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Voices of the Global Community

Why Do Assessment of Academic Advising (Part 1)

Susan Campbell, NACADA Assessment Institute Advisory Board Chair

This October, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) will give final review to updated academic advising standards that require the assessment of academic advising on our campuses and specifically the development of student learning outcomes. This should come as no surprise to those who have attended one or more of the NACADA Summer, Administrators’, or Assessment Institutes, where we have discussed the importance of assessment in academic advising. Not only must we assess academic advising to respond to external notions of accountability, e.g., accreditation, CAS Standards, etc., but we must assess in order to gather evidence to make improvements to our programs. More importantly, and drawing from the work of Peggy Maki (2004), we must engage in assessment to understand how and what students are learning through their involvement in their academic advising experiences. The evidence we gather for understanding should then be used to support improvements in the academic advising process and student learning. Let’s look a bit more closely at assessment in academic advising and explore three questions: What do we assess in academic advising? What are the steps involved in the assessment of academic advising? And, finally, is it worth it? [Editor’s note: The first of these three questions will be addressed in this piece. The final two will be discussed in Part 2, in the December edition.]

What do we assess in academic advising?Assessment in academic advising is really about:

  • Developing consensus around our collective understandings of academic advising and expectations of student learning;
  • Gathering evidence so we can understand student learning and the delivery of academic advising; and
  • Using evidence to support improvements in the advising process that will contribute to improvements in student learning.

Let’s explore these a bit more. One of the most important reasons for engaging in assessment in academic advising is to develop consensus – through collective conversations – about what academic advising is and what advising is not. In the absence of dialog to clarify meaning, we each create our own in order to inform and guide our behavior. When we engage in conversation, assumptions about meanings are affirmed or discarded, and what emerges is a shared understanding of academic advising within the context of our college or university. These collective understandings of academic advising become codified through the development of values, vision, mission and goal statements that are essential to the assessment process. Our conversations provide opportunities to affirm academic advising as part of a teaching and learning paradigm which, in turn, guide the development of student learning outcomes and advisor outcomes.

There are two dimensions to assessment in academic advising. These dimensions relate to expectations regarding student learning and expectations within the advising process. At the program level, learning outcomes identify the general parameters for learning, that is, what we expect students and academic advisors to know, be able to do, and value/appreciate as a result of participating in the academic advising experience. While not directly measurable, programmatic outcomes flow naturally from the values, vision, mission and goals for the academic advising program and serve to guide the development of more specific learning outcomes for students and academic advisors that are measurable because they are expressed in behavioral terms. At the student level, learning outcomes reflect what we expect students to demonstrate they know, are able to do, and value/appreciate as a result of participating in the academic advising experience. Confused? Perhaps a simple example will help. At the programmatic level, a learning outcome might be that “Students and academic advisors will understand the nature and importance of academic advising to the educational experience.” The question becomes “what does a student need to demonstrate they know, are able to do, or value/appreciate in relationship to this programmatic outcome?” At the student level, this outcome takes on behavioral dimensions, such as “Students will be able to describe how academic advising has contributed to their educational experience.” Evidence of student learning could perhaps be gathered through focus groups, surveys, and other evaluation tools, such as those used in specific courses or on an institution-wide basis.

Learning outcomes for the advising process are anchored in the academic advisor and reflect what we expect advisors to demonstrate they know, are able to do, and value/appreciate in the context of the academic advising process. Extending the previous example, an advisor outcome might be, “Academic advisors will be able to articulate how academic advising contributes to student learning and the overall student experience.”These outcomes can be (and ought to be) used to inform the design of professional development experiences; for if we expect advisors to demonstrate a set of knowledge, skills, and values related to academic advising, as with students, we need to provide advisors with the opportunities to learn what we expect. These outcomes can also inform the performance evaluation process in that they delineate knowledge and behaviors associated with being an effective academic advisor.

Ultimately, assessment is about understanding and improving. In this regard, the assessment process provides a systematic way through which information about student learning and program effectiveness can be obtained. Done in the collective and continuous way intended, the assessment process provides a systemic way to use that information to support improvements in student learning and the advising process. In the end, assessment is systematic, systemic, and relational; there are steps to the process; the process is intentional in the gathering of evidence to support improvement in learning and process; and all of the steps within the process are inextricably intertwined.

Susan Campbell
University of Southern Maine
scamp@usm.maine.edu

Reference

Maki, Peggy L. (2004). Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution. Sterling VA Stylus Publishing.

Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more on this topic from Susan in our December edition! But, in the meantime, begin planning now to attend the upcoming Assessment of Academic Advising Institute. The AS webpage for more information.


From the President: Think Big... Think Bold: The Importance of Our Work

Eric White, NACADA President

PresidentEricWhite.jpg

I find myself at this time more than halfway through my year long presidency. You have already elected a new president (Jo Anne Huber from the University of Texas-Austin) to take office in October at the end of our National Conference in Las Vegas, and the editor of Academic Advising Today tells me that this is my last column as president. The natural tendency might be to do some sort of reflection on the past year, but I think I will reserve that for another forum. Suffice it to say that NACADA continues to grow in numbers (we have now exceeded 8200 members), and we are looking forward to a capacity crowd in Las Vegas.

I would prefer to look forward to what I see are some of the issues that are affecting higher education and, consequently, academic advising. They will be presented in no particular order of importance. In fact, they are all important! Nor can I assume that I have “covered the waterfront.”

I have been following a discussion on ACADV related to the current crop of parents that we as advisors meet and deal with on a regular basis. For those of you who are not part of ACADV and enjoy being on e-discussion lists, I invite you to sign up. You can do that via the NACADA list serve web page. For those of you who have missed the discussion, it should be available in the ACADV archives.

