitating toward other majors.
Although there are teacher shortages in math, science, special
education, early childhood, and middle school, the overabundance of
elementary education majors in some parts of the nation may discourage
students from entering the field of education. Other perceptional
barriers are that teachers are underpaid and that the field is dominated
Demographic changes can create barriers for recruiting.
As the ethnic demographics of the nation change, recruitment of
under-represented student populations is essential. However, the
geographic location of an institution can result in an unintentional
lack of diversity within the locally available student pool.
Additionally, students with degrees from other countries may encounter
barriers that prevent or slow their paths toward teacher certification
in the U.S.
Other barriers are found in the differing state
requirements for certification and licensure. Furthermore, potential
candidates may be discouraged by the requirements of the No Child Left
Behind Act, the increased number of students within the K-12 system with
difficult behavioral and learning issues, and the paperwork
requirements of the job. The potential for lawsuits is also a
consideration for those seeking to enter the education field.
How can we address these barriers and recruit more students into
education programs? The first line of recruitment is to connect
potential students with someone at the institution who can highlight the
benefits of a teaching career. Advisors can partner with student
recruiters and become involved in programs at middle and high schools
where they can discuss the teaching profession or the transition to
Additionally, advisors can assist with concurrent
enrollment courses where students earn college credit while still in
high school. One college offers a concurrent enrollment course where
high school students serve as peer tutors for students with
disabilities. The high school students keep journals, as well as
research and write papers regarding their experiences. They also learn
basic teaching and behavior management skills.
On-campus advisors can become involved in campus visits
by Future Educators of America, honors academies, and high school
groups; participate in area recruitment activities; and meet with
prospective students and their parents. Current students can meet with
the advisor and prospective students and can establish another link for
recruitment, particularly when contact is maintained with the
prospective education major. In addition, students like SWAG (Stuff We
All Get – and give away). SWAG that students will use (e.g., lanyards,
magnets, and bags) serve as reminders of their visit. Campus visits can
include lunch with advisors and faculty to learn about opportunities for
careers in teaching. Students can also tour current research projects,
participate in classes, or visit practicum settings.
A recruitment video can be easy to produce. Interview a
program graduate, take pictures, add some music, and send it out to
potential students or post it on a department Web site.
Many federal and state grants have requirements for recruitment of
under-represented student populations. Institutions who receive such
funding can use these resources to fund many of the above ideas.
The experiences of those attending the conference
presentation confirm that students tend to choose institutions where
they have had interactions with academic advisors. Advisors can be part
of the orientation process and can follow-up with a card or email that
will lay the foundation for continued contact when students arrive on
campus. Education advisors can visit introductory courses and discuss
opportunities in the education field. College of Education student
ambassadors can be utilized as small group leaders or peer mentors in
freshman orientation courses and be used to provide alternative
scheduling options and interactions with non-traditional students.
The following is a list of strategies developed in the brainstorming activity done with conference session participants:
- Promote the positives of teaching, such as a good
job market, early retirement after 30 years, comprehensive benefits and
retirement packages, and the great return on investment in the life of
- Utilize current technology tools such as the
Internet and user-friendly Web sites. Have current students email
potential students. Keep a current blog for potential students and
provide a student hotline.
- Offer a credit course for education ambassadors
which includes publishing a video on YouTube™ focused on their
enthusiasm for the teaching profession.
- Send an email to students with high GPAs in other
departments or with undeclared majors inquiring whether they have
thought about teaching as a career.
- Attract under-represented populations. Advisors can
recruit in ESL classes. School districts and community colleges can team
to identify potential education majors. Institutions can provide these
students with tuition support, mentoring, and tutoring. Advisors can
help newcomers from other countries make the transition to the United
States. The Troops to Teachers program (www.proudtoserveagain.com) is
another recruitment opportunity.
- Keep secondary education advisors up-to-date about advising information in high need areas.
- Provide resources and training sessions for high school guidance counselors.
- Relate positively to parents and include them in the recruiting/information process.
These ideas showcase the variety of tools available to
advisors interested in recruitment. Academic advisors should play a
major role in the recruitment process for education programs.
Advisor/Student Teaching Coordinator
Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation
Utah State University
College of Education
Murray State University
Promoting and Practicing Diversity in Advising: Rationales and Approaches
Wei-Chien Lee, San Jose State University
What should “diversity” mean to advisors? The
core values of diversity are effective practice, ethical
responsibility, validity, equality, and greater good. Moreover,
diversity needs to be practiced and promoted. This article is an
invitation to advisors to further explore the meaning and approaches to
Ethical and Professional Responsibility
Using effective and valid practices to facilitate
students’ learning and development is the ethical and professional
responsibility of advisors. Therefore, promoting and practicing
diversity is part of advisor practice for several reasons. First,
diversity experiences have been found to improve various learning
outcomes, thinking skills, student retention, and self-concept (Antonio,
et al., 2004; Gurin, et al, 2002) as well as boost flexibility and
creativity (Mannix & Neale, 2006). Second, practicing diversity
equips advisors with the knowledge, skills, and awareness that are
necessary to examine the validity and applicability of existing
theories, interventions, and research based on specific groups within
current diverse student populations and multicultural contexts. Third,
promoting and practicing diversity better equips advisors to recognize
and address inequity and prejudice. Finally, promoting and practicing
diversity supports advisors’ commitments to providing quality advising
as well as asserts advisors’ leadership in improving student learning
Two Pragmatic Approaches
Making lasting and meaningful changes requires commitment
and effort. Advisors have been long committed to promoting and
practicing diversity; the following approaches offer advisors
down-to-earth ways to make the most of their efforts.
Recognizing and Reducing Micro-inequalities.
To promote and practice diversity, advisors must recognize and reduce
the micro-inequalities that affect diverse individuals.
Micro-inequalities (Rowe, 1990), also known as micro-aggressions (Sue,
et al., 2007), are seemingly trivial, unrelated, ambiguous, or frequent
behaviors and events that are oppressive, insulting, or hostile to
victims. Micro-inequalities increase inequality and segregation (Rowe,
1990). Micro-inequalities are more taxing to cope with cognitively
(Salvatore & Shelton, 2007) than blunt discrimination, because they
are frequent, unpredictable (from whom, where, and about what),
confusing, and thus make reacting difficult. For example, at
professional conferences visible minorities have been mistakenly asked
to perform hotel-employee tasks by other conference participants. This
has occurred no matter how they were dressed or if they wore their
conference name tags and “presenter” ribbons. Many diverse individuals
have received comments similar to, “You are doing very well for a
Black/Latino/first-generation person.” In response to these kinds of
remarks, colleagues and students have asked, “Do you think that person
would say, ‘You are doing very well for a White male’ to a White male?”
