Training & Development Resources
Advisor Training and Development
Authored By: Heidi
training is the foundation of any advising program. In Academic
Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (2000), Margaret C. King,
former NACADA president, recommends that advisor training should
address three areas:
- Conceptual: What concepts like developmental advising do advisors
need to know?
- Informational: What do advisors need to know about in-house
programs and policies.
- Relational: What skills do advisors need to relate effectively
with their advisees? (p. 293)
even rudimentary advisor training is absent from many institutions.
In ACT's Fifth National Survey of Academic Advising (1984),
Wesley Habley and Ricardo Morales reported that 'many institutions
are providing a only minimum of training to those involved in advising.'
(p. 4). Sufficient advisor training is not supplied for three simple
reasons: time, money, and lack of training for the trainers.
This overview will address ways to improve on-campus training despite
these major stumbling blocks.
most common form of advisor training is the single workshop that takes place during one day or part of a day. Many
institutions and advisors balk at spending more than a minimal
amount of time in advisor training activities. As a result, a trainer
needs to make every minute count. The trainer should consider carefully
what material really must be presented in face-to-face workshops
and what could be presented in other formats such as a print or
electronic training manual, or a print or electronic advising newsletter.
Often informational material can be provided to advisors using print
or electronic media, thus leaving the workshop format for conceptual
and relational training. This has the advantage of creating a more
interactive workshop since conceptual and relational training lends
itself to discussion, role play or case studies. Generally, implementing
interactive advisor training is not only more effective than implementing
a passive, lecture-base approach, it is enjoyed more by the participants.
And after an enjoyable training experience, participants will be
eager to attend subsequent training events and to recommend them
to others. If the trainer decides to present much of the informational
material via print or electronic resources, participants should
clearly understand that they are responsible for knowing that information.
Providing a self-test to participants can be a reminder of the information
that should be mastered.
Although ongoing training is extremely effective,
time constraints can hinder advisors' regular attendance. Think
outside the box when planning ongoing training opportunities. Effective
interventions that supply continuing training include implementing
an advisor-mentor system that pairs a more experienced advisor with
a less experienced one, establishing an advisor list-serve or electronic
newsletter. Holding a monthly brown-bag lunch or a monthly afternoon
coffee break for discussion of advising issues can be an effective
way to continue advisor training throughout the semester.
If lack of sufficient training funds is a stumbling block, then
consider holding a training event co-sponsored by two campus groups.
For instance, workshops on effective listening could be co-sponsored
by academic advising and student development professionals for their
joint staffs. If there is more than one college or university
in the area, the academic advising offices from these institutions
can co-sponsor training events. Also consider taking advantage
of on-campus experts. A faculty member from the Communication Studies
Department can facilitate a workshop on building advisor-advisee
relationships. The coordinator for disabilities services can plan
a program on advising disabled students, and minority affairs could
co-sponsor a workshop training on cross-cultural communication issues.
Is your faculty required to provide service to the university or
the community in order to receive merit or to progress toward tenure
at the institution? If so, faculty can present advising workshops
that could help both presenter and advisors.
NACADA can provide faculty with opportunities for presenting and
learning at the same time. Some faculty advisors may be able to
use faculty development money to present at national or regional
NACADA conferences, especially if the presentation is connected
to their academic area. For instance, faculty members in psychology
or sociology could present a session on resilience and at-risk students
for a NACADA conference combining their knowledge of the academic
discipline and their experience as advisors. Faculty who attend
NACADA conferences generally report that they find the experience
richly rewarding professionally and that they come away with greater
knowledge of and appreciation for advising. Advisor trainers can
benefit from NACADA resources as well. The advisor training video
and the monograph, Advisor Training: Exemplary Practices in
the Development of Advisor Skills (2003) can provide invaluable
training resources. Participation with the NACADA Advisor Training
and Development Commission and its list-serve can help trainers
connect across the association.
