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Voices of the Global Community

From the President: Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Joshua S. Smith, NACADA President

My year as NACADA president is nearing completion, though it seems like just yesterday we were in Nashville “whooping it up” at the Annual Conference. Recently, I took a long jog to reflect on the accomplishments of the members and leaders of The Global Community for Academic Advising.  As I jogged, I came to a realization that really is no surprise: Much of what was accomplished this year was directly connected to the Strategic Plan and years of hard work. That is one of the many beauties of NACADA – it enjoys a consistency of direction coupled with a commitment to improve and support effective advising in a changing landscape.

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My writing, speeches, and presentations this year focused on professionalism and the role of advisors in crafting the future of higher education. This was not a novel idea as it was very much in response to years of debate in the NACADA Journal, presentations, and heated discussions in campuses all over the world. The take-away message is quite simple. There are numerous opportunities for the voices of academic advisors and advising administrators to be heard within and outside of the campus despite  rampant, not-so-veiled and well-funded attacks on public and private education P-20.  We are well-positioned and well-informed about the value of higher education, particularly a high-quality, student-centered educational experience that takes into account the needs and desires of individuals at various institution types and settings. Please get involved and take a stand for what you know is right and just for students and professionals in higher education. Advocate for academic advising as an integral component of the transition to college, the college experience, and obtaining a college degree.

At the beginning of this year, I appointed two task forces: the International Task Force and the Leadership Development Task Force. The former was necessary to continue our efforts to truly become the Global Community for Academic Advising. The work of the task force focused on solidifying the goals relating to globalization, collecting information from our global partners, and making plans for future international conferences and other professional development opportunities.  The Leadership Development Task Force arose from a need to cultivate and support future leaders of NACADA. It was generated in direct response to data gleaned from members who attended town hall meetings and regional meetings with NACADA leaders. Although we thought we were doing a good job providing information and conduits for involvement, members told us that they didn’t know whom to talk to or how to go about securing a leadership role within the region or at the organizational level. Both task forces will share recommendations that will be reviewed by the Board of Directors at the annual meeting in Salt Lake City.

As Charlie Nutt reported in his June AAT article, the Board of Directors spent considerable time creating a vision statement, revising our mission statement, and crafting seven strategic goals for NACADA. I was very impressed by the depth of the discussion, the careful construction of wording, and the thoughtful consideration of the merits of inclusion or exclusion of each  particular goal. The intellect and professionalism displayed by Board and Council members throughout the process was both humbling and inspiring. Now current and future members of NACADA have a renewed charge and it is up to all of us to take intentional steps to make progress toward meeting the stated goals.

I am so pleased that Joanne Damminger and JP Regalado will serve as president and vice president respectively. I have truly enjoyed collaborating with Joanne, JP, the Board of Directors, and the Council as we continue the great trajectory of NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. Serving as president of NACADA is the highlight of my career, and I want to thank each and every member of NACADA for an amazing personal and professional experience as well. I look forward to serving in other capacities in the future, and I hope to see you in Salt Lake City and/or at one of the many outstanding professional development opportunities throughout the coming year and beyond.

Joshua S. Smith, President, 2012-2013
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Dean, School of Education, Loyola University Maryland
410-617-5343
jssmith2@loyola.edu


From the Executive Director: NACADA Continues to Grow in Its Global Impact on Higher Education While Still Focusing on Each of Our Members Individually

Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director

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This has been a busy and exciting year so far for the association and the Executive Office. Since January, our membership has continued to grow and see major advancements in how technology is offered and utilized.  First, NACADA has a totally new and simplified web site that is easier for our members to navigate and locate our vast array of services and resources, including online membership and events registration. While “web conversions” never end, as you know from experience on your campuses, I feel that what has been accomplished thus far is remarkable. Many of the changes implemented were based on an extensive report and set of recommendations from a task force composed of our members  and chaired by then-Board of Directors member Beth Higgins, as well as input from our association’s Technology Committee, chaired by George Steele. However, major kudos go to the Executive Office Technology Committee chaired by Peggy Goe and composed of Gary Cunningham, Judy Weyrauch, Michele Holaday, Diane Matteson, Elisa Shaffer, and Leigh Cunningham. The development and implementation of these technology enhancements have carefully taken into account the needs of our membership, as NACADA is a member-driven association, and were made possible by the foresight of our Board of Directors and Finance Committee in providing the necessary funding.

It is also gratifying seeing technology continuing to enhance the experiences of our members attending our conferences and events, and it is very exciting to note that for the first time, our annual conference in Salt Lake City will have a mobile app for attendees. I hope many of you take advantage of the app while joining us in Salt Lake City. Once again, such technology doesn’t just happen. Thanks go to our Annual Conference Advisory Board chaired by Bruce Norris for assisting with identifying the type of app we needed for conference, and major Kudos to Farrah Turner and Rhonda Baker for implementing the app for Salt Lake City.  Just as with other annual conference enhancements in the past, the NACADA conference app will grow and expand as our members have new needs and expectations.

We have continued to make significant progress in reaching out to learn from and network with our global colleagues. In June, NACADA held its first fully sponsored global conference in partnership with the University College at Maastricht University.  We initially dreamed that we would have 100 participants and we actually had over 250 participants from 19 countries and all but two continents.  The concurrent sessions, poster sessions, and panel discussions were outstanding and led to new relationships and partnerships with advisors across the globe.  It was a major success due to the hard work of so many people that I fear I will forget someone, but let me thank Rhonda Baker, Farrah Turner, and all the EO Staff for their hard work in assisting with the conference, as well as Oscar Van Den Wijngaard from University College and all his outstanding colleagues and volunteers from both University College and the University of Maastricht as a whole. Thanks also go to the planning committee for this event, including Karen Sullivan-Vance, Penny Robinson, Kathy Stockwell, and Catherine Mann.

In addition to our international conference, this summer I had the opportunity to visit Peru with an international trade mission from Utah, meeting with faculty and administrators from numerous Peruvian universities as well as with the Minister of Education, his staff, and a variety of other governmental officials to discuss to role of academic advising in student success and persistence.  As are our members across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, our Peruvian university colleagues are extremely focused on the academic success of their students.  The Peruvians are interested in exploring the many resources and services NACADA can provide, and the language challenge is one we will need to deal with, as many in South America do not have English skills. However, one of the multitude of benefits of NACADA’s partnership with Kansas State University is that K-State has a long-term ESL program working with public school teachers and university professors in Ecuador, which may have aspects transferable to Peru and their needs. Debbie Mercer, Dean of the College of Education at K-State, has already had discussions with Peruvian officials regarding these possible opportunities.  It is very exciting and gratifying to see NACADA’s relationship with K-State continue to grow in a variety of ways, including NACADA’s involvement in the creation and implementation of the Kansas State University online graduate programs in academic advising.  Also this spring, NACADA assisted the Kansas State University Provost’s office and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies office in hosting the first annual Advising Summit at K-State. It is truly gratifying to see NACADA functioning as such an integral part of the College of Education and Kansas State University.

I am very pleased that our growth, our technology advancements, and our global expansion have only strengthened the everyday experience, support, and assistance that NACADA gives to every member globally. We continue to offer a vast and growing array of resources and events, support new research initiatives in the field, and serve as a beacon of light showing the importance of academic advising to every student at every institution of every member of NACADA – and all while keeping our membership fee the lowest of all higher education associations our size. We continue to do powerful work in formal and informal mentoring for our new professionals, our new leaders and administrators, and of course for each other.  Long before higher education’s financial crisis of the past decade, long before state legislatures and Boards of Trustees or Regents began to understand that academic advising is integral to the educational and economic growth of their states and institutions, and long before the proliferation of for-profit companies offering online and short-term events (some double or more the cost of NACADA’s events and services), NACADA has been here for you. NACADA will continue to be the premier provider of outstanding support and services to members, focused clearly on expanding the body of knowledge, enhancing the literature, and broadening the understanding of academic advising’s significance. In the end, the association’s importance and achievements are built upon our members’ commitments to their students, their institution, and their association: NACADA!

NACADA continues to grow and expand but never, ever forgets that our members are of the highest importance. Meeting their needs and providing personalized attention will always be our focus in the Executuve Office.

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


Integrating Social Justice and Academic Advising

Robin Arnsperger Selzer, University of Cincinnati
Janelle Ellis Rouse, Elon University

JanelleEllisRouse.jpgRobinArnsperferSelzer.jpgKey social justice ideologies are now embraced as a part of institutional priorities. Yet, advising communities are just beginning to explore social justice ideologies as an integral part of advising practices and advisor competencies. As contemporary higher education continues to strive to become a place where historically underserved students are affirmed as a part of the institutional priorities, it is important to think about how social justice ideology can be applied at the ground level in individual advising sessions and group outreach, such as workshops. Examples of academic advisor competencies found in NACADA’s Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources touch on this concept and lead us to dig deeper when advising particular populations of students. For example, one of the advisor competencies is “informational knowledge of college student characteristics.” It is important to understand that this often translates to working with underrepresented and marginalized students who identify as LGBT, students of color, first generation, international, veterans, etc. Therefore, advisors should align our priorities with the needs of a global diverse community, whereby the integration of a social justice framework is “deeply embedded into the daily practice of advising” (Rouse, 2011, p. 28). Rouse (2011) asserts that universities need advisors who have the necessary skills to promote equality. She states, “Our diverse students need empowered advisors and academic communities that understand the battles students face in fighting sociopolitical and institutional inequality” (p. 3). 

There are often social justice dynamics at play in our advising interactions. Advisors serve everyone, from the typical student seeking academic resources to students who may present with a marginalized identity and need an ally. As advisors guide students to develop educationally, vocationally, and personally, how can we be expected to set significant parts of our identities aside? Students come to advisors with diverse identities. These dynamics often influence their overall success and achievement in college.  So, what should advisors do to serve the holistic needs of students through a social justice lens? What practical strategies can advisors use to intervene against systemic oppressions and individualized discriminations? One of the things advisors do best is refer when appropriate. Being aware of the resources on campus and in our community demonstrates advisors are making an effort to understand people from different backgrounds. Do we know of, or better yet, have personal contacts in our campus Hillel or cultural centers? What about Disability Services?  Moorhead (2005) has created a list of suggested strategies for advising lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. She suggests being aware of our language. Have we asked students about their personal relationships or family support? Assisting students through such concerns and using an inclusive language are meaningful methods to integrate social justice ideologies into advising practice.

Advisors can find meaningful ways to integrate NACADA’s philosophy of “advising as teaching” through social justice, where dialogue with students about privilege, power, and difference is encouraged. Advisors often see themselves as advocates for their students. Therefore, advisors should speak up and challenge institutional barriers, such as inequitable policies and practices that unfairly affect students and teach students how to advocate for themselves and others. Having the courage to engage students in difficult conversations about societal inequity and difference educates students about the interconnections of power and privilege on campus and how they impact the successful academic and social integration of underrepresented, first-generation, and marginalized student groups. Academic advisors are crucial in the establishment of a campus climate that creates safe space for our students (Lantta, 2008). Advisors must establish an environment that communicates a ‘safe zone’ where all students feel welcome and secure in engaging in such critical, often difficult sociocultural and sociopolitical conversations.

Finally, just as diverse identities manifest themselves in so many ways within our students, similarly, they exist within academic advisors and emerge during personal interactions with students, within daily practice, and as a part of our professional advising philosophy.  Advisors must understand how our identities, biases, privilege, and stereotypes may impact the way we engage students with difference and how our practice impacts success and achievement. Advisors have a responsibility to think about how our own power and privilege may play out in our advising responsibilities and ensure we are providing an equitable practice where students feel their difference is respected.  For example, advisors often tell students to go talk to their faculty member, without thinking twice about what their experience has been with regard to working with university officials in positions of power. Many students feel intimidated or uncomfortable when addressing individuals in positions of power due to negative sociocultural or sociopolitical incidents that have left them feeling disrespected, insecure, or humiliated. To change how we relate to and impact our students, Rouse (2011) suggests we “critically examine ourselves to develop a deeper and critical awareness of any personal biases, beliefs, or historical roots that may influence or contribute to any forms of educational oppression instigated by our daily practice” (p. 27). We must ensure that academic advisors and advising systems operate under a “personal/professional ethical balance that safeguards advisors from using their positions of power, privilege and social dominance in making unethical decisions that negatively affect students’ success and the institution at large” (Rouse, 2011, p. 35). To achieve this, Rouse (2011) calls for academic systems to engage fully in social justice work as an academic advisor. Rouse (2011) designed the Social Justice Development Model to guide  advisors through critical, transformative, and consciousness-raising phases to facilitate social-conscious growth; cultural competence; and race, class, gender, and ethnic awareness. The model is made up of three developmental phases: critical awareness; transformation; and action theoretically designed from critical theoretical constructs such as critical theory (including critical race, critical feminism, and critical pedagogy), transformative leadership, Freirean pedagogy, and constructivism. It is designed to guide individuals through a logical sequence of stages to introduce several critical sociopolitical and sociocultural competencies and habits of mind to actively engage in social justice leadership, action, advocacy and empowerment.