As the cliché goes, “you must have been living under a rock” if you can’t figure out what this discussion of parents is all about. It probably will take a sociologist among us to determine just what the cause of this phenomenon is and how long it might last, but right now we advisors, who are often the very first people to meet new students and their families as they enter our institutions, must deal with the realities as we find them. This is a time for us to understand these parents and the context in which they are functioning, not to pass judgment, but to help educate them as much as we are here to educate their children. So, in a sense, we have a new clientele.

To perhaps explain some of this, just recently a press release from Penn State came in from an electronic news wire. The first paragraph reads: “Over the past two generations, the marketplace forces in higher education have resulted in the evolution of college students into consumers, affecting the nature of learning and favoring affluent students who can afford academic resources, said a Penn State researcher.”

I’m sure this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to advisors who have, in most cases, resisted the notion of students as consumers, at least in its most crass forms. As we struggle to keep the focus of learning and students as learners, we understand all too well the impact of such consumerist attitudes, not only on our students, but on their families. The press release ends with a quote from the researcher, Roger L. Geiger, a distinguished professor of higher education at Penn State: “The competition for students, for good or ill, has bred consumerism—a reversal of attitude from students as clients, fortunate to attend a particular university, to students as customers who must be pleased with a variety of amenities—from upscale dormitories to mall-like shopping facilities—that have little to do with actual education.”

How this heightened sense of entitlement and consumerism plays itself out, I will leave for the futurists to speculate about. Suffice it to say that we advisors are confronted with these attitudes on a daily basis and must, with all our skills, respond to them in meaningful and productive ways.

Given the emphasis on consumerism and its first cousin, vocationalism, there is little wonder that the proponents of general education in the curriculum find themselves once again looking for new ways to infuse this section of the curriculum with new meaning, new ways to instruct, and new configurations of content. I fear, though, that all the efforts of the general education reforms will be lost without the full support of the academic advising community, for it is advisors who have to articulate curriculum to students. In many ways, it is the foundation of our work, and how students come to appreciate all aspects of the curriculum will depend upon the advising community’s appreciation for general education, their understanding of it within the total curriculum of their institution, and their willingness to take the time to help students appreciate why general education is important.

And finally, higher education must adjust to, respond to, and articulate revised definitions for affirmative action. While one hates to use the metaphor of warfare, it is quite true that there is a ”battle” over the future of affirmative action. This battle, recently “fought” in the halls of the Supreme Court, is clearly not over. A recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Richard C. Atkinson, the former president of the University of California system: “Colleges should focus more on helping students from low-income families and look for applicants who have made the best use of their opportunities to learn.” It remains to be seen whether income will replace race, ethnicity and gender as the determinates for affirmative action. Americans, in general, have avoided issues of class, just as until recently, we wanted to believe in the melting pot analogy for American racial and ethnic history. The myth of a classless America may have to be put aside, just as most have put aside the melting pot paradigm. No matter what happens, once again advisors will be at the forefront of this issue, which from my perspective has to do with access. American higher education, for better or worse, has always been seen, along with all education, as a means for social mobility. I would bet (Yep, I’m ready for Las Vegas) that virtually all advisors, if not all, believe in the power of education and that we work as hard as we can to see that students succeed and if they can’t, we look for other venues for their success.

This is important work to do, because it represents the very essence of American societal values. So we must grasp on to the challenges, sometimes maybe even going it alone, realizing that the democracy that we know as the United States of America depends upon the work we do.

Postscript

I would like to thank all those NACADA members who took the time to read my columns and especially those who sent me personal responses to them. It was most appreciated. As I come to the end of my time as NACADA president, I leave knowing that this is an organization comprised of caring and thoughtful individuals who have been able to form an (inter)national community of practice. My hope is that all who are members of NACADA benefit from this association, and that higher education benefits from the existence of NACADA.

Eric White, President
National Academic Advising Association
erw2@psu.edu


From the Executive Director: A New Year with New Expectations

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director 

BobbieFlaherty.jpg

Welcome to a new academic year that promises many new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for academic advisors! These same expectations apply to NACADA, as we work to develop and deliver new methods for helping you address the academic advising needs of your students to enhance their success. There are always new initiatives underway at NACADA!

Our first challenge will be meeting the diverse needs of our record 8,242 members! We will begin by continuing the successful events offered in the past (Administrators’ Institute, Assessment Institute, Regional Conferences, State Conferences, Summer Institutes, and, of course, the soon to occur National Conference), and then adding to those successes with a National Seminar addressingEthical/Legal Issues in Academic Advisingin February. The Graduate Certificate in Academic Advising Program continues as well.

In addition, the first in a series of Advising Training CDs will be released soon. This series, entitled “Foundations of Academic Advising,” will kick off with “What is Academic Advising?” – which will begin by discussing the history and terminology of academic advising and describing the general expectations for academic advising in the areas of content, pedagogy, outcomes, and assessment. This will be followed with CDs to develop advising understanding (in areas such as how advising is organized, how students develop, legal/ethical issues, etc.) and skills (in areas such as multicultural interaction, interpersonal communication, how to organize resources, how to incorporate technology into everyday practice, etc.).

This fall should see the release of a new monograph, “Peer Advising: Intentional Connections to Support Student Learning,” and “A Guide to Assessment of Academic Advising,” delivered on CD to assist in the establishment of an institutional assessment program.

By January, we hope to release a joint publication with Jossey-Bass, titled “Career Advising: An Academic Advisor’s Guide,” which will serve as a handbook as the lines of academic and career advising become more blended. This guide was authored by Virginia Gordon, and we are proud to offer it to the higher education community.

