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Voices of the Global Community

From the President: Staying the Course, NACADA and You

Joanne K. Damminger, NACADA President

Joanne Damminger.jpgMarch weather is upon us and many are happy to see the gray of winter, experienced in some countries, fade to the more vibrant colors of spring. For other worldwide colleagues, summer is coming to an end and March is welcoming the beautiful fall season. Whatever you experience in your geographical location, March is a time to reflect on the progress of one's resolutions and focus on students who are preparing to complete another semester, graduate, or join us for their first semester of college. For each of these student populations, advisors and supervisors of advising are a vibrant source of support and nurturing, preparing students for next steps in their educational and/or career journeys. Effective advisors, in the fashion of other good leaders, help students to blossom by giving them hope, direction, and the ability to dream and attain future goals.

Now is also a great time for each of us to take stock of what we have accomplished in the first quarter of the year and plan our next steps. Often our days are so full of daily commitments and operational tasks that we neglect to recognize our achievements and the ways in which they benefit students, our departments, and our campuses. Please reserve a few minutes to reflect on the ways you have improved, or created a plan to improve, your advising practice. Do not hesitate to challenge your own status quo, a critical characteristic of leadership and effective change initiatives (Kouzes & Posner, 1995; Rost, 1993). This could be as simple as creating a more welcoming message for new advisees, writing an advising syllabus, or enhancing your advising approach with students. Often we need to start such action projects on a small scale and allow them to gain momentum. Others will often gain interest in what we are doing as a project progresses. This strategy of influencing others with small wins is effective for bringing about positive change as modest successful projects often cause others to want to be involved in similar innovative measures (Kotter, 1996; Kouzes & Posner, 2002). So, take a minute in this new season to think about your recent accomplishments or make a plan to put something in place in the next six months, then assess its impact, and continually improve the project. You will be glad you did, as it will refresh you and your work.

Another good way to energize is to consider attending a NACADA Summer Institute where you can create an action plan to accomplish something you and/or your department have talked about for years, but fail to have the time to plan and initiate. Learn more about the Institutes in June and July and what you can accomplish in a five-day institute, immersed in what you love to do while networking with others who share your passion.

You might also consider attending one of NACADA's regional conferences taking place from February to May across the United States and Canada. Conferences are an affordable and commendable way to share your best practices and collect tremendous ideas for your campus. Please visit the NACADA website for the closest regional conference dates and locations or consider visiting a nearby region and networking with new colleagues.

Now is also a good season to give yourself a pat on the back for the important role you play in the lives of your students. Take a moment to think about a recent smile on the face of an advisee caused by your putting his/her mind at ease by answering an intricate question. Reflect on how good it felt when a new student promised to come back to see you because of the helpful professional relationship you created during his/her advising session. Yes, what you do as an advisor, personal tutor, career advisor, or other term used on your campus makes a difference in the lives of students, and you should feel wonderful about it! Remember Light's (2001) words that "Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience” (p. 81).

This season is often one of the busiest for advisors as you prepare students for the upcoming June or September semesters. Others are busy advising students who have applied for graduation. Let us also include the important role you play in advising students who are not making financial aid satisfactory academic progress to get them back on track. Effective advising does for students what we do for our own leadership development; we chart our course (Maxwell, 2007) and then we stay the course, an effective strategy for reaching an end result. This is the same strategy we share with our students preparing to enter a subsequent semester of college. Let's get our hope-to-return students to attend an advising session before leaving the campus for any summer-type break as they will be more likely to return. That is the difference advisors make!!!

And while everyone is busy with advising responsibilities, members of the NACADA Board of Directors are busy preparing for our mid-year meeting in April. We look forward to an update from our committees and advisory boards who just completed a self-study of their strengths and evolving needs. Blane Harding and Terri Musser are working hard with the Administrative Division to accomplish this noteworthy achievement that will impact NACADA for years to come. Our two new committees, the Committee for Global Initiatives led by Karen Sullivan-Vance, and the Committee for Sustainable NACADA Leadership led by Casey Self, will update the Board on their plans to take internationalization and leadership to the next levels. The Board will also continue the work on two outcomes related to enhancing diversity across the Association and how we can inform key people on our campuses about the invaluable nature of advising and its potential to impact every student (Light, 2001). A big thank you to Nathan Vickers and Janet Spence for their leadership of these two working groups. The Board's work on being outcomes- and assessment-based is also mimicked by every component of the Council. JP Regalado, Vice President of NACADA, is commended for his continued work with the Council on outcomes and achievements.

At the risk of appearing redundant, I reiterate my message from the recent Annual Conference in October 2013 and the advice of Maxwell (2007) who writes about effective laws of leadership, that I am committed to charting NACADA's course for this current year and staying the course for NACADA and its members. I encourage all members to chart their own courses within the Association and their professional lives. Always remember that your friends and colleagues in NACADA are here to assist and support you.

Have a wonderful season of reflection, growth, assessment, and accomplishment!

Joanne K. Damminger, President, 2013-2014
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Delaware Technical Community College
joanned@dtcc.edu

References

Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (1995). The leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2002). The leadership challenge. (3rd ed.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Light, R. J. (2001). Making the most of college: Students speak their mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Maxwell, J. C. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. (10th Anniversary ed.) Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Rost, J C. (1993). Leadership for the twenty-first century. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Cite this article using APA style as: Damminger, J. (2014, March). From the president: Staying the course, NACADA and you. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


From the Executive Director: We’ve Only Just Begun

From the Executive Director: We’ve Only Just Begun

Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director

Charlie Nutt.jpgIt is human nature to reach a goal and to sit back and say "Whew!!! Thank goodness we can sit back now and just relax for a while before we start again!" But that is definitely not the NACADA Way! Following our very successful annual conference in Salt Lake, we hosted three successful winter events in New Mexico, and have been very busy hosting 10 region conferences this spring to be followed by our summer institutes, and then our annual conference in Minneapolis! Whew!!!

In addition to these events, we have produced another series of webinars, added new pocket guides to our series, produced in partnership with Jossey-Bass a new and exciting textbook on approaches to academic advising, produced two more issues of the renowned NACADA Journal, and currently are working on several other publications... Whew!!!

Our global initiatives continue with our international conference in the Netherlands last year and in Australia in 2015 as well as possibly co-hosting events in the UK and in the Gulf Region, with NACADA consultants visiting colleges and universities across the globe, and with a newly appointed committee on global initiatives to ensure we are constantly look at ways we can all learn from each other!  Whew!!!

Last, we have implemented a totally new association management system and website, added a mobile app to our annual conference and winter institutes to enhance the participants' experience, and are in the infancy stages of our planning to provide online professional development activities across the world. Whew!!!

Those of  us who are children of the ‘60s and ‘70s either loved, hated, or made fun of a singing brother-and-sister group, The Carpenters, but no matter where we fit on the spectrum we could not have lived in those times without hearing their music and of course one of their big hits was “We’ve Only Just Begun.”  While NACADA has made huge strides in our nearly 40 years as an association, it is important that we all know “we’ve only just begun” to make the significant impacts on higher education globally that our mission and goals demand we make.

So what would we look like in 10 years in Nutt’s Crystal Ball or wildest dreams?  Building on the theme of “we’ve only just begun,” here’s where we will be in 2024:

  • We will have members AND leaders from every continent on the globe.
  • NACADA will be providing professional development in a variety of new and seasoned ways face to face, and also through technology and a hybrid of both methods.
  • NACADA will sponsor a “Research and Exemplary Practices Center” that brings together key leaders in higher education on the topic of academic advising and supports research in areas where there are gaps in the field.
  • NACADA will provide support to Kansas State University to award a doctorate online degree in academic advising.
  • NACADA will be leading the way (not just keeping up) in the use of technology for our members in higher education.
  • NACADA will have very strong partnerships with other higher educations across the globe with whom we collaborate to provide high-quality professional development, research, and publications in the field.
  • NACADA will have dedicated positions for research and for global initiatives to ensure we are moving forward at all times.
  • NACADA will have intentional, proactive, and successful programs to bring new members into the association, to prepare new leaders in the association, and to ensure continued support for all academic advisors regardless of the number of years in academic advising.

While the Nutt crystal ball certainly has some major predications for 2024, what is the clearest in those visions is that NACADA will reach these visions while maintaining the association’s warmth, family-like culture, and essential networking opportunities that build professional and personal friends for life.

Can we reach these goals from my crystal ball? Absolutely we can with hard work, committed members, strong and determined leaders, and an Executive Office recognized as the best in higher education.

And I plan to be right there working in any way the association needs me to achieve these goals!

Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
(785) 532-5717
cnutt@ksu.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Nutt, C. (2014, March). Article title. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Lessening the Culture Shock: Military Life vs Student Life

Jackie McReynolds, Washington State University Vancouver

Jackie McReynolds.jpg“Kevin” is not a traditional college student.  At age 26, he is older than many of his classmates, both in terms of his chronological age and his life experience.  Rather than spending the last few years in high school preparing for the move to college, he was stationed in a war zone in Afghanistan.  Having received an honorable discharge from the military, he is now trying to take advantage of the post-911 educational benefits by transitioning from his unique military life into a new life mission as a student.

Even though Kevin is not typical, he does face many of the same obstacles faced by other students:  financing, housing, transportation, time management and study skills, and connecting with college culture.  Over the past four years, over one million veterans and their dependents have enrolled in colleges and universities across the country, and there are many more to come (Department of Defense, 2013).

Making the transition from the regimented lifestyle that is typical to the military into one that focuses on independent thinking, creativity, challenging long-held notions, and personal development, can be a very bumpy transition for student veterans.  So Kevin must deal with typical student problems, but he may also have some other issues that are directly related to his military service.

This unique group faces many challenges that are different from those of a more typical college student.  If they encountered war zone situations during their service, there may be issues related to post traumatic stress (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST), or physical limitations due to injuries.  While the physical injuries tend to be more obvious, the others may manifest themselves primarily as behavioral issues, such as fear of being in crowded corridors or needing a seat in the back of each classroom so they can feel secure in their surroundings, or feeling agitated when a professor is using a laser pointer (Burnett & Segoria, 2009).  The unseen vulnerabilities are harder to detect and even more difficult to address. It is important not to label a student as a veteran or even as disabled.  Former military shy away from using the “veteran” status and reserve its use for those who have been tied to the military for decades.  The use of the term “disabled” or “wounded” is also problematic because it carries a negative connotation of being unfit or not able to participate effectively in their own education, which is contrary to the military way of thinking (Burnett & Segoria, 2009).

