Advising Non-Traditional Students: Beyond Class Schedules and Degree Requirements
Lorneth Peters, MeHee Hyun, and Sylvie Taylor, Advising Adult Learners Commission Members
Jennifer Varney, Advising Adult Learners Commission Chair
At one time the term “non-traditional student” referred to a small number of older adults who registered for night classes and occasionally asked for advising. Today, the academy has broadened the definition for non-traditional student, and we have reassessed their needs. The National Center for Educational
Statistics (2002) reported that at least 73 percent of undergraduates
have at least one “non-traditional” characteristic: not enrolling in college
immediately after high school graduation, working full-time, being
financially independent, having dependents, being a single parent, or
not possessing a high school diploma. Non-traditional students also are
disproportionately first generation and students of color.
Unlike many traditional students who were raised with college completion as a primary goal, these non-traditional learners may not have viewed higher education as a part of their development or life trajectory. Non-traditional students often enroll in college during a period of transition, e.g., during a divorce, change in job/career, pregnancy, recent birth of a
child, as young children become more independent, or when older
children leave home. These non-traditional students may have limited
support from their families and communities for their academic goals,
They may be greatly restricted by their limited understanding of higher education, inappropriate advice from members of their support system, or responsibilities that compete with their academic work.
We, as advisors, play an important role in the success of these
students. It is critical that we reflect upon our advisor preparation
and expectations if we are to help these students succeed. To aid us in
this reflection, we offer the following suggestions for creatively
meeting the needs of this growing student group.
Creative ways to meet the needs of non-traditional students
- Change our mind-set. Characteristics of
non-traditional students continue to evolve, so we must frequently
revisit our views of non-traditional students. A non-traditional
student may be 20 instead of 45; a 20-year-old student may be a parent
of two with a full time job.
- Reconsider our internal advising structure. Advising
non-traditional students can be more time consuming due to great
variability within this student population. Use multiple contact
methods, including face-to-face, email, phone, and Web advising. Create
materials that cater to a variety of learning styles.
- Confirm student goals. Provide students with
a questionnaire that helps them reveal the goals they hope to achieve.
Let their answers establish a road map for helping these students
effectively meet their goals.Effective advisors garner a sense of
students’ overall histories and why now is the time a particular
non-traditional student has chosen to enroll.
- Help students discover their strengths. Ask questions that will help students realize how their real-world
knowledge, skills, and talents will assist them in achieving their
academic goals. Provide needed insight (e.g, time commitment for an online course) to help these students better manage their varied responsibilities.
- Determine the support needed to help students achieve their goals. Many factors determine an appropriate course load and students’ abilities to engage in their educational experience. How familiar are students with the higher education environment and its expectations? Do students understand the academic preparation (e.g.,type of degree, time to degree, licensure, or specialized skills) necessary to achieve their career goals? Do students need childcare to attend class? Know available support services, both on campus and within the community, that can help students meet their goals.
- Demystify college jargon. Each college has terms and acronyms that new students, especially non-traditional students, may find intimidating. Provide new students with a glossary of terms to help them acclimate to the institution.
- Touch base frequently. Keeping up with
advisees can be a challenging task, so find ways to make it more
pleasurable for both advisor and student. Instead of meeting in the
office, why not meet up for lunch at the campus cafeteria or meet for a
cup of coffee?
- Form a non-traditional student network.
Introduce mothers to mothers, fathers to fathers, full-time working
students to other working students. This can help non-traditional
students feel more at home in the higher education setting.
- Sponsor family events. Incorporate children
and spouses into activities to help keep non-traditional students
engaged. A family cookout at a park can make students feel like an
advisor is interested in both their academic and personal lives. Note:
some institutions require that a liability form be completed by each
participant to lessen institutional liability.
- Incorporate technology into advising. Many college students immerse themselves in technology. Texting, chat rooms, Facebook© and Twitter©
have moved the use of technology to a different level. Think of ways
to incorporate frequently used technologies into interactions with
- Help students understand the cultural norms within the college.
Make sure these learners understand their roles in communication,
social, and professional contacts with peers, faculty, and staff.
Students used to being in charge may need a reminder that academic staff
work with them, not for them.
- Feel comfortable with student interactions.
Advisors should feel confident about working with students who may
possess career competencies and life experiences far more extensive
than their own. These students may be comfortable in challenging what
they hear; advisors should be professional as they share the reasons
certain policies and procedures exist.
Advisors working with non-traditional students must respect
individual differences. The most successful advisors take time to learn
each student’s story, identify the student’s strengths and challenges
in this new environment, and respectfully and effectively link these
students to the resources that will best suit their individual needs.
Austin Peay State University
Core Faculty, BA in Liberal Studies Program
Antioch University Los Angeles
Professor, M.A. Psychology Programs
Director, Applied Community Psychology Specialization
Antioch University Los Angeles
Director of Graduate Student Advising
SNHU College of Online and Continuing Education
Milam, J. (2008). Nontraditional Students in Public Institutions: A Multi-State Unit Record Analysis. Retrieved from http://highered.org/docs/NontraditionalStudentsinPublicInstitutions.pdf
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics,
Nontraditional Undergraduates, NCES 2002–012, by Susan Choy. Washington, DC: 2002 retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/2002012.pdf
From the President: That's a Wrap. Onward to Orlando.
Jayne Drake, NACADA President
There is a tradition among NACADA presidents to use the September issue of Academic Advising Today to wrap up their year as president by casting a long look back—a kind
of year in review—and sometimes by peering as far as the eye can see
into the future. This opportune moment provides presidents with a chance to take stock, to reflect on where the Association
has been and where it is going. This moment provides a unique
opportunity to stand on tiptoe, if you will, and scan NACADA from
horizon to horizon, to take a good look at the people, places, and
things that have shaped our past and present, and will likely influence
our future. Now it is my turn. I would like to highlight three
important initiatives this year that have altered both the face and the
internal workings of the Association in significant ways. They
represent big changes in the way we come together—the way NACADA helps
“translate” the world and how we connect to the important issue of
student success. It has been a very busy year for NACADA.
Perhaps the most visible change this year is the addition of a tag line
“The Global Community for Academic Advising” to our iconic acronym.
This addition represents the growing influence of NACADA in meeting the
interests and needs of advising / personal tutoring / counseling
professionals in higher education globally. It also signals the
importance of NACADA’s reach and influence across the world as
represented by Association members from more than 30 countries. My
travels from Liverpool to Tokyo and points in between have shown that
the advising issues, interests, and concerns common to campuses in the
United States are the same throughout the world—the educational needs,
the academic growth, and persistence of students and how best to ensure
they are addressed. NACADA truly represents “The Global Community for
Academic Advising,” and so the coming years should see the inclusion of
more international members gathered around our common goal of student
Accompanying this tagline is the responsibility of extending our reach thoughtfully and intentionally. To that end, NACADA’s Board of Directors has invited Glenn Kepic, our incoming Vice President, to assemble a taskforce on the
globalization of the Association made up of NACADA members from
literally around the world. Its charge, among other matters, is to
expand the number of countries and institutions involved in the
Association, to develop strategies for increasing the involvement by our
international members through our publications and other resources,
and to determine the best technologies to cultivate and maintain our
relationships around the world. We are grateful to those serving on our
Globalization Taskforce for their good work in thinking through these
and other important issues.
