Susan Campbell, NACADA President
As I begin writing this article, I am watching the wind whip through the pine trees during the third Nor’easter of April 2007. I am reminded of how unpredictable life’s events really are and of how, at any given moment, we can find ourselves in places and in situations that we never thought possible or probable. As a result, we should take advantage of the opportunities before us at the moment they present themselves. One such opportunity is adoption of the NACADA Concept Statement on Academic Advising and the growing recognition that academic advising is a significant contributor to student success. In pondering this, I realize that there is a somewhat symbiotic relationship between the Concept Statement and student success. Let me explain.
We have all read the literature on academic advising and the importance of looking at academic advising as a holistic and developmental process. Toward that end, many of us have experienced the challenges of transforming academic advising on our own campuses from a point-of-service transaction coincidental with course registration to an educational process grounded in teaching and learning. For many of us, this has been a slow march—as all cultural change is. What has emerged while we have been marching is a fairly substantial body of writing that suggests that others are in agreement with us; that, indeed, academic advising, when approached holistically and developmentally, really does support student success! At this moment, we are in a good place. We must now take advantage of this moment by embracing and acting upon what is reflected in the NACADA Concept Statement on Academic Advising. As that document summarizes,
Academic advising, based in the teaching and learning mission of higher education, is a series of intentional interactions with a curriculum, a pedagogy, and a set of student learning outcomes. Academic advising synthesizes and contextualizes students’ educational experiences within the frameworks of their aspirations, abilities and lives to extend learning beyond campus boundaries and timeframes.
While reinforcing our expressed beliefs that the potential for academic advising rests in helping students make sense and meaning of their educational experiences, the Concept Statement also articulates that academic advising is ‘integral’ to an institution’s fulfilling its teaching and learning mission. As such, our challenge (and it is one that many have already taken up) is to enact what it means to be ‘integral.’ To do this, we must be clear about how academic advising contributes to student learning by identifying desired student learning outcomes and intentionally designing opportunities for students to learn that which we desire them to learn. While we may not all spend time in a classroom, we are all teachers. We teach through academic advising.
The opportunity to strengthen the position of academic advising on our own campuses is upon us. There is clear recognition that academic advising positively contributes to student persistence and success. The Concept Statement on Academic Advising provides a framework to guide us in our task.
Now, more than ever, we must draw upon each other and the resources of our Association to support our work. The myriad NACADA publications and events available to us makes the expertise of our colleagues (e.g., monographs, Webinars, Institutes, Consultants’ Bureau) and resources of our Association (a strong, credible community with remarkable executive office support) readily available to our quest. Collectively and collaboratively we can continue our march toward full realization of the potential of academic advising in higher education. I encourage us all to take advantage of this moment!
Susan Campbell, President
National Academic Advising Association
Cite this article using APA style as: Campbell, S. (2007, June). From the president: Take advantage of the moment!. Academic Advising Today, 30(2). Retrieved from [insert url here]