Last, but not least, use assessment to plan and to improve training
events. Sending advisees a needs assessment before you plan the
training event, will help the trainer focus on the areas where training
is needed most. Assessing participants' satisfaction and the training
event's effectiveness will help you improve your next event. Use
several assessment modalities that will supply quantitative and
qualitative results. A trainer is new to assessment can find helpful
resources at the NACADA Clearinghouse and the NACADA Advising Assessment
Commission web sites.
Authored by: Heidi Koring
W., & Morales, R. (1998). Current practices in academic
advising: Final report on ACT's Fifth National Survey of Academic
Advising. (National Academic Advising Association, Monograph
No. 6). Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.
M. (2000). Designing effective training for academic advisors. In
Gordon, V.N. & Habley, W.R., & Associates (Eds.), Academic
Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (pp.289-97). San Francisco:
based advisor training materials:
the above resource using APA style as:
H. (2005). Advisor Training and Development. Retrieved -insert today's
date- from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Advisor-Training--Development.aspx
Asked Questions summary from ACADV list for academic advisors:
inquiry: 'I am in the process of putting together a
short, but information-packed, 30 minute advisor training
session for the faculty of our individual academic departments.
If anyone has put together a similar session and would be
willing to share their format, outline and/or handouts,
I would be very appreciative. Thanks so much.'
Each year I am responsible for preparing one or two days
of advising information for our faculty advisors (I am Lead
Advisor/Counselor at a community college). Last year I developed
a very simple but effective way to get a lot of information
out in a short length of time. Each faculty member
was given a name badge, which was printed on one of four
colors. The faculty were instructed to get into their teams
indicated by the color of their badges. The teams
were purposely developed to be a diverse cross-section of
faculty members. A question was presented on a PowerPoint
overhead and an expert was present from the area the question
addressed to judge the correctness of the answers.
The first team to have a representative (which had to be
a different person each time) stand up to answer the question
got the first opportunity to respond to the question. Each
question was worth $100.00 and 'funny money' was
paid to the team answering the question correctly.
Also bonuses money was given to any team able to provide
valuable additional information to the initially correct
first answer (again judged and amount awarded by the 'resident
expert in the area'). To wrap up each question
a PowerPoint response (information provided by 'expert')
was quickly reviewed. The winning team was treated
to a pizza party.
'experts' were from many different areas (i.e.,
Financial Aid, Disabled Student Services, Registration/Records,
etc.) and were notified ahead of time so they could plan
to attend and help with appropriate questions. The
'experts' appreciated the opportunity to have
input into what information was disseminated and being able
to offer some additional input where they felt it may be
needed or faculty had questions.
activity moved fast, got lots of information disseminated
in a short time, and will be back by popular demand again
this year. This year I plan to modify this activity
by coordinating the questions to specific topics covered
in a the faculty handbook; instead of using the term 'Faculty
Handbook,' it will be titled, 'Faculty Answer
Book.' Hopefully, this will make the material
more pertinent to the faculty advisors' needs, easier to
locate information, acquaint faculty with contents of handbook,
and more often used............(I can hope, can't I :-).
I have worked our training to about 45 minutes, and don't
think I would want to make it much shorter than that.
But I'll share with you my outline for a short training.
I like to do an overview of the process for new people (and
to remind some of the less active advisors!). Then
I review the goals of the advising session so that they
can keep in mind what they are to accomplish.
The comments about advising are more general, to have them
consider their motivations for this effort. Then,
I will take them through a typical advising session, using
our advising forms. I use a checklist that I have
attached. If nobody asks too many questions, I can
usually do this in about 45 minutes.
Naugatuck Valley Community College
of Western State College (CO) Advising Program
do not let returning students register until they have seen
an advisor. The meeting with the advisor is the responsibility
of the student. We do invite them initially, and they
will get reminders, but they need to take care of it. The
registrar uses the sticker on the ID card to verify that
the student has seen an advisor. The advice may cover several
semesters, and we have stickers that are dated accordingly.