The second major change that I would like to comment on is how NACADA
has deftly responded to the global economic downturn. With budget belts
tightening on campuses around the world, it has been more difficult
for our members to travel great distances to attend our professional
development events. So, we determined that if our members could not
come to us, then we would take “NACADA Near You.” From our ten
Regional Conferences (which you turned out for in record numbers), our
two Summer Institutes in Philadelphia and St. Louis (which were
bursting at the seams), to the Research Symposiums, the Retention
Seminar, Assessment Institute, and our fourth annual International
Conference, NACADA was there to provide important professional
This year, we brought NACADA Near You by expanding our offerings. From new Pocket Guides and monographs to an ambitious number of Webcasts centered on the theme of “Reaching and Retaining Students,” these efforts were coordinated by the NACADA Executive Office staff. Many NACADA members participated in the Association’s Webcast series that drew the highest attendance of any series to date, with hundreds and hundreds of computers tuned in from across the United States and Canada, as well as in countries as far reaching as South Africa and Australia. The coming year is shaping up to be yet another amazing opportunity for NACADA to reach the membership with two new Webcast series: “Foundations of Academic Advising” (four Webcasts) and “Academic Advising for Student Retention and Persistence” (five Webcasts). Nancy King, former President of NACADA, and I have the great pleasure of kicking
off these events with a “Foundations” Webcast on September 16th
entitled Building the Framework: Advising as a Teaching and Learning Process. No matter where you are in the world, we hope you will join us for
this presentation and for all of the exciting Webcasts to follow in
We are also bringing NACADA near you in another important way. One of the most satisfying projects for me personally this year has been working with the members of the Association’s Video Advisory Board and some very impressive and talented people at Temple University to produce Volume II of NACADA’s highly successful Scenes for Learning and Reflection, the professional development DVD that was launched at the 2008 Annual Conference in Chicago. Because of your extraordinarily positive response, the Board of Directors invited Temple to produce Volume II, which is being introduced at our Orlando conference in just a few weeks. As with Volume I, Volume II is a compilation of ten advising vignettes. These scenes were suggested by members of NACADA’s Commissions and Interest Groups, and a Video Advisory Board took those ideas, fleshed them out, and shaped the scenes in this DVD. It was filmed in High Definition at Temple using real students, real advisors, and advising administrators in “typical” advising settings, with the filming and editing conducted entirely by undergraduate students in the department of Broadcasting, Television, and Mass Media. Among the scenes included in Volume II are peer advising, the returning veteran, advising the high achieving student, advising the probationary student, and group advising. Following each scene are questions designed to stimulate lively conversation about the issues raised in the scene and how those issues are relevant to advising professionals everywhere. We fully expect that Volume II will be used on campuses in the same way that Volume I is used: namely, for advisor and faculty retreats, in workshops, and in other professional development settings. In fact, Kathy Davis (Missouri State University), Chris Klefeker (Miami University-Hamilton Campus), and I are hosting a pre-conference
workshop in Orlando on the topic of best practices in advisor training
and development that will include a deep sneak peek at these new
advising vignettes as well as the new monograph on this topic. We will
offer ideas about the many ways you might use these scenes to meet the
needs of your own audiences, and even model an advising workshop that
includes use of the DVD.
The third major initiative I would like to draw your attention to is
NACADA’s investment in what is called a hosted association management
software system that will bring us technologically up to date in a
number of important areas by providing efficiencies in data management
in the background and member services in the foreground. It gives us
Web-enabled options previously unavailable to us. Soon the NACADA Web
site will, for example, provide links for us to update our membership
information; it will provide a history of our transactions (event
registrations for example) within the Association; it will give us the
capability to print out our own receipts and invoices; it will allow us
to register on line for virtually any NACADA event; it has a
shop-on-line feature, and it even offers a virtual social networking
system. Major kudos and wishes for a good night’s sleep to all at the
Executive Office involved in this new system.
It has been a very busy and productive year for NACADA. I hope my
message to you signals that NACADA is and will continue to be a vibrant
organization that brings together the experience, wisdom, and
commitment of the membership in service to our students and to all of
our colleagues around the world. It is from you that the Association
takes its strength. It is because of you that we continue to work hard
to meet your needs; it is because of your commitment to your own
professional development and to the needs of your students that we
continually strive to earn our title as the Global Community for
It has been my sincere honor and pleasure to serve as your President
this year and to give back to an organization that has given me so
much. I would like to extend my thanks to our Board of Directors, whose
strategic goals and vision continue to shape our present and future.
Of course, the way the Board’s good work translates into reality is
through the commitment and dedication of an amazing staff in the
Association’s Executive Office. These are the folks who work the
pulleys and levers, ring the bells, and blow the whistles. My deep and
abiding gratitude to the Board and Executive Office for all they do in
support of the membership.
What a great treat it has been to take this ride with both Kathy Stockwell, our amazing Vice President, soon to be President, and Charlie Nutt, our front man, our cheerleader, our seer, our redoubtable Executive
Director, who is brilliantly stewarding NACADA into our wide open
future. The best is yet to come.
Jayne Drake, President
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
A Year Filled With Opportunities and Challenges
Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
As we prepare for the start of a new academic year and for NACADA’s
34th Annual Conference in Orlando, it is a great opportunity to reflect
on the past year in our association and in higher education. This has
been a year filled with opportunities and challenges as we have faced
continued cuts in funding, more students enrolling in higher education,
and a global focus on student persistence to graduation and
This has been a busy and very productive year for the Association. We
have continued to demonstrate our global focus as evidenced through the
new tag line for NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. We have adopted the new logo you see in this AAT issue and are
exploring opportunities to support NACADA allied associations in several
international countries. We also continue our growth with our Canadian
colleagues as allied associations in Canada continue to grow and
prosper. In addition, I am pleased to announce that both Region 6 and
Region 8 will hold their regional conferences in Canada in 2011.
Beginning with this AAT issue, we will have at least one article from
our international members on academic issues from a global perspective.
It is exciting to see NACADA expand its influence in the global
In addition to our global focus, just a few of NACADA’s other accomplishments this year have been:
- The publication of a new pocket guide entitled The Role of Academic Advising in Student Retention and Persistence.
- In spite of severe winter storms across the
country, we had record attendance at our winter events in February,
including our Seminar on Student Retention, Administrators’ Institute,
and Assessment Institute.
- Our 10 Region Conferences this spring had a record attendance of 2963 participating.