Rouse’s (2011) model  “encourages advisors to examine the fundamental connections and conflicts between self and society that influence our personal lives/relationships and our interactions within our social world” (p. 114). The design and critical framework of the model posits that a “critical awareness of self, critical social constructs and cross-cultural competencies are fundamental components in developing knowledge that spurs a transformation toward critical consciousness (or a personal concern for social action), which in turn, through “sustained involvement” (Landreman, King, Rasmussen, and Jiang, 2007, p. 275) may encourage academic advisors to support and promote social justice ideologies through various modes of social action such as advocacy and empowerment” (Rouse, 2011, p.115).

Now is the time for advisors and academic systems to institute a contemporary approach to advising where a commitment to social justice is deeply embedded, acknowledged, implemented and lived in daily practice. As NACADA re-conceptualizes the commitment to diversity and inclusion, so should academic advisors begin to create strategies and pathways to become a more “inclusive, affirming, and engaging teaching and learning environment for today’s multicultural student population” (Rouse, 2011, p. 26). Let us find meaningful ways to connect social justice leadership and advocacy to NACADA’s Statement of Core Values (2004) and strategic goals for diversity and inclusion. Let us find ways, through social justice education, to practice self-reflection and introspection and unearth biases and stereotypes so that we are able to fully support difference, promote equity and encourage social change.

Robin Arnsperger Selzer
Assistant Director
Pre-Professional Advising Center
University of Cincinnati
Robin.Selzer@uc.edu

Janelle Ellis Rouse
Director of Education Outreach
Elon University
jrouse3@elon.edu 

References

Academic advisor competencies.  Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources website http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Academic-advisor-competencies.aspx

Landreman, L., King, P., Rasmussen, C., & Jiang, C. (2007). A phenomenological study of the development of university educators’ critical consciousness. Journal of College Student  Development, 48(3), 275-295. 

Lantta, M. (2008). Supporting social justice through advising. Academic Advising Today, 31(2).

Moorhead, C. (2005). Advising lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students in higher   education.  Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Advising-Lesbian--Gay--Bisexual--and-Transgender-Students-in-Higher-Education.aspx

Rouse, J.E. (2011). “Social Justice Development: Creating Social Change Agents in Academic Systems (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/Rouse_uncg_0154D_10642.pdf

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Arnsperger Selzer, R. & Ellis Rouse, J. (2013, September). Integrating social justice and academic advising. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


TheoreticalReflections.jpgTheory and Philosophy Should Always Inform Practice

Hilleary Himes and Janet Schulenberg, Theory and Philosophy of Advising Commission Members

The Theoretical Reflections series is sponsored by the NACADA Theory and Philosophy of Advising Commission with the assistance of Chair Sarah Champlin-Scharff (Harvard University) and incoming Chair Janet Schulenberg (Pennsylvania State University).

Editor’s Note:  Hilleary and Janet will serve as panelists for the upcoming NACADA Web Event, Emerging Issues in Academic Advising Theory.  Learn more and join the conversation!


What is a theory? What is a philosophy?  Why should we all care?

Academic advising interactions can and do profoundly alter individual lives, and as such, it’s important for us to reflect on what we think we know and to recognize how we came to that understanding. For example, when a student seeks advisor input on selecting a general education course, what guides the response? Setting aside some pragmatic concerns of what courses are available, or what requirements the student has already completed, the advisor’s response is influenced by beliefs about the role of general education in meeting higher education’s outcomes as well as by what the advisor knows about students like the one who posed the question. In this very typical interaction, the advisor uses both theory (what is known about patterns of student behavior) and philosophy (the intended outcomes of education) to inform practice.

Every advising interaction we have should be grounded in intentional philosophical perspective and guided by systematically developed theory. Together, philosophy and theory provide a foundation for the ways we carry out any particular interaction. However, these terms have multiple meanings, and have been used inconsistently and interchangeably in the advising literature. Clarity regarding philosophy and theory in advising is critical for the field because together, they can clarify what motivates our actions, can improve collaboration, and can enhance outcomes (Lowenstein, 2012; Jaeger et al., 2013).

Clarifying our language around these issues is particularly important as the field develops a more robust literature base and as practitioners discuss these topics in both private and public forums. To that end, we offer the following:

Philosophy

When used in academic advising (as in the “Theory & Philosophy of Advising Commission”), the term philosophy is meant to indicate critical examination of practices and assumptions. Dewey (2008) describes philosophy as reflective thinking that lays the context for experience. A philosophy is thinking about our thinking. This usage is consistent with other definitions of philosophy as a way of using critical, logical, and systematic thinking to examine deeply held beliefs or social practices (Warren, 1989). A philosophy is a way of thinking that provides the context in which decisions about action are made, and prompts us to devote attention to intentions and ethics.

In addition, a critical and systematic way of thinking about current beliefs and practice adds intentionality and deliberation to our work (Dewey, 2008). This intentionality occurs in a personal philosophy, developed and maintained by an individual, and in a community-based or discipline-based philosophy, developed and maintained by a social group. A personal and community based philosophy share the same premise; both examine deeply held beliefs and practices. As a member of a community, a personal philosophy should align with a community held philosophy; otherwise there may be inconsistency, contradiction, and dispute for the individual, the community, or both.

Theory

In academic advising, we are often most concerned with theories which describe various elements of human behavior that typically derive from social sciences; however, theories from humanities have been used to inform practice. A theory is a set of statements, principles, or ideas by which authority we make claims about the world (Hagen, 2005). In other words, a theory is an explanatory construct that helps structure action by identifying key relationships that can be used to explain, predict, or change a phenomenon (Jaeger et al., 2013). For example, cognitive dissonance theory predicts what humans will typically do when confronted with situations that bring their reality and expectations into conflict. Advisors can use this theory to predict results from particular interventions. When based in scientific disciplines, theories are testable and can be falsified through empirical observations.

Relationship between philosophy, theory, and practice

Philosophy and theory are perpetually linked; philosophy influences how one sees the world, theory shapes how one intentionally interacts with that world. A philosophy impacts the definition of important problems and theories provide strategies to arrive at solutions to those problems. Together, philosophy and theory guide decisions about the approach taken in an academic advising encounter.

For example, an advisor may engage a student in reflective conversation about the student’s decision to drop a course. But why? What drove that choice of approach? Perhaps that advisor is informed by self-authorship theory, which suggests that students need to be prompted and supported in reflective thinking in order to help them make meaning of an educational experience. But why does the advisor think self-authorship theory and its subsequent methods are relevant to his or her work? Self-authorship theory is based in the philosophy that it is desirable for individuals to learn to balance a complex array of factors, including their own identities and values, when making decisions. If the advisor subscribes to the philosophy that higher education ought to promote students’ abilities to do this, and the philosophy that academic advising plays a role in meeting these outcomes, then self-authorship theory is relevant, as are the methods that stem from it. When presented with a different scenario, the advisor may draw from other relevant theories to interpret and react to the situation.

But what if the advisor does not—or feels too pressed for time to—approach advising from a basis in theory and philosophy? How would the advisor decide what is important? How would the advisor be guided in how to proceed? For example, an advisor who has not considered his or her personal advising philosophy, or the philosophy of education espoused by his or her institution, or who has not acquired a tool kit of theories and their attendant approaches, may encounter the same student who is considering dropping a course in a transactional manner. Or, worse, perhaps the advisor reacts to the situation from habit, or assumption, and responds in ways that damage a student’s resiliency or commitment to education.

Conclusion

Academic advisors are privileged to have the opportunity to interact with students in ways that help them grow, learn, and achieve their goals. But that interaction comes with significant responsibility to practice from a basis in scholarship. Thinking deeply about what we accomplish through academic advising and about why we think particular practices are relevant is a fundamental responsibility of all advising practitioners. To practice without this basis is akin to going to work naked. Clarifying the language of philosophy and theory will enable all advisors to participate in the conversation about what we think we know and how we came to those conclusions. This conversation is a critical part of clarifying the professionalization of academic advising (Smith, 2013), and is the foundation of responsible practice.

Hilleary Himes
Senior Undergraduate Studies Advisor
The Pennsylvania State University
hxs220@psu.edu

Janet Schulenberg
Associate Director
Division of Undergraduate Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
jks142@psu.edu

References

Dewey, J. (2008). Democracy and Education. Radford, VA: Wilder Publications.

Hagen, P. L. (2005). Theory Building in Academic Advising. NACADA Journal, 25(2), 3-8.

Jaeger, A. J., Dunstan, S., Thornton,C., Rockenback, A. B., Gayles, J. G., & Haley, K. J., (2013). Put Theory into Practice. About Campus, 17(6), 11-15.

Lowenstein, M. (2012, June). Theoretical reflections: Why a theory of advising? Academic Advising Today, 35(2).  Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/Theoretical-Reflections-Why-a-Theory-of-Advising.aspx

Smith, J. (2013, June). From the president: Effectively articulating the purpose of advising. Academic Advising Today, 36(2). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/From-the-President-Effectively-Articulating-the-Purpose-of-Advising.aspx

Warren, M. E. (1989). What is a political theory/philosophy? PS: Political Science and Politics, 22(3), 606-612.

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Himes, H., & Schulenberg, J. (2013, September). Theoretical reflections: Theory and philosophy should always inform practice. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


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“You’re Worse Than My Mum” – Reflections on Residential Advising in the UK

Penny Robinson, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

PennyRobinson.jpgI have just finished a 23-year stint as a warden at Bodington Hall, the largest hall of residence of the University of Leeds, with 1,200 residents.  Yes, I know “warden” means something else in the US; I had a lovely Californian Junior Year Abroad (JYA) student who found it highly amusing and, whenever we met, would say “Morning, Warden Robinson.”   Just to set the record straight, prison officers in the UK are “warders.” Not that I didn’t feel like one sometimes.

Traditionally, UK halls of residence have academic staff who act as wardens, with postgraduate students as sub-wardens.   They make sure the hall’s rules and regulations are observed and that students behave responsibly towards the local community, and also provide pastoral care and advice.   As I shall outline below, they also assist students to organize cultural, social, and sporting events, and help them with their personal and academic development.

Some institutions are removing pastoral support from residences, saying that 18-year-old students are adults and shouldn’t need it.    The University of Leeds takes a different view, arguing that to be placed in a hall of 1,200 almost exclusively first-year students is by its nature an unnatural and sometimes alienating experience.   Students come from all over the UK and overseas, some from small rural towns and villages, and can find Leeds, the fourth largest city in the country with one of the biggest universities, hard to cope with.    Many are homesick and miss their families and friendship circles.   Leeds sees the residential advising structure as one of the central planks of its holistic student support system.

At Leeds, we do not believe that it is possible to draw an artificial distinction between academic and personal problems.   Academic difficulties may lead students to display antisocial behaviours in the residence, or to become withdrawn, refusing to socialize with others; personal issues may have a deleterious effect on academic performance.   Because wardens and sub-wardens have all been through the university experience, they are able to reassure students that there are very few problems which can’t be solved if they are addressed soon enough, and that they themselves have probably experienced the same feelings of uncertainty and alienation, doubts about whether the course they are on is the right one for them, etc.   A resident will often feel that s/he is the only person to suffer from a particular problem, and it can be a great relief to them to realize that this is far from the case.   It is important that the warden or sub-warden should not solve problems for the student, but should help them to discover how to do it themselves.

Wardens and sub-wardens are required to have a comprehensive knowledge of the University’s regulations and central support systems and, crucially, to understand and identify the boundaries of their competence.   They are not counsellors, doctors, chaplains, financial advisers, etc., but they know how to refer residents to those who are.    It is vital that they should appreciate the importance of confidentiality, maintaining this but explaining to students that there may be situations (for instance, if the safety of the resident concerned, or of others, is endangered) when complete confidentiality may not be possible.   If the student gives permission, the warden may liaise with their personal tutor or the student support officer in their department, to ensure that the University approaches the issue in a coordinated way. 