At least monthly, you will also find new information or new topics available in the ever changing NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources on our web site. The NACADA Consultants Bureau is also expanding to offer ongoing assistance to institutions beyond “one-shot” consultancies and is enhancing its team approach to provide broader expertise.

Add these exciting new resources to an “on-time” Journal in your mailbox twice a year, and you have a comprehensive library and network of resources at your fingertips.

Just as you have your year laid out in front of you, so does your association. We look forward to serving you and welcome your opinions/ideas on what we might do to serve you even more.

Roberta 'Bobbie' FlahertyExecutive Director
National Academic Advising Association
nacada@ksu.edu


The NACADA Statement of Core Values was first adopted by the Board in 1994. A periodic review of the Statement was requested in the original document, and in 2003, a Task Force was charged with that assignment. In the following companion pieces, Task Force members Maura Ivanick (Chair) and Kathie Simon Frank share their thoughts on the history of the Statement, their experiences on the Task Force, and the results of the Task Force’s work.

The Core Values: A History and User's Guide

Kathie Simon Frank, Core Values Task Force Member 

Eleven years old and about to enter puberty – that was NACADA in 1990. There was no question that NACADA, established in 1979, was filling a critical need for academic advisors. The flourishing membership, increasing attendance at annual meetings, and strong regional associations acknowledged the importance of NACADA in academic advisors' lives. Academic advising was increasingly being recognized as essential for improving student life at institutions of higher education, large and small, urban and rural, teaching- and research-oriented alike. So, it was no surprise that those in this emerging profession – comprised of thoughtful and devoted faculty, professional staff, and others – desired to define and clarify what values drove their practice and to find ways to communicate those values broadly within the academy.

At a large gathering of advisors from multi-versities during the 1990 Anaheim annual conference, several raised the question: do we have a Code of Ethics to guide us? No one knew of one. Some asked, shouldn't we have one? From that initial discussion, a small group began to consider ways that the larger NACADA membership might begin to address the question.

The next year, four individuals from three institutions offered a session to begin an organization-wide debate. They proposed the need for a Code of Ethics and suggested several types of conduct that might be covered. Approximately forty people attended that session, supported the notion of moving ahead, and added their suggestions. Over the next year, the small committee investigated existing professional Codes of Ethics of related fields (counseling, teaching, social work, etc.) and began to draft a Code of Ethics for discussion.

At the 1992 and 1993 annual meetings, the committee sought additional support, received suggestions and responses to the proposed drafts of an advisors' Code of Ethics, and wrote a survey that was published in a NACADA newsletter a few months later. Ninety three percent of those who responded to the survey supported the proposed Statement of Core Values that came to supplant a Code of Ethics. In October 1994, the NACADA Board adopted this Statement of Core Values (SCV) as the organization's own. The Core Values were written to guide faculty, professional academic advisors, and others performing academic advising functions, without compromising or conflicting with Codes of Ethics for other roles that those individuals also fulfilled.

Nearly a decade later, in early Spring 2003, the NACADA Board revisited the Statement of Core Values. They realized that with pervasive introduction of technology and recent attention to diversity issues in advising practice on our campuses, the SCV would benefit from a thorough review. Maura Ivanick (Syracuse University) accepted the NACADA Board's invitation to head the Task Force. Doris Brightharp-Blount (Mississippi Valley State University), Lynn Freeman (University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh), Rob Mossack (Lipscomb University in Tennessee) ,Donna Drake (Allen County Community College in Kansas), Beth Davis (formerly of St Joseph 's College, West Hartford, CT), and I were invited to be Maura's committee.

In September 2003, the Task Force submitted a historical timeline of past work on the SCV, new findings, recommendations for further changes, and a revised SCV. At the March 2004 Board meeting, Ruth Darling, NACADA president, requested that the recommendations of the Task Force be followed. A small subset of the Task Force began addressing the Board's concerns and continued work on the revision through June 2004. To get as much input as possible on the developing SCV, the committee asked five NACADA members (including two deans, two advisors, and one administrator) at different institutions to review the SCV from their various perspectives. The committee also wrote a new survey for publication in the August 2004 NACADA newsletter, along with a draft of the revision. The survey elicited several helpful responses, including ideas that we incorporated into a new version.

Two months later, the Board reviewed the feedback at a pre-conference meeting, placed the draft on the NACADA business meeting agenda for member discussion, and finally, voted on the Statement of Core Values at a post-conference meeting. In January 2005, the Board published the SCV on NACADA's website and in various professional publications.

So, what's new? Most obvious, the basic structure has changed and been expanded. The new SCV has three parts: an introduction (a one page general statement about the SCV), a brief statement of each of the six Core Values, and, finally, an exposition in which each Core Value appears with a fuller description and examples for application. We offer the brief statement of the Core Values for quick reference and convenience. Maura Ivanick suggests in her accompanying article in this publication how the Core Values might be used. The exposition is helpful when advisors seek a broader understanding and examples for using each Value.

We incorporated the concept of diversity throughout the document. We found that issues of diversity were interlaced through many of the values, but diversity affected each in different ways, thus requiring different ways of handling.

We treated questions of technology similarly. In a given value, technology serves different functions, and, thus, is used in a variety of ways. It seemed best to address each aspect of technology within its context.

Everywhere, we attempted to view the SCV with the eyes of a newcomer to the profession. Where we identified confusing or unclear statements or assumptions, we clarified the language.

CoreValues.gifWith this revised and restructured Statement of Core Values, advisors can find the guidance they seek from NACADA. Relationships between academic advisors and their advisees are dynamic, changing with our culture and our institutions of higher learning. Thus, the Statement of Core Values is also a dynamic document. As such, we hope those who use it continue to review it periodically to keep it relevant for and compatible with current advising professionals. It is your guide to good practice. Adopt it, embrace its principles, and with its guidance, be the best advisor you can be.