Advisors can help with the transition into college life by addressing key aspects of the relationship of advisor to student: identifying student strengths; often characteristics such as leadership, team building, personal resilience, or problem-solving were imbued during military service.  It is important, at least initially, that the advisor take leadership to inform and direct a student into appropriate courses and campus/community resources.  Once the leadership role is established and the student respects the advisor as someone who makes good judgments and offers sound advice, a more developmental approach to advising can occur.  Working effectively with former military students requires that the advisor understand the culture shock that many experience at transition.  Their military training focuses on building “battlemind” (also referred to as resiliency training), an acronym that describes behavioral components the military hopes to instill as enforced values and behaviors for survival (Castro, 2006).  The table below lists these qualities and considers how they might be perceived in civilian life on a college campus.

Military Value                                                   Civilian Perception
B
uddies (working as a team)                              Isolated or withdrawn
Accountability                                                     Control freak
Tactical awareness                                             Hyper-vigilant
Targeted aggression                                           Anger control issues
Lethally armed                                                    Feeling unsafe without weapons
Emotional control                                                Cold, detached
Mission security                                                  Inability to trust, secretive
Individual responsibility                                       Unable to ask for help, guilt
Non-defensive driving                                         Aggressive driving/behavior
Discipline                                                            Difficulty dealing with conflict or ambiguity

By recognizing certain aspects of “battlemind” in veteran students, advisors can understand more fully what is behind the behavior and can also then create more effective strategies for using these strengths to the student’s advantage or finding ways to lessen those behaviors that are perceived as more negative. At times, veteran students may come across to less mature students as dominating and aggressive because they are following an instructor’s directions to the word and being mindful and respectful of deadlines.  Failing to complete an assignment or “mission” on time and in the best shape possible will be seen as a failure by the student, who may then choose to detach emotionally from their classmates and work group and choose to self-isolate, which may mean no longer attending or otherwise participating in class.

Helping military students identify classes and professors that will match not only their interests but their work style and maturity level may also prove to be beneficial to academic success.  Encouraging new students to consider CLEP exams (cost of which is covered in Post-911 GI funding) (Sander, 2012), may give them a chance at advanced placement by utilizing skills and knowledge that were part of their military training (e.g., language proficiencies, world geography, cultural anthropology, cartography, mechanical engineering, or other related areas) (College Board, 2013).  Conversely, many are discharged with subpar educational attainment, having left high school as underperforming students with no plans for additional education.  Offering an array of supportive services is important since these students may have been away from formalized schooling for a while, and may benefit from assistance that helps them get back into a student learning mindset.  Utilizing resources such as tutoring, peer mentoring, or attendance at workshops on time management or study skills may prove to be quite beneficial, especially if they are presented as tools to accomplishment of their new mission.

It takes a “veteran friendly” campus to support the varying needs of student veterans, and it also takes a community that is ready to step up and support them.  Not all campuses are fortunate enough to have the many resources that a student will need.  Helping students successfully transition from the intense physical stimulation of military life  to the more sedate and mundane atmosphere of a classroom will depend upon the student’s success in setting goals for a new life mission (Wilson & Smith, 2012): finding a mentor (advisor, faculty member, or staff assistant); identifying a peer group that is supportive and inclusive (veteran’s club); and recognizing supportive services that will help them navigate their way (tutoring, disability services, counseling) through the less hierarchical system of higher education.

Smaller campuses, in particular, can benefit from providing training to campus personnel on using the 2-1-1 Human Services Community Information web site and hotline (211 Information Hotline, 2013).  The 2-1-1 service, available nationwide, provides individualized information and access to anyone looking for help with a problem that is creating discomfort, unrest, or crisis.  Students will find access to physical and mental health resources, housing assistance, food and clothing support, addiction treatment programs, and a host of other valuable connections in the community using the 2-1-1 resource.  Encouraging student veterans to put 2-1-1 and the vet crisis hotline number (1-800-273-8255) into their phone contacts will work if it is suggested that it will be a valuable resource if a buddy needs some help.  Former military will almost always see themselves as better off than others and will defer to anyone they see as more in need of help than they perceive themselves to be.

When troops transition out of military service, there may be a limited degree of support to help them move on with their civilian lives.  Helping them to make that transition by providing one or more well-identified “go-to” persons on campus who understand and can relate to the military experience, giving good information in a directive fashion that feels familiar and comfortable, and following through with supportive services on an as-needed basis are all crucial to the academic success of student veterans.  Higher education can meet the needs of those who served in the military, but advisors who are unfamiliar with military culture need to acquaint themselves with the challenges they may bring, develop some empathy and understanding for the uniqueness of their experiences, and work closely with them to build a structure that helps them accomplish their next life mission:  a degree and a civilian career.

Jackie McReynolds
Senior Instructor
Department of Human Development
Washington State University Vancouver
mcreynol@vancouver.wsu.edu

References

211 Information Hotline. (2013). Retrieved from http://211info.org/

Burnett, S. & Segoria, J. (2009).  Collaboration for military transition students from combat to college:  It takes a community.  Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 22(1), 53-58.

Castro, C. (2006).  Battlemind training I:  Transitioning from combat to home.  Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.ne.gov/pdfs/WRAIR-battlemind-training-brochure.pdf

College Board (2013).  CLEP for military.  Retrieved from http://clep.collegeboard.org/military

Cook, and Kim, (2009).  From soldier to student:  Easing the transition of service members on campus.  Veterans in Higher Education, pp. 95-112.

Department of Defense. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.gibill.va.gov/

Sander, L. (2012).  The post-9/11 GI bill explained.  The Chronicle of Higher Education, 60(4).

Wilson, K. & Smith, N. (2012).  Understanding the importance of life mission when advising soldiers.  New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2012 (136), 65-75.

Cite this article using APA style as: McReynolds, J. (2014, March). Lessening the culture shock:  Military life vs. student life. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Doing the Right Thing: Integrity in Advising

Erica R. Compton, College of Western Idaho

Erica ComptonEthics in academic advising has been widely addressed in the higher education field, with authors arguing that all advisors should behave in an ethical manner.  However, most literature does not explicitly address issues of integrity as related to the academic advisor.

This article will explore the meanings behind ethics, morals, and integrity and will illuminate the responsibilities of academic advisors as they relate to integrity. A set of boundaries in decision-making will be introduced that will enable readers to cognitively evaluate their own decisions within the parameters of integrity.

Advisor Responsibilities and Roles

As advisors, we carry an immense amount of responsibility on our shoulders. Not only do we have a responsibility for ourselves, but according to NACADA’s statement of core values (NACADA, 2005), we also have a responsibility to our institutions, advisees, and peers.  In addition, we have a responsibility to our profession, our educational community, and higher education in general.

This burden of responsibility is carried through the different roles that we, as advisors, assume as we tend to wear many hats. First, we are educators; expected to create and foster learning opportunities for students. We may also be a confidant, a safe place for a student. Through the role of cheerleader, we encourage confidence and are advocates. We act as facilitators between institutional departments and community services, as gatekeepers of knowledge, and as enforcers of policy and procedures. Trust in our professional judgment is also given to us as we assume the roles of institutional spokespersons, appointed stewards, and public servants. Lastly, one of the most important roles that we assume is that of role model and leader.

As we assume roles and transition between them, who is watching what we do, and how  we behave, conduct business, and interact with others? Advisees are privy to our counsel but peers, faculty, staff, administration, and community members all witness our behavior.  Part of being trusted as an institutional representative and spokesperson is that every action is being observed.

This is a tall order because individuals do not rely on advice from people they do not trust, “as such, ethical behavior and ethical decision-making are expected” (Landon, 2007) of us as academic advisors. Regardless of the situation, we must be able to conduct our professional duties and roles with integrity. 

As a role model, a person with integrity receives the highest regard. However, what is integrity? Is it more than just doing what is right when no one is looking? How does it differ from ethics and morals? Although these three terms have varying degrees of similarity, a better understanding will assist us in ensuring integrity is a component of the many roles we assume.

Morals

Morals are traits that can be considered either inappropriate or appropriate; what is it that people aspire to? Morals have tended to be time-honored principles such as valor, honesty, justice, compassion, peace, responsibility, respect, wisdom, and generosity (Ianinska, 2013, p. 7). In recent research conducted by Rushworth Kidder (2006), honesty, respect, responsibility, compassion, and fairness have been the most common traits associated with the most respected and admired moral values (p. 43).

Ethics

Although the word ethics has been used interchangeably with morals, ethics is more or less the study of, or theories of, moral principles (Ianinska, 2013, p. 8).  If morals are the traits that one aspires to, then ethics are the guiding philosophy behind them. Ethics are not static and may adapt and change over time. For instance, Aristotle held reason in the highest regard, whereas contemporary ethics may be more concerned with good habits (Ianinska, 2013, p.  9). 

Ethics is the guiding light which assists individuals in the decision-making process. It is important to note that “acting (doing) does not always require thinking about the act, but ethics always involves thinking about and evaluating how to act to achieve the best possible outcome” (Frank, 2000, p. 45). If an individual were driving a car, morals would be the components of the car and ethics would be the actual thinking about the choices that come along on the road... to go left, to go right, how to maneuver, and so on.

Integrity

Not unrelated to either morals or ethics is integrity. According to Merriam-Webster (2013), integrity is the “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.”  It may be easier to identify someone with integrity than to define the word itself.

The definition provided by Merriam-Webster is an intimidating one to dissect, but the firm adherence mentioned refers to consistency. Regardless of the situation, a person’s decisions and actions are consistent and are embedded within a moral code of conduct and ethical obligations. Integrity can be taken even further than just consistency.  As Steven Carter (2000, p. 7) asserts, integrity encompasses these three components:

  • Discern. To have integrity one must be able to think for oneself.
  • Act on it. Although it is fairly easy to know what is right or wrong, it is harder to act upon it.
  • Own it.  Beyond being able to do the unpopular thing, it is also being able to explain and defend the actions and reason behind those actions.

Dilemma

Even with the understanding of ethics, morals, and integrity, we as advisors are still confronted with dilemmas and uncertainty that come with making decisions. Conflicts occur when competing roles clash; this may be between our personal morals and beliefs, or between the different roles we assume as professionals. Making the best decisions in these dilemmas is critical as “leadership is a moral act infused with a vision and commitment to action. Every action taken – or not taken – conveys information about the values of the leadership” (Wilcox & Ebbs, 1992, p. 29).

For instance, if the institution has an unwritten policy regarding the deadline of accepting a Withdrawal Form by the close of business, we have an obligation in our role as enforcer to uphold this unwritten policy. However, our role of cheerleader may come into conflict with the enforcer roll if we receive this form from a student we regularly work with as we make our way to the car at the end of the day. What role trumps in the situation... enforcer or cheerleader?

As noted in the example, dilemmas make it hard for decisions to be made and there is uncertainty about what to do. How do we know when to do the right thing, versus just doing things right? In the big scheme of things, “the rest of what we think matters very little if we lack essential integrity, the courage of convictions, the willingness to act and speak in behalf of what we know to be right” (Carter, 2007, p. 7).

Decision-Making

Although not a cut-and-dried process, ethical decision-making should be a cognitive and conscious effort, especially when the right decision is not easily evident. These steps may allow enough reflection in which the best course of action should emerge.