Because wardens and sub-wardens are outside the resident’s academic line of authority, it is easier for him or her to approach them with concerns regarding their department.   Confidential discussions may take place without the personal tutor or student support officer becoming involved; this may later be necessary, but frequently issues can be resolved in an informal chat with the warden or sub-warden.   As the wardens and sub-wardens live in the residence, it is easy for the resident to go to see them, without the formality of making an appointment. 

Of course, it’s not all about problems!   Most students thoroughly enjoy their time at the University and in the hall (sometimes a little too much – the comment in the title was made to me by a first-year who didn’t appreciate it when I suggested that his apparent ambition to drink Leeds dry was misguided).   The University feels it is important to encourage them to channel their enthusiasm into ways which will help them to develop their transferable skills and enhance their personal profiles.   The University’s interactive website, www.leedsforlife.ac.uk, is key in helping to do this; students use it in their departments and personal tutorials, too, so the academic and the residential work together in an holistic way.   Leeds for Life encourages students to develop, reflect on and articulate the skills and attributes they acquire, not only in their academic studies, but in all areas of their lives, including in their hall of residence, and to prepare themselves effectively to succeed when applying for places in highly competitive careers.

All halls of residence have residence committees; residents stand for election to these and, with the assistance of wardens and sub-wardens, organize the social, cultural and sporting activities of the hall.   The election itself is a developmental experience, as students learn how to run the democratic process.   Those elected to committees need to use the skills of teamwork, time management and prioritization of tasks, balancing their hall activities with their academic work and part-time employment, as well as carrying out general organizational and administrative tasks.   Good interpersonal abilities are also vital, as they must liaise not only with the other hall members, but with wardens, sub-wardens and hall managers.   The president of the committee is a key officer in this respect.    The residence committee budget, made up of contributions from all hall members, can be substantial, and committee treasurers must manage this competently, keeping accurate records, and, with the rest of the committee, ensure that it is spent in a way which reflects the wishes of all the residents of the hall.   The committee also keeps an eye on the members of the hall, telling the warden or sub-warden if anyone appears to be unhappy or unwell. 

Sporting activities encourage residents to develop the skills of working in a team, and the social side requires committees to organize both small events (discos, bar quizzes, open mic nights, etc) and others which are very large and require great input and commitment.   Most halls will have an annual ball, the budget for which may run into many thousands of pounds, and at which major stars will perform.   Students’ organizational abilities are tested to the utmost when they work on these, and they need to deal with performers, agents, caterers, security staff and a wide variety of people.   Charity events encourage residents to appreciate and liaise with the local community. 

Culture is not forgotten!   Bodington Hall, which unfortunately closed last year, had a great tradition of debates, which helped students to learn the skills of debating in a safe, non-threatening environment, and the annual  Bodington Lecture, given by a prominent figure from the world of politics, culture, entertainment, charity, etc.   Residents helped to organize these events and, in the case of the lecture, met and entertained some very eminent people, also introducing and thanking them in the lecture itself.   It is hoped that other halls will continue the Bodington tradition. 

Of course, all this would be of negligible value if the residents were not able to identify and articulate the skills acquired during their time in the hall.   There has been a tendency, which Leeds for Life is trying to combat, for students (a) to believe that prospective employers value only the skills gained in the academic context, and (b) to think that skills development and career preparation can be left to the final year.   The University is working hard to disabuse them of these notions, and to encourage them to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them during their time in the hall of residence. 

It must not be forgotten that sub-wardens are students too.   Their job is an extremely complex one;  they live in the same block as the residents and have to inspire respect, ensure discipline is maintained, and also make sure that they are approachable, so that students will come to them with problems.   They need excellent negotiating skills, not only when dealing with students individually and in groups, but also when helping residents to resolve difficulties between themselves.   Teamworking skills are vital, too; at Bodington there were 15 sub-wardens.   The skills and attributes developed by sub-wardens have proved immensely attractive to prospective employers.

As will have been seen, Leeds believes strongly that residences should work together with academic departments to encourage the holistic development of students, and that the last thing they should be is mere dormitories.   I thoroughly enjoyed my 23 years of wardening and miss the close contact with the students and the opportunity to know and appreciate them, not just from the academic point of view, but as rounded people with varied and fascinating skills and attributes.     

Penny Robinson
Senior Tutor in Spanish and Portuguese
School of Modern Languages (Spanish and Portuguese)
University of Leeds
p.e.a.robinson@leeds.ac.uk

Cite this article using APA style as: Robinson, P. (2013, September). Reflections on residential advising in the UK.  Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


No Child Left Behind Comes to College: The Implications of Limiting Early Age Play on Incoming College Students

Sean Wernert, University of Notre Dame

SeanWernert.jpgHow does lack of childhood play and the No Child Left Behind Act connect to college students?  Incoming first-year students have always been “taught to the test” and have experienced high-stakes standardized testing throughout their education. They have been taught ways to look for the right answer, remember and regurgitate facts, and pass the test. As play has been phased out, even at the preschool level (Stipek, 2006), the effects of lack of play could be showing up on college campuses and in our advising offices.      

Studies are showing that lack of childhood play can “disrupt normal social, emotional, cognitive development” (Wenner, 2009, p. 24). In free play, the child makes the rules, introducing an aspect of creativity missing in structured gaming like sports and board games (Pellegrini, Dupuis, & Smith, 2006).

Not only does play have an effect on social and emotional development, but cognitive development can be affected as well.  Play can make people smarter because in using imagination, children are able to try new things and learn from those experiences. The use of imaginative play allows kids to solve problems within the confines of their imagination (Wenner, 2009).  When they are confronted with challenging tasks in the future, they are better equipped to think outside the box and complete tasks that might be more challenging for people who cannot think as critically. 

While they have been taught that there is always a right answer, students may begin to see that the answer may not be as clear as they want it to be.  Free play allows younger children to relax and feel less anxious.  It also allows them to be more creative and adapt to new situations easily.  “The bottom line... is that play encourages flexibility and creativity that may, in the future, be advantageous in unexpected situations or new environments (Wenner, p. 29).   While parents and schools may be thinking that they are acting in the best interests of the child by giving them more direct instruction and phasing out free play, the trade-off is that the development of the child may be altered.  Research by Pellis and Pellis (2007) shows that lack of “rough-and-tumble” play can have an impact on the development of the social brain.   Pellegrini, Dupuis, and Smith (2006) point out that children use play as a way to sample and experience their surroundings which helps develop adaptive behaviors necessary later in life.

In particular, students entering college today are coming from school systems that are much more highly structured—often the result of high-stakes testing like that required by NCLB. This “may place a higher value on conformity” and on testing results rather than on developing students into problem solvers and critical thinkers (Bigger, 2005). 

Institutions have been adapting to the changing needs of students for a long time. Today’s students often feel more entitled than previous generations, and they have received more praise from parents, teachers, and other authority figures because of their testing performance (Howe & Strauss, 2003).   “Often... students find the pressures of their first year daunting.  This can lead to extreme stress, depression, and, in some cases, further student engagement in more risky behaviors (Bigger, 2005).  

To combat this, services and instruction will need to change and/or be supplemented and informed by theoretical approaches that can help students who have social, emotional, or cognitive issues be more successful.  Development of student self-authorship is key in a college education.  Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, and Renn (2010) point out that while colleges focus on developing a self-authored mind in the student, not all students are ready for that.  Children who experienced less play at young ages and have systematically been taught to the test throughout their educational careers may be even less ready.

Schlossberg’s (1981) transition theory can be useful in helping students make this jump from learning for the test to learning for self-authorship and needing to think critically about problems that may not have answers.   Going to college is a major transition in the life of a student and realizing that just passing the test like in high school may not be enough to succeed can make that transition more challenging.

Astin’s student involvement theory (1999) speaks to students becoming more involved and attached to their college experience. If students who did not experience play at young ages become more involved in college (or play in college), their social, emotional, and cognitive maladjustment may begin to be mitigated as those developments take hold in college.  The key will be for advisors, faculty, and staff to recognize students in distress and approach them accordingly to provide the best support possible.

It will be helpful for advisors to be prepared to assist students further.  “College personnel must realize that students need support from peers, faculty, staff, and family if they are to succeed.  Support networks must be in place so freshman can begin to make the important connections that will help them cope” (Bigger, 2005).

While on the surface it can seem to be a stretch to discuss the effects of not having enough free play in preschool on incoming college students, the long-term effects are real.  Fortunately, colleges and universities can be prepared by guiding their practice with already well-established theoretical frameworks to better assist students in the transition.  

Sean Wernert
Faculty Academic Advisor
University of Notre Dame
First Year of Studies
swernert@nd.edu

References

Astin, A. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education.  Journal of College Student Development 40(5), 518-529.

Bigger, J. J. (2005).  Improving the odds for freshman success.  Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Advising-first-year-students.aspx  

Evans, N., Forney, D., Guido, F., Patton, L., & Renn, K. (2010).  Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.

Howe, N. & Strauss, W., (2003).  Millennials go to College. Great Falls, VA: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Life Course Associates.

Pellegrini, A. D., Dupuis, D., & Smith, P. K., (2006).  Play in evolution and development.  Developmental Review 27, 261-276.

Pellis, S. M. & Pellis, V. C., (2007). Rough-and-tumble play and the development of the social brain.  Current Directions in Psychological Science 16(2), 95-98.

Scholssberg, N.K. (1981). A model for analyzing human adaptation to transition. The Counseling Psychologist 9(2), 2-18.

Stipek, D., (2006).  No child left behind comes to preschool.  The Elementary School Journal 106(5), 455-465. 

Wenner, M. (2009).  The serious need for play.  Scientific American Mind (February/March 2009), 22-29. 

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Wernert, S. (2013, September). No child left behind comes to College: The implications of limiting early age play on incoming college students. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


Peer Advisors: Friend or Foe?

Heidi Purdy, Michigan State University

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the benefits of peer advising, plan to join members of the NACADA Peer Advising and mentoring Commission on November 14, 2014 for the webinar  presentation, “The Peer Advising Advantage: Creating Meaningful Connections.”

HeidiPurdy.jpgIn 2009, the advising center in the College of Natural Science (CNS) at Michigan State University consisted of fewer than four full-time advisors and over 2500 students to serve. With the number of advisees steadily growing each year and the budget steadily shrinking, the office was on the verge of complete overload when a group of eager graduate students from the student affairs master’s degree program inquired about assisting with a problem as a semester project. This group was set on the task of reviewing the literature on peer advising and its advantages, as well as assessing how it might fit for CNS.

People have always looked to their peers for help. This naturally occurring tendency happens in every setting, whether asking a classmate to pass a crayon in kindergarten or turning to a co-worker for a physician recommendation. Higher education is no different. Many college students look to other students for what they perceive to be better guidance than what they would receive from advisors or faculty (Koring & Campbell, 2005). Utilizing peer advisors is a way to harness these easy connections built between students and recognize in a very vocal manner that students are a part of the advising process, rather than recipients of an advice-giving encounter (McGillin & Hayes, 2005). The essential point in enlisting the help of peer advisors is clearly identifying the boundaries and limits that the student will have in their role and assisting them in understanding the level of knowledge and ability of the professional advising staff (Ender & Newton, 2010). For the CNS advising center, Girard, LoConte, Niemi, and Wojtkowski (2009) proposed a comprehensive peer advising program to address the needs of students from freshman through senior year. With this evidence in hand, the CNS director of advising was able to secure the approval to fund a pilot program of five peer advisors to assist with programs, projects and one-on-one advising throughout the year.

The CNS Peer Advising program was designed around getting advisees to communicate one on one with a peer and to thoroughly train the peer advisors to provide knowledgeable information enhanced with personal experience, rather than simply serving as a mentor. The peer advisors are treated like full members of the advising staff and they are bound by the same ethics and regulations. In addition to meeting with students in one-on-one appointments, they are responsible for blogging on a weekly basis, participating in recruitment events for the college and authoring a quarterly newsletter. They also brainstorm their own tasks such as developing a series of brochures comparing careers and the means to pursue them; designing presentations for helping students stay on track with their goals and designing their own training manual.

Now in its fourth year, the peer advising program plays an essential role in the advising puzzle for the CNS advising center. The peer advisors assist the college in every way, yet are fully aware of their status as a supplemental resource, rather than a primary one. These students are the first to say that even with all their training, they still depend on and frequently work with professional advisors on their own academic goals and success. They are very good at building a foundational relationship with advisees and then referring them on to the professional advising staff. The peer advisors are our frontline and they often get recognized by students for their role even outside of the office.

