Book by Pat Folsom
Review by Denise Rinn Butler
The College of Arts and Sciences
Kent State University
At the start of their careers, academic advisors work with students as they learn the basics of the job. Yet, even advisors who participate in professional development and training can find mastering the fundamentals intimidating. In The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising Through the First Year and Beyond, Pat Folsom provides an antidote to anxiety by introducing a manageable strategy for professional growth.
While the text addresses conventional topics such as advising theory, information management, and communication skills, it challenges advisors to take an active role in their own progress by using the “New Advisor Development Chart.” Described as a comprehensive framework for knowledge and skills (p. 13), advisors are encouraged to customize the chart to suit their goals. An advisor striving to improve her knowledge of policies and procedures would consult the chart to determine a development target, then the corresponding chapter, which includes both instructive articles and “Voices from the Field” articles highlighting personal experiences. This arrangement provides variety. Mark Goodner’s article on information management (p. 51), is enhanced by Patrick C. Lynch’s story about an “epiphany moment,” when he realized he didn’t need to know “the answers to all students’ questions” (p. 68). Each chapter concludes with a feature entitled, “Aiming for Excellence: Suggested Advisor Development Activities;” these exercises and strategies help focus readers, challenging us to apply the material to our individual goals.
This handbook’s significance to new advisors is obvious, but its value to veteran advisors should not be overlooked. Folsom provides experienced advisors with opportunities for continuing education, and advising supervisors with tools for training. An experienced advisor might not need to be reminded of academic advising theory, but recommendations about intercultural competencies are never obsolete. In a “Voices from the Field” article entitled “Relational Skills: Establishing Cultural Credibility,” Blane Harding suggests that to serve students best, advisors must continually educate themselves on the populations they serve, particularly with regard to “issues surrounding race, sexual orientation, class and the construction of ethnic identities” (p. 97). With the advising supervisor in mind, Jennifer Joslin and Franklin Yoder in their article entitled “Creating a Year-Long Advisor Training Program,” emphasize the necessity of providing new advisors with training beyond an “immediate-needs” focus. Case studies, networking, and mentoring are cited as elements crucial to experiential development, which aids in the “synthesis of conceptual, informational, and relational issues” (p. 149). An appendix highlights advisement models, objectives, delivery methods, and training goals at a variety of universities.
The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising Through the First Year and Beyond, addresses topics fundamental to any effective advising guide. However, by introducing a framework for managing advisor development, Pat Folsom provides a distinctive text. Written with the new professional in mind, attention to issues such as continuing education and training yields a handbook indispensable to all academic advisors.
The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising Through the First Year and Beyond (2007) Book by Pat Folsom (Ed.). Review by Denise Rinn Butler. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). 272 pp., $50.00, (paperback), Order # M16