  • Identify personal morals. Identify what is important and what aspirations are being sought.  To know where to go, we must first know where we are. Find the motto that will act as an orientations (Something that my father taught me; Do the right thing, not just do things right).
  • Attempt to minimize harm; do no harm. When looking at the options in the dilemma, is one particular decision going to cause more harm than the other? What is the potential for injury in any given path?
  • Practice altruistic behavior. As advisors, we should adopt an unselfish desire to serve others, including respecting others’ privacy, practicing fairness, and attempting to be consistent.
  • Look to the mission statement.  What are the values and vision that our institutions strive to uphold? Do these institutions or departments have mission statements that we can refer to in aligning the situation for a better orientation?
  • S-O-S. Know when to bring others into the dilemma while maintaining the confidentiality of the situation. Collaborating with others and asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of leadership.
  • Attempt to find balance. For everything that we do, or do not do, there is a ripple effect. You can’t do just one thing.
  • Stand by the decision. Once we have acted upon the decision, we must be able to stand by our choice and know that we did the right thing and acted with integrity.

Integrity begins with us. As role models, “there is no better model than for students to see their advisors acting in principled ways, solving problems and basing decision on values. In this way, students can learn how to think and solve problems ethically as well” (Frank, 2000, p. 49). As everyone is a work in progress, being cognizant of the decisions that we routinely face and knowing that what we do, or fail to do, is a reflection of the roles we assume, it is essential to make decisions with integrity. 

Erica R. Compton
Advisor, Student Enrichment
College of Western Idaho
ericacompton@cwidaho.cc

References

Carter, S. (2007). Integrity.  New York, NY: BasicBooks.

Covey, S. R.  (1989, December).  Moral compassing.  Franklin Covey.  Retrieved from http://www.franklincovey.ca/FCCAWeb/aspx/library_articles_gen5.htm

Frank, K.S. (2000).  Ethical considerations and obligations. In V.N. Gordon & W.R. Habley (Eds.), Academic Advising, A Comprehensive Handbook (44-57). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Ianinska, S. & Garcia-Zamor, J. (2006). Morals, ethics, and integrity: How codes of conduct contribute to ethical adult education practice. Springer Science 6, 3-20.

Kidder, R.M.  (2006). Moral Courage. New York, NY: Harper.

Landon, P.A. (2007). Advising ethics and decisions.  Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Website:  http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Ethics-and-decisions.aspx

Merriam-Webster (2013).  Integrity. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity

NACADA. (2005). NACADA statement of core values of academic advising. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Website: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Core-values-of-academic-advising.aspx   

Wilcox, J.R. & Ebbs, S.L. (1992). The Leadership Compass: Values and Ethics in Higher Education. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.

Cite this article using APA style as: Compton, E.R. (2014, March). Doing the right thing: Integrity in advising. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here] 

 


Academic Advisors as Valuable Partners for Supporting Academic Integrity

Shehna Javeed, University of Toronto Scarborough

Shehna Javeed.jpgAcademic integrity is a fundamental value in higher education. Without academic honesty it would be difficult, nay impossible, for ideas to flourish freely. In today's learning communities, honesty is often discussed as offenses appear to be on the rise. According to the Boston Globe (2012), 125 students were investigated at Harvard University for collaborating without permission on take-home exams. Academic integrity discussions have been propelled into the media when respected individuals are caught plagiarizing. For example, in 2013, Chris Spence, the director of one of the largest boards of education in Canada and a highly respected role model and leader, was caught blatantly plagiarizing and failing to credit numerous written submissions (Brown, 2013).   

Due to the phenomenal access to information via the internet, lines sometimes appear blurred to some users when acknowledging the work of others. Increased use of electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets provides opportunities for those who wish to use them inappropriately. Increased use of technology such as computer programs like TurnitIn has also facilitated the identifying of offenses. Universities are working hard to counteract inappropriate use by creating guidelines to manage and control precarious situations that may be conducive to cheating.

How can academic advisors and learning strategists contribute to and have an impact on academic integrity (AI) discussions? The purpose of this article is to examine ways in which advisors can integrate this value in their interaction with students and play an important role in promoting academic honesty.  

Advisors and Learning Strategists can:  

  • Start the conversation early 
  • Collaborate with key campus partners
  • Teach self-awareness, critical analysis and decision-making

Start the Conversation Early 

Integrity should be subtly introduced at appropriate moments in a student’s academic interaction with university staff.  At the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), academic advisors and learning strategists are key players during academic orientations for new students. It is important to emphasize that the academic orientation precedes the student union-hosted orientation; in this way, it is the very first interaction for the students with the University after accepting their offer of admission.  

At UTSC, a brochure and tip sheet on academic honesty are included in the student orientation package. The brochure refers students to the appropriate services (e.g. the Writing Centre) on campus that can help the student while the tip sheet discusses the student's role in understanding academic integrity. The tip sheet also lists examples of offenses to help students connect actions to potential consequences. This paper information is tactfully referenced in a few slides on the topic that are inserted in the orientation presentation. This can go a long way in reminding students from the very beginning that integrity is a steadfast value of the institution.  

Attending parents are included in the AI discussion as they are partners in student success. According to a chilling and eye-opening Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary titled "Faking the Grade", some overzealous parents support and provide the resources to encourage their children's unethical behavior; therefore, a reminder to parents is fitting (Blicq, 2013). At UTSC, the parent package of information also includes the same AI brochure and tip sheet for their reference. Parents and students are primed to both the ideas and the terminology of AI. Such inclusion of AI material allows the advisors to be at the forefront of the conversation on academic integrity. 

Collaborate with Key Campus Partners

At UTSC, academic and learning strategists, the Dean’s office, and professionals  from the International Student Centre, faculty from the Writing Centre and the English Language Development departments have come together to collaborate on a proactive workshop geared towards preventing plagiarism. This collaborative workshop, entitled “AIM (Academic Integrity Matters) to Meet University Expectations,” allows all partners to present their expertise in a fast-paced, activities-based setting. The activities include real-life academic integrity situations and consequences, as interpreted from the University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. The workshop also compares and contrasts international communities’ views on academic integrity as well as shifts from high school to university.  For example, where one learning community may assume that citations from a main text source are unnecessary because the passage is commonly known, North American standards require citation. This can be a common mistake among international students if it is not discussed early and explicitly. The academic advisor then discusses strategies to address time management, motivation and resiliency, and challenges such as procrastination which can lead to stress and hurried work, sloppy mistakes, poor citation, or plagiarism.  Professor Eleanor Irwin, one of two Dean's Designates for Academic Integrity at UTSC, comments that, “Often students who are suspected of having plagiarized or cheated tell me ‘I ran out of time.’ They panic and do something they later regret. I am convinced that if students learn to start essays long before they are due and review course material regularly rather than leaving it to the night before a test there would be far fewer students facing failure in a course because of plagiarism and cheating" (personal communication, September 13, 2013).

The collaborators have built relationships and found some champions among faculty who even give a bonus grade for attending the workshop; not surprisingly, this results in strong attendance. This workshop is offered twice a semester.  The workshop is designed collaboratively while keeping the whole student in mind. It approaches the incident of academic dishonesty from various angles, leading to a more holistic solution for the student. One student may fall into the trap due to poor time management, while another student may have difficulties with writing conventions, and yet both can face AI problems. The holistic approach enables the student to understand her unique challenges and connect with the appropriate departments to grow and develop effectively. Not only has this benefitted students, but it has increased collegiality and understanding among participating departments and built better referrals.   

Teach Self-awareness, Critical Analysis, and Decision-making 

 In a university setting, good study habits and ethical academic behavior are two concepts that are not always presented together. The first is in the realm of learning strategy, while the latter is discussed in the classroom context in relation to cheating or plagiarism. Advisors have an opportunity to connect these two ideas in a unique way in their one-on-one appointments.   

Couched in teaching effective study habits and strategies, academic advisors teach students to think effectively and set goals and sub-goals to achieve academic success. In order to understand one's priorities, students are taught to make lists, manage their time, and combat procrastination. All of this can only be accomplished by building self-awareness, critical analysis, and self-evaluation. These same personal evaluative strategies are important to prevent plagiarism and cheating. When academic advisors discuss time management tools or motivation strategies they can add that these skills are also necessary for sound and authentic academic work. Good studying and ethical behavior are direct consequences of increased self-awareness and self-analysis.  Advisors have a unique opportunity to tactfully fold in the importance of sound academic work and integrity within the context of teaching learning strategies without belaboring the topic. In the advising office, the student learns and builds awareness in a non-threatening environment. This leads to teachable moments that are free of disciplinary undertones, as would occur if the student is called to the dean's office for an alleged academic offense.  Thus advisors can be effective partners in promoting the value of integrity.  

Through starting early, building collaborations and supporting self-awareness and self-evaluation, academic advisors can proactively support the mission of the academic institution towards academic integrity.  

(The author respectfully acknowledges all UTSC Academic Integrity partners, which include the Centre for Teaching and Learning, International Student Centre, and Office of the Dean's Designates for the Administration of the Code of Behaviours on Academic Matters.) 

Shehna Javeed
Academic & Learning Strategist
Academic Advising & Career Centre
University of Toronto Scarborough
javeed@utsc.utoronto.ca

References 

Academic integrity matters tip sheet (August 2012, August).  University of Toronto Scarborough Academic Integrity Partners. Retrieved from http://joomla.utsc.utoronto.ca/aaccweb/images/stories/AcademicTipsheet/AcademicIntegrityMatters.pdf

Blicq, A. (September 2013).  Faking the gradeCanadian Broadcast Corporation.  Retrieved from   http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/faking-the-grade 

Brown, D. (October 2012). TDSB's Chris Spence: The role model who failed.  The Toronto Star. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2013/01/17/tdsbs_chris_spence_the_role_model_who_failed.html 

Carmichael, M. (August 2012). Harvard investigates 125 students for cheating on the final exam. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/08/30/harvard-investigates-students-for-cheating-final-exam/RIb6915NqHQ73nQQxoZOpO/story.html 

Davis, S.F., Drinan, P.F., and Gallant, T.B. (2009). Cheating in Schools; What we know and what we can do. Wiley-Blackwell. 

Cite this article using APA style as: Javeed, S. (2014, March). Academic advisors as valuable partners for supporting academic integrity. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]  


Developing a Professional Identity

Erin Justyna, Texas Tech University

Erin Justyna.jpgIndividuals enter the advising profession from many different paths and for many different reasons.  Many advisors admit they stumbled upon advising, got to work, and never looked back.  Whatever the path that leads individuals to advising, it is important to consider the direction that path will take in the future.  Advisors should ask themselves who or what they want to be and do, and create an intentional plan to get there.  NACADA has championed advising as a profession, but many advisors have not solidified their individual professional identity.   