Many minority colleagues find themselves asking “How much more do I need
to do to prove myself?”
Micro-inequalities erode individuals’ self-efficacy, effectiveness,
and sense of safety. Micro-inequalities make it hard to feel supported,
validated, respected, or trusted. Micro-inequalities, according to one
student, can “feel like ‘death by a thousand cuts;’ you don’t know when,
who, or what” to expect. Advisors have the opportunities and power to
reduce or prevent the effects of micro-inequalities on diverse
individuals through education, training, and advising. When advisors
recognize, understand, and reduce micro-inequalities, they demonstrate
their intentions accurately and clearly, avoid discriminating against
others, work with students and colleagues effectively, and foster
supportive and trusting relationships that enable learning and growth.
Appreciating the Deep Meaning of Diversity.
Promoting and practicing diversity is often challenging, but “meaning”
inspires and motivates people. For example, people volunteer or
sacrifice for the causes they support. Similarly, advisors may be
motivated by exploring and realizing the deep (personal, social, and
ethical) meanings of diversity.
Advisors may start such exploration by “walking in
others’ shoes.” For example, pondering what “being a minority” (race,
age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, body type, language, etc.)
means. Too often being a minority means being oppressed, distrusted,
rejected, teased, put down, ignored, disadvantaged, humiliated, and
expected to fail – all of which require extra emotional and cognitive
strengths and efforts to cope. It also means that theories and
approaches for education, health practice, and learning based on the
“norm” or the “majority” may not be applicable. Moreover, it means
having fewer opportunities and more obstacles. From this perspective,
the meaning of diversity is actively reducing human suffering,
increasing equality, and preventing future oppression. Adoption of this
perspective moves advisors away from the “diversity is for and about
minorities only” attitude that has caused tensions and misunderstandings
in issues related to diversity.
By 1998, I had become an extremely quiet and reserved
international student who had been laughed at, used, and excluded by
classmates for two years. I had even been told by fellow students that I
was “very lucky” to be accepted by my program, because “they [the
program] wanted an Asian.” I hid to reduce the chances of being hurt.
Then I met my mentors. These two mentors used their power to shield me
from micro-aggressions, encouraged and taught me skills to deal with
inequalities, empowered me, and earned my trust by appreciating me,
being fair, and acknowledging their privileges and limits. With their
assistance I grew; I started on the path to becoming who I am today. In
1998, my deep connection with NACADA started because one of my mentors
made NACADA a recharging center and safe place for me.
Human beings are fallible, yet they also have the power
to heal, support, and protect. Promoting and practicing diversity is an
effective way advisors can help heal, support, and protect students,
colleagues, and society. Most of all, promoting and practicing diversity
can start with practical, “small” steps. That was what my mentors did,
and ten years later, I still draw strength and wisdom from their
mentoring and teaching.
Psychologist, Counseling Services
San Jose State University
Antonio, A. L., Chang, M. J., Hakuta, K., Kenny, D. A., Levin, S.,
& Milen, J. F. (2004). Effects of racial diversity on complex
thinking in college students. Psychological Science, 15, 507-510.
Gruin, P., Dey, E. L., Hurtado, S., & Gruin, G.
(2002). Diversity in higher education: Theory and impact on educational
outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72, 330-366.
Mannix, E., & Neale, M. A. (August/September, 2006). Diversity at work. Scientific American Mind, 17 (4), 32-39.
Rowe, M. P. (1990). Barriers to equality: The power of subtle discrimination to maintain unequal opportunity. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 3 (2), 153-163.
Salvatore, J., & Shelton, N. (2007). Cognitive costs of exposure to racial prejudice. Psychological Science, 18, 810-815.
Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J.
M., Holder, A. M. B., Nadal, K. L., & Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial
microaggression in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62, 271-286.
Building Student-Faculty Relationships
Adam Duberstein, Ohio Dominican University
'Have you talked with your professor yet?' is
a favorite question academic advisors ask their students. More often
than not, students tell their advisors that they have not engaged their
teachers in meaningful conversations outside the classroom. Research
(Campbell & Campbell, 1997; Kuh & Hu, 1991) shows that
student-faculty relationships are the most crucial connection within a
collegiate community. Like any relationship, those between faculty
members and students require nurturing. Advisors who know their
students' talents and understand their faculty colleagues' gifts for
helping the student grow occupy an unique position where they can
facilitate strong relationships between advisees and their professors.
When advisors help facilitate conversations between
students and faculty members, they help the institution as a whole. When
students feel connected to the campus community, they are more often
retained and excel academically, creating a winning situation for
everyone. Nagda, Gregerman, Jonides, von Hippel, and Lerner (1998) point
out that: 'Lack of integration, or isolation of the student within the
institution, has been identified as an important factor in contributing
to student departure. The effects of weak...student-with-faculty contact
[has] been cited repeatedly as a [cause] of student withdrawal from
college' (p. 57).
A sense of connection with teachers helps students feel like they
belong at the institution. Advisors can aid in building this connection
by helping students understand that they should get to know their
professors, if only so that faculty can teach them better. Faculty
members who understand the learning needs and interests of their
students can appropriately tailor assignments, expectations, and
Advisors who work with distance-learners can help their
advisees build relationships with faculty, even if those relationships
must take place over a physical distance. Morris and Finneagan (2008)
report that: '[a] faculty presence online and faculty participation
[are] important to online students' (p. 60). Regardless of the
environment in which learning takes place, students feel more satisfied
when faculty members function as an active part of their lives (Morris
& Finnegan, 2008; Nagda, et al, 1998).
Advisors can facilitate conversations between students and faculty
members by reminding students that their teachers were once students
themselves. Encouraging students to share their concerns with faculty
members can give students a different 'take' on a problem. For example,
because faculty must balance teaching, research, service, and busy
personal lives, they are well-equipped to work with students on time
management issues. Faculty also can suggest a host of effective study
strategies ranging from note-taking skills to the best ways to
critically read a particular text. Often students do not take advantage
of faculty knowledge of study skills, even though faculty have studied
long hours in their fields in order to get the positions they currently
Not only should students be encouraged to ask faculty for
general scholastic advice, but they also should learn how faculty
became invested in their particular areas of expertise. Such
conversations are helpful for students searching for their academic
passions. These conversations can also be helpful to students who
believe they have solidified their academic interests, as role modeling,
references, and research opportunities can arise from these
relationships. Kuh and Hu (1991) tell us that 'student-faculty
interaction encourages students to devote greater effort to other
educationally purposeful activities during college' (p. 329). Through
these educational conversations, faculty can challenge students to excel
academically and help students reach their potentials.