What are the advisees saying about the peer advisors?  As with anything there have been ups and downs, but overwhelmingly the response has been positive. 

“She was extremely nice and very supportive. She stayed with me to help me plan my summer schedule, as well as my sophomore year. She gave me lots of information I wouldn't have known otherwise” (Anonymous, survey, 2012).

“I was seriously so impressed with [the peer advisor]. When I was told that the advisor was a student, I was apprehensive. But [the peer advisor] really knew what she was talking about and spoke in terms that appealed to me as a student. For the questions that she wasn't able to help me with immediately she emailed me within a few hours with answers to my questions” (Anonymous, survey, 2011).

“Easy, quick, informal, just what I was looking for” (Anonymous, survey, 2011).

The connections forged between the peer advisors and our advisees are something professional advisors could not achieve. It builds a trust with the advising center that carries throughout the advisees’ academic career and fosters an environment where they are willing to keep an open mind to believe that the advisors care about them and truly have their best interest at heart. In this way, the peer advisors are the best partners and recruiters the advising center could hope for. They reach out and show by the examples of their actions and pathways the essential place that advising has within a successful college career. Whether blogging about the volunteer and research opportunities they have been a part of or sharing their graduate application process during an appointment, the peer advisors are the embodiment of what the advisees are striving for.

The peer advisors themselves have stated that the position has had a great effect on them. The position is so much more than a job; it is a chance to grow and develop in ways they had not thought possible. 

“This position has absolutely made me a better leader and a more effective communicator at both a social and professional level” (K. Pioszak, Interview, 2012).

“I can honestly say that I was not comfortable speaking to groups (of any size) before this opportunity. It has taught me to be more confident in my own abilities as a communicator on a daily basis” (K. Pioszak, Interview, 2012).

"My interactions with [students] as well as my other encounters with students of different personalities, ages, and cultures will help me become a stronger pharmacist" (Y. Yang, Interview, 2011).

"After an advising appointment with a student, my career interests in academics narrowed down to academic advising" (Y. Yang, Interview, 2011).

In working so closely with the peer advisors, the professional advisors also are able to keep a better focus on what is happening with the current students and develop pathways for outreach and growth that are the most effective and up to date. So when asked whether peer advisors are friends or foes, the answer is resoundingly “Friends!” Their influence on both the advisors and advisees is vast and positive. Having them on staff is truly a winning situation in every way. To learn more about the CNS peer advisors, check out their blog at http://students.cns.msu.edu/.

Heidi Purdy
Academic Advisor
College of Natural Science
Michigan State University
purdyh@msu.edu  

References

Ender, S. C., & Newton, F. B. (Eds.). (2010). Students helping students: A guide for peer educators on college campuses (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Girard, L., LoConte, C., Niemi, J. C., & Wojtkowski, C. M.  (2009). The Undergraduate Peer Advising Network: A Proposal for the College of Natural Science. Unpublished manuscript, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Koring, H., & Campbell, S. (2005). An introduction to peer advising. Peer Advising: Intentional Connections to Support Student Learning, 13, 9-14.

McGillin, V., & Hayes, H. (2005). Choosing a model and a mode of delivery. Peer Advising: Intentional Connections to Support Student Learning, 13, 21-32.

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Purdy, H. (2013, September). Peer advisors: Friend or foe?  Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


Marching Forward: CLEP, Veterans, and Student Success

Kent Seaver, North Lake College

Editor’s Note: To learn more about this topic, plan to join Kent and colleagues on February 26, 2014 for the webinar  presentation, “Soldiers to Students: Academic Advising for Returning Veterans.”

KentSeaver.jpgWhen I first started working in a college testing center in 1999, one of the first things I had to do was to become “CLEP Certified.” I had no idea what that meant exactly, but it was something that needed to be done…so I did it. I completed training through The College Board (the organization that administers College Level Exam Program tests, aka CLEP) and received a certificate indicating I had completed the “CLEP Test Center Administrator Training Course.”  Little did I realize at the time how much interest I would have in this exam and its overall impact on students.

According to College Board’s CLEP website (College Board, 2012), over 1,700 college test centers administer CLEP exams, and said exams are accepted at roughly 2,900 colleges and universities. Approximately 183,000 CLEP exams were administered in the academic year 2011-2012, with over seven million exams taken by students since the inception of CLEP exams in 1967. This credit-by-examination program serves a diverse group of students, including adults, non-traditional learners, and military service members (of that 183,000, approximately 55,000 were military service members).  Not only does the program serve a broad-based cohort, but it also validates knowledge learned through independent study, on-the job training, or experiential learning, and translates that learning into college credit that is commonly recognized.

The 33 total exams are broken down into five general categories: History and Social Sciences, Business, Composition and Literature, Science and Mathematics, and Foreign Languages. All exams are multiple-choice in nature, with the English Composition and Modular exams having an essay portion which is graded either by faculty or College Board personnel (a school’s policy dictates which method institutions will use). Immediate score reports (except exams with essays) are available to students and college personnel as a result of the multiple-choice test construction. The exams are scored on a scale of 20–80, with the American Council on Education (ACE) recommending a credit-granting score of 50 for each CLEP exam. The fee for the exam, as set by the College Board, is currently $80. (Colleges charge varying administrative fees to administer CLEP.) That fee is paid by the student at the testing center, either by check (made out to College Board), or by credit card.

CLEP and the Military

Earlier this year, a colleague and I had the opportunity to make a presentation regarding military personnel and prior learning assessments (namely CLEP) at the Military Symposium for Higher Education hosted by the University of Louisville. During that presentation, my colleague and I referenced a quotation from Anthony Dotson, Veterans Resource Center Coordinator at the University of Kentucky. Much to our surprise, after the presentation was over and we were in the “Q and A” session, Dotson (who was in attendance) stood up and offered even more insight into his use and advocacy of CLEP for military students. He stated, “I’m a huge proponent of CLEP; in fact, I CLEP’ed my freshman year of college. I encourage all incoming veterans to consider taking CLEP prior to their arrival [on campus], especially if they have not left active duty, as the exams are at no cost to them. CLEP can allow these non-traditional students to enter college a little better prepared and not as far behind their traditional student peers” (personal communication, February 2013).

CLEP exams are available to eligible military personnel to assist them in meeting their educational goals. The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) funds CLEP exams for eligible military service members and eligible civilian employees (specifically Department of Defense Acquisition Personnel). It is important to note these exams are indeed CLEP, and not the traditional DANTES individual subject or general exam administered to military personnel. The U.S. government will fund CLEP exams (one attempt per title) for the following military groups:

  • Military personnel (active duty, reserve, National Guard): Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard(s), and their designated Reserves.
  • Spouses and civilian employees of: Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, and Coast Guard (active and reserve).

Military veterans can receive reimbursement for CLEP exams and exam administration fees by completing and submitting the Application for Reimbursement of National Exam Fee Form 22-0810 (http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-22-0810-ARE.pdf). Please note that the Department of Veterans Affairs will not reimburse veterans for fees to take pre-tests (such as Kaplan tests), fees to receive scores quickly, or other costs or fees for optional items that are not required to take an approved test.

In the past academic year, The College Board and DANTES launched a pilot program with college/university test centers. Through this program, eligible DANTES-funded test takers attempting a test title for the first time will not only have their exam fee funded by DANTES, but participating test centers will also waive their administrative fee (usually between $20 and $25). If the test center you have selected is fully funded, "Fully Funded Yes" will appear in the test center description, along with the address, phone number and test center code.

To really understand student success, it’s usually best to understand the situation of a particular student. One such student is Carlos Paillacar. Carlos retired from the Coast Guard at age 46 after 21 years of service to pursue his education. He stated in a media interview, “Before I retired I said to myself, well, I speak Spanish, I should take the CLEP in Spanish” (“CLEP Program Helps Veterans,” 2012). He received 12 credits for successfully passing the CLEP Spanish exam in the summer of 2012 (and an additional 13 credits from Miami Dade College as part of his Prior Learning Assessment in the area of Photography). With credit in hand, he enrolled at Berry College as a sophomore with 25 credits and $12,000 in savings, thanks to CLEP. He also added, “Berry took me basically as a second-year transfer student with 25 credits. It basically saved me a year of education.”

Students who earn college credit via CLEP are more likely to persist through college, which creates higher retention rates for our institutions (College Board, 2012). Those students are also likely to have higher GPAs when they graduate or transfer, leading to increased student success. In today's world of decreased state funding, lower retention and graduation rates, and increased scrutiny from a government perspective, it is imperative we in higher education use all of the tools in our arsenal to create strong student success and allow them to achieve the dream of a college education. CLEP is such a tool.

Kent Seaver
Director of Learning Resources
North Lake College
kentseaver@dcccd.edu

References and Resources

College Board (2012). Academic success in higher education. Retrieved from http://clep.collegeboard.org/academic-success-higher-education (http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/clep/12b_5569_CLEP_Brochure_WEB_120420.pdf)

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

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

College Board (2012, December 5). CLEP program helps veterans and active military to achieve higher education. [Programa CLEP ayuda a veteranos y a militares activos a alcanzar una educación superior]. Univision.com. Univision Communications Inc. [mixed media]. Available from http://vidayfamilia.univision.com/es-el-momento/noticias/article/2012-12-05/programa-clep-educacion-veteranos-militares-college-board   

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Seaver, K. (2013, September). Marching forward: CLEP, veterans, and student success. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Student-Athletes in Transition: Applying the Schlossberg Model

Donna Menke, Kansas State University

DonnaMenke.jpgUpon the end of participation in sport at an elite level, former athletes often experience negative emotions and behaviors.  During the interviews I conducted with former college athletes for my dissertation on their preparation for life beyond college, many participants expressed having feelings similar to depression when their sports careers ended and one basketball player experienced panic attacks after his retirement. These athletes are not alone; researchers have revealed that athletes may experience loss of appetite, weight fluctuation, insomnia, mood changes, decline in motivation and lack of trust in others while going through sports retirement (Stankovich, Meeker & Henderson, 2001).  Other researchers found that 42% of their respondents described a difficult sport retirement as “quite characteristic” or “very characteristic” (Webb, Nasco, Riley & Headrick, 1998).

As academic advisors, we can help students ease this transition by applying Schlossberg’s Transition Framework to our work with student-athletes.  By using this model, academic advisors can help student-athletes prepare for the end of their athletic careers before the situation arises.  By assessing students’ commitment to their athletic identity, the support systems they have around them, and providing them with strategies to use when the situation of sport retirement arises, advisors prepare student-athletes for an easier transition out of sport and into a new role. 

Situation

There are three potential triggers for the end of a sports career: end of eligibility, an injury, or retirement from a professional sports career. The majority of college athletes end their sports career as they are ending their college academic career. The trigger is the end of their athletic eligibility. The timing is in line with other college student-athletes, but does involve a permanent role change for most and can be distressing.

For others an unanticipated event such as an injury may trigger the transition.  This may be accompanied by the additional stress of the injury and recovery process.  Studies indicate an injury may make the transition out of sport more difficult (Webb et al., 1998).

Still others may have the opportunity to continue their sport participation at an elite level after college. Even for Olympic and professional athletes, retirement comes well before the typical retirement age of 64. These athletes may risk a stronger athletic identity, one that involves a very public identity which “requires the cooperation of other people in the athlete’s life who are willing to release the athlete from the public expectations demanded by that role” (Webb et al, 1998). This may make the transition more complex.  

Self

By the time they enter college, student-athletes have participated in sport for many years; they have achieved success in their sport and have developed an identity as an athlete. Once in college, these students face intense time commitments associated with college sports (Danish, Petitpas & Hale, 1993) and a sports culture that emphasizes athletics over academics (Adler & Adler, 1985; Benson 2000), causing them to be at risk for lack of engagement in academic pursuits and delayed career development.

Schlossberg (2012) advocates assessing the “personal and demographic characteristics of the individual” (p. 92). With student-athletes, the strength of identity as an athlete should be assessed.  Does the individual have a network of friends or others outside of athletics? Encourage the engagement in academic activities such as getting to know other students in their classes, talking with instructors, understanding their own strengths and weaknesses, and establishing their values which are at the core of their athletic and student identity. 

Support

Schlossberg asks the crucial question: “Does the client have a range of types of support – spouse or partner, other close family or friends, co-workers? Colleagues? Neighbors, organizations, and institutions?” (Anderson, 2012, p. 87). (Editor’s note: please confirm whether the preceding p. 87 citation refers to the Anderson publication in your reference list; if so, it would be noted as (Anderson, 2012, p. 87) While coaches, teammates, and athletic counselors are an important part of a student-athletes support system, advisors should encourage these students to establish a support team that includes significant others inside and outside of athletics.

