Professional Development Committee 


At the request of the association’s leadership, the NACADA Academic Advising Core Competencies Model (2017) was developed by the Professional Development Committee.  The purpose of the model is to identify the broad range of understanding, knowledge, and skills that support academic advising, to guide professional development, and to promote the contributions of advising to student development, progress, and success. It is intended that the model may be used by:

  • Primary Role Advisors: for self-assessment and evaluation, and to guide learning, career development, and advancement.
  • Faculty Advisors and Advising Administrators: to clarify academic advising roles and responsibilities, and to highlight the contributions of academic advising to teaching and learning.
  • Advising Supervisors, Managers, and Mentors: to identify strengths and areas for staff development, and to guide hiring, training, and evaluation.
  • Learning Professionals, Trainers, and Researchers: to support curriculum development, establish learning priorities, and advance the scholarship in the field.
Underpinning the core competencies for academic advising and serving as the foundational elements for effective advisor training programs and advising practice are three content categories – the conceptual, informational, and relational.  An understanding of these three major areas provides advisors the knowledge and skills to be effective guides for their students. 
  • The Conceptual component provides the context for the delivery of academic advising.  It covers the ideas and theories that advisors must understand to effectively advise their students.
  • The Informational component provides the substance of academic advising.  It covers the knowledge advisors must gain to be able to guide the students at their institution.
  • The Relational component provides the skills that enable academic advisors to convey the concepts and information from the other two components to their advisees.

To achieve excellence in their work, regardless of the specifics of their individual campus’ advising mission, all advisors must understand all three components, and be able to synthesize and apply them as needed in advising interactions.

Core Competency Areas


Core competencies in the Conceptual component (concepts academic advisors must understand) include understanding of: 

  1. The history and role of academic advising in higher education
  2. NACADA's Core Values of Academic Advising
  3. Theory relevant to academic advising.
  4. Academic advising approaches and strategies.
  5. Expected outcomes of academic advising.
  6. How equitable and inclusive environments are created and maintained.

Core competencies in the Informational component (knowledge academic advisors must master) include knowledge of:

  1. Institution specific history, mission, vision, values, and culture
  2. Curriculum, degree programs, and other academic requirements and options
  3. Institution specific policies, procedures, rules, and regulations.
  4. Legal guidelines of advising practice, including privacy regulations and confidentiality.
  5. The characteristics, needs, and experiences of major and emerging student populations
  6. Campus and community resources that support student success.
  7. Information technology applicable to relevant advising roles

Core Competencies in the Relational component (skills academic advisors must demonstrate) include the ability to:

  1. Articulate a personal philosophy of academic advising
  2. Create rapport and build academic advising relationships
  3. Communicate in an inclusive and respectful manner
  4. Plan and conduct successful advising interactions.
  5. Promote student understanding of the logic and purpose of the curriculum.
  6. Facilitate problem solving, decision-making, meaning-making, planning, and goal setting.   
  7. Engage in ongoing assessment and development of self and the advising practice


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PG22 cover


October 2020 - September 2022 - under the leadership of Chair Barbara Smith, the PDC facilitated a review of the first edition of the NACADA Academic Advising Core Competencies Guide and the revision for the 2nd edition.

October 2017 NACADA Academic Advising Core Competencies Guide - includes explanatory material for each of the competencies - debuted at Annual Conference in St Louis - available in the NACADA store.

March 4, 2017 – approved by NACADA Board of Directors at mid-year leadership meetings

January-February 2017 – feedback sought from all NACADA members

April 2016-December 2017 – initial draft developed

October 2015-April 2016 – framework determined

October 2015 – at Annual Conference meeting – Initial development plan crafted

Summer 2015 – PDC charged with developing competencies