- We held two Research Symposiums and two Technology
Seminars in conjunction with Regions 2, 3, 4, and 8 this year, and all
had sold out capacity.
- Our Season 4 Webcast Series “Reaching and Retaining Students” had a
record enrollment with nearly every webcast of the Spring semester
being sold out; Webcasts reached over 475 institutions and had a
viewing audience of over 12,000. NACADA’s webcasts continue to be the
most cost effective in the webcast industry and all NACADA webcast
presenters are advisors and academic advising administrators working in
the field on college and universities campuses.
- The 2nd Volume of NACADA’s Scenes for Reflection and Learning DVD has been produced; this addition to the advisor development series will be on sale at our Annual Conference in Orlando.
- The 2nd Edition of NACADA’s monograph Comprehensive Advisor Training and Development: Practices That Deliver has been completed and will debut at our Annual Conference in Orlando.
- Over 300 participants from institutions around the globe attended our two Academic Advising Summer Institutes this summer.
- We expanded our support of graduate students within
the field by offering scholarships for graduate students to attend not
only our Region Conferences but also our Annual Conference in Orlando
and our Research Symposiums in 2011.
- We expanded the number of NACADA scholarships for
participants attending the NACADA Academic Advising Summer Institutes,
Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute, and Assessment of Academic
- The Kansas State University online Graduate Certificate and Masters in
Advising degree program, in which NACADA has been involved from their
inception, continue to grow and expand each semester. The first
full-time faculty member within the program was hired for this fall
One may ask why, in these tough financial times, have NACADA’s programs
and publications grown and expanded during the past year? I feel
strongly that it is because institutions are very carefully evaluating
professional development opportunities and supporting only the best
with their limited resources; many institutions have determined that
NACADA provides the highest quality in professional development events
I look forward to seeing you all in Orlando in October – our
registration numbers indicate that we may hit another landmark number
of participants for our Annual Conference. See you in Orlando!
Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
In this edition, four authors consider significant aspects of living and
learning in the global community. Study Abroad Interest Group Member Ian Keil begins by asking the basic question: Why is study abroad so fundamentally important? Next NACADA Emerging Leader Yung-Hwa Anna Chow, originally from Taiwan, discusses what North American academic
advisors can do to better serve international students from China.
Then, Courtney Yount McGinnis looks at the effects of visa status on international student success. Finally,Sue Robbins of Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom shares her perspective with a UK example of proactive personal tutoring.
Raising the Bar: Why is Study Abroad so Fundamentally Important?
Ian B. Keil, Study Abroad Interest Group Member
While studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria, I quickly learned that
professors in Europe had different expectations than professors in the
United States. Each course had but one final exam which determined my
grade for the entire semester. Syllabi were sketchy documents and
important material had to be deciphered from each professor’s lecture. I
learned very quickly the value of working with classmates to determine
important material and how to study for exams. The Austrian educational
system was foreign to me, and it took some adjustments before I felt comfortable in my classes.
In the dorms, I met people from across the globe. My
roommate was from Egypt, and one of our first discussions, a
conversation in broken German, revolved around Palestinian and Israeli
issues. Social interactions took on a whole new meaning when I was
forced to translate every word from English to German in my head. I was
forced to keep my sentences simple; my Pictionary skills became
legendary. The most important lesson I learned while studying abroad
was the importance of adaptation. I had to adapt to the new system,
because, no matter how hard I tried, the system would never adapt to
me. The social and analytical skills I acquired while studying abroad
prepared me for many of the academic hurdles I would encounter later on
in my academic career.
Adaptability is a simple word that encompasses many of the
fundamental elements needed for success in college and life. The world
has a way of sending us unexpected experiences; successful navigation
of these experiences is dependent upon our ability to adapt and adjust.
One key role for academic advisors is helping students adjust to their
new college environment. Just like studying abroad, incoming college
students are exposed to completely new environments. They are expected
to effectively navigate new societal structures, meet different
academic expectations, and overcome personal trials. Higher Education
in the U.S. has, for the most part, a well oiled machine for guiding
students through this transition period, and academic advisors have a
multitude of available resources to lead students in the right
Studying abroad requires students to further expand the adaptation
skills that helped them thrive as new college students. Studying abroad
is a vital experience that adds value to a student’s life. Simply put,
it raises the bar. Studying abroad is like comparing an undergraduate
education to a graduate education; both have value but graduate school
takes education to a higher level. With studying abroad, the adaptation
lessons are more difficult and the hurdles are much higher. Study
abroad students will likely fail many times before they learn to adapt
to a new culture and a new educational system. However, these failures
ultimately transform students into well-adjusted, open-minded, and
We live in a world where college graduates can expect to change their
careers many times during their life. The consistency of the past no
longer exists. The ability to successfully adapt is no longer a useful
skill, it is a necessary one. As academic advisors, it is our
obligation to teach students the skills they need to succeed in school
and in life. Studying abroad is not simply an extra tool in a teaching
kit that contains resources such as minor brochures, information
sessions, writing workshops, and scholarship forms. Studying abroad is a
core course in adaptability; it must become one of our top priorities
when advising students.
Ian B. Keil
Undergraduate Advisement and Academic Services
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Ni How: What Academic Advisors Can Do To Better Serve Students from China
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow, NACADA Emerging Leader
An advisor from Washington State University shared a recent encounter
with a student from China. “One day, I had one too many triple lattes,”
she explained. “I was going 100 miles an hour telling this student his
requirements and what he needed to do. When I was done, this poor
student very politely said ’I don’t understand a word you just said.’”
The advisor responded ”look, I wrote it all down for you, too.” To
which the student noted ”I’m very sorry, but I don’t understand what
you wrote.” With the continued increase in international students,
especially those from China, many academic advisors may have had a
similar experience. Often we are unsure if students understand what we
have said or if they feel comfortable seeking help from us. It would be
helpful if we understood their educational experiences if we are to
work effectively with them.
Since 2001, China has sent the second largest number of
students to study in the U.S., behind only India (Open Doors 2009a, ¶
1). Last year, international students contributed $17.8 billion to the
U.S. economy, and 70% of all international students’ primary funding
comes from sources outside of the U.S. (Open Doors 2009b, ¶ 12). Not
surprisingly, international students are actively recruited to North
American universities and colleges, not only because they generate
revenue in tough economic times, but because they increase diversity
and cultural exposure for our domestic students.
An overwhelming majority of international students from China have had
some college education before arriving in America (Open Doors, 2009,
Table 3); thus, it is helpful to learn about the Chinese education
system. China, since ancient times, has placed great importance in
education (Luo and Wendel, 1999, p. 281). As part of China’s efforts
to integrate into the global economy, there has been a substantial
increased emphasis on education. Yet, college still remains outside the
grasp of most Chinese youth who only finish the equivalent of 9th
grade. Many students in the rural parts of China do not have the
resources to attend high school or college. In addition, all Chinese
students must test into high schools; those seeking to attend college
must apply to take the gao kao, or high test, to qualify for college entrance.