Encourage their participation in academic activities by pointing out the benefits. When student-athletes participate actively in their classes, they get to know their instructors and classmates, and they can help debunk the myth of the “dumb jock” and establish a rapport that will be helpful when they must miss class due to their athletic commitment. They will also develop role models for a non-athletic identity.  Campus resources such as counseling center, career center, and alumni associations can be valuable support networks that student-athletes may not be aware of, due to the intense time constraints they face. Encourage student-athletes to maintain a support team that includes family, friends, and others outside of athletics and who will be there when sport is no longer the center of their lives. 

Strategies

Discuss with student-athletes class attendance and how they feel about school.  Encouraging exploration of identities other than sport helps set the stage for a smoother transition when the time comes.  Lally and Kerr (2005) found that as athletes progress through the college years, they do develop a student identity in addition to their athletic identity.  Aiding and nurturing this development can help promote more positive outcomes for student-athletes. 

Researchers have found that college athletes demonstrate “poor or immature” career planning and development (Lally &Kerr, 2005, p. 275). (Editor’s note: please confirm which item in the reference list you’re referring to in the p. 275 citation; is it Lally and Kerr? If so, it would be noted as (Lally and Kerr, 2005, p. 275) One former student-athlete I spoke with described watching former players from his college team who would routinely “hang around the locker room as if they had nothing better to do.”  It struck him as odd and caused him to focus on the student role throughout his college football career.  Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree, he entered law school and credits the intensity of law school with helping him with his transition out of sport.   

The athletes I interviewed about their lives after college repeatedly mentioned the importance of networking to their careers. Many basketball players I spoke with credited a coach with teaching them the importance of networking while in college.  He instructed his players to keep the business cards of people they met and to present a positive image, which could help them land jobs once their playing days were over.  These athletes were encouraged to leverage the high-profile experience they received in college to help them when college and/or their athletic career ended.  The athletes I interviewed also described traits they acquired through sports that serve them well in their work, such as focus, a drive to put forth their best effort at every task, and the ability to effectively work in a team environment.  Advisors can encourage student-athletes to adopt similar behavior and use the positive aspects of sport to transition into other life roles.  

Donna Menke
Assistant Professor
Special Education Counseling and Student Affairs
College of Education
Kansas State University
dmenke@ksu.edu

References

Adler, P., & Adler. P.A., (1985). From idealism to pragmatic attachment: The academic performance of college athletes. Sociology of Education, 58, 241-250.

Anderson, M.L., Goodman, J., Schlossberg, N.K., (2012) Counseling adults in transition: Linking Schlossberg’s theory with practice in a diverse world. 4th Ed. Springer: New York.

Benson, K.F. (2000). Constructing academic inadequacy: African American athletes’ stories of schooling. Journal of Higher Education, 71, 223-246.

Danish, S. H., Petipas, A.J., & Hale, B.D. (1993). Life development intervention for athletes: Life skills through sports.  The Counseling Psychologist, 21, 352-385.

Lally, P.S., & Kerr, G.A., (2005). The career planning, athletic identity and student role identity of intercollegiate student athletes. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 76(3), 275-285. 

Stankovich, C.E., Meeker, D.J., & Henderson, J.L., (2001). The positive transitions model for sport retirement. Journal of College Counseling 4, 81-84.

Stankovich, C.E., Meeker, D.J., & Henderson, J.L. (2001). The positive transitions model for sport retirement. Journal of College Counseling,4, 81-84.  

Webb, W.M., Nasco, S.A., Riley, S. & Headrick. B. (1998). Athlete identity and reactions to retirement from sports. Journal of Sport Behavior 21(3), 338-362.

 

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VantagePoint.jpg

Advising 100 Acre Wood Style

Amanda Baldridge, Murray State College

AmandaBaldridge.jpgAcademic advising and student retention/success are being considered across college campuses nationwide.  As higher learning institutions, we spend a great deal of time devising and implementing ways to help our students engage in our services, set goals for themselves, and learn those valuable skills needed for success in the classroom and in life.

As I reflected on a favorite collection of stories that features an array of heartwarming characters who set off on grand adventures, I started thinking about some of their famous quotes and how they really could be applied to academic advising and student success.

One of the most important things I can do as an academic advisor is to help my students understand this:

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne (Christopher Robin)

Empowering students to believe in themselves and their abilities is invaluable.  Students will face times of frustration, doubt, and insecurity.  Reminding them that they possess the potential, that they are brave, that they are strong, and that they are smart will help them dig deep and find the perseverance needed to continue on another day.

“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.” (Winnie the Pooh)

That first advisement session is critical in helping students find a direction.  How are new students supposed to be successful if they do not understand what they are trying to achieve?  As academic advisors, we have the unique opportunity to assist students in drawing out their academic map.  We assist in identifying what they are looking for, and we help map out the trail to get there by establishing goals, priorities, and services. 

Colleges and universities spend a great deal of time implementing services to assist students while on their campuses.  Most of these services, however, require that the students take advantage of their offerings and seek them out. 

“It’s always useful to know where a friend-and-relation is, whether you want him or whether you don’t.” (Winnie the Pooh)

Advisors need to be knowledgeable about services on campus and help direct students to those friendly faces that can offer valuable assistance to help students persist to graduation. 

“They’re funny things, Accidents.  You never have them till you’re having them.” (Winnie the Pooh)

Anyone who is in the business of serving students understands that life happens.  Students’ best-laid plans are often derailed by work, family, friends, etc.  Being open to assisting students through these bumps in the road by offering support, advice, alternate routes, encouragement, and a listening ear is needed for retaining those students faced with obstacles. 

A big part of my job is to help returning students who have dropped out as they return to school.  Often, my first glance at their transcript can be scary! 

“I don’t see much sense in that, said Rabbit.  “No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t.  But there was going to be when I began it.  It’s just that something happened to it along the way.” (Winnie the Pooh) 

I think this is how most students feel.  They started out on a path for success and at the time it made perfect sense; something happened along the way and things ended up in a big mess.  As an advisor, what a great opportunity I have to help this student make sense of his academic career again.  By refocusing, making new plans and new goals, there is hope for sense once more!

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient.  It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”  (Winnie the Pooh)

I know how frustrating it can be when advising students and it seems like they just aren’t listening!  This is great advice to be patient; I do not know what is going on in the heads of my students.  I do not always know the battles they are facing, the events that are impacting their lives, and what they are trying to work through.  By remaining patient and waiting until they are open to listening, we can progress toward reaching the goals we have established for their success.

We all face stress.  We get overwhelmed, our lives appear to be spinning out of control, and we wonder how we can manage EVERYTHING that is going on.

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” (Winnie the Pooh)

Our students are very vulnerable to stress during their college years.  If we can get them to focus, list all the stressors, and identify ways to cope appropriately, students often find that when they put words to the problem, it isn’t as big and unmanageable as it once seemed. 

It is critical that academic advisors establish friendly, open relationships with students.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest, waiting for others to come to you; you have to go to them sometimes.” (Winnie the Pooh)

As advisors, if we have established positive relationships with our advisees and we have empowered them to be advocates for themselves, they will seek us out and come find us, instead of waiting to be found.  Students who take the initiative to seek out help instead of waiting for someone to offer assistance have a better chance of succeeding and persisting.

“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” (Winnie the Pooh)

Sometimes it takes a jolt to the brain to get it started again!  As advisors, we need to be willing to provide that jolt in a safe and caring environment to our students who need a jump start to get going again. 

Academic advisors have the honor of educating students in matters of the classroom and life.

“To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.” (Winnie the Pooh)

As educators we know better; an A for our students means determination, hard work, engagement, retention, and success!  It is our job to bring meaning to our students so they will rise to the challenge of excellence in and out of the classroom.

A final thought:

“A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.” (Winnie the Pooh)

Amanda Baldridge
Director of Academic Advising
Murray State College
abaldridge@mscok.edu

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Baldridge, A. (2013, September). Advising 100 acre wood style. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


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Enhance the Advising Culture on Campus: Implement an Annual Advising Fair

Katie L. Bixby, University of Louisville

Katie Bixby.jpgAccording to Vincent Tinto, student engagement is “the single most significant predictor of persistence” (Tinto, as cited in Harper & Quaye, 2009, p.4). In addition, Tinto found that students who feel disconnected from their peers, faculty, and staff often do not persist at the institution (Harper & Quaye, 2009). In this article, I describe how the academic advisors at the University of Louisville have successfully planned and implemented an annual Academic Advising Fair in order to engage students in learning about advising outside of the traditional advising appointment. This initiative can be easily implemented at any institution of higher education.

Purpose

Six years ago, a group of advisors at the University of Louisville created the first Academic Advising Fair in order to make students more aware about advising, and to encourage them to schedule their advising appointment earlier in the semester rather than waiting until priority registration. They also thought it would be a good way to engage with their students outside of the advising office, and thought that it might help build rapport between students and advisors. The majority of students at the University of Louisville are not required to be advised past their first year. Part of the role of the annual Advising Fair is to create student awareness about academic advising campus wide, and to remind students that it is still beneficial for them to meet with their academic advisor throughout their tenure at the institution. The event is held in September in order to create a culture of advising on campus from the beginning of each academic year.

Partnerships

Each May, an Advising Fair planning committee is formed and is composed of members from each undergraduate academic advising unit, the office of Undergraduate Advising Practice, the Student Government Association, and the Academic Center for Student Athletes. These partnerships not only assist in the financial aspects of the event but they also assist in marketing the event to the students they serve. It is important for the planning committee to have advisor representation from each academic unit in order to create ownership in the event. In addition, this helps deliver important unit specific information to students from all academic units of the university. 

Marketing

Marketing the event to students is crucial to the success of the event. Each year, a theme is created around the event. All aspects of the event are tied to the theme and help create consistency and continuity. In addition, a catchy slogan is created relating to the theme. The slogan appears on all of the advertising materials, again, for consistency and continuity.

After the theme and slogan have been created, the planning committee works on designing a flyer for the event. Flyers and posters are placed throughout campus (student activities center, academic buildings, residence halls, advising center, campus dining locations) and the planning committee emails the flyer to all academic advisors and other campus partners so that it can be sent directly to their students. The flyer is also placed in several campus student newsletters in addition to the school newspaper. Yard signs and banners were purchased one year, but are reused each year.

Perhaps the most important task in marketing the event is selecting the location and time of the event. Our event is held right outside of the student activities center during lunchtime. Students must pass the location in order to get to the majority of the dining options on campus.

One final aspect of our marketing is to offer something to students that will draw them to the event. We always find a student to volunteer as our DJ each year so that students can hear the excitement of our event from across campus. In addition, the various planning committee representatives are able to provide free lunch and several games each year. The purchase of food is the primary cost in holding the event. However, we have found that marketing the fact that the event will have free food attracts students in record numbers and is worth the cost.

Event Structure

The primary structure of the event is the same each year. Academic advisors and other campus partners volunteer to help in various roles during the event. They lead games, serve food, and staff informational booths. For example, an “Ask An Advisor” information booth is set up for students to ask questions. Giveaways such as campus maps and refrigerator magnet notepads listing advising center contact information are provided for free at the information booths. Advising Center contact information, website addresses, and “good questions to ask your academic advisor” are placed at the tables where students are seated for eating.

One of the most popular games at the event is the dunk tank. Prominent members of campus (Vice Provost, popular professors, advisors, the SGA President, and student orientation staff members) are asked to sit in the dunk tank during 15 minute time slots during the event. The “dunking schedule” is posted on the advising website and advertised to students. Students line up to try to dunk their favorite staff members.

Last year, the planning committee piloted a new idea of incorporating a unique “signature event” into each successive Advising Fair. Last year, advisors and students collaborated and created a dance routine for a Flash Mob that took place during the event. That signature event drew the largest number of students to the event to date. Going forward, each planning committee will design their own signature event with the purpose of drawing a large number of students to the event.

Budget

The budget for this event has grown due to the success of the event. Budget categories for the event include: food, beverages, facilities rental, giveaways, marketing, game rentals, and miscellaneous expenses.The food/beverages purchased serve approximately 800 students. In order to keep costs low, food is purchased wholesale in bulk at distribution warehouses. Often, the committee works with local business (college bookstores, local restaurants) to donate items to give away to students who attend the event. One year, the committee used the money saved from the giveaway budget to purchase reusable banners and yard signs. In order to justify the purchase of items to give away to students, the committee always places advising information on the giveaways. For example, “good questions to ask your advisor” were listed on the giveaway one year. The committee also uses the same game vendor each year, and now receives a discount due to customer loyalty. Another great way to keep costs low is to partner with other offices on campus to share in the cost. These other offices can assist in the planning of the event, and could be offered a table at the event to advertise their services to students that attend the event.