Kathie Simon Frank
University of Minnesota, retired
kathie@atlas.socsci.umn.edu

It's Simple to Use the Statement of Core Values

Maura L. Ivanick, Core Values Task Force Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maura L. Ivanick
Syracuse University
mlivanic@syr.edu


Improving Academic Advisor Preparation Through Cultural Self-Awareness

Cornelius K. Gilbert , University of Wisconsin

One of the most perplexing issues encountered on today’s college campus colleges is how to adequately serve a diverse student body. The requirement to effectively meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds surfaced during the civil rights movement (or Freedom Struggle and ethnic movements) of the 1960s and 1970s, as predominately white campuses across the country became increasingly more integrated. Challenges raised during that time continue to face us today.

Over the past forty years, campus administrators and practitioners have put forth efforts to meet the needs and concerns of students of color. Efforts have included diversity or multicultural “training” – principally for white professionals – to become better informed about diverse cultures, experiences, and histories that exist among their changing student populations.

The traditional narrative of multiculturalism in higher education has focused on providing adequate cross-cultural services at predominately white institutions of higher learning; today this phenomenon is not limited to predominately white institutions. Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are experiencing the same trends of increased “minority enrollment” and the need to provide effective cross-cultural services. The U.S. Department of Education reported that white enrollment at HBCUs over the past twenty-five years has jumped from 21,000 to 35,000, a percentage spike of 65 percent (Blitzer, 2000). At some schools, such as Bluefield State, Virginia State and Lincoln University, student bodies have just about transformed from all Black to overwhelmingly White.

As America ’s ethnic and racial demographics continue to shift, not only on college campuses but throughout the nation, it is essential that administrators and practitioners prepare to effectively deliver cross-cultural services. Professionals of all ethnic and racial backgrounds need to gain multicultural awareness and multicultural competency.

We begin to establish multicultural competence when we become self-aware – when we establish a racial consciousness of our own – thereby becoming able to view ourselves as racial beings (Carter, 1995; Pope & Mueller, 2000, p. 133). Research shows that improvements can be made to better relate to students – therefore better serve them – if professionals are aware of their racial identity (Mueller, 1999; Mueller & Pope, 2000, p. 133). When self-awareness or a racial consciousness is established, regardless of racial or ethnic background, a heightened sensitivity and awareness occurs toward the issues minority students experience and voice. As a result, we are in a better position to deliver enhanced cross-cultural services.

Perhaps even more critical is that, as a result of these efforts, professionals become more receptive to their students’ experiences. Such awareness serves to facilitate a move from mere multicultural tolerance to appreciation, inclusion, and an increased understanding of students’ experiences. This is particularly true in academic advising.

Consider how academic advisors support students as they explore the reasons they are in school, assess their interests and talents, and integrate into the campus community. Habley (1981) noted that academic advising is instrumental in the fight against student attrition when he said that “academic advising is the only structured service on the campus in which all students have the opportunity for on-going, one-to-one contact with a concerned representative of the institution.”

Delivery of important services such as academic advising must be executed in a genuinely caring, understanding, knowledgeable, yet direct and honest method. The amount of cross-cultural interaction that occurs during advising makes the preparation of academic advisors critical to institutional success.

The preparation we receive should require a highly collaborative and interactive self-awareness and include a racial consciousness component that allows us to gain an awareness of our beliefs and attitudes as they pertain to multiculturalism. This exploration provides an opportunity to to check biases and stereotypes that can affect our delivery of adequate cross-cultural service. Becoming aware of our values and biases is a move toward positive orientation of multiculturalism (Sue, et. al, p. 633).

As we grasp our attitudes and beliefs, the next step in the multicultural competency process is acquiring knowledge. Knowledge and understanding of our the professionals’ heritage and worldview(s), as well as knowledge of the multicultural groups we they work with and their sociopolitical influences, serves to improve cross-cultural services (Sue, et. al, p.633).

Lastly, intervention techniques and strategies must be incorporated into the preparation for all professionals who work cross-culturally. Intervention technique education helps develop multicultural competency as a lifestyle. The preparation should constantly question/challenge professionals. Examples of questions that advisors should address include:

  • How have you benefited from your racial or ethnic status?
  • How are you seeking to broaden your experiences and knowledge of different multicultural groups?
  • Have you considered what it may feel like to be ‘the only’ in a rather large setting?
  • Do you know how it feels to be ‘appointed’ the representative of your race because you are ‘the only’ in a setting?
  • How are you going to continue to understand yourself as a racial or ethnic being in society?
  • Are you consistently seeking knowledge about multicultural affairs?

As education professionals, we become better equipped to serve when we take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge ourselves as cultural beings. The more we are aware of our biases and cultural influences, the better we are able to serve and therefore create more sensitive multicultural campuses through better programs and better policies (Mueller & Pope, 2001, p. 7).

Cornelius K. Gilbert
University of Wisconsin
cgilbert@lssaa.wisc.edu

References

Author would like to thank psychologist Dr. Jeffery S. Hird, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Counseling and Consultation Services, for his knowledge, input, and support.

Blitzer, Wolf. (18 May 2000). “Enrollment of white students on rise at historically black colleges” CNN.com. Retrieved May 31, 2005 fromhttp://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/2000/US/05/18/black.colleges/

Boume-Bowie, Khandi. (30 March 2000). Retention depends on new models of student development. Black Issues In Higher Education, 17 (3). Online Edition available at http://www.blackissues.com/articlePage.asp?i=113&c=11&a=3078.