The competitive nature of the gao kao exam causes teachers and parents to place considerable pressure on the
students; psychological problems and suicide are not uncommon amongst
school children (Davey, Lian & Higgins, 2007, p. 385). Prior to the
exam students select their top three universities, and sometimes
majors at these universities. An above average gao kao score will often allow students to attend one of their top their
choices; students who place below average can try to apply to another,
usually less prestigious, university, or study and take the exam again
the following year.
Once admitted into a Chinese university, students enter a cohort system
where they take the same courses with the same group of classmates
until they reach degree completion. Very rarely do students in China
change majors, as they are tied to their cohort and their exam score.
Thus there is no academic advising as we know it in China.
Given the fundamental differences between the educational systems,
students from China often experience many issues when they arrive to
attend U.S. or Canadian institutions. One common issue is that students
may not know what to ask academic advisors. Another issue is that
advisors may not know if students understood what was discussed during
advising meetings. International students may leave an advising session
discouraged when questions go unanswered. Advisors likewise can be
frustrated when they later discover that students did not fully
understand what was conveyed in a session.
Edwards and Ran (2006), as quoted in Davey, Lian, and Higgins, have
argued that, “problems commonly faced by Chinese students in overseas
universities—such as communication difficulties, weak social skills,
and tendency to conform with groups of students from the same
country—may be partly attributed to the types of skills developed in
preparation of the university entrance exam” (p. 386). Whereas the
student discussed above told his advisor he did not understand, it is
more common that Chinese students nod or remain quiet to show respect.
Abel (2002) also noted that “most international students are accustomed
to listening and learning rather than speaking in class” (p. 16). This
especially makes sense given that students in China are educated
through “a banking system” where teachers provide the answers and
students are receptacles that retain the information.
Advising international students from China is a very complex process
given the educational and cultural differences and often language
barriers. Diane Oliver (1999) suggested that “advisors can increase
their effectiveness by taking a more holistic view of international
students needs” (p. 22). Although this article specifically addresses
Chinese international students, the lessons learned here can be
generalized to all international student groups. When we learn more
about individual international education systems, accept cultural
differences, and learn basic greetings in the native languages of our
students, we can better serve all of our international students. How
might our interactions with an international student from China improve
when we start a session by saying ni how?
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow
General Studies and Advising Center
Washington State University
Abel, Charles F. (2002). Academic Success and the
International Student: Research and Recommendations. New Directions
For Higher Education, No. 117, Spring 2002: 13-20.
Davey, Gareth, Lian, Chuan De, and Higgins, Louise. (2007). The university entrance examination system in China. Journal of Further and Higher Education, Vol. 31, No. 4, November 2007, pp. 385-396.
Luo, Jiali and Wendel, Frederick. (1999). Junior high school education
in China. The Clearing House. Washington: May/Jun 1999. Vol. 72, Iss.
5; pg. 279-283.
Oliver, Diane E. (1999). Improving services for international students
by understanding differences between Japanese and United States culture
and educational systems. NACADA Journal, 18(1): 22-27.
Open Doors 2009a. (2009). Country Fact Sheet—China. Retrieved from http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=150860
Open Doors 2009b. (2009). Record Numbers of International Students in U.S. Higher Education. Retrieved from http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=150649
Open Doors 2009. Table 3, by Academic Level. Retrieved on from
Visa Status and Its Effect on International Student Academic Success
Courtney M. Yount McGinnis, University of Delaware
In the 2008-2009 school year, the number of international students
attending U.S. institutions for the first time increased by 15.8%.
671,616 international students were enrolled, representing 3.7% of all
undergraduate students throughout the country (Open Doors 2009 Fast
Facts). For many advisors, the increased international presence on
campuses is both exciting and challenging as they adjust to meeting the
needs of an entirely different population of students; a population
that, while linked, has immensely different backgrounds and
traditions. Good advising for international students is crucial and is
often handled by academic advisors who may or may not be trained in
meeting the unique hurdles these students face. This article focuses
on the impact of visa status on academic choices available to
international students enrolled in U.S. institutions.
Many academic advisors face a steep learning curve as they begin to
experience an increase in international student advisees. Training in
immigration law and student visa status is not a standard for academic
advisors. However, it is important when meeting with these students
that advisors understand how the student entered the country and what
the student must do in order to stay. This information is extremely
relevant as some of the academic options available to traditional
students may not be available for international students due to
immigration law. Furthermore, many of these students may have little
knowledge of the regulations they must follow.
Most international undergraduate students will enter the United States
with an F-1 visa status unless they are participating in an exchange
program. An F-1 visa is issued to students enrolling full-time in
programs that result in a degree, diploma, or certificate at an
accredited institution. In the higher education setting, these
programs typically include full-time matriculated study in a degree
program as well as English as a Second Language programs that are
offered on many campuses. To obtain an F-1 visa, students must provide
proof that they maintain residence abroad which they have no intention of giving up and must have sufficient funds
available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study (Students and Exchange Visitors).
For many international students, maintaining the required full-time
status becomes more difficult than originally thought. With traditional
students, a variety of academic options may be available, depending on
institutional policies. For instance, a student might be able to take
a course as an auditor or withdraw from a course at a certain point in
the semester if they are doing poorly. For international students,
choosing one of these options could affect their visa status and result
in an immigration violation. Once the student has violated their visa
status, they are considered to be in the U.S. illegally. Students
who are deemed to be in the U.S. illegally for 180 days cannot return to the U.S. for at least three
years. If they remain in illegal status for one year or more, the bar
for reentry is ten years (Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act, 1996). International students facing poor grades
in a subject can be caught between a rock and a hard place as they
decide between accepting the poor grade and violating their visa
If an undergraduate international student is enrolled in only 12-14
credits and wishes to change to an auditor or withdraw from a course
(dropping them below 12 credits), they would be in violation of their
immigration status. There are some circumstances, though, in which a
student might be able to drop below the 12 credits, such as academic
difficulty, medical or psychological conditions, or needing fewer than
12 credits to finish a degree. Academic difficulties typically
include initial difficulty with the English language, initial
difficulty with reading requirements, difficulty adjusting to the
American educational system or improper course level placement
(Immigration and Nationality Act, 1952). In these situations, students
should connect with the Designated School Official [the person
authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information
System (SEVIS)] on campus who certifies their visa status, as
additional paperwork would need to be completed for their files.
Notice that there is no category of financial circumstances in which a student might be able to drop below the 12-credit limit. International students are not eligible for any federal financial aid. In fact, each student
must provide proof of sufficient funds available for self-support
throughout their proposed course of study when applying for their visa
at their local consulate (Students and Exchange Visitors). In addition, universities will likely require the student to submit a
letter or form that lists all sources of funding and when the funding
will be available. The letter or form will identify a sponsor who
provides documentation of financial support. Despite this, many international students are surprised to find that
their parent or sponsor cannot or will not pay once they have arrived.