One way that advisors can explore their professional identity is through the lens of brand identity.  The American Institute of CPAs published a 2012 article titled, “Five Tips to Branding Yourself,” which recommends that professionals brand themselves before someone else does.  The article suggests that creating a personal brand is a way to stay current in one’s field, open doors of opportunity, and create a lasting impression on those with whom one works (American Institute of CPAs, 2012).  The article asks individuals, “What is it that you want to be known for?” and suggests personal branding as a way to “define ourselves in the work space while also incorporating the personal elements that make us who we are” (American Institute of CPAs, 2012, p. 1). Individuals with a personal brand have control over the initial and long-lasting perceptions people have of them

Step One

The first step in branding oneself is to define the brand and become an expert.  Advisors should take some time and consider who they are and what makes up their brand as a professional.  One approach is for the advisor to begin listing illustrative words, such as collaborative, genuine, ethical, caring, reliable, intuitive, creative, etc., to describe their persona, culture, and outlook (American Institute of CPAs, 2012). Professionals must also reflect on how the brand they develop fits in with the mission of their institution and avoid establishing expertise that is irrelevant in that context.  Some advisors will find defining their brand difficult, and may first need to find their voice through exploration, conversation with trusted others, and professional development.  Ken Robinson is a great resource for those who are trying to find their “element” (Robinson & Aronica, 2009).

Step Two

The second step in branding oneself is to establish a presence. Advisors should ask themselves whether people know who they are and whether their work is visible on campus and beyond. No matter what the answer, advising professionals should volunteer for campus committees and task forces, and attend events facilitated by other departments, such as the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center and Human Resources Department.  Individuals should say “yes” to activities that fit their brand and “no” to those that do not. 

Advisors should also consider their online presence. People are searching Google to see what they can find out about colleagues, friends, and yes, even their advisors.  Individuals can ensure the content being viewed speaks positively to the brand they are trying to portray by building a basic online presence through websites and blogs (American Institute of CPAs, 2012). Pushing out content is a sure- fire way to build a positive brand, stay relevant, and grow in the field of advising. Advisors can participate in listservs, post relevant articles to various social networking sites, and comment on professional blogs. 

Step Three

Once advisors have defined their brand and established a presence, they must generate brand awareness through networking.  Networking is one of the best ways to become known in any industry (American Institute of CPAs, 2012).  Advisors can connect with other professionals in advising by interacting during events hosted by their campus and professional organizations and utilizing social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.  Members of NACADA can seek connections through regional and state activities, the Commission and Interest Group Division, and advisory boards and committees.  These connections will facilitate partnerships with colleagues and push advisors to consider alternative forms of professional development.  As advisors build their networks, they should be prepared for questions and critics and seek out champions and cheerleaders. Professional mentors are extremely important for advisors who are attempting to brand themselves.  It is very beneficial for advisors to seek out and utilize mentors on their own campus and outside of their campus. NACADA also has a mentoring program, the Emerging Leaders Program, which encourages members from diverse groups to get involved in leadership opportunities within the organization. 

Step Four

The fourth step in personal branding is to remember the three Cs of branding: clarity, consistency, and constancy (American Institute of CPAs, 2012).  Advisors should be clear about who they are and who they are not, and strive to be intentional about the process (American Institute of CPAs, 2012). Professionals must chart a path by generating a vision and taking steps to get there.  The tools for doing so are abundant: journals, vitaes/resumes, paper/digital portfolios, LinkedIn, and web-based project management applications, such as Tracky or Trello.  Advisors must not let their professional development end with each NACADA conference, but rather should constantly seek to build their reputation and that of advising as a whole. 

“When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.” (Collins, 2001) 

Step Five

The final step in branding ourselves as a professional is to get feedback from those who know us best—at work, at home, anywhere (American Institute of CPAs, 2012).  This feedback can come in many forms: one-on-one through mentors, students, colleagues, friends, and loved ones, from campus surveys, or within professional evaluations.  The feedback that advisors get through their professional networks and portfolios can both highlight and drive their work in the field of advising. Areas for growth can be identified, which can then inform the types of opportunities to be sought in training and development. 

“Your unique brand message differentiates the best you have to offer, gives a good indication of what you’re like to work with, and shows how you make things happen” (American Institute of CPAs, 2012). 

According to Daniel Pink in Drive (2009), people are much more likely to report having “optimal experiences” on the job than during leisure.  Ask any long term advisor why they love what they do, they will likely tell you about one or more of these optimal experiences in their careers.  Advisors with a strong professional identity have the power to increase their satisfaction and effectiveness. Creating a brand can help advisors take control of their careers and design a path to personal and professional fulfillment. 

Erin Justyna
Assistant Director
Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement
Texas Tech University
erin.justyna@ttu.edu

References

American Institute of CPAs. (2012, March 30).  Five tips to branding yourself. Retrieved from http://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/youngcpanetwork/resources/career/pages/fivetipstobrandingyourself.aspx.

Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't. New York, NY:  HarperCollins.

Neumeier, M. (2006). The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design.  Berkely, CA: New Riders. 

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2009). The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Cite this article using APA style as: Justyna, E. (2014, March). Developing a professional identity. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


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The Neighborhood Academy Advisory Program

The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr., Co-Founder and Head of School, The Neighborhood Academy

Rev Thomas Johnson.jpbIn the December 2010 edition of this publication, I described the outcome of a comprehensive review of our Advisory Program at The Neighborhood Academy, a college preparatory school, serving low income students, grades 8-12, from a cross section of Pittsburgh, PA neighborhoods.  That article focused on the necessity of an effective Advisory Program for a school that has as its mission serving low-income students as well as college admission and graduation in four years for all of its students.  The focus of this article is to detail the administrative changes in the Advisory Program, the expectations put in place for all advisors, and the advisory curriculum that has been developed over the past three years. 

Foundational to all that appears below is the idea that advisory is critical to the success of our school and that the goal of achieving a baseline quality of experience for students across the board must become a goal shared by all faculty and staff.  Finally, there is no substitute for intentionality; things do not happen as a matter of course or simply because we wish it so.  Advisory, like any other aspect of the life of a school, must be the product of shared vision and responsibility.

A critical moment in the journey of the program as it was to its present incarnation began with a comment made by a member of the faculty: “You realize, don’t you, that the only person worried about this is you?”  Point taken; advisory could only grow when it ceased to be the headmaster’s concern and became everyone’s concern.  That particular transition was marked by fits and starts.  Initially, in my enthusiasm there were attempts at professional development, inboxes filled with links on goal setting and the soft skills necessary to advisory, and faculty meeting discussions where it was a matter of luck   whether people were engaged or barely awake.  Finally, we formed a committee, I stepped out of the planning, and gave the group a short list of non-negotiable expectations, and they took over.  The structure of advisory that grew out of this three-year process is as follows:

  1. A focus on group advisory where eighth and ninth grades are grouped together, as are grades 10 and 11.  The college counselor remained, as he has all along, the 12th-grade Advisor.  In effect, each student stays with his or her advisor for two years.
  2. We focused on advisory as a part of enrollment management in that the committee matched particular faculty with particular grade levels based on preference and perceived strengths, paying special attention to the academic, social, and organizational needs and challenges of first-year students.  Simply put, we wanted first-year students to be able, as much as possible and appropriate, to become second-year students.
  3. The committee created an Advisor’s Handbook that includes clear description of the goals of the advisory program, the duties of the individual advisor, the distinction between advisory and counseling services, and resources.  This handbook is available on our website.
  4. The Advisory Committee established an Advisor’s Portfolio that all Advisors must submit to verify that they are attending to the themes and concerns of the Advisory Program and as a means of evaluating the quality of the program.

The advisory curriculum is based on the developmental needs of each grade.  For eighth and ninth grades, making sure their heads remain attached to their bodies and are not forgotten somewhere is a primary concern.  Advisors help clean lockers, organize notebooks, teach and demand social etiquette, and attempt to inculcate the values and culture of the school.  For the tenth- and eleventh-graders, there is still attention given to overall organization and time management skills and goal setting.  At the same time, the college counseling process begins for this group of Seniors focus on college selection and admissions, research for scholarships, the SAT, and the senior research project called Senior Seminar.  With the curriculum in place, clarity about expectations becomes essential.

All advisors are expected to be the primary liaison between school and parent.  Advisors meet with parents during Parents Orientation each fall and three times per year to distribute grades.  Advisors also generate a letter discussing the student’s holistic growth during that particular term and are present as much as possible at all parent conferences. While we stress that they are not counselors (and they are clear that they do not want to be), advisors are the first step in an extensive support service for students at The Neighborhood Academy.

Finally, intentionality has been critical to our journey to creating and executing a more effective advisory program.  Several factors have become important.  First, consistent with research, successful Advisory Programs have stable and consistent times for advisors and advisees to meet.  At The Neighborhood Academy, that time is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, after lunch, for 40 minutes.  Another element of intentionality is time for planning and professional development.  We have day-long faculty meetings every eight weeks and part of the day is given to review of student progress and grade-level advisory planning meetings.  A third level of intentionality is that in all new hires, preference is given to candidates with experience in the role of advisor.  We have made it known to new hires and to our current faculty that decisions were made based on these criteria.  Finally, the fact that we have created an evaluation protocol for individual advisors and the program overall is indicative of the commitment and focus that we as a school bring to this initiative.

The steps detailed above have led to great improvement in the overall functioning of the program, as well as commensurate improvement in student performance and the culture of the school.  It is hoped that our journey may, in some way, assist you in your efforts.

The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr.
Co-Founder and Head of School
The Neighborhood Academy
Pittsburgh, PA
tom.johnson@theneighborhoodacademy.org

Reference

Johnson, T.E. (2010, December). Advising as teaching: A high school advisory program as the vehicle for student success. Academic Advising Today, 33(4). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Advising-as-Teaching-A-High-School-Advisory-Program-as-the-Vehicle-for-Student-Success.aspx

Book, A., Krochka, D., Radkowski, P., Scott, J. & Williams, A. (2013). The Neighborhood Academy Advisory Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.theneighborhoodacademy.org/uploads/1/1/1/1/11112188/tna_advisory_handbook.pdf

Cite this article using APA style as: Johnson, T.E. (2014, March). The neighborhood academic advisory program. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


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The Resiliency of Adult Learners

John Rans, Drexel University

John Rans.jpbI completed my undergraduate degree in 2007 and my graduate degree in 2011.  Securing that first full-time job in higher education was no easy feat due to the phenomenon which has been deemed “The Great Recession.”  I was more than happy when my alma mater welcomed me back with open arms in the fall of 2012.  I vividly remember my elation when I was offered the position over the phone, and then it hit me after I hung up: I would be advising adult students.  This was not something for which I had planned.  Years of education, theory, and practice all prepared me to guide the development of 18- to 22-year-old students. 