Advisors can help these conversations occur not only by pointing out
their tangible benefits, but also by explaining that most faculty
members enjoy working one-on-one with students. Parr and Valerius (1991)
noted that faculty found student office visits among the most positive
student behaviors. This finding underscores that faculty want to get to
know their students. Schreiber (2004), himself a professor, says,
'Most...faculty members actually like talking with students – that's why
we became professors – and will happily do so when the opportunity
comes up.” Therefore, students should be proactive in approaching
faculty. Advisors can remind students who feel negatively towards
interacting with a particular teacher that people behave differently in
groups than in one-on-one situations. A clear explanation that
relationships start as one-on-one efforts can help students see that
faculty are approachable and often are willing mentors in the learning
Advisors should tell students that the most fruitful
conversations with faculty center on learning, rather than grades. To
build a good relationship with a faculty member, a student should
demonstrate that learning, rather than arguing for a better grade, is
central to the discussion. In addition, students who have educational
conversations with faculty tend to reap the most benefit from the
interaction. Kuh and Hu (1991) explain that 'both the frequency and the
nature of student-faculty interaction combined have the greatest impact,
such as when interactions have an intellectual or substantive focus'
(p. 310). When they help their students ask faculty well crafted
questions, advisors can help faculty and students connect.
Good faculty-student relationships begin with conversations. There
are several conversation starters that advisors can use in order to ease
the student into making a connection with faculty members. Students who
ask faculty such open-ended questions as: 'How did you choose your
undergraduate major?' or 'What study methods should I use for this class
in order to learn the most from it?' set the tone for productive
educational relationships. Campbell and Campbell (1997) noted that
students who receive faculty mentoring have higher grades.
Advisors better prepare students for the workforce when
they encourage their advisees to see their professors as supervisors who
evaluate their work rather than someone responsible for student
performance on assignments. All workers need to converse with
supervisors; thus students who learn to effectively converse with their
educational supervisors will do better in the workplace. Thus, students
who hone their professional communication skills in a learning
environment learn skills they need to succeed in their careers.
Advisors can help students and faculty invest in each
other for both student and institutional success. Faculty members want
to teach. Academic advisors can help students learn strategies to better
access faculty knowledge.
Ohio Dominican University
Discussion Question Guide
- How can advisors help students have educationally purposeful conversations with faculty?
- What can an advisor do to encourage students to get to know their professors?
- How can advisors help students prepare for interactions with faculty?
- How can advisors challenge students’ assumptions of faculty roles?
- How can advisors support successful conversations between students and faculty members?
Find the Reference List and an Annotated Bibliography of resources dealing with this topic in the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources.
One More Draft: How the Writing Process Shapes the Academic Advising Session
Jessica Newcomb, Texas A&M University
During advisor training, I read many articles that positioned advisors
as teachers, and as a former lecturer in the department of English, I
instantly felt connected and encouraged by that comparison. Advising
aligns with teaching on several points, using “instructional
methodologies in a disciplined fashion, as is done in the classroom
setting, to help students make and execute plans to achieve their
educational and life goals” (Creamer, 2000, p. 19). My teaching style,
and what has developed as my advising style, aims for a one-on-one
mentor style relationship, seeks self-directedness for the student, and
supports an organic interaction that requires participation from the
student and me. I mention the familiar comparison only as a starting
point that lays the foundation for t he intersection between the two
disciplines in which I am most interested: How the rejection of mastery
and the focus on practice and revision in the writing process applies to
Traditionally, teachers have instructed and modeled good writing, and
students have practiced to achieve mastery (at least in the context of
one classroom), but contemporary composition pedagogues and theorists
now suggest that “modeling certain conventions will not ensure that
writers learn all they need to know” (Kastman Breuch, 2003, p. 104). So,
what is missing from a process that favors mastery? These writers might
be effective imitators of accepted practice(s), but they do not know
how to express themselves or move beyond a set structure or framework.
Similarly, certain skills or information can be taught and understood in
an advising session, but this acquisition does not guarantee that a
student will be able to navigate the collegiate or professional world
effectively. Instead, demonstrated learning and a useful application of
that knowledge takes place in a series of moments as a student develops
in the collegiate environment, and in order to respect all types of
learning and knowing, advisors need to view the advising process as one
full of revision at a pace that is influenced by a student’s unique
background and learning style.
Advising is often described as a process by theorists, advisors, and writers like NACADA Past-President Nancy King,
who stated in a NACADA Webinar that advising assists “students in a
continual monitoring and evaluation of their educational progress”
(King, 2006). An advisor could take this idea one step further by
acknowledging that there are many processes happening simultaneously,
i.e., revision, as discussions from previous meetings are questioned,
supported, or altered. What results from this proposal is an increased
emphasis on the communicative interaction between advisors and students
and a reexamination of how progress is monitored while revision is
In the classroom, students compose essays in stages that include
several drafts that are edited by peers and the instructor. Following
steps enables students to see how the parts create and relate to the
finished essay and requires writing with direction and purpose. When I
look at these steps as an advisor, I see how they could occur on a
smaller scale in one session, or how they may occur before, during, or
over multiple sessions with one or more advisor(s). Here is a scenario
that describes how revision in the writing process relates to the
structure of advising:
- Brainstorming ideas:
A student has a problem or question and asks friends about their
experiences. She first tries to find an answer (which hopefully is the
correct answer) online. She may doubt the answers she receives or follow
one that seems credible, only to find out that the information was
incorrect or incomplete. Finally, she decides to speak with an academic
- Shaping an introduction to support and present the thesis statement:
The advisor and student talk about the student’s background and
academic and/or career objectives to contextualize the problem or
- Drafting/Revising a thesis statement:
The advisor and student identify the main problem or question which
could concern graduating, dropping a class, or learning more about a
- Drafting/Revising topic sentences:
The advisor and student identify sub-goals or additional problems that
impact the student’s situation. The advisor might identify problems of
which the student was not aware or prompt additional questions.
