Review by Gene Chintala
, Ph. D.
Dean of Advising & the FYE
Assistant Professor of History & Political Science
This monograph on advisor training and development provides a “how to” for training both faculty and staff advisors in a concise volume that is also easy to read and follow. Advisor Training provides a series of comprehensive training examples -- general, specific and online -- all based on a combination of theory and practice. Advisor Training provides the advising administrator with the answers to why advisor training is important and how goals can be accomplished within a comprehensive advising system.
What makes this monograph a success, besides its content, is its organization. The chapters are arranged in a “where to start” format that leads the reader through the importance of theory, shows best practices, and provides practical applications. If you want a publication that provides a “one-stop” source of information, Advisor Training is it.
The monograph is a time-saver for the busy advising administrator who seeks to provide advisors with a comprehensive and quality focused advising program. It presents the best information included in recent literature and provides sound arguments for the existence of an advisor training program that will convince all stakeholders of the need to have a comprehensive training and development program for advisors.
Veteran advising administrators will appreciate the information just as much as their novice colleagues. The style of the monograph is a true appreciation of varied learning styles and knowledge bases without becoming too simplistic or too complicated. The three main chapters center on three avenues of advisor training: Advisor Workshops, Ongoing Advisor Training, and Online Advisor Training. For example, at the end of the chapter on Advisor Workshops, a list of suggested topics includes those related to Conceptual, Relational and Informational categories.
With the research presented at the beginning of each chapter, the advising administrator has the background and knowledge to work toward establishing an effective training program. The chapter on Advisor Workshops reviews necessary knowledge, but more importantly explains why the material is essential. Administrators will be able to address why academic advising is important to student learning and show faculty how to use student development theory to better address student issues.
Each of the two succeeding chapters is similarly organized. Information at the end of each chapter -- applications and best practices -- makes Advisor Training an invaluable tool. Administrators can pick and choose components based on similarity of institution or what needs to be employed in the advisor training program. The only negative criticism would be that there is but one example (Wheaton College in Massachusetts) from a small or mid-size private institution with an academic mission less comprehensive than the large public universities. Still, the savvy advising administrator should be able to make the leap based on institutional needs while the novice administrator need only collaborate with the knowledgeable colleagues listed in the monograph.
Adding to the comprehensiveness of the monograph is a chapter on assessment that any administrator facing the need to provide outcomes will find very helpful. The last chapter, a review of advising by Virginia Gordon, at first seems out of place; but once read, it provides a reason to continuously renew advisor development through a comprehensive training program. It inspires the administrator to want to make a better advising program. The benefits of following the training outlined will pay off in satisfied students, effective advisors and increased retention.
Advisor Training: Exemplary Practices in the Development of Advisor Skills. (2003). Review by Gene Chintala. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Price: $40 non-member; $25 member. Order # M09