Theory, Philosophy, & History of Advising Community

TPHAC Poster at the ACD Fair in Phoenix, 2018

Our focus is the self-reflexive work of examining the theoretical, philosophical and historical foundations of academic advising, in addition to supporting theory building initiatives and their applications. We welcome the study of academic advising from any theoretical vantage point and look to incorporate theory in new ways. We seek to promote the study and understanding of theory, philosophy, and the historical foundations related to academic advising, and to support and encourage conference presentations, publications, and research in these areas. We seek to develop and advance philosophical and historical reflection in the field of academic advising both within NACADA and outside associations, administration, faculty and other stakeholders.

Join a TPHAS Action Group!

Along with the work to identify and schedule speakers for TPH talks, three priorities have been identified for 2022:

  1. Advising History
  2. TPHAC Communications, and
  3. Partnering with Other Advising Communities

The idea was that we would organize ourselves for the year around these priorities. Action Groups would work together to sort out and accomplish the vision for these priorities.

We'd love to have your voice and perspectives, so we put together a Google form for you to express your interests:

We hope to see you at the TPH talk Thursday and as part of one of our Action Groups! If you have any ideas, questions, or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Upcoming Events

June 2022

Telling About Learning: How Narrative Medicine Practices and Methodology Can Enhance the Practice of Advising 

Presenters: David Griffith, University of Notre Dame

Date & Time: Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Central Time

Event Description: 

  • The focus of the talk is to create a conversation about how the "close reading" methods used in the growing interdisciplinary field of Narrative Medicine might assist academic advisors in building stronger, more empathetic relationships with their advisees, while also helping their advisees to re-imagine their relationship to, and take ownership of, their education. 
  • Narrative Medicine is a relatively new interdisciplinary field, founded by Dr. Rita Charon of Columbia University, in which the close reading of literature, film, and other art forms, and the practice of writing in response to such works, is used to enhance one's ability to relate emotionally and intellectually to people who are different from ourselves, in all the ways one can imagine and experience difference (race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual identity, gender, socio-economic status, educational attainment, and health status).
  • The practice of Narrative Medicine, as theorized by Charon, and taught at the MS program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia, is grounded in an understanding that our ability to relate to those who are different from ourselves is key to promoting the physical and mental health of individuals and communities, as well as promoting social justice and healing among individuals and communities.  
  • In this session, you will be invited to consider the ways that the methods and goals of Narrative Medicine might be used to help advisors and students develop what Charon calls "deep and accurate" attentiveness to the "accounts of self" found in the personal stories and anecdotes our students tell about their experiences inside and outside the classroom, as well as in works of literature, film, and visual art dramatizing what it is like to be a student. 
  • Ultimately, we will discuss how such attentiveness to, and understanding of, our advisees’ sense of self as students and people can help us better support and advise our students. 
  • In preparation, you are highly encouraged to read the poem “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes and (if time) the personal essay “The Education of a Storyteller” by Toni Cade Bambara.

Past TPH Talks

Join us for the first TPH talk of 2022!
Curricular Change and the Ship of Theseus
Thursday, March 3rd, 2022
1:00 – 2:00 p.m., Central

Drawing from his recent article published in The Mentor, Kevin Egan from Drexel University will discuss approaches to advising students who are grappling with curricular change. Whether it is through flexible curricula like individualized, exploratory, or meta-major programs, or changing majors or declaring minors in more traditional programs, students making significant educational changes benefit from intentional guidance in making sense of the curriculum and how to align it with their overall learning goals. Using the ship of Theseus paradox as a thought experiment will provide a conceptual framework to examine circumstances in which curricular change is the rule and not the exception. Such changes are positive steps in a student’s learning and development, rather than signs of indecision or immaturity. As such, the paradox is useful in helping advisors and mentors think about the student’s curriculum as it evolves and changes over time. The talk will conclude with some design thinking tools and techniques that advisors can use to prioritize process in pursuit of the kind of learning that supports student development and success.


The Theory, Philosophy, and History of Advising Community began its annual business meeting at the 2021 Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, and concluded it online via Zoom in early November. We are finalizing plans for the upcoming year, so be sure to check back here in 2022 for news and information. In the meantime, you can also fill out this survey to let us know how you’d like to be involved in TPHAC:
Transfer Book Club on Thurs., May 20th at 3 pm CST
Power to the Transfer: Critical Race Theory and a Transfer Receptive Culture by Alfred R. Herrera, Dimpal Jain, and Santiago N. Bernal Melendez

Join us at this exclusive event with the authors of Power to the Transfer! Why is creating a transfer receptive culture important? How can advisors make a difference in the transfer student experience? Read the book and bring all of your thoughts and questions to the experts!

Vitrual Discussion Presentation on Thurs., September 9 at 1pm CST
"Existentialist Advising" by Alan Reynolds

Join us for a virtual presentation from Alan Reynolds, author of a new paper in The Mentor. This presentation explores the application of Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist philosophy to academic advising. Sartre emphasizes the obligation of every individual to create their identity, craft their values, choose their future, and accept the full weight of responsibility for everything they do. This philosophy resonates with many college students for whom their time in college marks a period of transition into adulthood and independence. Students are confronted with important choices about major, career, values, goals, identity, and more. Existentialist advising places the freedom and responsibility of students center stage and encourages students to make authentic choices. While existentialist advising shares similar themes with other established advising approaches, it offers unique and important insights for advising practice, making it an essential tool in the advising toolbelt. Alan Reynolds is a senior academic adviser at University of California, Merced. He was previously an academic adviser and instructor at Coastal Carolina University. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from University of Oregon.

Current Chair







Lindsey Grites Weeks
Neumann University

Current Term: 2023-2025