Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, NACADA President
It seems that everywhere I turn these days, there is news of another state or system that is experiencing budget cuts. And unfortunately, in many of these cases, our students are the ones who are most adversely affected when the dollars disappear.
We are very aware that you may be on a campus that is in this difficult situation.....so this is how we are trying to support you so that you can continue the good work you do on behalf of the students you serve.
The Commission on Advising Administration has compiled a list of effective budget strategies that others have found useful on their campus. Visit the Clearinghouse on Academic Advising to see a list of tips compiled by the Advising Administrators Commission.
From my own perspective, I have found another approach to dealing with a budget reduction. In the course of 28+ years in higher education, I have heard several times “your budget has been reduced” and more often “your budget will remain the same” for the next year. When I get over my frustration and all of my persuasive abilities have not resulted in any change to the bottom line, I then move into high gear with these questions: What does our mission mandate that we do? How can we do it differently and perhaps more effectively? What are we doing that we do not need to do? Why are we doing _______? What would happen if we stopped doing this or doing this a particular way? What other offices can we work with to share a responsibility? How can technology assist with ________? What additional responsibilities can student workers, interns, and graduate assistants be given to enhance their experience in our office and to assist our full-time advisors? What are other funding sources that support our mission? There are many other possible questions...but you get the idea.
Taking this pro-active approach has allowed me to feel some sense of control over the situation. If I can’t change the facts, at least I can control how I respond to the budget reduction. Many positive changes in our operation have occurred as a result of asking these tough questions.
For those of you who are lucky enough not to be dealing with budget reductions, you may find it worthwhile to begin asking the questions listed above anyway. My guess is that you will find something that could be done differently or not at all. As a result you may be able to redirect those resources to a new program or service that more effectively serves your students.
However, regardless of your current budget situation, we recognize we need to do a better job of conducting research that demonstrates the economic impact of quality academic advising. Issues of accountability and limited resources are not going away. For those of you who have developed an effective economic model, please consider sharing your expertise. Developing a proposal for either a regional or national conference, submitting an article to our journal, or writing an article for the newsletter are things that would help us all.
Thanks in advance for your willingness to share information. As has been said before, “Information is power” and with this type of information we have the potential to make an even greater difference in the lives of the students we serve.
Have a great Spring....
Cite this article using APA style as: McCalla-Wriggins, B. (2003, February). From the president. Academic Advising Today, 26(1). Retrieved from [insert url here]