Assessment

Each year the success of the event has grown as evidenced by the number of students in attendance. The number of students attending the event has increased each year since the inception of the event. In order to determine whether the goals of the event are being met, students are asked to complete a survey during the event.

Questions from the 2012 Academic Advising Fair survey included:

  • Did this event raise your awareness about advising at the University of Louisville?
  • Will you be visiting your academic advisor as a result of this Advising Fair?

Plans for Future Events

As the university strives to improve student persistence while encountering shrinking budgets, the Advising Fair Planning Committee decided that a stronger assessment of the event is needed to justify the cost of the event. Going forward, the committee has decided to assess the persistence of students who attend the event. This will be completed by using ID swipers at the check in station at the event. Data will be automatically captured about the students who attended the event, and the students will be tracked through graduation and compared with a control group of students who did not attend the Advising Fair.

Katie L. Bixby
Program Coordinator, Senior
Undergraduate Advising Practice
University of Louisville
K0bixb01@louisville.edu

References

Harper, S.R., & Quaye, S.J. (2009). Beyond sameness, with engagement and outcomes for all: An introduction. In Harper, S. & Quaye, J. (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practical approaches for diverse populations (pp. 1-15). New York: Routledge.

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Bixby, K.L. (2013, September). Enhance the advising culture on campus: Implement an annual advising fair. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


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Paperless Advising for Today’s Students

Zackary W. Underwood, University of North Carolina Wilmington

ZackaryUnderwood.jpgThanks to a university-sponsored grant, I created an innovative paperless advising process for University College at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) that is helping to save the environment. Paperless advising resulted in three distinct positive outcomes for my office: meeting student expectations, addressing future policy changes, and increasing financial savings.

Before discussing the positive results, I want to explain the method of paperless advising and how it is different from the former paper-based model in my office. University College at UNCW advises all incoming freshmen and select transfer students. Formerly in University College, each advisee had a physical file folder with a label and three pieces of paper. University College created an estimated 2,700 physical folders per year. Folders were filed in each advisor’s file cabinet and each advisor had access to only his or her student files.

The new paperless advising at UNCW makes existing paper-based forms digital by scanning them. The digital forms are turned into writeable PDF documents and then distributed to advisors. Advisors use a PC, Mac or iPad to fill out the forms and then once completed, email those forms to the student as opposed to giving the student a physical copy of the form. Forms are also emailed to a central email address for the office where they are linked to a document imaging system. “[Document Imaging] makes documents easy to find and retrieve, enhances the ability to share documents across campus…and preserves document integrity” (Villano, 2006, para. 2). The document imaging system is similar to a giant digital file cabinet, instead of only having access to my advisees, I can now access any advisee’s file in my office digitally.

After their advising meeting, students immediately have digital copies of their meeting notes available in their email 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Kittelson (2009) described the creation of electronic student folders as one of the emerging technologies in the current time called Advising 3.0. Academic Advising 3.0 includes incorporating the lessons of face-to-face interaction with current technology to meet students’ digital expectations.

Students expect academic advising to be just as digital as they are. Prensky (2001) calls today’s students digital natives because they are surrounded by technology and grew up in a technologically savvy environment. After experiencing paperless advising, one of my students said “Wow, you have all the gadgets and technology.” Students at UNCW can order tickets digitally for sporting events, pre-order their books online, and even check online to see how many of the library’s computers are available. With the continuation of processes like online registration, online major declarations and ratings for professors online, students demand more technological communication.

Students live in a world of tablets, Twitter™ and instant answers via Google©, which makes paperless advising not just an advantage, but an expectation. “This is the world that 18-year-olds have grown up in. They live in the digital realm and they expect others to do the same” (Gordon, 2008 p. 304). By going paperless, UNCW is joining other universities such as The University of Florida, Towson University, University of Idaho, and Monmouth University to meet student needs with paperless advising (Vilano, 2006). Strategic plans across the nation are addressing this concern for more technology in advising.

NACADA’s first strategic goal is globally addressing the academic advising needs of higher education. Today’s global student will not necessarily meet with advisors in their offices, but may be abroad. Formerly, students abroad would have to call an advisor, and the advising sheet would stay with the advisor only. Paperless advising gives the opportunity to instantly send advising sheets worldwide digitally. “If academic advisors want to reach their advisees, and their advisees are living in a digital world, then advisors need to become part of that world as well” (Gordon, 2008, p.305). Today’s students are not always able to meet face to face, but these students still deserve the same advising resources. Paperless advising can provide the same advising information to students domestically or abroad.

The most recent North Carolina university-wide system Strategic Plan Final Draft acknowledges the necessity of advising electronically:

Each campus will implement electronic advising support software. At a minimum, software will be used to create a comprehensive advising portfolio that documents all advising encounters, makes the record of advising available to students and advisors, and follows the student across majors in different colleges and degree programs. (UNC Board of Governors, 2013, p. 54)

One of the difficulties with adapting new technology in this economically distraught climate is the lack of technology funding for innovation. As current president of NACADA Joshua Smith says, “As advisors, we are the innovators and challengers of the status quo” (Smith, 2013, para. 5).

As innovators, advisors are often asked to be responsible for more advisees and more programming with less funding. Paperless advising at UNCW is saving the university money and is also saving the environment. As we transition to paperless in the future, instead of having 2,700 paper files, my office will have 2,700 digital folders. Instead of printing approximately 8,100 sheets of paper per year (three sheets per folder), we are creating the documents digitally. By not buying the folders and paper, my office is saving 15 cents per student folder. Along with saving money there is no longer a need to buy folders, print the three advising sheets or get frustrated over label-making.

As an advisor, I started the paperless process for my office through grant funding. All it takes is one grant or one advisor to use their pre-existing skills to make an entire advising office digital. There are frustrations, hiccups and bugs to fix, but the positive outcomes far outweigh the negative. Going paperless is still a work in progress, but seeing early positive outcomes of meeting student expectations, addressing future policy changes and saving money helps advisors stay confident that they are on the cutting edge of technology with today’s digital students.

Zackary W. Underwood
Academic Advisor
University College
University of North Carolina Wilmington
underwoodz@uncw.edu

References

Gordon, V. (2008). Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Kittelson, L. (2009). Millenials, Modules, and Meaningful Advising. Duluth, University of Minnesota.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon 9(5), 1-15. Retrieved from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/prensky%20-%20digital%20natives,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf

Smith, J. (March 2013). From the president: Keeping academic advising in the forefront of conversations in higher education. Academic Advising Today36(1). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/From-the-President-Keeping-Academic-Advising-in-the-Forefront-of-Conversations-in-Higher-Education.aspx

UNC Board of Governors (January 17, 2013). Our time, our future: The UNC compact with North Carolina strategic directions for 2013-2018 final draft. Retrieved from http://faccoun.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2013UNCStrategicPlanJan16DRAFT.pdf

Vilano, M. (2006). Document imaging:The road to paperless. Campus Technology, November 2006. Retrieved from http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2006/10/Document-Imaging---The-Road-to-Paperless.aspx

Cite this article using APA style as: Underwood, Z.W. (2013, September). Paperless advising for today’s students.  Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


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Put it in Writing: Using Business Writing Tips in Email Communications with Students

Stefanie Wright, Georgia Perimeter College

StefanieWright.jpgPeople are communicating in writing more and more.  We use email, text messaging, instant messaging, blogs, social media, and a host of other forms of written communication to convey our messages.  I work primarily with students taking classes online and much of the advisement is provided via email.  One lesson I learned early on as an online advisor is that communicating in writing can be tricky.  Finding the right words to convey the intended tone, establishing a connection with the students, and covering necessary information in a digestible fashion are all factors when advising a student via email.  With time, I developed a style that works well, incorporating a few business writing techniques to make my email communication with students more effective.

While business writing techniques are not necessarily aimed toward writing to students, I find that many of them are applicable in an educational setting just as they are in a business setting.  I will outline the top five that I consider when emailing students regarding advisement concerns.

The Inverted Pyramid. “The inverted pyramid is a method for presenting information in descending order of importance” (Bradley, 2010). This technique notes that the most important information should be presented first, giving the reader that which is most critical up front.  This is especially effective with students who are seeking specific information or need to perform a specific task.  I give them the necessary information and follow-up with any other comments regarding other areas I need to address after assessing their records.

Be Positive. Tell students what they can do versus what they cannot do.  Framed this way, students see “options rather than roadblocks” (Gaertner-Johnston, 2004). Positive statements are helpful in setting the right tone and establishing a rapport with students.   Of course, there are times when the answer is not what the student would prefer.  However, the communication can still be framed positively.  I find that most students are appreciative when provided the correct information, options, and recommendations on moving forward.

Use fewer words.  “Cutting out unnecessary words makes your copy quicker and easier to read, and gets your message across faster” (McDevitt, 2012).  This is especially critical when working with a new student and there is so much to cover.  Making the information as succinct as possible is important because odds are the email will be a bit lengthy simply based on the amount of information that needs to be covered. 

Make sure there is some white space. “White space is the white between your letters, lines, and paragraphs.  It is almost as important as what you write” (Bagley, 2010).  Having the proper spacing is very important as it give students time to “breathe” while reading the information, as well as makes it easier for them to find their place should they have to stop reading and come back to the email.  Again, this is essential with longer emails.

Spell it out. “Be careful not to use jargon or acronyms unless you are certain the recipient will understand them” (Hale, 2010). Acronyms and industry terminology are common within industries, and education is no different. Colleges and universities often have a language all their own and it is important to remember that not every student will be familiar with the acronyms or terminology.  This is especially true with new students, but we should also be careful not to assume that our “seasoned” students know all of the terminology.  This is a thought that I keep in the front of my mind when emailing students because this presents a “teachable moment”.   When spelling out the acronyms or explaining the terms used, I am able to add to the students’ knowledge base and provide them with information that will be helpful as they navigate the collegiate world.

I would also like to share a couple of other practices that I employ when advising students via email that may be helpful.  I find that at certain times of the year the questions received from students are pretty standard, as are my responses.  In this case, crafting a template response to use for the question is both a time-saver and a way to ensure that I am giving each student the same information.  Sometimes the templates may need to be altered slightly based on the record of the student who is asking the questions.

Another practice that I use is to try to personalize the email as much as possible when addressing an individual advising issue, even if the information I am giving is standard from my point of view. Personalizing an email goes against the advice of most business writing professionals, but I do feel that this is an important divergence given my primary goal of advising and connecting with students at a distance.  Establishing a rapport with online students can be more challenging than doing so in a face to face setting.  For example, if a student shares that he/she is coming back to school after 10 years away and is a little nervous, I will mention that our adult learners are often our most successful students and offer some encouraging words.  I make sure the student is aware of all the services available to help him/her and give the student suggestions on how to navigate this new experience, as I would any new student, but putting a spin on it that is appropriate for this particular student.   This helps the student understand that he/she is not alone, even in an online setting, and hopefully feel supported and more comfortable. 

The outlined tips and practices help me communicate more effectively in writing, save time, and establish and/or strengthen the connections I have with my advisees. As advisors find themselves communicating with students more frequently via email or another form of written communication, hopefully these tips will be helpful!

Stefanie Wright
Coordinator, Online Student Success
Advising, Counseling, and Retention Services – Online
Georgia Perimeter College
Stefanie.wright@gpc.edu

References

Bradley, S. (2010, December 27). The Inverted Pyramid of Visual Design. Vanseo Design. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://www.vanseodesign.com/web-design/inverted-pyramid-design/

Bagley, C. (2010, July 19). Writing: The Importance of White Space. Writinghood RSS. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://writinghood.com/tag/why-white-space-is-important/

Gaertner-Johnston, L. (n.d.). Business Writing Tips. Syntaxtraining.com. Retrieved January 29, 2013, from http://syntaxtraining.com/business_writing_tips.html

Hale, A. (2010, May 10). Business Writing 101. Daily Writing Tips. Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.dailywritingtips.com/business-writing-101/

McDevitt, C. (2012, August 1). Write less, say more. Flying Solo. Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-writing/effective-business-writing-write-less-say-more

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Wright, S. (2013, September). Put it in writing: Using business writing tips in email communications with students. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


Conversations with NACADA Leaders: Perspectives on the Development and Status of the Association and the Field

Craig M. McGill, Florida International University

CraigMcGill.jpgThis spring, I had the honor of interviewing six of the association's leaders: original founder and past president Tom Grites, immediate past president Jennifer Joslin, current president Joshua Smith, incoming president Joanne Damminger, Executive Director Charlie Nutt, and Assistant Director of Resources and Services Marsha Miller. My task was to construct an oral history, identifying three key milestones in the association's history and development through the perspectives of living participants. The interviews built on the existing histories (Beatty, 1991; Gordon, 1998; Gordon & Grites, 2009; and Thurmond & Miller, 2006) and unveiled considerations for the future of the association and of advising in general.