- Drafting/Revising body paragraphs:
The advisor and student compose a plan for action that could include
consulting other departments or using campus resources. The advisor may
call several advisors, employees, or faculty or consult multiple
departmental Web sites before finding a definitive answer.
- Shaping a conclusion to unify ideas and emphasize the thesis statement:
The advisor and student compose a plan for follow-up which could
involve staying in touch via email or another meeting, scheduling an
appointment with an advisor in a different department, taking an
inventory or interest tests, etc. These activities may prompt more
questions and lead back to a previous step but will ultimately clarify
problems for the student.
Questions are focused, ideas enlightened,and answers refined in each step. Although one or even a few advising
sessions will not likely transform a developing student into a master
of institutional regulations and departmental policies, the advising
process can still be viewed as successful. Advising is most beneficial
when mastery is not the goal and advisors acknowledge and support a
process that revises how students approach challenges, gather and apply
information, and assess goals and progress.
General Academic Programs
Texas A&M University
Creamer, D. G. (2000). Use of Theory in Academic Advising. In V. N. Gordon and W. R. Habley (Eds.), Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook. (pp. 18-34). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kastman Breuch, L. M. (2003). Post-process 'pedagogy': A philosophical exercise. In V. Villanueva (Ed.), Cross-talk in comp theory: A reader. (pp. 97-125). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
King, N. S. (September 26, 2006). Advising as Teaching. [NACADA Webinar 1].
Utilizing a Framework for Peer Advising Program Development
Dana Zahorik, Peer Advising & Mentoring Commission Chair
Budgets of higher education institutions have reflected a decline
in available dollars, which has led to a decrease in services in areas
such as advising (Reinarz, 2005). NACADA members, in various articles,
monograph chapters, and presentations, have educated advisors on
alternative methods of delivering advising services when available
dollars decrease. Habley (2004) found that 42% of colleges and
universities utilized peer advising services.
Koring and Campbell (2005) noted that development and
implementation of a peer advising program can create an additional
resource for students and assist staff in meeting advising needs more
efficiently. However, many staff and faculty are unsure how or where to
begin in developing a peer advising program. A framework that helps
ensure that crucial information is available can be helpful in beginning
the development process. Advisors who follow the steps below will have
documents that can turn ideas into institutional action.
The first step in the process is to declare a goal.
Identification of goals for a peer advising project will assist in
achieving the desired results. An example of a goal would be to better
leverage resources or to reduce advisor/student ratio.
The second step is to define how the goal(s) align with
current college strategic directions, goals, mission and/or vision.
Tying the project to college initiatives creates an opportunity for
administrator support of the project.
Third, identify the campus leaders who will manage the project. These
leaders should then name a committee responsible for the creation of
the peer advising program. This committee can identify training and
supervision needs and other necessary program components. The committee
should also list project sponsors, informally known as cheerleaders, who
are the student leaders, faculty, staff, and administrators who take
interest in the project and will advocate for the creation of the
Fourth, the committee members should identify the
rationale for the project. Similar to goal identification, in this step
the committee must explain in detail how this project will enhance
existing advising services. For example, recent results of an
institutional student satisfaction survey might suggest a need for
assistance in understanding and navigating instructional programs or
that the expansion of support services is a student priority. Peer
advising would directly address these needs.
Fifth, create a realistic implementation timeline that
includes a pilot program. These activities will vary based on the
program design, who supervises, etc. A sample timeline could be:
October – Identify coordinator/supervisor of peer advisors
November – Begin work on pilot
December – Identify peer advisor competencies and ways to recruit potential peer advisors
January – Develop curriculum for training peer advisors
February – Conduct interviews with applicants for peer advising positions
March – Train peer advisors
April – Begin peer advising activities
June – Evaluation of pilot program
August – Implement peer advising program department-wide
Sixth, identify the scope of the project. Decide if a
department-wide peer advising program will be implemented or if the
intentions are to develop the program college wide. The committee may
decide to pilot the program in one department with the intention of
implementing a college-wide program based on evaluation of the pilot
program. Utilize peer advisors and advisees as part of the initial
evaluation. The use of surveys and focus groups can provide valuable
information on the effectiveness of a pilot.
Seventh, identify the support and resources necessary to the success of the program. Use the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources
and NACADA monographs for research and information on existing peer
advising programs. Seek institutional, state, or regional grants such as
faculty development or technology grants (Fox Valley Technical College
staff utilized a Wisconsin Technical College System faculty development
grant to develop the curriculum for peer advisor training and a
technology grant to expand the training on-line). Look for new and
creative ways to expand services rather than just relying on the
year-to-year operational budget.
Eighth, identify measurable outcomes. For example, one desired
outcome might be to increase student knowledge gained from academic
advising. Measurable outcomes are necessary to program evaluation and
are helpful in creating a case for keeping or continuing programs.
Ninth, determine how administrators will know change or
improvement occurred. Look at data to see if retention rates have
increased, examine the results of student focus groups, or compare
results of pre/post student satisfaction surveys and student learning
Lastly, develop an “issues bin.” When Fox Valley
Technical College developed this framework, the issues focused around
payment of peer advisors and continuous communication between academic
and peer advisors. These became the issues that needed to be addressed
if the program was to succeed. Every institution has a different set of
issues; therefore it is helpful if an “issues bin” is created specific
to each institution’s concerns.
Whether an institution has a student population of 2,000 or 30,000,
the framework shared above can provide a starting point for staff
interested in utilizing peer advisors. Placing all the issues on paper
creates a “big picture” perspective and helps identify the barriers that
may be encountered prior to program development. For additional
resources on best practices in peer advising, visit the NACADA
Fox Valley Technical College
Habley, W.R. (2004). The status of academic advising: Findings from the ACT Sixth National Survey (NACADA Monograph No. 10). Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.
Koring, H., & Campbell, S. (2005). Peer-advising: Intentional connections to support student learning (NACADA Monograph No. 13). Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.
NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources, (2009). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/index.htm
Reinarz, A. (2005). Advising administrators’ tips for dealing with funding reductions. Retrieved December 3, 2008, from www.nacada.ksu.edu/clearinghouse/admintips.html.
What Advisors Can Do to Help Curtain Plagiarism Among International Students
Leslie Staggers, ESL / International Student Advising Commission Chair
Over the past several years, plagiarism incidents have
been reported on many campuses. These stories highlight that this
problem plagues both our domestic and international student populations.