Carter, R.T. (1995). The Influence of Race and Racial Identity in Psychotherapy. New York: Wiley.

Habley, Wes. (1981). Academic advising: Critical link in student retention. NASPA Journal, 28 (4): 45-50.

Harding, Blane. (June 2005). The changing face of college campuses. Academic Advising Today, 28 (2). Online Edition available at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Newsletter/AAT28-2.htm.

Mueller, John A. (1999). The Relationship Between White Racial Consciousness and Multicultural Competence Among White Student Affairs Practitioners. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Mueller, John A., & Pope, Raechele L. (2001). The relationship between multicultural competence and white racial consciousness among student affair practitioners. Journal of College Student Development, 72, 133-144.

Nutt, Charlie L. ( 2003). Academic advising and student retention and persistence. NACADA National Academic Advising Association Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. Retrieved 31 May 2005 fromhttp://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/retention.htm.

Scott, Tracy L. (10 November 2004). More whites attending HBCUs. Retrieved 31 May 2005.

Sue, Derald Wing; Arredondo, Patricia; & McDavis, Roderick J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession. Journal of Counseling and Development, 70, 477-486

Sue, D.W., & Sue, D. (1990). Counseling the culturally different: Theory and practice. New York:Wiley.


First-Year Pre-Law Students: An 8-Point Academic Advising Guide

Julie Givans, Pre-Law Advising Interest Group Chair

What do pre-law students need to know? Information for junior- and senior-level students abounds; hundreds of books have been written on taking the LSAT, writing personal statements, and choosing the best school. But what about first-year students?

Great law school applications don’t start with a high LSAT score. They come from years of engagement with academics, the community, and an understanding of what the study and the profession of law is really about. Get your freshmen started right by incorporating this eight point “academic advising curriculum” into your work with first-year pre-law students.

  1. Stretch academically. Suggest students take classes that require them to read, write, think, research and analyze. These are the skills students will need to succeed as law students and as attorneys; if students master them as undergraduates, they are then able to spend their law school years focused on learning the law. Students need to learn to write clearly. Freshman composition classes should lay the foundation, but also suggest writing courses in the disciplines and professors that focus on writing. Encourage students to read and engage with “dense” material, and to become comfortable grappling with difficult ideas. Let your freshmen know that in college, as in law school, reading the text just once is rarely enough. It is through reading, re-reading and analyzing texts that material is mastered.
  2. Choose the “right” major. The “right” major for a pre-law student is a major that they love to study. Law schools look for diversity in their entering classes. That diversity includes diversity of undergraduate major. In addition, choosing a major the student is passionate about results in better grades when applying to law school and happier lawyers after graduation. For example, students who love art as well as the law might find their best fit as an in-house attorney for an art gallery or museum (Coleman, 1996).
  3. Get to know professors. AsRichard Lightexplains in his book Making the Most of College (2001), students who get to know their professors outside of the classroom tend to be happiest and get the most out of their college experience. Pre-law students should be especially encouraged to make personal connections with professors. In addition to important intangible benefits, pre-law students may be motivated by knowing that such relationships can lead to better letters of recommendation.
  4. Get involved in the community. Whether it’s being president of the boating club, volunteering with the church or participating in student government, law schools look for students who are active in their communities, outside the classroom. As with choosing a major, students should seek out opportunities that interest them, not what they think law schools “want to see,” because law schools, again, look for diversity of experience when admitting students.
  5. Investigate careers. Many students choose a pre-law path based on mistaken ideas of what it is like to be an attorney. As an academic advisor, the best question you can ask them is “Why do you want to be a lawyer?” Get them thinking about their skills, their values, and their interests. Encourage students to begin conducting informational interviews, attending career services events and alumni mixers, and searching out internships. Have them explore different practice areas (such as international, family, corporate law), different work environments (such as government, big firm, not-for profit), and what attorneys do all day. As freshmen, students should research not only careers in law, but also in related fields. Only by exploring a variety of careers can students determine if they are truly selecting the one that fits them the best (Schneider & Belsky, 2005).
  6. Avoid debt. Students with heavy debt loads may have difficulty getting government loans for law school and limit their job options upon graduation from law school (Schneider & Belsky, 2005). Starting as freshmen, students need to watch expenses, for example by limiting credit card use and reducing unnecessary expenses such as eating out, cell phones and cable TV.
  7. Keep out of trouble. When law school graduates apply to take the bar exam, state bar associations conduct a thorough background check. Because of this, most law school applications require students to disclose any brushes they have had with the law. Some schools require letters certifying that the student has not been subject to any disciplinary action while at school. Thus, for pre-law students, infractions such as underage consumption of alcohol or academic dishonesty (i.e. plagiarism, cheating on exams) can have a lasting impact on their academic and career plans! Clean records are best, as there is nothing to explain.
  8. Investigate pre-law resources. Students should begin to research organizations that offer programs to nurture pre-law students. The Law School Admission Council offers videos and other resources to students through their website (http://www.lsac.org/). The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) also offers summer programs for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups, to assist them with their path to law school (http://www.cleoscholars.com/index.cfm).

Incorporating these ideas into your academic advising with pre-law students from the beginning gives these students the opportunity to not only start preparing for law school, but also to make the most of their undergraduate years.

Julie Givans
Arizona State University
Julie.givans@asu.edu

References

Coleman, Ronald. (1996). The Princeton Review Pre-Law Companion. New York: Princeton Review Publishing

Light, Richard. (2001). Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds. Massachusetts : Harvard University Press.

Schneider, Deborah & Gary Belsky. (2005). Should You Really Be a Lawyer? The Guide to Smart Career Choices Before, During, and After Law School. Seattle: Decision Books.