Students do not have to come to the advisor every semester!
Advisors make notes on an Advising Sheet, student gets notes,
copies to Counseling Center and for advisor to keep. Advisors
take responsibility for making sure student has proper courses
to graduate, and makes good decisions about electives.
OF THE ADVISING SESSION:
Help students select courses necessary to complete his/her
program. The student should have a clear idea of
what you recommend for the next semester ( in writing).
the person that the student identifies with as a contact
for assistance at the college. You are the person
they should seek out for information, and referrals.
This can make a difference in retention.
career information in your area of expertise. The
Co-op and the Counseling Center have a good Career Resource
Center and counselors to refer students to also.
the student to other areas of the college as needed.
will be students who will want to get your initials on
their sticker and seem not to care about getting advised.
However, each student is important to us, and what we
say often makes a big difference to them. They do
get wrong information from other students, they do make
assumptions, they often do not read the catalog.
More importantly, they do need a contact with a professional
at the college. Many of the students you will see
are sitting with someone for the very first time.
It can make quite an impression.
It's not difficult
that as long as we care about the student, have some basic information,
and resources for the rest of it, we can't go wrong. Keep
the catalog and student handbook nearby, and our handouts, and
of course the college telephone list. Make that phone
call as necessary, before giving wrong information.
3.Take care of your students.
Try to reach each one, find out if they are coming back, if
not, why not. Let them know that you are their advisor
for the time that they are at the college, unless they change
their major. Make a difference in their staying in college.
There are benefits for you.
Getting to know the students, listening to their hopes and
dreams, will give you a connection with the college community
that is very valuable. You will have opportunities
to hear what students think of the courses they take, and
to discuss how your courses fit in to their programs, how
the other courses impact it.
Clifton, C. & Long, C. (1992). The advising
connection: A training program for faculty advisors, Texas,
Amarillo College. (Eric Document Reproduct Service No.
Ed 348 106)
B.D. (1974) Training faculty to do career advising. Personnel
and Guidance Journal, 53, 214-217.
N.V. (1980) Training academic advisers: Content and Method.
Journal of College Student Personnel, 21, 334-339.
M.C. (1988) Advisor training. In W.R.
(ed.) The status and future of academic advising.
The American College Testing Program.
D.C. (1983) Maximizing career oriented academic
advising at the departmental level. NACADA Journal,
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Examples of training for advisors in the building of relationships in short time interaction with students?
A series of case studies and/or exercises would really help here. I would certainly suggest using the NACADA advisor training video tape. It follows a new faculty member who is learning to relate to students as she grows into her advising. Also, you might want to connect with someone in your communications department who would be willing to share expertise with relationship building.
It is not rocket science. Simple, straight forward respect for students as human beings will go a long way.
The Missouri State Master Advisor Handbook has an excellent chapter on relating to students. Contact:
Missouri State University
Q. As one who is responsible for providing advising information and training to faculty and staff advisors at my institution, can you offer me advice on enticing advisors to attend such events when they believe they have 'done advising for more than 20 years. If I don't know how to do it by now, I never will.
There is no quick fix here, but I have a few ideas:
examine the nature of your instructional technique....it is my contention that we forget everything we learned about instructional design when we plan advisor training programs. Advisors don't like the lecture method any more that students do......actively engage individuals in the training activities.
conduct a needs assessment......what is it that advisors really want to know more about?
always acknowledge individual participation with a thank you letter copied to the superior of the advisors who attend the training.
ask some of the advisors to participate in the planning and the delivery of the training seek help from your media division to develop attractive training presentations and support material.
Ask the VP to send out the invitations to the training program.
Offer more than one session for training to allow those 'who were busy' at the time of training another option to attend.
Consider which media can be utilized individually.
There are probably many other ideas which can be explored, but these are starters.
Office for the Enhancement of Educational Practices, ACT, Inc.