Regardless of innocence or guilt, we cannot assume any group of
students, and especially not our international students, understands the
mechanics of college level writing in the United States. Advisors can
help provide students with the tools they need to research, analyze, and
write in manners aligned with our campus honesty codes.
Why Students Plagiarize
Plagiarism.org (2008) notes that plagiarism can be defined as any of the following:
- turning in someone else's work as your own;
- copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit;
- failing to put a quotation in quotation marks;
- giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation;
- changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit; and
- copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not.
As most advisors understand, not all students set out to
intentionally plagiarize. Students may not fully understand references
and citations or they may not realize that they have copied another’s
ideas. Plagiarism comes in many forms: blatant copying, unreferenced
quotations, or missing citations. As such it can become increasingly
difficult for students to recognize plagiarism in their work if they are
not familiar with the concept.
On the other hand, some students intentionally copy the
works of others and offer a myriad of reasons why. Keenan and Jemmeson
(2006) note a number of these justifications: “I couldn’t keep up with
the work. The lecturer doesn’t care, why should I? Everyone expects to
see me succeed. Paraphrasing would be disrespectful. I got desperate at
the last moment” (p.1 ).
Cultural Influences on Plagiarism
These problems also can be compounded by an international
student’s cultural influences. Few understand that plagiarism is mostly
a Western concept; students from other countries may not be familiar
with this idea.
Juwah, Lal and Belouci (2008 ), in a plagiarism project
report, noted that Confucian based societies in Asia view individual
analysis of a work as egoistic and impolite. They also state that some
African and Arabian cultures teach largely through memorization. In
those cultures, exact quotations are a sign of respect to teachers.
Consequently, students from these countries may not be aware of our
cultural idea of ownership and plagiarism and could easily plagiarize in
their own works.
Tips for Advisors to Help Students Avoid Plagiarism
All students, whether intentional or not, are subject to their
school’s plagiarism policies. As advisors, we can work to curtail the
proliferation of plagiarism on our own campuses and help students
succeed. Here are a few suggestions:
- Educate students
- Guide students to campus resources, such as
writing labs or skills advancement courses, that can work one-on-one
with students to help them comprehend plagiarism and its many forms.
- Refer students to online plagiarism detecting sites such as turnitin.com or other free sites where students can upload their work and have it checked against a database.
- Highlight campus policies regarding plagiarism to students during advising appointments.
- Advocate for students
- Advisors can advocate for students by bringing attention to plagiarism prevention on campus.
- Students must understand both the concepts and implications of plagiarism.
- Educate faculty
- There are many online resources to help guide faculty in dealing with international student issues.
- Defining the relationship between faculty and
international students can help open communication so that students can
ask questions about their writing.
- Ask faculty to discuss plagiarism with their students and highlight it in their syllabi.
Plagiarism is a broad,
sweeping problem within higher education. This, by no means, is a
detailed resource report. However, I hope that this article will help
focus advisor attention on the topic and lead to a better understanding
of the cultural issues involved.
There are many great books, articles, and bibliographies
highlighted on the ESL & International student advising Web site.
Find out more on our Commission Web site
International Student and Scholar Services Offices
(2006). Tips for faculty working with international students in the
classroom. University of Denver. Retrieved November 13, 2008, from
Juwah, C., Lal, D., and Belouci, A. (2008). Overcoming
the cultural issues associated with plagiarism for international
students. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from The Plagiarism Project, The
Robert Gordon University,
Keenan, C. and Jemmeson, P. (2006). International
students and plagiarism: A review of the literature. UK: Bournemouth
University Centre for Academic Practice.
Plagarism.org. (2008). What is plagiarism? Retrieved November 13, 2008, from www.plagiarism.org/learning_center/what_is_plagiarism.html.
Advising Lessons From My Garden
Linda Johnson, Baylor University
In recent years, there have been many
references to “Advising as Teaching” in the academic advising
professional literature. I am certainly in agreement that teaching is a
very important part of what we academic advisors do. A NACADA bumper
sticker proclaiming “Advising is Teaching!” is firmly affixed to my
office bulletin board and an advising syllabus appears on my campus’
academic advising Web site. However, from my perspective as one who has
spent almost 23 years plowing the fields as an academic advisor, and
almost that much time growing roses as a hobby, I believe that a strong
argument also can be made for using another metaphor, that of “Advising
In the garden of a student’s life, advisors are NOT the
sun, or the rain, or even the manure. I believe that faculty in the
classroom would happily claim those roles for themselves, and we will
gladly let them! I believe that advisors do, however, play a part in the
lives of students that is not unlike the function of a gardener. And,
since many commonalities exist between advising and gardening, advisors
can learn many wonderful lessons about advising students by looking no
farther than their own gardens.
I have developed a series of “Advising Lessons from My
Garden” on a variety of topics. Space constraints, however, only allow
for the inclusion here of one example of these lessons, “To Everything
There is a Season,” which follows:
“To everything there is a season…a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted” (Proverbs 3).
In nature, the best time to plant seeds is usually in the springtime after the danger of frost has passed. After
several months of growing, harvest time follows, and then plants often
go dormant during the winter…only to awaken again the following spring
and start growing again. Hal Borland once explained the constancy of the
recurring seasons in these words: “No winter lasts forever. No spring
skips its turn. April is a promise that May is bound to come…and we know
it.” Barbara Winkler once described this phenomenon as: “Every gardener
knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle.”
Just as the seasons in a garden are predictable, so, too,
are most schools’ calendars for advising activities. On most campuses,
about the same time each spring, advisors are busy in their respective
fields preparing the ground for the incoming shipment of new seedlings
(also known as new freshmen and transfer students). When they arrive in
June for summer orientation, advisors are ready for them and their task
is to help “plant” them in just the right spot so they will thrive and,
During the course of the year, both gardeners and
advisors alike nurture their young charges; providing support when
needed; and using their tools, resources, and knowledge of solutions to
common problems to help them deal with issues that might impede their
growth. In the case of the gardener, their plants’ problems show up in
the form of diseases, insects, and weeds, or maybe a lack of enough sun
or water to suit their needs.
In the case of the advisor, their students’ problems come in a
variety of forms, too. Homesickness is one example of new student
problems. More commonly, these problems result from a student’s LACK of
things, i.e., the lack of a sense of direction, motivation to study,
academic preparation, good study skills, knowledge of academic programs,
or policies and requirements. Many times, the problem involves a
combination of several of these issues. The gardener and advisor alike
stand ready to help remedy these situations with the appropriate
treatment. They both draw upon a wealth of knowledge, useful tools, and
access to a wide array of resources.