While a student who enters the country on an F-1 visa is eligible to
work on campus up to 20 hours per week beginning in the first year, the
position cannot be funded through federal work-study funds, limiting
positions that are available (Financial Aid For Undergraduate Services).
In order to encourage academic success, it is important for all
advisors who meet with international students to fully understand the
unique rules and regulations facing this population. Advising offices
might want to consider providing students with copies of the federal
regulations if they are not provided elsewhere on campus. It is vital
to encourage international students to take an appropriate number of
credits and to help them understand the importance of a balanced
schedule. International students should fully understand their visa
status and what a course of full-time study means at the undergraduate
level in the United States. Resources providing training about visas
and immigration status are available to both students and professionals
in a variety of places online. Check out the NACADA ESL/International Student Advising Commission website for additional resources and topics affecting international students.
Courtney M. Yount McGinnis
Grants & Special Programs
International Student Advisor
University Studies Program
University of Delaware
Financial Aid For Undergraduate Services. (2008, 2 June). Retrieved from NAFSA: www.nafsa.org/students.sec/financial_aid_for_undergraduate/
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. (1996). 8 U.S.C. 1182, INA § 212(a)(9)(B).
Immigration and Nationality Act. (1952). 8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(D).
Open Doors 2009 Fast Facts. (2008, July 10). Retrieved from Institute of International Education: www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors
Students and Exchange Visitors. (2008, August 22). Retrieved from US Citizenship & Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
The Importance of Face-to-Face Contact Between Faculty and Students: UK Example of Pro-active Personal Tutoring
Sue Robbins, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom
For most students, starting university is exciting, daunting,
challenging scary-fun! Students come to university from a wide
variety of backgrounds and prior educational experience. How can we
help them understand our university culture – what we expect of them as
students, the academic requirements of their discipline?
When they arrive, most students want to explore their surroundings and
fit in with their peers. Their priority is to make friends and build
the networks that will support them during their time at university.
Most are not able to absorb the stacks of information we bombard them
with in Freshers’ Week (orientation week). So how are we to communicate
important information and support them during this big transition to
I am a biochemistry lecturer in a UK university – member of faculty in
US terminology – with a passion for the well-being of students. This
drives my work in supporting students and has led to my role as Head of
Student Support in our School of Life Sciences. In UK universities, it
is the norm that faculty are Personal Tutors (academic advisors) named
to assist a specific group of students (Hixenbaugh, 2008). The role of
Personal Tutor varies from place to place, but the emphasis is on
being available to give each assigned tutee (advisee) academic advice,
someone to go to if they are having problems that interfere with their
ability to study effectively, and to be an academic role model in their
At my university we have this traditional model of Personal Tutoring,
with all academic staff assigned new tutees annually as freshers arrive
and move through university to graduation. In Life Sciences, this
system seemed to work well for decades: students came to talk over
their academic programmes, make changes, have us sign appropriate
forms, and have a chat about how they were getting on. Through this
contact at the beginning and end of each term we got to know our
tutees, and they were comfortable coming to us if they had problems.
Then, early this millennium, things began to change.
The university developed electronic student management systems,
students could request changes to their programmes of study online; we
responded online, cutting out the ‘inconvenience’ of face-to-face
meetings. Staff and students thought that this was wonderful, and in
many respects it was. However when we found that students were dropping
out during their first year, I was asked by the Dean to “find out why
and do something about it”!
I talked with first years and found that some were experiencing
problems, mostly non-academic, but didn’t know who to approach for
help. They would let things deteriorate and drop out of university
because they could not cope any longer. I realised that in adopting
online student management, which is amazingly efficient and a
wonderfully useful tool, we had taken the ‘Personal’ out of Personal
Tutoring. What to do?
If students do not work with their tutor in good times, they are hardly
likely to seek our help when things get tough. Students will not go to
a stranger – especially a member of faculty – when their world is
collapsing. We needed to change our model of Personal Tutoring from
reactive to proactive.
In September 2005, I set up PASS, our Personal and Academic Support
System, in my academic school. Each PASS tutor runs a programme of
small group tutorials throughout the first year with our tutees. Eight
tutees are allocated to each tutor strictly within their discipline,
giving cohort identity among that tutor’s students and building empathy
between tutor and students. Meetings have a purpose: we knew that
students would benefit from structured study skills training, so
tutorials have a programme covering discipline-based academic study
skills. This helps combat information overload that happens at the start
of the year by drip-feeding information to students at the time when
it is relevant.
I have written tutorial materials, thus minimal staff preparation is
required and all students receive the same level of academic support.
Group-work teaches cooperation between students and helps build cohort
identity and peer support among students within the discipline.
Face-to-face meetings build student confidence with staff and provide
tutees with a feeling of belonging in the academic community. Through
fortnightly tutorials, students get to know one faculty member well, so
they have somebody to contact if they experience difficulties that
interrupt their studies.
When students approach tutors with non-academic issues that extend
beyond faculty comfort levels, they can refer tutees to me; I meet
students and listen to their stories. Together we move forward; this
often involves referral for professional help e.g., counselling, financial aid, or accommodation. I have a hot-line to the
Director of Student Services, who supports me in finding rapid
assistance for students in need. As a senior faculty member, I am able
to make academic decisions on behalf of the student and clear these
with my colleagues. Having this academic influence is crucial.
I no longer research in biochemistry; instead I use my people-skills to
develop holistic support for students. That is where I believe I can
make a difference in students’ lives. After all, students who face
personal problems have a difficult time focusing on their studies and
progress at university.
Over the past four years, I have developed other branches of PASS to
provide holistic support for all our students. Our first year
retention has improved from 83% in 2004 to 93% in 2009, and the Dean
has attributed this to our student support: PASS.
Principal Lecturer in Student Experience
University Teaching Fellow, ASKe Fellow
School of Life Sciences
Oxford Brookes University, UK
Hixenbaugh, P. (2008). The concept of advising: From theory to practice – The United Kingdom context., March 2008 Academic Advising Today, 31:1 . Retrieved from www.nacada.ksu.edu/ePub/AAT31-1.htm#4
Using Emerging Technologies to Engage Students and Enhance Their Success
Rey Junco, Lock Haven University
Editor’s Note: Rey will be the opening Keynote Speaker at our Annual
Conference in Orlando in October.
I am always interested in trying new things, especially in the domains of technology and education. That's why, when I agreed to write this article, I thought I'd try writing it completely on an iPad. I really don't know what that’s going to be like; however, I'm willing to give it a shot. And that idea segues nicely into the major point I'd like to make: don't be afraid to experiment with new ways of using technology and social media in educationally relevant ways.