I was initially apprehensive I would not be able to relate to adult students.  In retrospect, I am humbled to say my assumption was wrong.  During my two years of graduate school, I moved to a new city, completed a full-time course load, interned at three different institutions, and waited tables to pay my rent.  Like my hectic graduate experience, adult students are busy juggling the demands of modern life.  The stories I have been privileged to hear from my students over the past year and a half have been inspirational on both a practitioner and personal level.  Here are five critical lessons I have learned about this ever-important, rising student population.

There is no typical adult student. I have students who are 19 years old and others who are 59 years old.  Some are executives of Fortune 500 companies, while others are just eager to finish a degree they began years ago to set a good example for their families.  They are retirees, single parents, immigrants, homemakers, military veterans, students living with disabilities, and the list goes on.  From my experience I have found there is no one typical profile of an adult student.  In their NACADA Pocket Guide, Peck and Varney (2011) state that due to the different definitions various campuses use for adult learners and the difficulty categorizing this growing population, “it appears to be a challenge to find one definition that encapsulates all adult learners” (p. 4).  The diversity of backgrounds I have personally worked with has always kept me engaged and learning.

Every student has a story that needs to be told.  Peter Hagan (2006) delivered a keynote address at the New Jersey Advising Conference in which he argued the necessity of having an advising theory as a framework.  He specifically linked theory from the humanities to advising and cited how humanistic perspectives from these theories can inform our daily practice.  Specifically, he connected Walter Fisher’s narrative theory to academic advising.  Narrative theory argues that human beings are natural storytellers that make meaning through constructing and sharing narratives.  This theory is undoubtedly pertinent to advising.

From my experience, adult students are more apt to reach out to me once they have had the opportunity to share their story.  This story only takes a few minutes, but can make all the difference in the advisor/advisee relationship.  Without a story, the interaction is more transactional and less developmental.  I am making it a practice when I first meet a student, whether in person or virtually, to ask for their educational history and professional experience.  I have also been trying to share my story if it helps make connections, as I am doing in this article.  I wholeheartedly agree with Hagan (2006) that narratives are an extremely powerful advising tool.

Expectations need to be established and managed. Since adult students are extremely busy, it is helpful to establish clear expectations.  I have found that being forthright from the beginning of the relationship helps students understand exactly what they need to do to attain the end goal of a degree.  I inform students an approximate time when they are scheduled to graduate if they follow their plan of study while letting them know that roadblocks will come up and that is all right.  Hadfield (2003) explains that it is typical for active adult students to need to take some time off due to other priorities.  She explains her experience at Doane College: “During any term, we can expect that up to 40 percent of our active students will not enroll in a course.  Their absence does not mean they are not retained” (p. 19).  I have found this assessment to be very accurate, but I always leave the door open for students to come back when they are ready.            

Student development includes adult learners.  Kasworm (2008) gives insight into four challenges that can aid adult learners in their development of a student identity.  She examines these challenges as possible acts of hope, which include admission into college, continued engagement in the collegiate environment, comprehending new knowledge, and finally finding a voice in the college community.  Kasworm (2008) succinctly explains this process, noting that “Adult students come as highly complex yet changing selves.  They negotiate their sense of an adult student identity based in who they are and who they wish to become” (p. 33).  Adult learners can experience anxiety throughout their educational journey as their competencies are challenged.  Academic advisors are an integral part of this transition and in providing guidance with confidently establishing this new identity.  I appreciate Kasworm’s framework and believe fostering these acts of hope can make a huge impact in the advising relationship and retention.

Adult students are more customer savvy.  Part of being adults is better understanding ourselves and our needs or wants.  According to Hadfield (2003), adult students consider themselves customers who understandably hold institutions accountable for results.  As competition increases, students have more options and customer service is quickly becoming vital to a positive college experience for adult students.  From my experience, adult students are much more cognizant of the resources they are putting into college, including time, so they have expectations as consumers. 

Adult students need to be considered in the big picture of campus culture, and I think my initial hesitancy in working with them parallels common misconceptions about adult students and their place in higher education.  This outdated view is quickly being established as antiquated as universities are institutionalizing policies and creating spaces to support all students.  With support from Lumina Foundation, Pusser et al. (2007) explain the essential need for higher education to make college more accessible for adult students, noting that “In the 21st century, our nation needs to maximize the potential of adult learners to face global challenges.  Adult learners can support the nation’s efforts to increase global competiveness, but adult learners need their national institutions to support them …” (p. 18).  I agree with this statement, which means we must adapt to the coming changes as instructors, practitioners, and institutions.  The stories I have heard in the last year from adult students have a common theme of resiliency, which is a narrative that I think will be a core theme for our growing world.  There is so much to learn from adult students and my experience thus far has been absolutely humbling.  I truly look forward to continue this mutual learning process. 

John Rans
Academic Advisor
Goodwin College of Professional Studies
Drexel University
jrr36@drexel.edu

References

Hagan, P. L. (2006, June). Ghostwriting autobiographies: Advising and the humanities. New Jersey advising conference: Keynote address, Union, New Jersey. Retrieved from http://caa.asu.edu/files/images/aphies--Academic_Advising_and_the_Humanities.doc

Kasworm, C. E. (2008). Emotional challenges of adult learners in higher education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2008 (120), 27-34. doi: 10.1002/ace.313

Hadfield, J. (2003). Recruiting and retaining adult students. New Directions for Student Services, (102), 7-26. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ss.85/pdf

Peck, L., & Varney, J. (2011). Understanding and addressing the needs of adult learners. Manhattan, KS: NACADA.

Pusser, B., Breneman, D. W., Gasneder, B.M., Kohl, K. J., Levin , J. S., Milam, J. H., & Turner, S. E. (2007). Returning to learning: Adults' success in college is key to America's future. Indianapolis, IN: Lumina Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/ReturntolearningApril2007.pdf

Cite this article using APA style as: Rans, J. (2014, March). The resiliency of adult learners. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Advising Bob

Christine Smith Olsey, Community College of Denver

Christine Smith Olsey.jpg“And that’s about when Mrs. Krupp said, ‘Now Billy. Please make up your mind, this is getting quite silly! Which one of those things are you going to choose?’ I shuffled around and looked at my shoes. [And] Finally I said, ‘My great-grandfather Bob’s been a whole lot of things, had a whole bunch of jobs. A butcher, a barber, a bellman, a bouncer, a telephone psychic, and a bingo announcer; you know what he just turned a 103 and he’s still not quite sure what he wants to be. See I am only eight now, so frankly I am hoping that you cut me some slack if I leave my options open” (Yankovic, 2011).

Many Career and Technical Education (CTE) students are like Billy’s great-grandfather, Bob. They have prior work experience, possibly college credits from a college or two, or are interested in taking the credit for prior learning route. Just like Bob, they are still searching for the one career that will make them happy (either financially or emotionally), or maybe they just want to expand their resume. Either way they are coming to our offices for assistance.

As advisors, how do we assist our “Bob students” better? CTE students tend to focus on earning a certificate or degree to improve their current employment status. These students often return to community colleges seeking new job skills; they inquire about their career goals and their plans to achieve those goals.

Not everyone can be a fabrication welder or a nurse; there are certain skills required to work in career technical industries, and students need to know the industry expectations before deciding on a degree track.  Advisors should meet with department heads and advisory board members – who keep CTE programs current and serve as our direct link to the industry – to discuss what the industry will expect of students when they enter the work force.  We should also ask about the industry outlook: where the industry is going and what students need to know to be job ready when they walk across the stage at graduation.

With the information gained from these meetings, advisors can create reference sheets for each degree track to utilize during advising appointments.  Reference sheets are a useful tool for advising the right student for the right program.  We should be ready to share this essential information with our students; the better students are prepared, the better for the students and for the industry and our economy.

During initial advising appointments, advisors can help students begin to map out their academic and career goals. During this process, the advisor should ascertain that the student is in the correct program and give the student a chance to confirm that his career and educational goals correlate. The student should leave this first appointment with at least the foundation of a plan for achieving his educational and career goals.

Advisors should encourage students to schedule follow-up appointments to verify that their degree program is a good fit. During these appointments, we can discuss the student’s academic progress, career planning, and general well-being.  How does the student feel about their program? Is there still a desire or interest? How is the student juggling life off campus?

Classes for future semesters should be discussed to ensure that students make selections that will meet program requirements. Providing the rationale behind course requirements gives our students insight into the higher education process. This is an excellent teaching opportunity for the student, and we can reiterate that program chairs work with industry members to meet their needs.

Some students come to us after taking classes without knowing their program or meeting with an advisor.  Others have taken classes believing that when they decide on a direction – or decide to change direction – they can then discuss how their credits will transfer to the new program. It is important that students know what will happen to their credits when they enter a new program. Advisors can discuss career goals, career path, and job growth potential with these students, then share a reference sheet for their new program. Once again, the students need to know their options; the more information they have, the better-informed decision they will make.

Students will always do what they feel is best for them; sometimes it may be  completing an entire degree program, and other times it may be just taking classes to improve their skills in a particular area. The important thing is that we do what is best for our students; preparing our students for their career with industry expectations, and advising (or referring) students accordingly, are all best for our students. In the words of Billy, “Let’s just wait and find out what my future brings. Hey, I might have time to do all of those things” (Yankovic, 2011).

Christine Smith Olsey
Program Advisor
Center for Career & Technical Education
Community College of Denver
Christine.smitholsey@ccd.edu

Reference

Yankovic, A. (2011). When I Grow Up.  NY: HarperCollins.

Cite this article using APA style as: Smith Olsey, C. (2014, March). Advising Bob. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Undeclared: How Picking a Major is like Picking a Life Partner

Sarah Kyllo, Ohio University Proctorville Center

Sarah Kyllo.jpbIt was two weeks into fall semester when a freshman walked into my office during walk-in advising hours and sat down. 

“Hello, what can I help you with today?” I asked.
“I need to declare a major,” she replied.
“Okay, so you’re undecided now, what are you thinking of changing to?”
“I don’t know.  I just need a major!” she said, as she burst into tears. 

I gave her a tissue and proceeded to tell her that it was okay to still be undecided, that declaring a major is a process and can be a time of exploration.

Undeclared, undecided, exploratory:  whatever we call it, students often feel pressured to “be” a major, make a decision, clear a clean and direct path to a career, and become what they were “meant to be.”  Choosing a major can be filled with anxiety, uncertainty, exciting discoveries, joy, and rejection.  This sounds a lot like many other searches that students will face in their lives, from choosing a home, to where to live, to the process of dating.  This led me to create the idea of the Top Ten Ways to Date Your Major as a way to relate the major selection process to something most students are already familiar with. 

1.  Creating your Profile

  • Think about “who” you want to be instead of just “what” you want to be.
  • What qualities would you like to have others say that you possess?
  • What qualities do you admire in others?

