of Academic Advising
Academic advising encompasses an increasing
level of presence and involvement in the development of college
students and the educational paths they choose. Although academic
advising has been a defined region within education only a few
short decades, it has been a prevalent concern since the birth
of the college institutions of America. A basic knowledge of
the history and evolution of academic advising is imperative
to providing the best practices possible.
concept of advising students has been present in some shape or
form since the inception of higher education in America. In the
late eighteenth century, America gave birth to its first colleges:
Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, New Jersey, King's, Philadelphia,
Rhode Island Queen's and Dartmouth (Rudolph, 1990). These institutions
were created from the English template of Cambridge and Oxford
and aimed to educate young men in becoming gentlemen. The collegiate
faculty, even if only consisting of the school's president, were
clergymen and were concerned with the overall development of the
student both morally and intellectually (Gallagher & Demos,
1983). The vocational development of the student followed naturally
from this because most students were being trained to be clergymen
themselves. During this time students and faculty often shared
residence, providing the faculty a close disciplinary relationship
with the students both in and out of the classroom (Brubacher
& Rudy, 1997). Referred to as the collegiate way, instructors
had great effect over the strict guidance and control of the students.
America neared the American Revolutionary War, the distance between
the English and American college models grew wider. American faculty
began to become less involved with student discipline due to the
growing needs of the school as a whole. The paternalism that had
once been the norm in classes and dormitories was disappearing.
Collegiate faculty began treating students as free thinking gentlemen
who were responsible for their own developmental choices.
proliferation of colleges throughout the nineteenth century provided
a time for academic guidance to secure its place in education
and advising groups began to emerge (Gordon, 1992). Faculty within
specialized curricula took charge of guiding students to the classes
they needed. Frank Parsons contributed to the movement for vocational
guidance by stressing three imperatives for personal development:
'First a clear understanding of yourself, aptitudes, abilities,
interests, resources, limitations, and other qualities' (p. 11),
second, a knowledge of the requirements and conditions of different
professions, and thirdly, the opportunities and advantages of
each field. (Zunker, 2002) It was the third imperative, comparison
of the first two needs or a comparison of the self and the vocational
interest, that lead to the idea of counseling and advising in
the collegiate environment.
and advising interests were inadvertently strengthened as a result
of World War I (Gallagher & Demos, 1983) when industrial psychology
practices placed recruits into specific occupations in the U.S.
Army based on their skills and intelligence. Seeing the utility
of the methods employed by the army, universities adopted the
study of psychometrics in personnel placement and established
vocational guidance centers that utilized occupational aptitude
assessments as a tool for advising students in their academic
Progressive Education Movement of the 1920s focused on the self-direction
of the student, placing emphasis on the role of educators as 'mentors'
who were integral in the development of the student. In 1937,
the American Council on Education published the Student Personnel
Point of View, which spotlighted individual interests and differences
and the idea of holistic learning (Strange, 1994). Editor's note:
Gordon cites Diane Strommer in Portals of Entry: University
Colleges (Published by First Year Experience, Univ. of South
Carolina, 1993, Monograph #12) stating that the first university
colleges were established in the 1930's. According to Strommer,
100% of this innaugural group included advising and 49% were 'advising
and after World War II a similar growth of interest was seen in
the use of measurement to classify one's interests and aptitudes
(Zunker, 2002). The influx of 'baby boomers' on college
campuses in the 1960s and 1970s brought an increased demand for
student advising and counseling. Student developmental issues
exploded onto the academic forefront (Gordon,1992).While the issues of social justice, access, usefulness,
and accountability became the focal point of a variety of student
services, it was especially true of academic advising (Komives,
S. R., Woodard Jr., D. B, and Associates, 1996).
the services directed toward student development are an amalgamation
of their historical components. Measurement and development
are still practiced, but under the microscope of accountability,
validity and efficiency. An appreciation of the past is an important
key to moving academic advising through the next millennium.
of advising throughout history has offered practitioners valuable
insight to theories and issues that continue to be of relevant
concern to the world of academe. Professionals must grasp this
theoretical data in order to develop and continue the research
necessary to generate new and more effective ways of understanding
and assisting future generations of learners.
p.36 as cited in Komives, Woodard, and Associates, 1996) suggests
that theory should help us 'grasp, understand, and explain-to
produce a more adequate knowledge of-the world and its processes;
and thereby to inform our practice that we may transform it' (p.
151). For a more comprehensive view of the relationship between
academic advising and theory, readers are encouraged to visit
the Clearinghouse's Theories and Philosophies
Graduate Student, Counseling and Educational Psychology
Kansas State University
J. S. & Rudy, W. (1997). Higher Education in Transition:
A History of American Colleges and Universities (4th ed.).
New Brunswick, N.J. : Transaction.
P. J. & Demos, G. D. (Eds.). (1983). Handbook of Counseling
in Higher Education. New York : Praeger.
V. N. (1992). Handbook of Academic Advising. Westport
, CT : Greenwood Press.
N., Habley, W. R. & Associates. (2000). Academic advising.
A comprehensive handbook. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
S. R., Woodard, Jr., D. B., & Associates. (1996). Student
Services: A Handbook for the Profession (3rd ed.) . San
F. (1990). The American College and University: A History.
Athens, GA : University of Georgia Press.
(1994). Student Development: The Evolution and Status of an Essential
Idea. Journal of College Student Development, 35, 399-412.
Strommer, D.W. (1993). Portals
of Entry: University Colleges and Undergraduate Divisions.
National Resource Center: Columbia, S.C. as quote by Gordon, V.N.
in personal correspondence.
V. G. (2001). Career counseling: Applied concepts of life
planning. (6th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA : Brooks/Cole.
Chronology of Academic Advising in America (2001). The Mentor. Retrieved 12/10/04.
the above resource using APA style as:
Gillispie, B. (2003). History of academic advising. Retrieved
from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic
Advising Resources Web site: [insert url here]