My research focuses on using emerging technologies to help engage
students and enhance their success in higher education. Some people who
learn about my research before meeting me think I'm going to be a
digital evangelist. On the contrary; I prefer to be engaged with my
students in realspace ( i.e., the classroom) and realtime. That being said, I am interested in
meeting students where they are using technologies that are meaningful
to them in order to enhance our face-to-face interactions.
In the early days of the Web, the primary activity was Web surfing—an oftentimes solitary experience. Then, we saw the development of personal publishing tools such as blogs and the interactivity of the Web blossomed. Fast forward to today, where we live in the time of the social Web. The social aspect of today's Internet is expressed through the popularity of social media and content creation websites like Twitter, Facebook©, YouTube©, flickr, Last.fm, and blogs.
As the Internet has expanded to reach more of the population, I have
been curious about the power of technology to bring people together.
I've long theorized that social networking Web site use was not a
'waste of time,” but an important vehicle for student self-expression
and connection. We now have evidence that this is the case. Both
Heiberger & Harper (2008) and the Higher Education Research
Institute (2007) found that time spent on social networking Web sites
was correlated with indices of student engagement. Additionally,
Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) discovered that Facebook© use was
related to an increase in engagement with students’ supportive social
ties. I've recently completed an experimental study of using Twitter in
the classroom and found similar results.
What does this mean for advisors? I believe there are three major
issues that impact the use of technology in educationally relevant
ways. First, we aim to engage our students in the advising process and
hope that they will remain engaged and thinking about their academic
trajectory when we are not around. Consider the advisees who come to
their advising meeting having 'done their homework' and present us with
a list of courses they are thinking of taking that shows they have
researched general education requirements, prerequisites, etc. Now
consider the students who come to their advising appointments, sit
down, and wait for us to tell them what courses to take. Clearly there
is a difference in engagement level between the two.
Second is the reality of the economic hardships faced by our
institutions. Even before the current economic downturn, many of us did
not have enough resources to provide quality advising to all of the
students in our caseload. Advising is a resource-intensive task, yet
resource allocation for advising has diminished steadily over the last
Third, and most importantly, is our desire to meet our students 'where
they are.' In today's interconnected and wired society, meeting them
“where they are” means engaging our students in their online spaces. A
significant barrier to this has been the gap between advisee and
advisor adoption of new technologies. Luckily for us, the last few
years have seen a normalization of the adoption curve, especially among
older Internet users. This has led to a more general societal awareness
and openness to using social media, and the institutional resistance
to using social media with students has been replaced with a desire to
connect with them using these technologies.
The convergence of these three issues presents a call to action to
integrate technologies into our repertoire of effective advising tools.
With the tools we have at our disposal, we can help students maintain a
level of engagement with their advisors that provides an unparalleled
student experience. For example, we can employ YouTube© video introductions to advisors, maintain wikis that explain the details
of the advising process, and leverage Twitter feeds and Facebook© pages to broadcast important information, respond to student queries,
and develop a realspace to digital relationship with our students.
I hope that this brief introduction to using new technologies in
educationally relevant ways inspires us to be curious about how we can
leverage these technologies for student good. In the same ways that we
push ourselves to develop our professional advising skills, we need to
push ourselves to explore fresh ways to reach students through newer
virtual formats. I look forward to continuing the conversation in a few
weeks in Orlando.
I ended up writing this article entirely on an iPad. Here is what I
learned: While the iPad provided a good amount of screen real estate,
it is difficult to view large portions of the document and to toggle
between multiple documents. The keyboard is a bit cramped and is
incredibly sensitive to the touch, making typos common. There is no
keyboard feedback (the clicks and resistance provided by a traditional
keyboard), and it is difficult to type if you are someone who doesn't
typically look at the keyboard while typing. I suspect that as tablet
devices become more popular, we'll all become more comfortable typing on
virtual keyboards the same way that we have become comfortable
participating in virtual social spaces. Until then, I’ll stick to my
physical keyboard for writing projects longer than a paragraph.
Director of Disability Services
Department of Academic Development and Counseling
Lock Haven University
Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The Benefits of
Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online
social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4).
Heiberger, G., & Harper, R. (2008). Have you Facebooked Astin
lately? Using technology to increase student involvement. In Junco, R.,
& Timm, D. M., eds. Using emerging technologies to enhance student engagement. New Directions for Student Services Issue #124. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, pp. 19-35.
Higher Education Research Institute (2007). College freshmen and online social networking sites. Retrieved from: www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/PDFs/pubs/briefs/brief-091107-SocialNetworking.pdf
Advising Administration at a Time of Financial Crisis
Joel Carr, Gayle Juneau, Nancy Markee, and Margaret Pentecost, Advising Administration Commission Members
Higher education funding issues are front page news in many states. Governors and state legislatures have been faced with unprecedented declines in state revenues as the result of the global economic recession. Prah (2009) estimated that states faced an estimated $215 billion in budget gaps for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Keller (2009), reporting on the results of an Association of Public Land-Grant Universities survey, noted that administrators at more than 55% of the 188 member universities thought that cuts in
state appropriations harmed their ability to sustain student services.
As state budgets decrease and endowments shrink, advising
administrators face difficult student services and staffing decisions. Here we focus on how institutions in two states are handling these budget shortfalls.
Institutions that are part of the Nevada System of
Higher Education (NSHE) have experienced twenty plus percent budget cuts
over the past two years. The impact has included elimination of open
positions, the introduction of employee furloughs, increased class
sizes, reductions in student services, and elimination of academic
programs. During this same time period, undergraduate enrollment
numbers increased at both the University of Nevada Reno (UNR) and the
University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). This is at a time when Nevada is
projected to have the greatest growth in high school graduates of all
states over the next ten years.
The guiding principle in determining budget cuts at UNR has been
minimizing the overall damage to the university. When budget cuts
resulted in the closure of the University’s Career Development Center,
responsibility for career services shifted to each academic college.
Budget cuts also resulted in the loss of centralized pre-professional
advising services. This has especially impacted students and faculty
advisors within health-related areas. Faculty advisors are currently
working with student leaders to ascertain the most viable mechanisms
for providing assistance to students seeking entrance to health-related professional programs.
While UNR student services provided by the Writing Center, the Math
Center, and Tutoring have been eliminated, reduced, or are now
available on a fee basis, the university continues to place increased
emphasis on retention and the role quality academic advising plays in
student persistence, success and timely graduation. Some support
services have been partially restored through increases in student
fees. However, other retention initiatives have been added to advisors’
responsibilities. Elimination of academic programs has required
advisors to work closely with students currently enrolled in impacted
majors to develop viable plans for degree completion or to assist in
the selection of acceptable alternative programs of study.
At UNLV the student to academic advisor ratio had been a relatively
manageable at 1:700. As advisors leave the university, the hiring
freeze has prevented filling vacant positions. As a result, the wait for
advising appointments is longer and advising appointments are shorter;
the focus of these appointments is shifting. It may seem an oxymoron
that as advisor-student ratios increase, critical emphasis is placed on
the implementation of retention-based programs. Still, there is
growing anxiety among academic advisors about their professional
futures. Academic advisors sense that their positions are vulnerable;
should administrators need to choose to eliminate a position, advisors
feel that faculty will more likely be retained.