2.  What are you looking for?

  • Just as in dating, selecting a major requires you to figure out what you like and what you     need.
  • If you had a million dollars, how would you spend your free time?
  • Colleges can offer hundreds of majors.  What are three to five majors that interest you?
  • What is interesting about these majors?

3.  Try a blind date

  • There are a lot of different ways to try out a major before you commit.
  • Take a class in that major, attend an on-campus event, take a workshop, join a club or student organization, contact career services to explore options in careers.
  • Say yes to new experiences while you are at college and discover new ideas.

4.  Finding “the one”

  • Sometimes people fall in love early and get married; some people date a lot of people and may never commit to one person.  The same is true of majors, careers, and jobs.
  • There are lots of different paths to arrive at the same destination.
  • There are lots of options, and more than one major may be the right “one” for you.

5.  Breaking up, it’s hard to do…

  • Even if you choose a major you think is the “perfect” one, it’s okay to still change your mind!
  • Each class you take is an opportunity to learn, grow, and change.  Don’t stay with a major you no longer want to be in.  Your advisor can help you.

6.  Don’t settle

  • Don’t just pick a major because you are tired of not having one or feel pressured to have a major in a specific field.
  • Do your research, keep looking, and keep exploring.

7.  Matchmakers

  • You are not alone; there are many people who can help you in selecting a major.
  • As in dating, sometimes it helps to get “set up”.  Think of your personal network: who do you know in the fields that interest you? Think of your parents, friends, and their friends.
  • Ask them abou their degree, what they like about their job, what they don’t like; this can be a good starting point to discover if this is right for you.

8.  Think Globally

  • The world has become much smaller through technology.
  • Utilize online media to research jobs or internships.
  • Think outside of the state or country: what are some jobs that make you marketable as a global citizen?
  • Consider studying abroad for a semester; this can help to make you a global citizen and open doors you might never have realized were there.

9.  What would your “dream” date be?

  • Think outside the box and dream….what would your dream job be?  If you dream of being a rock star, why?  What about the job would appeal to you?
  • How can that translate into a career?
  • Do you value free time, do you want to change something, how do you want to be remembered?

10. Commit

  • Declare your major after you explore the possibilities.
  • Keep growing and changing while you are in college, while you work in your career, and in life.  Change is the only constant and your major is a starting point for your future.
  • Look back on your experiences that brought you here, look ahead to the future, and enjoy the ride.
As advisors guide their advisees throughout the process of declaring a major, it can be helpful to ask the right questions, as well as be a source of support.   As with all major life decisions, it is a scary sometimes overwhelming process, but if advisors can frame it in a positive way, students may see it as an exciting journey, instead of a decision that makes them want to cry.

Sarah Kyllo
Student Services Specialist
Ohio University Proctorville Center
kyllo@ohio.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Kyllo, S. (2014, March). Undeclared: How picking a major is like picking a life partner. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


The Perfect Balance of Work and Play

Lindsey Morford, Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient

Lindsey Morford.jpgScottsdale, Arizona, in August is hot...very hot. I’ve never been a big fan of “hot.” When I attended the NACADA Summer Institute in Scottsdale this past summer, I went strictly expecting to learn and to put my newly acquired knowledge to work. To me, that trip was all about business. However, I returned to Manhattan, Kansas and my job as an academic advisor at Manhattan Christian College (MCC) thoroughly refreshed and excited after a week at the Institute. With morning runs through the beautiful Arizona desert, excellent speakers in the main sessions and workshops, and my first experience singing karaoke, the NACADA Summer Institute was the perfect balance of work and play, which combined to rejuvenate me for returning to campus and my students. I even discovered that I enjoyed Arizona, despite the heat!

After my second year as a young advising professional at MCC, I had begun to search for professional development opportunities where I could improve my student services skills and become a better advisor. Soon after I joined NACADA, I received information about attending a NACADA Summer Institute. I was immediately interested. The cost seemed to be an insurmountable barrier, but I decided to apply for the Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarship in an effort to make attending the Institute more doable. To my great surprise and gratitude, I was awarded the scholarship from NACADA, and my employer graciously decided to cover the remainder of the cost.

Initially, the NACADA Summer Institute attracted me because of its focus on helping attendees actually use the information they were receiving. Institute attendees choose a project, something they work on throughout the week that will improve advising at their institution. For my project, I wanted to find a better way to spread important curriculum and policy information to our advisors (most of whom are faculty members) so that they could, in turn, advise students more effectively.

My personal view of my role as an academic advisor expanded significantly as a result of the Institute. One concept continually stressed by several of the speakers was “advising as teaching.” In other words, as an advisor, I should teach my students how to navigate campus policies and resources for themselves, eventually working myself out of a job. Before we at MCC could improve our advisor training program, we would need to clarify necessary learning outcomes for the students and our role expectations for the academic advisors.

As the Institute progressed, I realized that I needed to narrow the focus of my project, but I was not sure what direction to pursue. We were given the opportunity to participate in individual consulting sessions, and I was able to discuss my concerns about my project with one of the Summer Institute faculty. He helped me break my broad, vague idea of providing more extensive training for our advisors into a specific, long-term vision for MCC advising which could be accomplished over the next few years, and a clear, short-term objective to focus on for my project during the Institute.

Some sessions at the Institute focused on starting from creating an academic advising mission statement and an academic advising syllabus which outline goals and objectives for advising and specific learning outcomes for the students. This was an entirely new concept for me, but it was a very practical first step, based on my project goals for the conference.

By the end of the week, I had created an outline of a plan for expanding advisor training at Manhattan Christian College. This outline included deadlines for specific steps to accomplish that plan. After returning to campus, I joined three of my colleagues at MCC as members of our newly formed Academic Advising Team to create a syllabus and objectives for academic advising at our institution, based on what I learned at the Summer Institute. We also created a checklist of topics for advisors to cover with their advisees that were developmentally appropriate for that student’s academic level. These resources were made available to our academic advisors in time for the spring 2014 advising and enrollment period, which met the deadline set in my project outline. Our next step is to revise the MCC Academic Advising Handbook, which we plan to complete by the fall 2014 enrollment period in April.   

The Institute contributed to my development as a professional, but it also challenged me to grow as a person. The diversity represented at the Summer Institute amazed me...not only of the professionals attending, but also of the institutions they represented. Connecting with so many advising professionals from various backgrounds was one of the most rewarding aspects of the entire week. We enjoyed eating together, working together, discussing advising issues together, and exploring Scottsdale together. In my small group alone, there were student affairs professionals from Japan, Canada, and the United States. Private schools, historically black colleges, Native American tribal colleges, public four-year universities and community colleges all sent staff members to the Summer Institute. It opened my eyes to the endless directions a career in academic advising could take me. Maybe even back to Arizona!

Lindsey Morford
Retention and Learning Skills Coordinator
Manhattan Christian College
Manhattan, Kansas
lmorford@mccks.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Morford, L. (2014, March). The perfect balance of work and play. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Our NACADA Summer Institute Experiences

Krystal Thompson, Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
Calley Stevens Taylor, Region 2 Mentor

Krystal Thompson.jpbKrystal shares:  NACADA Summer Institute Reflections

From July 28 through August 2, 2013, I attended NACADA’s 2013 Summer Institute (SI) in Scottsdale, Arizona. My decision to attend the Summer Institute was based on two primary reasons. First, I wanted to get more involved with NACADA. Second, I recognized that funds regarding departmental professional development focuses were limited within my institution; therefore, upon developing goals with my supervisor, I presented NACADA as the solution. Becoming familiar with NACADA would result in my being able to use the best practices for academic advising on my own campus.

With my supervisor’s blessing, I was able to attend and present at Region 2 drive-in meetings.  When I joined the Region 2 mentorship program, I received Calley Stevens Taylor as my mentor, and she welcomed me with open arms. With great support from my supervisor and my NACADA mentor, I was encouraged to apply for the Summer Institute Scholarship.  I had been recently awarded the travel grant to attend the Region 2 conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey, so I assumed I could not be awarded  a second time; I was wrong. I joyfully read the email confirming that I was the recipient of the SI scholarship, and I could choose to attend the summer Institute in Jacksonville, Florida or Scottsdale, Arizona. 

With my first and second considerations secured (my active involvement in NACADA and the funding to support my active involvement), my next option was to choose between Florida and Arizona. Since I have visited Florida several times and I wanted to try something new, I chose Arizona. Ultimately, I was very pleased with my decision.  During my time in Scottsdale, I was able to attend professional lectures and network with many individuals from around the world who specialize in academic advisement.

I especially enjoyed hearing from SI faculty member Blane Harding, who spoke of the many new dynamics involved with advising diverse students.  Within the small group sessions I attended, I was able to form relationships with advisors from Japan. Through listening to their experiences concerning advisement, I was able to learn a new perspective on how culture effects academic advisement and the nature in which it should be carried out. With NACADA’s push to a global and diverse association, I feel that in small groups as well as in the presentations everyone used personal experiences to provide insight on academic advisement with a global perspective.

While attending NACADA’s Summer Institute, I learned that not only classroom but also hands-on experiences are key to enhancing educational development. Hands-on activities enable individuals to promote and support the quality of academic advising in higher education settings. A forum such as this provides an environment enabling individuals to openly discuss their thoughts and exchange ideas through activities and individual projects.

Although I am currently going through a shift in supervision within my department, I plan to present my SI Action Plan to my new supervisor once she settles into her position. Sharing my reflection of the event with my NACADA mentor was beneficial.  As a result of us exchanging feedback and comparing it to her conference experience, I  learned even more about NACADA’s improvements over the years and the many motivational opportunities that have been established in forums like the Summer Institute. I look forward to attending the next institute to put the finishing touches on my project and meet some more amazing people within the world of academic advisement.

Calley Stevens Taylor.jpgCalley shares:   NACADA Summer Institute -- Lessons in Action

As Krystal’s mentor through the NACADA Region 2 mentoring program, it has been a pleasure to help her prepare for and debrief from her Summer Institute experience. In our field, it’s sometimes hard to take the time we should to reflect on our own experiences, but participating in the Region 2 mentoring program has reminded me of the importance of self-reflection. Talking with Krystal about her experience encouraged me to look back on my Summer Institute experience.

ISI Team.jpgn July 2010, I was offered the opportunity to attend the Summer Institute in Philadelphia as a member of the team from Reading Area Community College. The Summer Institute was something that I had wanted to participate in for some time, and I was so pleased to finally have the opportunity to do so. As a newcomer to RACC (I started as the director of enrollment services just two weeks before), I saw the Summer Institute as a chance to quickly develop bonds with my new colleagues while also establishing for myself and RACC a more expansive perspective on advising. The supportive environment of the Institute and its faculty brought to the forefront some concepts that were new to several of my colleagues, including advising as teaching, and our work during the Institute allowed us to reframe what we thought advising should look like at RACC. Because the Institute was project-oriented and focused on the strategic planning and implementation of change, it lent itself naturally to the situation RACC was in at the time: changes in staffing, decreasing enrollment, desire to break down silos, and the need for organized change.

