Book Reviews

Book by Gordon, V. N., Habley, W.R., & Grites, T. J.
Review by Christy A. Walker
Academic Advisor, Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The second edition of Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook covers a broad range of topics that include the foundations of academic advising, student needs, advising services and models, and the training of advisors. It is a vital reference for advisors at any career level.  

Beginning with a section on the foundations of academic advising, the contributors provide a brief history of academic advising. Mary Richard and Marc Lowenstein’s chapters on legal and ethical implications are especially useful as advisors often question how to walk the line between building rapport and trust with their students while following institutional and federal policies.   

As more students attend college to obtain prestigious jobs with high pay, advisors must help their advisees understand how their experiences can shape their life goals.  Academic and career advising practices are often used interchangeably to assist students in finding their own path, and the opportunity to help a student in choosing a career does not stop once the student declares a major. Paul Gore and A. J. Metz cite examples of ways advisors can help facilitate the decision-making process for students. 

For those new to advising or those who need a refresher, Rusty Fox’s chapter on advising skills can be a useful guide on the competencies needed for success in the field. Fox lists and describes the five C’s of the skilled academic advisor, which can help advisors communicate effectively with their students.  For example, advisors can make the most out of a session with students in the following way: 
As academic advisors, attempting to analyze and interpret the meaning behind each conversation is not necessary and is not within the advisor skill set. Instead, the advisor should simply point out the pattern and seek guidance from the student on possible meanings. (p. 348)  
In addition, this chapter provides useful pointers on how advisors can strengthen their counseling skills. 

The true strength of this book is that the chapters do not rely on one another, so one can pick and choose text according to individual needs and situations. One should not expect to read this book cover to cover. Ultimately, all advisors, from the new advisor to the seasoned advising administrator, can benefit from having Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook in their library of resources.


Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (2nd ed.). (2008). Book by Gordon, V. N., Habley, W.R., & Grites, T. J. (Eds.). Review by Christy A. Walker. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 568 pp., $55 (NACADA member), $65 (Nonmember). ISBN # 978-0-470-37170-1. www.nacada.ksu.edu/Publications/jbbook2ed.htm
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