One: The Formation

A chance elevator meeting in April 1977 between Grites and Toni Trombley was the legendary start of NACADA. The first conference surpassed all attendance expectations and a task force was convened to determine if forming a national association was possible. In the initial meetings, there was a discussion centered on the rhetorical meanings of the terms advisor, advising and advisement. “’Advisor’ was thought to narrow the purpose of the proposed association while ‘advising’ connotes a broader process and function, and advisement’ is a term closely associated with the legal profession” (NACADA, 2004, p. 4). Advisors were concerned about enrollment management, professional identity, and whether they would be responsible for retention. From the beginning, the spelling of ‘advisor’ was championed over ‘adviser’ to parallel the spelling of professor (C. Nutt, personal communication, March 4, 2013).

During the second national meeting, an organizational structure and bylaws were outlined along with a proposed name for the association: National Academic Advising Association, “rather than the National Association of Academic Advisors, because we knew most academic advisors at that time were faculty and they would not likely want to join such an organization” (T. Grites, personal communication, March 24, 2013). Grites recalled the deliberation about the name for the association:

Since every other organization had a recognizable acronym, we felt the need to identify ourselves in that brief fashion as well; we didn't like NAAA, since it was too close to NCAA, and NAAA might have been ‘taken’ by another one anyway, so we came up with National ACademic ADvising Association. Then came the pronunciation dilemma…I remember ‘NACKada’ and ‘NaCADEa’ as the other primary possibilities, but we finally settled on ‘NaCAHda’ which seemed easy enough to us at the time. 

At the third conference, the Board of Directors members were appointed, the association was divided into six regions, and a newsletter established. Trombley became the Association’s first president and NACADA became officially incorporated. Initial dues were set at $25 per year and $10 for student members (NACADA, 2004). For Smith, the development and the revisiting of the bylaws constitutes the first critical milestone of NACADA: “This really tied people together in a shared understanding of governance, which is a critical part of any organization, but particularly an academic organization which has such a long and storied history of faculty or participatory governance that helps guide decisions that are made” (J. Smith, personal communication, March 26, 2013).

Two: Establishing a Research Identity

A scholastic identity was critical for advising to be recognized as a field of study. Thus, the NACADA Journal was established in 1981. In that issue, Borgard (1981) stated, “we need something more if academic advising is to become a truly educative function rather than an adjunct to teaching, research, and service” (p. 1). In 1989, Virginia Gordon established the Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources at Ohio State University. The Clearinghouse became a centralized repository for the field literature until it closed in 1999. In 2002, the Clearinghouse reopened as the NACADA Clearinghouse when Miller joined the Executive Office and was tasked with putting the Clearinghouse online and accessible to all advisors. 

All interviewees spoke about the importance of research in advising: where it has been, where it is now, and where it needs to be. Joslin does not feel advising research has gained enough momentum and ventured into areas that are radicalized enough to move the field beyond its place in higher education literature: “We’re a practice and clinician-oriented field. Could we do it? Absolutely. Are we all working toward that? No…We’re not yet writing and developing and theorizing in the many different ways we could” (personal communication, March 28, 2013). Nutt agreed: “We don’t have a field of study yet…as long as the primary people that are being quoted in the literature are folks who are not in advising, then I don’t think we can say we have a field of study” (C. Nutt, personal communication, March 4, 2013).

There is a debate in the community as to whether advising has achieved the status of a profession. Shaffer, Zalewski, and Leveille (2010) concluded that advising “has not met the typical sociological standards that accompany societal recognition for a profession” (p. 66). The authors argue that a satisfactory disciplinary base of research and literature has not yet been achieved. Although having a graduate program is one of the hallmarks of a field, Miller noted that there are just a few graduate-level courses that exist in advising and only two master’s degree programs in the field. More will exist only when we “develop a comprehensive curriculum that can be studied. To do this we must have a broad and deep literature base from which courses can be drawn. In the last 10 years we have made great strides towards achieving this goal, but more must be done before a comprehensive base will exist.” (M. Miller, personal communication, June 12, 2013).

While some of the leaders focused on the research and literature as primary indicators, Joslin believes advising has become a profession based on alternative benchmarks:

We have carved out an identity distinct from counseling, career advising, even from private coaching…though we are bringing in those elements into advising...It has its identifiable exemplars...with standards, its professional organization and ability to be adopted by new institutions or new leaders…I don’t feel any different about it than any other profession that you could name. We may be young, but we have as much validity (personal communication, March 28, 2013).

Three: Formation of the Executive Office

On February 15, 1990, NACADA’s Executive Office was established in Manhattan, KS. Prior to that, “the Association had operated out of dozens of people’s and institutions’ back pockets, but the volume of work could not be sustained that way for much longer, especially as it tended to rotate to where the national conferences were held” (T. Grites, personal communication, March 24, 2013). The burden of running a national organization simply became too great for volunteers to do alone (Thurmond & Miller, 2006).

The office has expanded from two people in 1990 to a staff of 16, but the exponential rate of organizational growth has created challenges. Unlike other associations of its size and caliber, NACADA does not outsource its conference planning and implementation. Nutt said, “One of the things our members talk about hugely is the personal attention they get at conferences and when they call the office…they don’t get a recorder that says ‘push 1 for this, 2 for that’…they like that. But those are staff costs” (C. Nutt, personal communication, March 4, 2013). Nutt likened his office to a campus of 12,000 run by 16 people. But he used the same phrase as he does when he visits with advisors across the country: “Folks, it’s impossible to do more with less. You’ve got to do differently with less.”

Implications

At the heart of any discussion of a premier organization for a profession in search of an identity is the issue of where it needs to go. The conversations with these leaders centered on technology, globalization, and the possibility of field-specific doctoral programs.

In 2009, NACADA added the tagline “The Global Community for Academic Advising” to its banner (Self, 2009). The interviewees emphasized the need to determine precisely what that means and what implications come from the association laying roots around the globe. Nutt wonders what those advisors working in the Americas can learn from the “really good things happening in Germany, Netherlands and the UK, Middle East, Japan” (C. Nutt, personal communication, March 4, 2013). Joslin noted her deliberate study of the issues prior to assuming the presidency to determine: “do we want a NACADA in every region in the world? Do we want to start by having NACADA conferences in critical places?” (J. Joslin, personal communication, March 28, 2013). International conferences such as the one in The Netherlands in 2013 are ways for NACADA to explore and address the long-standing questions that Nutt and Joslin raise.

Technology can aid in forging global relationships. For Smith, a strong social network built by NACADA members—such as webinars—is vital to the outreach of globalization efforts: “The emphasis on technology at this moment in time will become a milestone that is remembered in the future of the organization” (J. Smith, personal communication, March 26, 2013). Grites argues that while concerns exist that technology will make advisors expendable (because of the online availability of degree requirements, course offerings, etc.), conversely, as competency based education continues to grow, more advisors may be called upon in the future to assess such outcomes (T. Grites, personal communication, March 24, 2013).

The question of a doctoral degree in advising was discussed by most of the interviewees as a necessary means for the field and profession moving forward. According to Nutt, “We’ve got to have doctoral programs… The key is going to be finding faculty to run these programs when we haven’t had these programs for faculty to get graduate training in” (C. Nutt, personal communication, March 4, 2013). Joslin and Smith concur, but qualify their responses saying that the discipline is not yet ready for it. Pointing to the success of the masters degree program in academic advising at Kansas State University, Smith agrees that while there is enthusiasm for such a field of study, currently there are no high-profile doctoral programs in higher education that offer even a cognate concentration in advising. To have a discipline-specific doctoral program, many more courses would have to be designed and developed within advising, and Smith is skeptical: “I’m just not sure what that would look like right now.” Indeed, cynics have interrogated: “where is the knowledge base on advising that warrants as a stand-alone field?” Smith disagrees: “I am arguing that it just hasn’t been articulated, that it’s out there,” but there is not “enough scholarly work to document and demonstrate that we are there” (J. Smith, personal communication, March 26, 2013).

Where does a field in search of an identity need to go and what is the association’s role? Where is the place of advising in the vast terrain of higher education? Some of the interviewees indicated that the relative youth of the profession and the lack of professional credentials that are specific to advising can make it difficult for the profession to be seen as a profession. According to incoming president Damminger, “there’s certain entrance criteria in order to be a part of that profession. And advising doesn’t have that firmly established like we would like it to. And I think that ‘yes we can do that,’ but my experience is that’s only going to be as strong as the institutions who are going to put that into place” (J. Damminger, personal communication, April 2, 2013). Smith indicated that NACADA needs to be more active in that process:

The organization needs to step into the conversation about higher education in a more intentional way…reaching into the political and public debate on the value of higher education, and specifically, what advising contributes to a high-quality education in terms of both access and student success. We play a huge role in that equation, and yet I don’t believe we have the credibility from the public and from within institutions that see the value of high-quality academic advising (J. Smith, personal communication, March 26, 2013).

Without NACADA, it is hard to imagine what the field of advising would look like today. Indeed, the association and the profession/field/discipline are so inextricably linked, they are nearly synonymous. Beatty (1991) recalled former NACADA president Wes Habley’s anecdote: “Advisors spell relief: N-A-C-A-D-A (p. 74). But according to the key players in this analysis, to continue to shape the field we must 1) place ourselves in the center of the retention discussion, 2) build a cohesive body of scholarship, and 3) forge ahead with the creation of graduate programs that include the dedicated scholarship of advising.

Craig M. McGill
Academic Advisor, Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences
Florida International University
cmmcgill@fiu.edu 

References

Beatty, J. D. (1991). The National Academic Advising Association: A brief history. NACADA Journal 11(1): 5-25.

 

Borgard, J.H. (1981) Toward a pragmatic philosophy of academic advising. NACADA Journal, 1 (1), 1-6.  

Gordon,V. (1998). New horizons: Learning from the past and preparing for the future. NACADA Journal 18(2): 5-12.

Gordon, V., & Grites, T.  (1998). NACADA Journal: fulfilling its purpose? NACADA Journal, 18(1), 6-14.

National Academic Advising Association. (2004). Lighting Student Pathways for 25 years. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.

Self, C. (2009, September). From the president: NACADA, the global community for academic advising. Academic Advising Today, 32(2). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Academic-Advising-Today/View-Articles/From-the-President-NACADA--The-Global-Community-for-Academic-Advising.aspx

Shaffer, L.  S., Zalewski, J.  M., & Leveille, J.  (2010). The professionalization of academic advising: Where are we in 2010? NACADA Journal30(1), 66-77.

Thurmond, K. C. & Miller, M. A. (2006).  The history of National Academic Advising Association: An update. Retrieved March 24, 2013 from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/History-of-NACADA.aspx   

Cite this article using APA style as: McGill, C.M. (2013, September). Conversations with NACADA leaders: Perspectives on the development and status of the association and the field. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Advising as Teaching for Advisors

Theresa Hitchcock, Administrators’ Institute Scholarship Recipient

TheresaHitchcock.jpgAs an active NACADA member, I subscribe to the concept of Advising as Teaching. I attend sessions at the Annual Conference on how to teach students through the advising process.  I read articles and attend webinars on effective Advising as Teaching strategies.  I present sessions at local and regional professional development events focused on my role as an educator.  I seek out opportunities to implement Advising as Teaching best practices in my Advising Center on a daily basis.  In all of these sessions, articles, and professional development opportunities, the focus is on the advisor’s role as a teacher to the student.  However, my recent experience at the NACADA Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute showed me that advising is not just teaching students, but it is also about teaching and learning from fellow advisors.

At the Administrators’ Institute (AI), I saw Advising as Teaching from the student’s perspective.  I want to share a little of my learning with the NACADA membership as a reminder that advisors are not just student educators but advisor educators as well.  I will focus on three types of teaching methods I experienced at the Institute and how these methods facilitated my learning.  The three are: lectures, group discussions, and individual meetings.  I will explore what I learned about each method and how I will use that method in my advising practices. 