At the end of the year, if they have done their jobs
well, the gardener and the advisor both are rewarded with the harvest of
the fruits of their labor. The gardener, depending upon the kind of
seedlings planted, may be the recipient of a bounty of beautiful and
fragrant flowers or luscious tomatoes or green beans. In the case of
advisors, their reward at the end of the year is seeing students who
have grown in a variety of ways; they have learned their way around
campus, explored various academic options, learned much about themselves
and their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. “Flowering” students
have gained some ideas about where they might best use their unique
gifts, and have learned to use campus resources to help them succeed in
reaching the goals they set for themselves. In essence, the advisor sees
the student begin to “blossom.” Thus, successful gardeners and advisors
see both flowers and students, respectively, eventually bloom. As
Margaret Elizabeth Sanger puts it, “Never yet was a springtime, when the
buds forgot to bloom.”
After enjoying flowers for awhile, advisors and gardeners begin to
plow the field again in preparation for the next year’s crop and another
season. As this process is repeated year after year, an AMAZING thing
happens with each passing year: both the gardener and the advisor gain
increasing knowledge about the needs of their charges; they acquire more
experience in dealing with the kind of problems which are likely to
hamper the growth of their young seedlings. As the garden grows, so too
grows the gardener ! Such are the seasons in the worlds of both
gardening and advising.
Best wishes for a fruitful upcoming advising season filled with beautiful bouquets and much growth!
Associate Director, Academic Advisement
Emerging Leaders Program: Second Year, Full Throttle!
Carol Pollard, NACADA Emerging Leader
Jo Anne Huber, NACADA Mentor
In March 2007 at the NACADA Region VII Conference, we listened with interest as Charlie Nutt gave a short talk about a new NACADA program initiative. He described the Emerging Leaders Program
as “exciting and innovative” – a great way to for individuals to spread
their wings within NACADA. The NACADA Diversity Committee was already
accepting both Emerging Leader and Mentor applications for the inaugural 2007-2009 Class, and we both immediately decided to apply.
The Emerging Leader application was rather involved and
reminded me that I was signing up for more work – work that I would be
doing in addition to my busy job and hectic life! But the process of
applying also made me realize that I had goals and plans I would like to
pursue through NACADA involvement; I was eager to see if I might be
The summer day when e-mail arrived saying that I had been
chosen was a very happy one! It was, however, followed almost
immediately by our pre-conference assignments. If I had any doubts about
the rigor of the Program, they were immediately erased – clearly I
would be kept busy until our group came together at the Annual
At the Annual Conference in Baltimore, we came together
for our first meeting and spent a morning talking about NACADA – its
past, present, and future – and shared how we wanted to be a part of
that important development. There were many laughs, a few tears, and
lots of great stories. I was inspired to hear the different ideas
program participants had about their goals and dreams. I said that I was
interested in learning and helping in any way I could with the
regional, national, and even international conferences. I truly believe
in NACADA events, and I love organizing things (some people might say I
am bossy; I prefer to think that I have a ‘take charge personality!’).
The most exciting moment of our orientation was when we were
partnered with our Mentors! This pairing of Emerging Leader and Mentor
is the single most important portion of the program; the Mentor
connection is invaluable. I was honored to be paired with NACADA Past
President Jo Anne Huber from the University of Texas at Austin, who also
happens to be the Chair for the upcoming 2009 Annual Conference in San
Antonio. Clearly, this was a person from whom I would learn much – and I
have indeed dearly appreciated her mentoring and friendship. Knowing
someone with her level of experience has been a wonderful gift.
Jo Anne and I presented together at our 2008 Regional
Conference and, following that, she asked if I would be interested in
serving on the 2009 Annual Conference committee. I agreed to be the
Exhibits Chair. Without the Emerging Leader experience, I do not believe
that I would have volunteered to be involved with the planning for the
Annual Conference – and it all began with filling out a simple program
During the past year, I served on the NACADA Name Change
Task Force, and just recently was asked to serve on the Emerging Leaders
Program Advisory Board. Both are great opportunities to become more
involved and learn more about how NACADA works; I look forward to seeing
what develops from these groups.
Attending the 2008 Annual Conference in Chicago was a homecoming in
many ways. In part, it was bittersweet – our time was half over as
Emerging Leaders; it seemed like it had gone too quickly. At the same
time there was a renewed energy from the incoming 2008-2010 Emerging
Leaders class. Meeting the new class was such fun, and they looked to us
as experts – I don’t think that view is warranted quite yet but we are
working on it! We met together one afternoon to discuss questions and
share ideas; I think the returning members learned as much as the new
Emerging Leaders. Those of us who had been in the program for a full
year had stories to tell about our relationships, how our professional
development had gone during that year, and our plans for the upcoming
Now that my final year as an Emerging Leader is well
underway I must confess to a few moments of panic – have I done what I
should, have I missed opportunities, what does the future hold? I am
excited about the part I will play in helping with the 2009 Annual
Conference, and I can’t wait to meet the next class of Emerging Leaders.
ticipation in the Emerging Leader Program has been certainly a
career changing experience; I am honored to have been a part of this
special group. I encourage YOU to apply for next year and begin the same
Jo Anne’s Perspective
First of all, I was honored to be chosen as a Mentor for
the first Emerging Leader class. Over the years I have learned a lot
from NACADA leaders and colleagues; these individuals were absolutely
invaluable as I worked my way up the ladder in leadership positions. The
difference is that with this Program there is a formal process, with a
dedicated budget, that ensures that those who wish to pursue NACADA
leadership positions – regardless if as a volunteer or in an elected
position – are encouraged to achieve their goals. The Emerging Leaders
were able to select the Mentor they felt could best help them pursue
their interests. Luckily, with the Annual Conference planning for 2009,
it was easy to slip Carol into a role she wanted. I hope that Carol will
continue to achieve her goals in the Association and always know that I
am a phone call/email away, even when our formal mentorship ends as our
second year concludes.
Carol J. Pollard
Senior Academic Counselor
College of Music
University of North Texas
Jo Anne Huber
Senior Academic Advisor
Dept. of Government
University of Texas-Austin
You Have to Be There: Summer Institute
Patsy Krech, Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
“You had to be there.” No doubt we have all
heard people say these words after recalling what, to them, was a
hilarious story, only to have the listeners look at them quizzically.