In Texas, state agencies, including public colleges and
universities, experienced a five percent budget reduction in 2010 and
additional budget reductions are expected. Haurwitz (2010) noted that
some higher education institutions responded by laying off staff. At
Angelo State University (ASU), a primarily residential university with
approximately 6,400 students, budgets have tightened and academic
advising has been reorganized. Rather than downsizing, ASU committed to
the expansion of academic advising.
Through a student instructional enhancement fee, academic advisors were
added to the university’s staff. Academic advising moved from
primarily a departmental faculty advising model to a college specific
advising model. This restructuring resulted in an overall increase of
five professional advisors at ASU. With the exception of a few
professional programs (e.g., nursing, social work, and graduate programs where departmental faculty
continue to provide academic advising) advisors are now assigned to the
various colleges and perform advising duties once provided by the
faculty. In addition, ASU continues to maintain three centralized
university advisors for undeclared students.
These moves demonstrate ASU’s commitment to academic advising, and more
importantly, student success. Moreover, the reorganization of academic
advising at ASU allows faculty to engage in increased research
activity, develop new teaching strategies, and enhance mentor
relationships with students. It is believed that such a move will help
Angelo State University increase enrollment and retention during these
fiscally trying times.
As we face difficult financial times, it is incumbent
that advising administrators enhance campus awareness of the value of
academic advising, advocate for resources to meet student needs, and
maintain staff morale to provide high quality advising services for our
students. Advising administrators must balance the immediate crisis
with strategic and sustainable solutions for long term survival and
success in challenging times.
Joel L. Carr
Social Work Program Director and Assistant Professor of Social Work
Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work
Angelo State University
Executive Director of Academic Advising
Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Nancy L. Markee
Director of the Academic Advising Center
Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising
University of Nevada, Reno
Margaret W. Pentecost
Assistant Dean of Education Student Services
College of Education and Human Development
University of Louisville
Angelo State University. (2010). About ASU. Retrieved from www.angelo.edu/asu_facts/index.html
Haurwitz, R. K. M. (2010, June). Prospect of more budget cuts worries Texas higher education leaders. Retrieved from www.statesman.com/news/local/prospect-of-more-budget-cuts-worries-texas-higher-731084.html
Keller, C. M. (2009). Coping strategies of public universities during
the economic recession of 2009: Results of a survey on the impact of
the financial crisis on university campuses. Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Retrieved from www.aplu.org/NetCommunity/Document.Doc?id=1998
Prah, P. M. (2009, August 18). Budgets overshadow social, political highlights. Stateline.org. Retrieved from www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=419704
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (n.d.). Angelo State University institutional profile. Retrieved from http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/lookup_listings/view_institution.php?unit_id=222831&start_page=institution.php&clq=%7B%22first_letter%22%3A%22A%22%7D
Understanding Arts Training: Beyond 'Soft' Skills
Shaun M. McCracken, Virginia Commonwealth University
I recently had a conversation with a colleague, the director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Discovery Program for Undeclared students, who was looking for a way to help his population understand the day-to-day reality of being an arts student. What skills are truly needed beyond the technical jargon posted on audition and portfolio Web sites? Let's be honest, I can tell a student that he or she needs to memorize two contrasting monologues of one minute each for the Theatre Performance program...but the audition is a nanosecond in the course of the arts training.
As an “arts” advisor, I frequently speak with parents about the
“practicality” of an arts degree. Many parents want to know exactly
what their student can “do” with a degree in Music, Theatre, or Dance.
Parents understand the reality of the current economic climate, and
they understand the hard truths of the job market. All too often,
parents are locked into the idea that their student should do something
“practical” so the student can earn a living. Parents need assistance
to see that the skills the student learns in an arts program have merit
in non-arts fields.
Much of the literature provided to arts advisors (and to undeclared advisors talking with potential arts students) addresses how students can translate their 'arts' skills ( i.e. 'soft' skills) into the business world. Yes, arts students generally
are better at critical thinking, communicating and understanding ideas,
collaboration, leadership (not to disparage my colleagues in
Business), and public speaking. But there are skills we are forgetting;
skills that when viewed in a different light provide clues to solving
BOTH problems we have discussed. These skills include:
- Idea Synthesis. Arts students learn to compile data (often in
text, image, and sound form) and synthesize that data in new and
compelling ways. They do that in dance, graphic arts, fashion, film,
music, and theatre. Oh, and they will probably need those skills in the
business world too!
- Focus. No one can focus (when they want to) like an arts
student. Are we capable of spending three hours standing in front of a
mirror working to position of our feet like a dance student? Are we
willing to spend 20+ man-hours on one project like the graphic arts
student? That focus comes in handy when these students are given a task
in the 9-to-5 job world too!
- Visualization/Interpretation. Can we see a constant movie in our
heads? Can we, with deliberation and accuracy, slow down that movie
and notate everything that is happening? A film major can. This ability
to visualize an artistic ideal is necessary for every artist (the
artist should say to himself, 'THIS is how I want it to be,' and then
make it happen.) The ability to visualize ideas is vital no matter where
- Physical Mirroring/Detailed Correcting. Most artists understand
that the smallest features in their work can help them attain
perfection. The ability to look at something, identify a specific
problem, and correct it on a finite scale is vital to the artist AND to
the working professional.
- Specificity. When an artist walks into a room and participates
in 'group work,' we hear her say (with sometimes alarming frequency),
'give me the specifics...Let's talk about THIS THING...' The focus and
correction of detail discussed earlier color the artist's view on any
project. Artists are capable of focusing on, and correcting, specific
areas of a project (be it a concerto, a monologue, a pas de deux, or a
painting). This specific, focused approach is part of our artistic
methodology. A musician cannot work on an entire symphony at one time;
she must work in pieces.
So what do students do in the arts besides learning music, painting
pictures, and telling stories? They focus on their work in the most
intimate ways possible. They open their minds and (more painfully)
their hearts to the creative process. They allow others to judge their
work and they judge others (what non-arts people call 'critical
thinking'). They spend hours in front of mirrors. They know their
strengths and weaknesses better than the individual with an Accounting
degree, and, at the end of the day, they can sit down and work with that person.
As advisors working with students in the arts, and their parents, it is
incumbent that we stress the connections between theory and practice.