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Creating a Campus-based Advising Organization: The KASADA Experience

Deborah Barber, Kent State University

From a loose affiliation of advising and student affairs professionals to a dynamic professional organization – how did the Kent Academic Support and Advising Association (KASADA) get there?

In 1989, about 30 professional advisors got together at Kent State University to talk about forming a university-wide organization for those of us who work directly with students. We sought to establish a network that would help facilitate information sharing and provide a mechanism for diminishing the bureaucracy faced by students. There was also a need to provide professional development opportunities and establish a visible presence on campus.

We created a name – KASADA (Kent Academic Support and Advising Association), wrote a mission statement, found volunteers who were willing to organize meetings every other month, and began to gather on a regular basis.

This continued for about twelve years, until we reached stagnation. While much of our meeting time was devoted to sharing individual practices and discussing relevant policies, little was done to facilitate professional growth or help us connect strategically with the institution. As a result, decisions concerning advising-related issues were made without input from professional advisors, a situation that gave KASADA members a growing sense of frustration in a time when the university placed an increased emphasis on academic advising. It was the ideal time to change our organizational model, respond to member interests, and partner in a more dynamic way with the institution.

Several advisors held a day-long retreat in conjunction with some faculty and administrators who were directly involved with academic advising. We discussed where we wanted to go and brainstormed ways we could get there. We moved toward the adoption of a formal organizational structure that included bylaws, dues, elected officers, and key standing committees: Professional Development, Campus Affairs, and Communications. KASADA dues, which are minimal, provide a small treasury that enables us to offer refreshments at some meetings, honoraria, and small gifts to guest speakers. With assistance provided by a NACADA Region 5 start-up grant, we created a web site, rewrote the mission statement, and became aNACADA Allied Member. (See the complete list of NACADA Allied Members athttp://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Membership/allied_members.htm.)

As we worked through the bylaw process, we realized that it made sense to create a standing committee to work on assessment, an effort that keeps us aligned with the university’s strategic planning principles. To encourage more faculty participation, a faculty representative was added to the executive committee; this individual provided a valuable link to the university’s Faculty Professional Development Center.

The dynamic nature of KASADA is the result of the tremendous energy and enthusiasm found in the committee members and the professionally relevant events sponsored by the organization. KASADA sponsors an annual conference that has included:

2003 “ Empowering Students to Become Active, Responsible Learners” (Keynote: Skip Downing)

2004 “Exploring and Embracing Diversity in Higher Education” (Keynote: Bertice Berry )

2005 “Making the Connection: Learning, Teaching, and Advising” (Keynote: Charlie Nutt)

Part of the success of the organization is a direct result of the continuing support provided by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. The first dean of the unit,Terry Kuhn, created two annual university advising awards: one awarded for the outstanding professional advisor and the other presented to the outstanding faculty advisor. We are proud to say that many of these recipients have gone on to win national NACADA awards. We also enjoy support from the Provost and President of Kent State University and can brag that our president,Carol Cartwright, was last year’s winner of the NACADA Pacesetter Award. The current Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Gary Padak, serves as the university administration liaison to KASADA.

Another annual event is the Fall Advising Forum, co-sponsored by Undergraduate Studies. This is an opportunity for members to share their research and conference presentations. This event is held after the NACADA National Conference, so members can share ideas gleaned from the conference.

KASADA meets monthly. In-service topics have included “Multicultural Counseling Competencies,” “Career Exploration and Identity Development,” “Exploring Approaches to Ethical Issues in Advising,” and “Millennial Student Characteristics and Implications for Advising.” Additional program topics have included: FERPA, learning communities and freshman interest groups, athletic eligibility, the Ohio Transfer Module, and changes in financial aid progress calculations. Meetings typically end with a “hot topic” discussion that is determined from suggestions submitted at the beginning of the meeting.

KASADA delivers the Faculty Advising Workshop Series, a five-meeting training program, which extends throughout the academic year; the Series is underwritten by Undergraduate Studies with a grant from the Provost. Additionally, the annual campus update allows each Kent Campus academic unit to present new policies and curriculum changes to members from all eight campuses. One regular KASADA membership meeting is held at a regional campus location each year.

Recently, KASADA completed the online advising handbook, a major undertaking which has been a two year project. The handbook provides a ready and current reference for faculty and professional advisors and is linked from the KASADA web site.

It is important to acknowledge that members’ professional participation has grown from the local association. KASADA members hold positions with OHAAA, the state organization, with NACADA Region 5, and at the national level in NACADA. Typically 20-30 KASADA members attend, and many present, at the NACADA National Conference.

Can this success story be replicated at other institutions? We think so. Move slowly and deliberately and be prepared for periods of stagnation. Have faith that people will come forward to pick up the ball. Begin by finding a core group of interested individuals. Determine your group’s goals and mission; craft a functional association structure that meets your objectives. Be inclusive not only of professional advisors, but also faculty and interested administrators. To the extent possible, partner with your institution; this sets the stage for an enduring and rewarding relationship.

Please visit our website at http://dept.kent.edu/kasada/kasada.asp for contacts and additional information.