Describing a NACADA Summer Institute is like that experience. Explaining
what occurred at the Summer Institute in Portsmouth, Virginia, June
22-27, 2008, is not difficult, but conveying the depth and impact of the
experience is challenging!
At the suggestion of Karen Thurmond, Director of Academic Advising and Degree Planning Resources at The University of Memphis, I submitted an application for a Wesley R. Habley Summer Institute Scholarship
and received one of these annually-awarded scholarships. Since I had
attended several excellent NACADA annual and regional conferences, I was
expecting a similar type of experience. As a part of my scholarship
application, I had written a draft for a project which I wanted to
complete, so I thought I was well prepared. Like many of our students, I
soon realized the wealth of information available on my topic – and a
number of resources yet to be studied.
The SI Small Group Institute was led by seasoned advisors who served as
faculty for general sessions, roundtables, topical sessions, and
workshops. Over the course of the week, participants engaged in
considering theories of advising, student development, advisor
development, special populations, assessment and more. In addition, each
participant was assigned to a small group which met each day, with one
of the institute’s faculty who served as the Small Group leaders. In my
group’s first session Tom Grites, our facilitator, encouraged each
participant to discuss an idea for anAction Plan–
a project to enhance academic advising on our own campuses. We were
challenged over the next several days to determine the goals,
background, and methods for implementing our Action Plans. At each Small
Group meeting, we added to our plans based on what we had learned in
the general sessions, workshops, and other events of the day. Knowing
our Action Plans helped each of us select sessions that applied to our
work. Also, the other Small Group participants and our facilitator
provided feedback as we moved through the stages of the Action Plan. We
even had an individual conference with one of the institute’s faculty
members to explain our Action Plans and receive feedback. By the end of
week, all participants had a well-considered Action Plan, which we took
back to our institutions.
My Action Plan involved assisting with further development of an online
course for new faculty advisors. The course will inform advisors of
academic requirements initially and will ultimately focus on the
conceptual, informational, and relational aspects of advising. Our
seasoned advisors will be asked to help assess the content and make
recommendations for improvement. This online course will include visual
and aural components so that advisors can learn in various formats.
Through the Small Group I attended, I was challenged to consider the
reception of this online course, the means of delivery, the hoped-for
outcomes, and assessment possibilities. Having the knowledge base of a
dozen advisors from across the United States and Canada made the process
more challenging and resulted in a more thorough plan than I could have
developed on my own. I enjoyed getting to know the people in my Small
Group very much, but, more than that, I valued their challenges, their
praise, and their encouragement. Although it has been several years
since I have taken a class, this group reminded me of the camaraderie of
several of my graduate courses with Tom Grites serving as leader, scholar, and chief inquisitor.
This leads me to the confession that, although we accomplished much
at this institute, we also had a lot of fun. During our free time we
talked or went to supper with our new friends. We rode the Elizabeth
River ferry from Portsmouth to Norfolk and strolled to shopping or
dining. Mid-week all the participants and faculty went on an evening
boat ride toward the Chesapeake Bay. Many of our group demonstrated
their dance skills as we enjoyed the sunset on the water. On many
occasions, we shared stories and experiences with each other. At
breakfast and lunch, and in our Small Groups, we shared comments about
sessions we attended. I was struck by how often we shared examples
speakers used to convey ideas. Four examples come to mind:
- As advisors, we should encourage students to “expand their comfort zone” instead of stepping outside it.
- We should consider how our institutions “court” or
recruit students compared to how they are treated once they come to
campus (the difference between courtship and marriage?).
- Students are like watering houseplants – all of them
are different; watering each Tuesday and Thursday is okay if that is
how often they need watering.
- Student learning is the heart of academic advising;
advisors teach students the essentials needed to be successful in
college and beyond.
Although “you had to be there” to truly
understand the incredible experience that my fellow participants and I
shared at Summer Institute, I encourage each NACADA member to
experience a Summer Institute this coming summer or in the near future.
Participants leave the Institute with a more thorough appreciation of
what advising means, with a deeper understanding of the theory that
supports our roles as academic advisors, and with more knowledge
regarding how we can help our students succeed. Like the various vessels
we watched cruise by our Portsmouth hotel – the barges carrying heavy
loads, the tugs pushing the resistant cargo, the sailboats drifting with
the breeze, and the ferries transporting passengers to their
destinations – advisors serve their advisees in many capacities.
Attending a Summer Institute provides more knowledge, skill, expertise,
and enthusiasm for the voyage!
Director of Advising
College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Memphis
Results of Member Assessment at 2008 NACADA Annual Conference
Terry Musser, NACADA Board of Directors
Assessments of membership information were implemented at the 2008
NACADA Annual Conference, sponsored by the Board of Directors. A survey
and a town hall meeting were designed to: 1) gather information from the
members about their member benefits; 2) determine the viability of
gathering this type of information in a large conference setting; and 3)
allow the current leadership to interact more with the membership.
275 participants were surveyed by volunteers from the
planning team, the Emerging Leaders Program, and the current leadership.
A town hall meeting was held on Friday of the conference with
approximately 80 people in attendance. Eight volunteers were trained to
conduct the Nominal Group Process to answer the question: “What benefits
are you currently not receiving as a member that you would like to
have?” Each of the eight groups produced a list of the top 3-4 benefits
they would like to have as NACADA members.
The majority of respondents (67%) to the survey have been
members for a relatively short amount of time – five years or less. The
largest percentage of respondents worked at public four-year
institutions and 25% work at a public research institution. Table 1
summarizes the number and percent of respondents from institution type.
Table 1. Type of Institution
Type of Institution
When asked about their professional role, most indicated they were academic advisors or counselors. Table 2 summarizes the types of roles represented by the participants.
Table 2. Advising Role
Table 3 shows the number of respondent reasons for joining NACADA as well as a percentage of the total answers to this question.
Table 3. Why did you join NACADA? (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)
# of Responses
I heard it was somewhere I could get advising information.
I was hired to be an advisor and needed to find help and information.
My colleague(s) told me it was a good organization.
For professional development opportunities.
To support my work as an advisor or advising administrator.
For networking opportunities.
Table 4 summarizes the responses to the question, “Why do you continue your membership?”
Table 4. Why do you continue your membership? (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)
# of Responses
For the networking
For the professional development
To get away from the office once or twice a year
To receive the publications (Journal, Newsletter, Monographs, etc.)