Looking back over the last three years, I’m impressed by the work that we’ve done. Although not everyone who attended the Institute is still part of our team, RACC has made a number of changes in advising delivery based on the principles and perspectives we committed to at the Summer Institute. Believing that advising begins with a student’s first contact with the College, we’ve opened a Welcome Center to serve as an advising resource for prospective students. Monthly Advising Updates are sent to the whole campus community, supporting the notion that advising, in its broadest sense, can happen between a student and any faculty or staff member at any time, in formal or informal settings. We now require advising for new and readmitted students; all new degree-seeking students must participate in RACC Ready orientation, ensuring that new students receive accurate and relevant information about academic options, policies, and programs as soon as possible. We’ve expanded the advising of current students from only faculty advisors to include staff advisors, providing more advising resources to students and building trust between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. An advising handbook now forms a set of informational modules on our learning management system and provides easy access to advising information, FAQs, documents, and other resources for any faculty or staff member. An Advising Center, which will be staffed by both faculty and staff advisors, will open soon. 

I regularly return to the institute materials when working on advising. These materials were helpful in supporting our proposal to require both orientation and advising for incoming students and in the development of retention strategies for at-risk students. I still connect with SI faculty member Marsha Miller during the #acadv chats on Twitter and value her advice, especially in the development of new materials for advisors.

Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that stick with us. During the Institute, we were shown a cartoon of a turtle on a fence. The notion that the turtle didn’t get on the fence by itself really stuck with me. That night the RACC team had dinner in Chinatown and we each purchased a turtle good luck charm that has hung at my desk ever since. This reminds me not only that students need our support to reach their goals but also that we, as staff or faculty, colleagues near or far, must also support each other to continually grow and develop advising as a pedagogy, a profession, and a field of study. Serving as a mentor for Region 2 is one way I’m participating in the development of our field, and it’s been a pleasure to watch Krystal develop as an advisor and as a colleague.

Krystal Thompson
Academic Counselor
Assessment Center
Hampton University
krystal.thompson@hamptonu.edu

Calley Stevens Taylor
Director of Student Success and Retention
Cedar Crest College
Calley.Taylor@cedarcrest.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Thompson, K. & Stevens Taylor, C. (2014, March). Our NACADA summer institute experiences. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]

Krystal Thompson, Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
Calley Stevens Taylor, Region 2 Mentor

Krystal Thompson.jpbKrystal shares:  NACADA Summer Institute Reflections

From July 28 through August 2, 2013, I attended NACADA’s 2013 Summer Institute (SI) in Scottsdale, Arizona. My decision to attend the Summer Institute was based on two primary reasons. First, I wanted to get more involved with NACADA. Second, I recognized that funds regarding departmental professional development focuses were limited within my institution; therefore, upon developing goals with my supervisor, I presented NACADA as the solution. Becoming familiar with NACADA would result in my being able to use the best practices for academic advising on my own campus.

With my supervisor’s blessing, I was able to attend and present at Region 2 drive-in meetings.  When I joined the Region 2 mentorship program, I received Calley Stevens Taylor as my mentor, and she welcomed me with open arms. With great support from my supervisor and my NACADA mentor, I was encouraged to apply for the Summer Institute Scholarship.  I had been recently awarded the travel grant to attend the Region 2 conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey, so I assumed I could not be awarded  a second time; I was wrong. I joyfully read the email confirming that I was the recipient of the SI scholarship, and I could choose to attend the summer Institute in Jacksonville, Florida or Scottsdale, Arizona. 

With my first and second considerations secured (my active involvement in NACADA and the funding to support my active involvement), my next option was to choose between Florida and Arizona. Since I have visited Florida several times and I wanted to try something new, I chose Arizona. Ultimately, I was very pleased with my decision.  During my time in Scottsdale, I was able to attend professional lectures and network with many individuals from around the world who specialize in academic advisement.

I especially enjoyed hearing from SI faculty member Blane Harding, who spoke of the many new dynamics involved with advising diverse students.  Within the small group sessions I attended, I was able to form relationships with advisors from Japan. Through listening to their experiences concerning advisement, I was able to learn a new perspective on how culture effects academic advisement and the nature in which it should be carried out. With NACADA’s push to a global and diverse association, I feel that in small groups as well as in the presentations everyone used personal experiences to provide insight on academic advisement with a global perspective.

While attending NACADA’s Summer Institute, I learned that not only classroom but also hands-on experiences are key to enhancing educational development. Hands-on activities enable individuals to promote and support the quality of academic advising in higher education settings. A forum such as this provides an environment enabling individuals to openly discuss their thoughts and exchange ideas through activities and individual projects.

Although I am currently going through a shift in supervision within my department, I plan to present my SI Action Plan to my new supervisor once she settles into her position. Sharing my reflection of the event with my NACADA mentor was beneficial.  As a result of us exchanging feedback and comparing it to her conference experience, I  learned even more about NACADA’s improvements over the years and the many motivational opportunities that have been established in forums like the Summer Institute. I look forward to attending the next institute to put the finishing touches on my project and meet some more amazing people within the world of academic advisement.

Calley Stevens Taylor.jpgCalley shares:   NACADA Summer Institute -- Lessons in Action

As Krystal’s mentor through the NACADA Region 2 mentoring program, it has been a pleasure to help her prepare for and debrief from her Summer Institute experience. In our field, it’s sometimes hard to take the time we should to reflect on our own experiences, but participating in the Region 2 mentoring program has reminded me of the importance of self-reflection. Talking with Krystal about her experience encouraged me to look back on my Summer Institute experience.

ISI Team.jpgn July 2010, I was offered the opportunity to attend the Summer Institute in Philadelphia as a member of the team from Reading Area Community College. The Summer Institute was something that I had wanted to participate in for some time, and I was so pleased to finally have the opportunity to do so. As a newcomer to RACC (I started as the director of enrollment services just two weeks before), I saw the Summer Institute as a chance to quickly develop bonds with my new colleagues while also establishing for myself and RACC a more expansive perspective on advising. The supportive environment of the Institute and its faculty brought to the forefront some concepts that were new to several of my colleagues, including advising as teaching, and our work during the Institute allowed us to reframe what we thought advising should look like at RACC. Because the Institute was project-oriented and focused on the strategic planning and implementation of change, it lent itself naturally to the situation RACC was in at the time: changes in staffing, decreasing enrollment, desire to break down silos, and the need for organized change.

Looking back over the last three years, I’m impressed by the work that we’ve done. Although not everyone who attended the Institute is still part of our team, RACC has made a number of changes in advising delivery based on the principles and perspectives we committed to at the Summer Institute. Believing that advising begins with a student’s first contact with the College, we’ve opened a Welcome Center to serve as an advising resource for prospective students. Monthly Advising Updates are sent to the whole campus community, supporting the notion that advising, in its broadest sense, can happen between a student and any faculty or staff member at any time, in formal or informal settings. We now require advising for new and readmitted students; all new degree-seeking students must participate in RACC Ready orientation, ensuring that new students receive accurate and relevant information about academic options, policies, and programs as soon as possible. We’ve expanded the advising of current students from only faculty advisors to include staff advisors, providing more advising resources to students and building trust between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. An advising handbook now forms a set of informational modules on our learning management system and provides easy access to advising information, FAQs, documents, and other resources for any faculty or staff member. An Advising Center, which will be staffed by both faculty and staff advisors, will open soon. 

I regularly return to the institute materials when working on advising. These materials were helpful in supporting our proposal to require both orientation and advising for incoming students and in the development of retention strategies for at-risk students. I still connect with SI faculty member Marsha Miller during the #acadv chats on Twitter and value her advice, especially in the development of new materials for advisors.

Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that stick with us. During the Institute, we were shown a cartoon of a turtle on a fence. The notion that the turtle didn’t get on the fence by itself really stuck with me. That night the RACC team had dinner in Chinatown and we each purchased a turtle good luck charm that has hung at my desk ever since. This reminds me not only that students need our support to reach their goals but also that we, as staff or faculty, colleagues near or far, must also support each other to continually grow and develop advising as a pedagogy, a profession, and a field of study. Serving as a mentor for Region 2 is one way I’m participating in the development of our field, and it’s been a pleasure to watch Krystal develop as an advisor and as a colleague.

Krystal Thompson
Academic Counselor
Assessment Center
Hampton University
krystal.thompson@hamptonu.edu

Calley StevensTaylor
Director of Student Success and Retention
Cedar Crest College
Calley.Taylor@cedarcrest.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Thompson, K. & Stevens Taylor, C. (2014, March). Our NACADA summer institute experiences. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]

- See more at: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Our-NACADA-Summer-Institute-Experiences.aspx#sthash.mzR8DdxK.dpuf

Krystal Thompson, Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
Calley Stevens Taylor, Region 2 Mentor

Krystal Thompson.jpbKrystal shares:  NACADA Summer Institute Reflections

From July 28 through August 2, 2013, I attended NACADA’s 2013 Summer Institute (SI) in Scottsdale, Arizona. My decision to attend the Summer Institute was based on two primary reasons. First, I wanted to get more involved with NACADA. Second, I recognized that funds regarding departmental professional development focuses were limited within my institution; therefore, upon developing goals with my supervisor, I presented NACADA as the solution. Becoming familiar with NACADA would result in my being able to use the best practices for academic advising on my own campus.

With my supervisor’s blessing, I was able to attend and present at Region 2 drive-in meetings.  When I joined the Region 2 mentorship program, I received Calley Stevens Taylor as my mentor, and she welcomed me with open arms. With great support from my supervisor and my NACADA mentor, I was encouraged to apply for the Summer Institute Scholarship.  I had been recently awarded the travel grant to attend the Region 2 conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey, so I assumed I could not be awarded  a second time; I was wrong. I joyfully read the email confirming that I was the recipient of the SI scholarship, and I could choose to attend the summer Institute in Jacksonville, Florida or Scottsdale, Arizona. 

With my first and second considerations secured (my active involvement in NACADA and the funding to support my active involvement), my next option was to choose between Florida and Arizona. Since I have visited Florida several times and I wanted to try something new, I chose Arizona. Ultimately, I was very pleased with my decision.  During my time in Scottsdale, I was able to attend professional lectures and network with many individuals from around the world who specialize in academic advisement.

I especially enjoyed hearing from SI faculty member Blane Harding, who spoke of the many new dynamics involved with advising diverse students.  Within the small group sessions I attended, I was able to form relationships with advisors from Japan. Through listening to their experiences concerning advisement, I was able to learn a new perspective on how culture effects academic advisement and the nature in which it should be carried out. With NACADA’s push to a global and diverse association, I feel that in small groups as well as in the presentations everyone used personal experiences to provide insight on academic advisement with a global perspective.