Lectures can be very formal and impersonal, but not at the NACADA AI.  The faculty at the Institute presented advising topics that were both timely and pertinent to our work as advising administrators.  Each of the faculty members had a unique style of presenting that was successful in engaging over 100 people at a time.   Some of the faculty used humor to get us involved, while other faculty members provided thoughtful questions that required us to put the theory into context.  The faculty engaged the group in discussion by asking individuals questions, and utilizing role play and small group discussion.  Not only were they teaching advising topics, but they were also modeling Advising as Teaching.  I learned through these sessions that I do not have to be afraid of large lecture halls or group advising sessions.  I can integrate fun, interactive activities into this format to serve a large group of students or professionals.  I am often hesitant to use lectures in my advising work because I worry about losing the personal interaction with students.   The AI lectures gave me confidence to integrate lectures back into my advising portfolio.  The faculty taught me to trust my Advising as Teaching skills in the lecture format by incorporating interactive activities into these large group sessions.

Group discussion is one of my favorite ways to learn, and the NACADA AI was no exception.  The sessions were in-depth.  We met twice a day with our 15-member working group.   The sessions were informal and intense; we listened to the group members’ concerns, offered suggestions, and dissected possible ways to take action. The interactions with my peers were frequent and thoughtful.  I enjoyed the opportunity to work in the small group for three days exploring our interests, issues, and ideas.  Mark Taylor from the University of Kentucky facilitated our small group seminar, and he guided us through the action plan process.  These small, intimate sessions provided me an opportunity to get and give peer feedback.  The professional conversations were not limited to the formal group sessions; they spilled over into meals, sightseeing tours, and hotel lobby conversations.  The relationships I built during those group sessions were not limited to the Institute, either.  Since I returned to campus, I have continued many of those relationships through phone, email, and in-person conversations. 

HitchcockSmGrpAI2013.jpg 

In addition to the immediate knowledge I gaiined through the group work, I also learned to better facilitate group work in advising.  One of the important aspects of effective group work is to bring together individuals with similar interests.  This strategic group formation allowed all of us to give and get feedback from people with similar backgrounds.  They understood our circumstances and knew what the limitations where.  In using group work in advising, it is very important to create groups that all of the participants find valuable and informative.  I also learned the art of the facilitator from Mark Taylor.  Mark provided the group with structure each session, but then let the group loose to develop within that structure.  As a group facilitator for advising, I want to provide the structure for the sessions, but also allow time for the participants to interact and discuss the topics with their peers.  Finally, I want to incorporate the peer interaction from the AI group sessions into advising.     

Individual meetings with the AI faculty were a rewarding aspect of the Institute, but also one that made me nervous. I always tell my students to visit their faculty during their office hours, but I know that many of them never talk with their faculty outside of class.  I tell my students how important that individual meeting is to their success in the course, but I never realized how far removed I was from the role of the student until the AI.  As I waited for my turn to meet with Jennifer Joslin (Past NACADA President!), I struggled to understand why someone so talented and successful as Jennifer would want to meet with me.  I wondered if my topic was too simple, or if I knew enough about advising to carry on a good conversation.  I worried that I would sound too needy or sound like an impostor to the advising profession.   I quickly realized in our session that she wanted to help me achieve my goals for the AI.  I also realized that she is a person, and she wanted to talk to me.  She provided me with solid suggestions and feedback based on my needs, and I don’t think I made a fool of myself in the session.  As I left my individual session with Jennifer, I realized that students may find going to see their advisor as intimidating.  It is a new experience, and even though I want to help students achieve their academic goals, the student may not know that until the meeting occurs.  As a result, I am looking into ways to make the individual appointments less intimidating for students. 

As these three teaching methods illustrate, Advising as Teaching is not just limited to our students.  As an advising professional, I am learning from NACADA and its members every day.  The NACADA Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute gave me a formal setting to learn new concepts and theories in advising administration.  I also learned that many of the teaching methods used at the Institute could inform my practices in advising.  Finally, I learned that when we have good teachers, we want to follow their examples.  I look forward to the opportunity to participate as a faculty member at the NACADA Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute in future years and give back to an organization and group of people who have given so much to me professionally and personally.   

Theresa Hitchcock
Director of Advising and Resource Center
Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education
University of Southern Indiana
tlhitchcoc@usi.edu

Cite this article using APA style as: Hitchcock, T. (2013, September). Advising as teaching for advisors. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here]


Assessment of Academic Advising Institute Rocks

Kay Adkins, Assessment Institute Scholarship Recipient

KayAdkins.jpgIn the 2011 spring semester, I began a new vocational journey as an advising specialist for the Student Success Center at Ozarka College in north-central Arkansas.  As a “higher ed. rookie,” I knew I needed some help gaining knowledge and skills to work more effectively with my advisees and help them reach their goals.  I soon discovered NACADA as an indispensable resource.  I also enrolled in the online Master’s in Academic Advising program at Kansas State University. 

My first exposure to advising assessment was through the Kansas State University course, Administration of Academic Advising, taught by Rich Robbins. The course introduced students to the assessment cycle.  Each part of the cycle was an “aha!” moment for me—a process I wanted to share with my advising colleagues at Ozarka.

When I began to explore possibilities for my 2012-2013 professional development experience, my attention went quickly to NACADA’s Assessment Institute. Developing measurable advising outcomes and a variety of methods to test my effectiveness in achieving them is a process had I found in my K-State course to be very tricky, and one that takes much time and focus to hone. So I knew that my own learning could be re-enforced by attending the Institute. 

When I was privileged to be awarded one of the NACADA Assessment Institute scholarships, the tuition savings opened the door for both me and my supervisor, Mickey Freeze, to commit to this conference. Participating in the Assessment Institute as a team greatly enhanced the experience and created greater synergy for improving our advising services as a department.  We learned from many of today’s most respected advising and assessment mentors; we spent workshop time developing a mission and goals for our own department; and we received valuable feedback from the experts and from other attendees.

In the welcome session, institute faculty member Karen Boston (University of Arkansas, Fayetteville) set the stage with her humorously profoun’ opening PowerPoint slide containing only the word “ASSESSMENT” placed on a background of rocks.  Her “Assessment Rocks” message eventually dawned on each of us (it took a minute or two), and the ice was broken for a rigorous but fun three days of learning about why “Assessment Rocks.”

NACADA’s Executive Director Charlie Nutt delivered the first plenary session: “The Assessment Process in Academic Advising.” He explained some misconceptions about assessment—what assessment is not, and what it is: a cycle of setting desired outcomes, mapping a process to achieve them, gathering evidence to determine effectiveness, interpreting data, making improvements, and starting the process over again.  

Charlie said, “Advising is not about service. It is about teaching and learning, and we need to use that language.  We are part of the educational process.”  That concept, for me, established the starting point to begin to map out my advising tasks in such a way that they will better facilitate my advisees’ growth and development.  I realized that if providing “services” is my only goal, my work with students becomes very prescriptive and does little for the student other than shuffle them through the system.  But if teaching and learning is my goal, my students will be more likely to develop autonomy and become aware of and committed to their own growth and achievement.

For the group discussion workshops, Mickey and I selected Charlie’s Foundational Level group, to explore and begin to develop an advising vision, mission, goals, objectives, and desired outcomes for our department. Those farther along in the assessment design process could attend either the Conceptual Level group or the Operational Level group. For me, time with a co-worker spent brainstorming, identifying, and articulating some agreed-upon goals was a rare and productive opportunity.  With our office environments separated by more than 25 miles and lots of work to tend to, it takes a “retreat” to dedicate ourselves to the task of program planning and development.

The Assessment Institute faculty truly modeled a culture of assessment for the attendees.   Charlie closed discussion group meetings by having each group present what they had developed. We received valuable feedback and encouragement from Charlie and constructive comments from the other groups.  Through that assessment activity, Charlie could evaluate each group’s level of understanding, and we could assess ourselves by comparing our own ideas with the ideas of other groups, making adjustments to our assessment plan accordingly.  Also, we regularly assessed the Assessment Institute itself!  At the end of each plenary session attendees completed a survey about the session. We knew the forms were reviewed immediately because concepts noted as unclear in one session were clarified quickly in the next plenary session.  The data gathered was immediately utilized to adjust and improve the Institute.

The opportunity to advise college students in an economically challenged region has been very gratifying for me.  Without the presence of Ozarka College, comprising four campuses in four different north Arkansas counties, many residents would likely never attempt post-secondary education. Ozarka’s mission, “providing life-changing experiences through education,” rings very true. But with a high percentage of at-risk students, I need to be the best advisor I can be.

The NACADA 2013 Assessment Institute equipped me with tools to develop an advising curriculum that I can test and continually improve for a more significant impact on my students. (And personally meeting two of my K-State instructors, Charlie Nutt and Rich Robbins, who were serving on the Institute faculty, was icing on the cake!)  I am very grateful to NACADA for that experience.

Kay Adkins
Advising Specialist, Student Success Center
Ozarka College
kadkins@ozarka.edu

 

Cite this article using APA style as: Adkins, K. (2013, September). Assessment of academic advising institute rocks. Academic Advising Today, 36(3). Retrieved from [insert url here] 


2013-15 NACADA Emerging Leaders Class Announced

ELPlogo.jpgThe 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 annual conferences.

Diversity, as defined by the NACADA Board of Directors, includes ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disabilities, and sexual orientation as well as diversity in regard to institutional type, size, and employment position. Involvement in the association also is viewed broadly, including leadership at many levels (within the division units, at the division level, at the Council level, at the Board of Directors level, and with the various work groups, ad hoc committees, advisory boards, and task forces; serving in the consultants and speakers service; writing for the NACADA JournalAcademic Advising Today, and the Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources; or presenting at state, allied member, regional, and national conferences.

Each year, 10 Emerging Leaders and 10 Mentors are selected for the two-year program in which the Leaders and Mentors work closely to connect the Leaders to the areas of the association they are interested in and develop a plan for continued involvement and growth in the association. Leaders selected receive a $1,500 stipend to assist them with travel to NACADA conferences, institutes, and seminars.

With the program now entering its seventh year, many members of the Emerging Leaders classes have served in elected and appointed positions as chairs of NACADA regions, commissions, interest groups, committees, advisory boards, and task forces.  One Emerging Leader initiated the Interest Group for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  A number of Emerging Leaders have presented (some with their Mentors) at regional, annual, and international conferences, and several have served on region, C/IG or conference steering committees. Emerging Leaders have served as chairs or co-chairs of regional conferences, and one chaired our 2010 Annual Conference in Orlando.  Emerging Leaders have written for Academic Advising Today and NACADA books, taken part in Webinar broadcast presentations, and been awarded NACADA Research Grants. Four Emerging Leaders have moved on to become Mentors in the program.  Emerging Leaders also report that they have become more involved at their home institutions.  One said, “We’ve taken what we’ve learned through the program back to our home school. This program has not only made an impact on NACADA, but also on the institutions where the NACADA ELP participants work.”  To learn more about the contributions of our ELP Classes, visit the Accomplishments webpage.

2011-13Class.jpg 

The 2011-2013 Emerging Leaders and Mentors (pictured above), who began work at the 2011 Annual Conference in Denver, 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 Salt Lake City, where they will be recognized at the Awards Ceremony.

Emerging Leaders Program Advisory Board Chair Carol Pollard (University of North Texas) is pleased to announce the 2013-2015 NACADA Emerging Leaders and Mentors

Emerging Leaders

Amanda Hodges (College of The Albemarle)
Ashley Racine (Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing) 
Autumn Parker
(University of Arkansas)
Brooke Whiting (Washington State University)   
Brian Koslowski
(Brandeis University) 
Craig McGill
(Florida International University) 
Dina Bartoloni
(Chapman University)
Henrietta Genfi (Bentley University) 
Michelle Ware
(University of Notre Dame) 
Rachel Kirk
(Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi) 

Mentors

Anita Carter (Wayne State University)
Barbara Mohrle (Southern Methodist University)
Heather Doyle (Dalhousie University)
Jennifer Hodges (University of North Texas)
Jennifer Joslin (University of Oregon)
Kathy Stockwell (retired, Fox Valley Technical College)
Les Riding-In (University of Texas-Arlington)
Patricia Griffin (Fort Hays State University)
Patty Pedersen (Carbon County Higher Education Center)
Vince Kloskowski (St. Joseph’s College of Maine) 

New Emerging Leaders and Mentors will meet at the Annual Conference in Salt Lake City 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 website for more information.

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