Deborah Barber
Kent State University
dbarber@kent.edu


On The College Access and Opportunity Act and Federal Regulation of Transfer Credit Policies 

Troy A. Holaday, NACADA Advising Transfer Students Commission Chair

In October of 2003, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) introduced The Affordability in Higher Education Act, H.R.3311, a proposed amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965. H.R.3311 featured language that alarmed many of us in postsecondary education who routinely deal with transfer of credit issues. In an attempt at alleviating the rising cost of higher education, McKeon’s bill proposed a College Affordability Index, which would supposedly indicate the general affordability of institutions based on a number of factors, including their rate of acceptance of transfer credit. The bill required that institutions of higher education refrain from forcing students to “take the same course twice,” due to what some perceived as elitist transfer credit evaluation policies. Among the bills provisions were statements that required institutions to evaluate credit from all schools recognized by the Secretary of Education, not just those with regional accreditation, and to report in detail on the percentage of credits accepted in transfer. Noncompliance was threatened with loss of regional accreditation and serious financial ramifications.

The Affordability in Higher Education Act of 2003prompted lengthy and highly critical responses from such groups as American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and the American Council on Education (ACE). Among the chief complaints were the cumbersome reporting requirements, the “federalization” of accrediting agencies, and above all else, the unprecedented intrusion into the decision making processes of institutions of higher education. Many also questioned the necessity of such legislation when the mobility of student credit is by all accounts at an all time high.

H.R.3311 has since been revised twice, first as H.R.4283,The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2004, and more recently as H.R. 609,The College Access and Opportunity Act of 2005. Both bills were introduced by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce (CEW). Most of the troublesome language of the earlier bills has fallen by the wayside, but H.R.609 still carries a “non-discrimination” clause that prohibits institutions from rejecting transfer credits solely on the basis of a sending institution's lack of regional accreditation, if that institution’s alternative accrediting organization is recognized by the Secretary of Education. In July of this year, H.R.609 was forwarded by the subcommittee to the full committee for a vote, and all signs point to the very real possibility of this bill becoming a law.

Members of NACADA who deal with transfer students should be aware of these developments for a number of reasons. First, those of you involved in shaping institutional policies regarding the review of transfer credit may be forced to comply with Rep. McKeon and Rep. Boehner’s concept of fair play. Second, the legislation is reflective of transfer credit evaluation initiatives (such as mandated common numbering systems and transferable general studies modules) that have been occurring across the country at the state level for several years, and it indicates a measure of more or less informed encroachment by government agencies into the process of providing higher education. If you object to micromanagement of your institution’s academic policies by state and local government, now is the time to become involved. Contact your elected representatives and let them know where you stand.

Troy A. Holaday
Ball State University
tholaday@bsu.edu


An Advising Administrator's Duty

Linda Chalmers, Advising Administration Commission Chair

I profess that the most important job duty of an advising administrator is to hire the right people, because no other function done improperly or poorly will so quickly damage the advising operation and the mission of providing quality advising services to students. Over the twenty plus years that I have been an administrator/manager, both in higher education and private industry, I have observed that the art of hiring the right people is constantly cussed and discussed. One must continually hone hiring skills, especially in light of the ever-changing workforce landscape.

There remains a constant within the forces of human-resource changes that I always use when hiring. My mantra is “hire the attitude and train the skill.” I learned this valuable lesson early on, when I discovered that a bad attitude will poison an office staff very quickly. Bad attitudes rarely change to good. A person’s worldview comes early as decision-making patterns are developed early in life. Just take the person who sees the world through the “half-empty” filter and try to change them to see it “half-full”; you soon will discover that no human power can perform that magic!

I have always willingly given people “the benefit of the doubt,” but early on I learned the valuable lesson of listening. I will never forget the administrative assistant I hired for a front desk-receptionist position. During the job interview, I emphasized that this position required that the individual be on-time and dependable. While I heard, I did not listen to the candidate as she responded with a saga that included living across town, childcare issues, and her need to learn a new route to work. Unfortunately, I did not understand this cue to her future performance. Instead, I looked at the candidates’ qualifications on paper; she was the “best qualified” of the pool, so I hired her. Alas, during her first month she was up to 30 minutes late every day (if only I had listened!). Soon we parted amiably, and I learned a valuable lesson.

In my twenty-plus supervisory years, I have had many positive hiring experiences. Much of this success stems from a few solid hiring principles and techniques:

  • Be sure you know what the job entails. Have you served “time” in the position you are hiring? Have you shadowed each staff position to experience what these individuals do and how each must perform to be successful on a daily basis?
  • Break down the job into essential functions – what must be done or the job fails. Identify the performance outcome for each function and define the needed skill or skill set. For example, an advisor position’s essential job functions may be the following:
    • Communicates well and builds rapport with advisees;
    • Pays attention to details for accuracy;
    • Focuses on the positive, using a strengths-based or developmental advising approach, etc.;
    • Uses technology well to gain, analyze, and communicate information (uses PC, Microsoft Office Suite, email, the institution’s records system, etc.);
    • Is adaptable and flexible with institutional changes, policies; and
    • Understands and relates well with multigenerational advisees.

Map this on paper and consider the types of questions you and your search committee will need to ask interviewees in order to yield the best information for making a hiring decision. (Note: It is often wise to develop these questions with the search committee since HR laws dictate that the same questions be asked of all interviewees.)

Recently I was surprised to learn that, “…when surveyed, over 90% of people (employers) indicate they hate to interview” (Peak Search, 2005). If that is true, then how can we expect to hire good people? It’s all in the preparation. In a recent issue of Employee Recruitment & Retention, a report states that of the ten worst hiring practices, #7 is “no plans for interviewing” (Sennett, 2004). Interview preparation is, indeed, important.

Linda Chalmers
University of Texas at San Antonio
Linda.Chalmers@utsa.edu

References

Peak Search. (2005). Interviewing for Employers, Winning the Best in the 21 st Century. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at www.peaksearch.net/hiringtips.htm.

Sennett, Frank. (2004). Special report: The 10 worst hiring practices – and how to avoid them.

