Karen Hauschild, Wesley R. Habley NACADA Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
I started my new position as Director of the Academic Advising and Planning Center at the College of Charleston in February 2013. Soon after starting this position, I learned about the NACADA Summer Institute and thought, “this would be a great opportunity to develop additional skills and expertise to lead my advising center.” Unfortunately, the weeks the Summer Institute was offered directly interfered with our New Student Orientation activities, and I just didn’t think it wise to leave my team during my first summer here. Thankfully, the timing worked out perfectly in the summer of 2014 because the Summer Institute fell during an “off” week between orientation sessions. Not only was I able to participate, but I also had the honor and privilege to attend the NACADA Summer Institute in St. Petersburg, FL as a scholarship recipient. Wow! What a week! Without a doubt, this is by far one of the most influential professional development experiences in which I have participated. It was like being in an academic advising bubble for a week, talking and interacting with other advising professionals hungry to impact their campuses and learn from some of the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.
I knew before attending the Institute we would be expected to develop an Action Plan to take back to our campus and implement. My advising team had finished working on our Strategic Plan in the spring semester, so discerning where to begin with that plan was my plan. I was excited about it all, but I felt conflicted about where to start. It was a little overwhelming.
It is difficult to identify one session that was the most impactful; they were all great! I had “take-aways” from all of the sessions and many more as a result of our small group and lunch or dinner-time conversations. There were a couple of sessions in particular in which I had not only a take-away but an AH-HA. As the week moved on, each day I extracted an idea here and a tidbit there, adding layers upon layers to my thinking.
My first AH-HA was from Blane Harding’s foundation session entitled, Academic Advising and the Campus Environment. He discussed the idea of a coalition as a systematic approach involving academic departments, faculty, and advising services with mutually agreed upon goals. I like the coalition idea much better than a task force, which tends to conquer a problem and then disband.
Additional AH-HA’s came from Jennifer Joslin’s topical session, Crafting Successful Advisor Training and Development Programs; Rich Robbins’s, Assessment of Academic Advising: An Overview; and Joanne Damminger’s, Initiating Change: Leading from Your Position.
Jennifer discussed the importance of being intentional in our advisor training and development efforts. One of Jennifer’s slides (which she graciously shared), via Dr. Ann Marie Klotz of New York Institute of Technology, posits the question: “What if we invest in our people and they leave?” and the answer: “What if we don’t and they stay?” A powerful response indeed! Professional development is critical to our success as a profession and as professionals. As Jennifer said in her presentation, “We need to have the ‘best advisor in the seat.’” I couldn’t agree more.
Rich Robbins says, “You don’t have to assess everything all at once.” What a relief! Assessment is about improvement. We have to think about what we want students to know and do as a result of their interactions with our advising center.
Joanne Damminger shared John’s Maxwell’s (2011) Levels of Leadership. While I had learned about these levels some years prior, this was a good reminder and pulse check for me to consider where I am in my leadership. While by “position” I am my team’s leader, I aspire to the “pinnacle.” My job is to lead others to their personal greatness, using their strengths, abilities, and talents. What an awesome and exciting responsibility.
I had several goals in mind as a part of my experience in the Summer Institute:
- Develop inter-institution relationships with other advising professionals and seek insight from the wisdom and experience of others who have served in the profession longer or in different roles than me.
- Check! What a fantastic small group I had, led by Jo Anne Huber from UT-Austin. It was great to share stories, learn about and encourage each other, and foster relationships that are just a phone call or email away.
- Examine our advising model under the lens of new information and consider how this new information can inform our current practice.
- Check! This was just the tip of the iceberg for me in thinking about our work at the College of Charleston.
- Develop more specific action steps for implementing our Advising Center’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan and discern the most appropriate method for delegating tasks and managing workloads.
- Check! I did walk away with a defined Action Plan born from my center’s strategic plan. We recently had NACADA Executive Director Charlie Nutt visit our campus, and we opened the invitation to the campus to participate in an Advising Coalition during his visit. I am excited to see what this group will generate on our campus.
- Develop my knowledge base and administrative skillsets as they relate to the impact of advising on student success and retention.
- Check! I learned quite a bit while at the institute and keep my Institute Session Guide on my desk at all times for easy reference. I know I could contact any of the Institute Faculty at any time for a refresher, insight, or feedback. I know my administrative skills will develop further as we launch the Advising Coalition on campus.
- Consider opportunities for next level thinking and involvement in the Association.
- Check! Thanks to an informal conversation with Joanne Damminger, NACADA President, one night at dinner I have some next steps in mind for my own professional development.
The week was exhausting, yet exhilarating! Thanks to the Action Plan and the process involved, when I returned to campus I knew exactly what I needed to do next. I shared my experience and my thinking with my staff and told them to “GET READY!” Exciting times are ahead!
Director, Academic Advising & Planning Center
College of Charleston
Maxwell, J. (2011). The five levels of leadership: Proven steps to maximize your potential. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.
Cite this article using APA style as: Hauschild, K. (2015, March). NACADA summer institute: Achieving advising excellence. Academic Advising Today, 38(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]