The last question asked “What NACADA membership benefits have you taken advantage of?” Table 5 shows responses and percent of responses to each of the member benefits.
Table 5. What NACADA membership benefits have you taken advantage of? (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)
# of Responses
The final two questions were reserved for non-NACADA members. When
asked, “What has prevented you from joining”, answers were almost evenly
distributed among the choices. Table 6 shows the distribution of
answers to this question.
Table 6. What has prevented you from joining?
# of Responses
I’m not an advisor.
I want to see if it is worth joining before I decide.
I can’t afford the dues.
Lack of institutional support.
Not sure of the benefits.
Had not heard of it before.
NACADA doesn’t offer me anything worth joining for.
Table 7 indicates the number and percent of responses to each option for what would make them want to join.
Table 7. What would make you want to join?
# of Responses
My institution pays my dues.
The professional development opportunities.
More support from my institution for attending professional development opportunities.
The dues were less.
There were more benefits.
Town Hall Meeting Results
The Nominal Group Process gives small groups a chance to
brainstorm all possible answers to a question and then to discuss,
select and prioritize their top answers. One category of ideas repeated
throughout several of the small groups is improved functionality and
offerings for members via the NACADA Web site. Included in this area
would be a searchable membership directory, searchable Journal, online
chat communities, and easier navigation. Related to technology was the
need for wireless Internet access at conferences. Job placement
activities at conferences were included on two lists and monetary
incentives for members came up two times as well. The need to provide
more scholarships and research grants and to rethink the allocation of
funding within the Association was also identified.
Addressing membership needs of a large organization is
always a challenge. NACADA has grown very quickly in the past five years
and the demographics are changing to reflect a younger,
less-experienced advising workforce. Providing resources that target the
wide ranging needs of a diverse membership is a priority of the NACADA
Executive Office staff and the Board of Directors. This approach to
assessing membership needs at an annual conference gave us valuable
insight and information including:
- It is possible to gather data from individuals and
small groups attending a conference and volunteers typically enjoyed
meeting new people and discussing their needs.
- Members are taking advantage of the plethora of
resources and professional development activities currently offered at
various levels and they have ideas about how their needs could be better
addressed using state-of-the-art technology.
- Membership demographics must be examined when
designing professional development activities. The needs of new or newer
members, as well as those who have many years of experience in advising
and with the Association, must be considered.
- If nothing else was gained from this activity, more
than 300 members’ voices were heard and dozens of volunteers were given
the opportunity to get involved in the Association.
Penn State University
Faux Pas to Avoid in an Advisor Job Search
Are you thinking of starting an advising job search? Need a quick refresher on the Do’s and Don’ts?
Here are a few reminders on what to AVOID when starting your next search.
Cover Letter Faux Pas
- Addressing your cover letter to “Dear Sir”, “Dear
Sir or Madam”, or “To Whom it May Concern” — Be specific as to whom you
address your letter, if possible. Or use “Dear Chairperson” or “Dear
Search Committee Members.”
- Too long or too short — Should be one page, 3-4 paragraphs.
- Forgetting to proofread — The purpose of a cover letter is to demonstrate your written communication skills.
- Failing to match your career objective to the
position — Don’t say that you want to be a professor when you are
applying for an academic advisor position.
- Attaching the job posting announcement to your letter
Resume Faux Pas
- Listing interests — Do not list irrelevant information, such as interests, on your resume.
- Using templates — Don’t let your resume look like everyone else’s resume.
- Using a funky font (type and size) or paper — Not even Elle Woods can get away with a pink perfumed resume.
- Failing to tailor your resume to the position — Even
if you have seemingly unrelated experience, show how it relates to the
- Including dated work experience — Ten years is the typical cut-off point for including jobs on your resume.
- Listing references on your actual resume — Use a separate piece of paper, and please only list 3-5.
- Updating or correcting your resume with a pen – Make changes and print a new copy.
- Using regular copier paper — Invest in nice resume paper, which can be found at places like office supply stores.
- Folding your resume or using matching business-size
envelopes — Use manila envelopes and type out the addresses on adhesive
- Sending your resume through priority or overnight
mail just to attract attention to it – Only the individual opening the
mail will take note.
- Using your email from your current place of
employment — Establish a new, free email account that is solely for job
searching. Please make sure to choose a professional email address
(e.g., not email@example.com).
Social Networking Site Faux Pas
- Putting inappropriate information or pictures on your Facebook® site
General Information Faux Pas
- Failure to submit all requested documents, such as transcript copies, list of references, etc.
- Including additional documents not requested, such as copies of diplomas and teaching licenses
Chair, NACADA Member Career Services Committee
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
Director of Career Services
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
It takes but one SPARK to ignite the flame for an idea. Does your campus have an unusual or exceptional process or program that could spark an idea on another campus? If so, tell us about it in 350 words or less. Send your Sparkler to Leigh@ksu.edu
This edition's SPARKLER come to us from the College of Charleston.
Communication Coordinator at the College of Charleston Academic
Advising and Planning Center in Charleston, South Carolina notes that “the
use of new media is a prevalent business topic in every industry,
higher education included. Every year, we review the profile of the
incoming freshman class and marvel at the technology that has been part
of their young lives from the very beginning; as educators we’re
challenged to determine how to provide the instruction and guidance they
need in a method that is understandable not only to them, but also to
us. The student has the responsibility to do the learning, but the onus
is on us to facilitate the delivery. ” Recognizing that current
trends in broad use communication include the ever-popular YOU TUBE
sites, Myra pulled together a creative team of advisors and advising
administrators, who collaborated with a media professor from their
Department of Communication to brainstorm about the critical messages
they want to convey to their undeclared students. What media do the
18-24 year-old set seek out? What do they respond to? Myra recalls that “with this the age of skit television, sound bites, viral videos, and
absurdist comedy – the tone of the project took a humorous turn. The
team worked out a few scripts and concepts and laid out an overview of
concepts and screen shots. A primary character emerged – our own office
gnome, Mr. Folger Glimini Tilby. Then with the collaboration of advisors
and a few other willing recruits from around campus, the videos were
shot at venues all around campus. The approach was very tongue-in-cheek,
and the results are funny, engaging, and most of all, memorable.” View The Tilby Chronicles on the College of Charleston’s Academic Advising and Planning Web site. For more information about the project, contact Myra at WhittemoreM@cofc.edu.