Employee Recruitment & Retention. Lawrence Ragan Communications, Inc., Chicago, IL, Sample Issue, pp 6-7

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Dear Career Corner: I have been avoiding updating my Curriculum Vitae (CV) because it hasn’t been updated in over five years. But, now I am considering applying for another position and need to submit a current CV. Do you have any suggestions for me? – Signed, Guilty of CV Negligence

Dear Guilty: Many people only dust off and update their CVs when they absolutely are forced to do so. However, let me urge you to learn from this experience and be more attentive to updating your CV on a regular basis in the future for a number of important reasons. First, your CV is your professional diary of your activities, awards, and education – it is an extremely significant document, and it is imperative that it be correct and up-to-date. The Chronicle of Higher Education and other newspapers frequently feature stories about people who lost their jobs due to inaccuracies on their resumes/CVs. Second, the best way to ensure that you provide accurate information is to add things to your CV as they happen. Third, updating your CV on at least a quarterly basis is a good opportunity to reflect on what you have accomplished and to figure out how to proactively acquire new skills, knowledge, and experiences. If you do not have anything new to add to your CV every three months, it should serve as a reminder to continue your lifelong learning quest.

As far as how to approach your CV, I do have some recommendations. First, as stated above, make sure that your CV contains only 100% accurate information. Second, the typical sections of the CV include: Education, Professional Experience, Committees, Honors and Awards, Publications, Professional Affiliations, Presentations, and Teaching Experience. In each of the sections, your experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order. Please do not use the Microsoft Word resume template – it is more geared towards a business setting. Do not artificially limit the length of your CV to one page – colleges and universities are used to seeing faculty CVs that can range from 8-40 pages, so having a CV that is 2-5+ pages long is not a problem as long as you have enough substantive information to justify that length. Lastly, have someone else carefully and constructively edit your CV. Double-check that your contact information at the top of the CV is correct and that there are no typos.

Jennifer L. Bloom
Chair, NACADA Member Career Services Committee


SparklerBanner.jpgIt takes but one SPARK to ignite the flame for an idea. Does your campus have an unusual or exceptional process or program that could spark an idea on another campus? If so, tell us about it in 350 words or less.  Send your 'Sparkler' to Leigh@ksu.edu 

Cross-campus cooperation and efforts to undo the “silo effect” are hot topics on many campuses today. Derek Bratton, Cashin Residence Hall Director, reports on efforts that Residence Hall personnel at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are making to support academic advisors in their efforts to encourage student success and boost retention. “If one peruses through higher education journals,”  Bratton notes, “the literature strongly suggests that there is an association between academic/personal development and establishing meaningful contacts with students. Facilitating relationships with students (especially first-year) and having frequent contacts with them is a significant factor in retention. We seek to bridge the gap between the work inside the classroom and the skills that a student develops in a non-classroom setting. The role of residence hall directors extends beyond the normal working day. We have the ability to help students develop competence in the areas of human growth. In the context of advising, residence hall directors have frequent discussions with students and other departments about the educational aspirations and the issues that affect classroom learning.”  One program they are particularly proud of is known as the Northeast/Sylvan Community Development Academic Excellence Awards, which is “just one way of informing students that they are not alone in the process of pursuing a degree,” says Bratton. Student leaders are heavily involved with the process, which awards a Lamp of Learning Trophy to the hall in each residential area whose students achieve the highest cumulative grade point average. In addition to the group awards, individual students are recognized for outstanding performance in the following areas:Unsung Hero-Heroine, Outstanding Community Development Program, Best Community Leader, and Cluster Office Managers. “With the harsh economic realities of cut backs in academic programs in higher education,” says Bratton, “I would challenge all to take the time needed to celebrate the accomplishments of students academically and in the campus community. Believe me, the students are very appreciative that someone on campus cares about them as a person.” To learn more about this program, contact Derek Bratton at dbratton@gw.housing.umass.edu.

Continuing with the subject of AWARDS– while many (if not most) campuses today reward outstanding academic advising with some sort of campus award, two of our members report “something special” about their Awards Program that other campuses may want to consider emulating.

Selma Reed, Assistant Executive Director of Enrollment Services, tells us that San Diego State University's annual Exemplary Academic Advising Awards recognize the many contributions made by outstanding advisors. The entire campus community, including students, faculty and staff, are encouraged to nominate advisors to receive this award. Categories range from Undergraduate Advisor to Distinguished Service. Award recipients are recognized at a reception held in their honor, where their nominators, families, senior administrators, and campus friends applaud them. The “sparkler” for this program is that each award recipient also receives a year membership to NACADA. NACADA membership forms are completed and submitted in one package, and then each recipient receives a letter of recognition from the NACADA Executive Director. Reed says, “the celebration of exemplary advising, coupled with the exposure to NACADA, is increasing interest in advising across our large campus and motivating our hard-working advisors to go above and beyond to provide exceptional service.”

Vince Magnuson, Vice Chancellor for Academic Administration at the University of Minnesota Duluth, reports that the UMD Outstanding Faculty Advisor Awards program is intended to acknowledge the importance of the faculty/student advising relationship, demonstrate that UMD values and promotes faculty advising, promote excellence in academic advising among the faculty, and showcase outstanding faculty advisors. Each academic year, this award honors five faculty members (one from each collegiate unit) who have demonstrated outstanding service to the students and the University through advising. Nominating an advisor is a way for students or colleagues to say “thank you for your contributions to students and colleagues at UMD.” The “sparkler” for this program is that each award winner receives $500 as a cash bonus, a travel bonus, or an equipment allocation. In addition, each winner’s department receives $500 to spend on its advising program, thereby recognizing the departments that support faculty advising. The program just completed its 6th year and has grown into an anticipated annual event.

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