We must encourage our students to look beyond the day-to-day
practicalities of their arts training and understand why they do what they do. We must teach our students how to “spin” their
arts training so they may become more effective participants in the
global job market. And, finally, we must encourage parents to look
beyond the “practical” concerns to support their student’s true
Shaun M. McCracken
Academic Advisor for First-Year Performing Arts Students
Virginia Commonwealth University
2010-12 NACADA Emerging Leaders Class Announced
The Diversity Committee developed the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program
to encourage members from diverse backgrounds to get involved in
leadership opportunities within the organization, outfit participants
with the skills and tools necessary to pursue elected and appointed
leadership positions, increase the number of leaders from diverse
groups, and encourage and assist members of underrepresented
populations to attend State, Regional, or National Conferences.
The 2008-2010 Emerging Leaders and Mentors, who began work at the 2008
Annual Conference in Chicago, have been diligently pursuing their goals
over the past two years and look forward to receiving their
Certificates of Completion at this year's Conference in Orlando, where
they will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony.
2008-2010 Emerging Leader Susan Anderson (University of St Thomas says,
Prior to being an Emerging Leader, I knew NACADA was a strong and
supportive organization and that I had access to national leaders in
our profession. When attending conferences, multiple invitations were
extended to become involved in NACADA in various ways. The ELP program
shifted those 'invitations' to 'expectations' for me, in every good
way. As advisors, we know how important it is to help students
articulate specific goals, support them throughout the process, hold
them accountable when necessary, etc. The ELP created this same kind of
'optimal mismatch' of challenge and support for me, that allowed me to
learn, develop, and grow within the advising profession.'
NACADA President Jayne Drake (Temple University), who has mentored an Emerging Leader in both the 2007-2009 and 2008-2010 Classes, says,
'Over the past several years, I have had the extraordinary good fortune
of working with two 'leaders in training.' This experience has been
life altering for me in the sense that I have had the opportunity to
meet a number of truly wise and talented people whose commitment to the
profession, to their own professional development, and to each other
is a lesson in humility and dedication. Some value added to becoming an
ELP mentor: from these two relationship-building / mentoring
experiences, I have made two dear friends for life. Please join the
ELP, if not for yourself, then for the future of the Association.'
Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Chair Nathan Vickers (University of Texas-Austin) is pleased to announce the 2010-2012 NACADA Emerging Leaders and Mentors.
Kristen Campbell (Utah Valley University)
Joy Cox (Indiana University Southeast)
Yvonne Halden (University of Manitoba -Canada)
Bob Hurt (California State Polytechnic University-Pomona)
Kathy Mullins (Front Range Community College)
Tamra Ortgies Young (Georgia Perimeter College)
Leah Panganiban (University of Washington)
Cynthia Pascal (Art Institute of Washington)
Wanda Reyes-Dawes (Manchester Community College)
Felicia Toliver (Gateway Community and Technical College)
LaDonna Bridges (Framingham State College)
Kyle Ellis (University of Mississippi)
Tom Grites (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)
Beth Higgins (University of Southern Maine)
Pat Mason-Browne (The University of Iowa)
Laura Mooney (Florida Atlantic University)
Marion Schwartz (Pennsylvania State University)
Casey Self (Arizona State University)
Gail Stepina (University of New Hampshire)
Jennifer Varney (Southern New Hampshire University)
New Emerging Leaders and Mentors will meet at the Annual Conference in
Orlando to create partnerships and begin development, conversation, and
group building. Partners will develop goals pertaining to leadership
in NACADA over the next six months and continue their work together
over the two-year program.
Visit the Emerging Leaders Program Web site for more information.
Dear Career Corner,
I am in my senior year of college and have been
employed part-time in the advising office at my university during my
past few semesters. I am considering pursuing academic advising as a
career, but I have a few questions. What educational background do
advisors usually have? What are the most important skills that an
advisor needs? Do you have any advice for a peer advisor looking to
get into this line of work?
Advisor in the Making
Dear Advisor in the Making,
Your questions are good ones, and we are certainly happy to help you
get started. The educational background of academic advisors is often
as diverse as the students they serve. Most advisors possess a master’s
degree or higher. Degrees in fields such as psychology, counseling,
social work, sociology and higher education administration are fairly
common. However, advisors often possess degrees in many fields. I have
known wonderful advisors with degrees in fields as diverse as English,
Geography, Business Administration, Tourism Management, etc. The
advising profession has reached a point in its development when degree
programs in academic advising are now viable and attractive options to
new, and even veteran, professionals in the field. NACADA, in
association with Kansas State University, now offers both a graduate
level certificate and a master’s degree in academic advising. For more
information, visit the graduate program Web site at www.nacada.ksu.edu/GradPrograms/index.htm.
While a discussion of degrees among advisors will likely
yield wide-ranging results, a discussion of skills that all advisors
must develop would likely result in more closely related ideas. Of
course, communication skills are paramount in a field where people are
your business. A good understanding of human development, theories of
career development and the theories and practices of higher education
are indeed necessary. These skills can be developed through coursework,
internships and other experiences in numerous types of academic
programs. But, to be honest, one important characteristic will
determine your level of interest and effectiveness in advising, even
above and beyond other important factors such as degrees and training. Do you have
the desire to help others, to be the person who provides a beacon of
hope and a pillar of support to a student in their college career? If
the answer is affirmative, then you’re on the right track in pursuing
advising. Of course, your colleagues and friends at NACADA will be here
for you every step of the way.
Best of Luck,
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Chair
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Member
Harford Community College
It takes but one SPARK to ignite the flame for an idea. Does your
campus have an unusual or exceptional process or program that could
spark an idea on another campus? If so, tell us about it in350 words
or less. Send your 'Sparkler' to Leigh@ksu.edu.
This edition’s SPARKLER comes from Ben Littlepage (Dyersburg State Community College).
, Director of Advising Centers/Career Counselor at Dyersburg State Community College in
Dyersburg, TN, reports that in a ten-day period in May 2010, faculty advisors at his institution completed a 37.5 hour Master Advisor training program. Among the participants were both newly-hired and experienced advisors, as well as an extended campus director. Ben explains that “all participants invested time in the program for one simple purpose: to improve academic advising practices and knowledge so advisors are better equipped to assist all students regardless of academic interests or individual characteristics.” The first two weeks of the training were designed to cover a wide array of content essential to the service and populations served at Dyersburg State Community College. The topics covered were consistent with a daily theme and included Registration, Academic Program Spotlight, Literature Review, Student Services, Advising Transfer Students,
and Advising Special Populations.
Ben requested faculty advisor support with three initiatives for the upcoming academic year: an online advising tutorial, training for new faculty advisors, and early intervention strategies to improve student persistence. Groups were formed the first day and given 15 minutes each day to prepare for a presentation at the end of the second week. Each group was asked to address all three topics in their presentations and submit a word document highlighting the points discussed. An academic advising consultant was invited to campus the third week to educate trainees on educational psychology theories and how those theories apply to academic advising. Trainees participated in activities designed for self exploration and applications for advising in the areas of perceptions, stressors, communication, organization, and advising strategies. Faculty advisors concluded the extensive training by creating an individual action plan and an institution plan for the upcoming academic year. For more information, please contact Ben at email@example.com