While attending NACADA’s Summer Institute, I learned that not only classroom but also hands-on experiences are key to enhancing educational development. Hands-on activities enable individuals to promote and support the quality of academic advising in higher education settings. A forum such as this provides an environment enabling individuals to openly discuss their thoughts and exchange ideas through activities and individual projects.

Although I am currently going through a shift in supervision within my department, I plan to present my SI Action Plan to my new supervisor once she settles into her position. Sharing my reflection of the event with my NACADA mentor was beneficial.  As a result of us exchanging feedback and comparing it to her conference experience, I  learned even more about NACADA’s improvements over the years and the many motivational opportunities that have been established in forums like the Summer Institute. I look forward to attending the next institute to put the finishing touches on my project and meet some more amazing people within the world of academic advisement.

Calley Stevens Taylor.jpgCalley shares:   NACADA Summer Institute -- Lessons in Action

As Krystal’s mentor through the NACADA Region 2 mentoring program, it has been a pleasure to help her prepare for and debrief from her Summer Institute experience. In our field, it’s sometimes hard to take the time we should to reflect on our own experiences, but participating in the Region 2 mentoring program has reminded me of the importance of self-reflection. Talking with Krystal about her experience encouraged me to look back on my Summer Institute experience.

ISI Team.jpgn July 2010, I was offered the opportunity to attend the Summer Institute in Philadelphia as a member of the team from Reading Area Community College. The Summer Institute was something that I had wanted to participate in for some time, and I was so pleased to finally have the opportunity to do so. As a newcomer to RACC (I started as the director of enrollment services just two weeks before), I saw the Summer Institute as a chance to quickly develop bonds with my new colleagues while also establishing for myself and RACC a more expansive perspective on advising. The supportive environment of the Institute and its faculty brought to the forefront some concepts that were new to several of my colleagues, including advising as teaching, and our work during the Institute allowed us to reframe what we thought advising should look like at RACC. Because the Institute was project-oriented and focused on the strategic planning and implementation of change, it lent itself naturally to the situation RACC was in at the time: changes in staffing, decreasing enrollment, desire to break down silos, and the need for organized change.

Looking back over the last three years, I’m impressed by the work that we’ve done. Although not everyone who attended the Institute is still part of our team, RACC has made a number of changes in advising delivery based on the principles and perspectives we committed to at the Summer Institute. Believing that advising begins with a student’s first contact with the College, we’ve opened a Welcome Center to serve as an advising resource for prospective students. Monthly Advising Updates are sent to the whole campus community, supporting the notion that advising, in its broadest sense, can happen between a student and any faculty or staff member at any time, in formal or informal settings. We now require advising for new and readmitted students; all new degree-seeking students must participate in RACC Ready orientation, ensuring that new students receive accurate and relevant information about academic options, policies, and programs as soon as possible. We’ve expanded the advising of current students from only faculty advisors to include staff advisors, providing more advising resources to students and building trust between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. An advising handbook now forms a set of informational modules on our learning management system and provides easy access to advising information, FAQs, documents, and other resources for any faculty or staff member. An Advising Center, which will be staffed by both faculty and staff advisors, will open soon. 

I regularly return to the institute materials when working on advising. These materials were helpful in supporting our proposal to require both orientation and advising for incoming students and in the development of retention strategies for at-risk students. I still connect with SI faculty member Marsha Miller during the #acadv chats on Twitter and value her advice, especially in the development of new materials for advisors.

Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that stick with us. During the Institute, we were shown a cartoon of a turtle on a fence. The notion that the turtle didn’t get on the fence by itself really stuck with me. That night the RACC team had dinner in Chinatown and we each purchased a turtle good luck charm that has hung at my desk ever since. This reminds me not only that students need our support to reach their goals but also that we, as staff or faculty, colleagues near or far, must also support each other to continually grow and develop advising as a pedagogy, a profession, and a field of study. Serving as a mentor for Region 2 is one way I’m participating in the development of our field, and it’s been a pleasure to watch Krystal develop as an advisor and as a colleague.

Krystal Thompson
Academic Counselor
Assessment Center
Hampton University
krystal.thompson@hamptonu.edu

Calley StevensTaylor
Director of Student Success and Retention
Cedar Crest College
Calley.Taylor@cedarcrest.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Thompson, K. & Stevens Taylor, C. (2014, March). Our NACADA summer institute experiences. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]

- See more at: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Our-NACADA-Summer-Institute-Experiences.aspx#sthash.mzR8DdxK.dpuf

Krystal Thompson, Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
Calley Stevens Taylor, Region 2 Mentor

Krystal Thompson.jpbKrystal shares:  NACADA Summer Institute Reflections

From July 28 through August 2, 2013, I attended NACADA’s 2013 Summer Institute (SI) in Scottsdale, Arizona. My decision to attend the Summer Institute was based on two primary reasons. First, I wanted to get more involved with NACADA. Second, I recognized that funds regarding departmental professional development focuses were limited within my institution; therefore, upon developing goals with my supervisor, I presented NACADA as the solution. Becoming familiar with NACADA would result in my being able to use the best practices for academic advising on my own campus.

With my supervisor’s blessing, I was able to attend and present at Region 2 drive-in meetings.  When I joined the Region 2 mentorship program, I received Calley Stevens Taylor as my mentor, and she welcomed me with open arms. With great support from my supervisor and my NACADA mentor, I was encouraged to apply for the Summer Institute Scholarship.  I had been recently awarded the travel grant to attend the Region 2 conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey, so I assumed I could not be awarded  a second time; I was wrong. I joyfully read the email confirming that I was the recipient of the SI scholarship, and I could choose to attend the summer Institute in Jacksonville, Florida or Scottsdale, Arizona. 

With my first and second considerations secured (my active involvement in NACADA and the funding to support my active involvement), my next option was to choose between Florida and Arizona. Since I have visited Florida several times and I wanted to try something new, I chose Arizona. Ultimately, I was very pleased with my decision.  During my time in Scottsdale, I was able to attend professional lectures and network with many individuals from around the world who specialize in academic advisement.

I especially enjoyed hearing from SI faculty member Blane Harding, who spoke of the many new dynamics involved with advising diverse students.  Within the small group sessions I attended, I was able to form relationships with advisors from Japan. Through listening to their experiences concerning advisement, I was able to learn a new perspective on how culture effects academic advisement and the nature in which it should be carried out. With NACADA’s push to a global and diverse association, I feel that in small groups as well as in the presentations everyone used personal experiences to provide insight on academic advisement with a global perspective.

While attending NACADA’s Summer Institute, I learned that not only classroom but also hands-on experiences are key to enhancing educational development. Hands-on activities enable individuals to promote and support the quality of academic advising in higher education settings. A forum such as this provides an environment enabling individuals to openly discuss their thoughts and exchange ideas through activities and individual projects.

Although I am currently going through a shift in supervision within my department, I plan to present my SI Action Plan to my new supervisor once she settles into her position. Sharing my reflection of the event with my NACADA mentor was beneficial.  As a result of us exchanging feedback and comparing it to her conference experience, I  learned even more about NACADA’s improvements over the years and the many motivational opportunities that have been established in forums like the Summer Institute. I look forward to attending the next institute to put the finishing touches on my project and meet some more amazing people within the world of academic advisement.

Calley Stevens Taylor.jpgCalley shares:   NACADA Summer Institute -- Lessons in Action

As Krystal’s mentor through the NACADA Region 2 mentoring program, it has been a pleasure to help her prepare for and debrief from her Summer Institute experience. In our field, it’s sometimes hard to take the time we should to reflect on our own experiences, but participating in the Region 2 mentoring program has reminded me of the importance of self-reflection. Talking with Krystal about her experience encouraged me to look back on my Summer Institute experience.

ISI Team.jpgn July 2010, I was offered the opportunity to attend the Summer Institute in Philadelphia as a member of the team from Reading Area Community College. The Summer Institute was something that I had wanted to participate in for some time, and I was so pleased to finally have the opportunity to do so. As a newcomer to RACC (I started as the director of enrollment services just two weeks before), I saw the Summer Institute as a chance to quickly develop bonds with my new colleagues while also establishing for myself and RACC a more expansive perspective on advising. The supportive environment of the Institute and its faculty brought to the forefront some concepts that were new to several of my colleagues, including advising as teaching, and our work during the Institute allowed us to reframe what we thought advising should look like at RACC. Because the Institute was project-oriented and focused on the strategic planning and implementation of change, it lent itself naturally to the situation RACC was in at the time: changes in staffing, decreasing enrollment, desire to break down silos, and the need for organized change.

Looking back over the last three years, I’m impressed by the work that we’ve done. Although not everyone who attended the Institute is still part of our team, RACC has made a number of changes in advising delivery based on the principles and perspectives we committed to at the Summer Institute. Believing that advising begins with a student’s first contact with the College, we’ve opened a Welcome Center to serve as an advising resource for prospective students. Monthly Advising Updates are sent to the whole campus community, supporting the notion that advising, in its broadest sense, can happen between a student and any faculty or staff member at any time, in formal or informal settings. We now require advising for new and readmitted students; all new degree-seeking students must participate in RACC Ready orientation, ensuring that new students receive accurate and relevant information about academic options, policies, and programs as soon as possible. We’ve expanded the advising of current students from only faculty advisors to include staff advisors, providing more advising resources to students and building trust between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. An advising handbook now forms a set of informational modules on our learning management system and provides easy access to advising information, FAQs, documents, and other resources for any faculty or staff member. An Advising Center, which will be staffed by both faculty and staff advisors, will open soon. 

I regularly return to the institute materials when working on advising. These materials were helpful in supporting our proposal to require both orientation and advising for incoming students and in the development of retention strategies for at-risk students. I still connect with SI faculty member Marsha Miller during the #acadv chats on Twitter and value her advice, especially in the development of new materials for advisors.

Sometimes, though, it’s the little things that stick with us. During the Institute, we were shown a cartoon of a turtle on a fence. The notion that the turtle didn’t get on the fence by itself really stuck with me. That night the RACC team had dinner in Chinatown and we each purchased a turtle good luck charm that has hung at my desk ever since. This reminds me not only that students need our support to reach their goals but also that we, as staff or faculty, colleagues near or far, must also support each other to continually grow and develop advising as a pedagogy, a profession, and a field of study. Serving as a mentor for Region 2 is one way I’m participating in the development of our field, and it’s been a pleasure to watch Krystal develop as an advisor and as a colleague.

Krystal Thompson
Academic Counselor
Assessment Center
Hampton University
krystal.thompson@hamptonu.edu

Calley StevensTaylor
Director of Student Success and Retention
Cedar Crest College
Calley.Taylor@cedarcrest.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Thompson, K. & Stevens Taylor, C. (2014, March). Our NACADA summer institute experiences. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]

- See more at: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Our-NACADA-Summer-Institute-Experiences.aspx#sthash.mzR8DdxK.dpuf
Posted in: 2014 March 37:1

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