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Reporting through Academic vs. Student Affairs
Authored by: Nancy King

An updated version of this article has been written by the author in response to the 2011 NACADA National Survey. Find it here.

According to ACT's Fifth National Survey on Academic Advising (1997), across all institutions, academic affairs (chief and assistant) reporting lines outnumber student affairs (chief and assistant) by more than two to one (42% to 18%). However, nearly 40% of two-year public college advising coordinators report to the chief student affairs officer or the assistant vice president for student affairs (p.9). This is a trend that seems to have remained constant. In ACT's fourth national Survey on Academic Advising (1993), student affairs was the reporting line for advising coordinators in less than one of five institutions, and the majority of those institutions were two-year colleges (p.20).

On many campuses, however, there are divisions between the reporting lines of advising programs for undeclared or exploratory students and students who have declared a major. Academic department faculty members advise the majority of students declaring a major, with advising oversight being provided by an individual within the Academic Affairs Division. Professional or full-time advisors are used most often in advising centers for undeclared and freshmen students. According to the Fifth National Survey the two populations most likely to be served by advising office staff across all institutions are undeclared students (65%) and underprepared/at-risk students (63%) (p.37).

A conclusion of the Fifth National Survey suggests a growing trend toward shared responsibility for academic advising. 'Data from the 1997 survey suggest there is a movement toward the organization of advising services in which responsibility is shared between faculty advisors and staff advisors and counselors' (p.62). This would indicate that both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs have a stake in advising programs since counselors and staff advisors frequently report within Student Affairs divisions. Perhaps as the editors of the ACT Survey suggest, there may be an 'acceptance of a broader understanding that campus approaches to advising must be systematic and collaborative' (p.62).

This trend toward seeing advising as a shared responsibility mirrors a movement toward greater collaboration between Academic and Student Affairs. Student success is a campus-wide initiative involving both academic affairs and student affairs personnel, all of whom are responsible for creating a campus climate conducive to student success. Certainly effective advising programs contribute to the creation of such a climate. Student Affairs personnel offer a great deal in terms of knowledge of student development theory, an understanding of student backgrounds, and the establishment of a sense of community on campus. There is also an increasing emphasis on student learning among student affairs professionals and a strong desire to partner with academic affairs. Publications like Student Learning Imperative (American College Personnel Association [ACPA], 1993) and Reasonable Expectations (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators [NASPA], 1995) have played a pivotal role in the emerging 'partnership movement' that is characterized by an increased collaboration and connections between student affairs and academic affairs. This partnership model appears to be extremely beneficial for academic advising programs. The 'silo approach' that still exists on many campuses, with its clear division between academic affairs and student affairs, is clearly not in the best interest of a campus culture that facilitates student success.

Authored by Nancy King 
Kennesaw State University
'98-99 NACADA President

Annotated Bibliography and AACSU 2005 study on reporting of advising

Barr, M. J. & Desler, M. K. (2000)The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration (2nd ed.).San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Beede, M. and Burnett, D. (eds.) (1999)Planning for Student Services: Best Practices for the 21st Century.Ann Arbor, MI: Society for College and University Planning.

Burnett, D. J. and Oblinger, D. G. (2002)Innovation in Student Services: Planning for Models Blending High Touch/High Tech.Ann Arbor, MI: Society for College & University Planning.

Frost, S. H. (1991)Academic Advising for Student Success: A System of Shared Responsibility.ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, no. 3. Washington, D.C.: School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University.

Glennon, R. E. and Vowell, F. N. (eds.) (1995)Academic Advising as a Comprehensive Campus Process.National Academic Advising Association Monograph Series, no. 2. Manhattan, KS: NACADA.

Habley, W. R. (1993)Fulfilling the Promise? ACT National Survey of Academic Advising.Iowa City, IA: American College Testing Center.

Habley, W. R. and Morales, R. H. (eds.) (1998)Current Practices in Academic Advising: Final Report on ACT's Fifth National Survey of Academic Advising.National Academic Advising Association Monograph Series, no. 6. Manhattan, KS: NACADA.

King, M. C. and Kerr, T. J. (1995) Organizing and Delivering Academic Advising for First Year Students. In M. L. Upcraft and G. l. Kramer (eds.)First-Year Academic Advising: Patterns in the Present, Pathways to the Future.Monograph Series, no. 18. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the Freshman Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina.

Pardee, C. F. (2000) Organizational Models for Academic Advising. In Gordon, V. N. and Habley, W. H. (eds.).Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Schuh, J. H. and Whitt, E. J. (eds.) (1999)Creating Successful Partnerships Between Academic and Student Affairs.New Directions for Student Services, no. 87. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Teitelbaum, H. (2000)"Anticipating, Implementing, and Adapting to Changes in Academic Advising.:In Gordon, V. N. and Habley, W. H. (eds.). Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tukey, D. D. (1996)"Academic Advising as a Multisystem, Collaborative Enterprise.:NACADA Journal, 16(1), 6-13.


Cite this using APA style as:

King, N. S. (2002). Reporting through academic vs. student affair. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources 


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