NACADA Web Event

Academic Advising for Social Justice: Theory, Reflection, and Practice (DW95)

Online Webinar Presentation
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Central Time

NACADA members register by March 15, 2020 to receive Early Bird Discount
Registration Deadline: Midnight Central Time on Monday, April 13, 2020

Webinar Overview

In April 2015, NACADA members were introduced to the topic of Academic Advising and Social Justice: Privilege, Diversity, and Student Success in the Web Event venue by a presentation team sponsored by the association’s Inclusion & Engagement (then Diversity) Committee. Knowing that academic advising personnel must understand social identities in order to identify the challenges students face when interacting with various campus systems—but are often untrained in dealing with issues of diversity and privilege—our presenters shared information and strategies that can help advisors form stronger relationships with students, identify specific challenges and roadblocks facing students, and create individualized solutions to increase student success and retention.

At the 2018 NACADA Annual Conference in Phoenix, three presentation teams drew large audiences and rave reviews when they took this conversation to a deeper level. Members of those teams have combined to bring the conversation to our Web Event platform. In this webinar, our presenters will challenge participants to engage in critical reflection about themselves and the profession to better understand how we can hear our students lived experiences and work towards being the best possible allies for them. Are there ways in which we unwittingly contribute to the maintenance of oppressive systems that do not serve all students equitably? How can we process our discomfort as a participant in oppressive systems? The presenters will examine the role of emotionality for both advisors and students in this important dialogue, discuss contemporary advising approaches, and explore the concept of counternarratives as a means to work towards social justice in advising. They will offer frameworks in which advisors’ convictions and practices can align to disrupt oppressive systems and place social justice at the forefront of our work.

Academic Advising Core Competencies that will be addressed in this presentation include: 

  • C3: Theory relevant to academic advising
  • C4: Academic advising approaches and strategies
  • C6: How equitable and inclusive environments are created and maintained
  • R3: Communicate in an inclusive and respectful manner


Jayne K. Sommers, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, University of St. Thomas

Jayne Sommers serves as the program director for the Leadership in Student Affairs M.A. program at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. Her research and pedagogical interests include intersectionality and social justice in student affairs, and college student well-being and persistence. She brings a decade of student affairs experience as well as a critical eye toward existing theory to her teaching, scholarship, and program leadership.

Quinn Nelson (she/her), Academic Advisor, Emerging Scholars Program, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

Quinn is an Academic Advisor in the President's Emerging Scholars program in the College of Liberal Arts for the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She holds a Leadership in Student Affairs M.A. from the University of St. Thomas. Her research and scholarship interests are centered on bringing intersectionality and social justice to the forefront of academic advising and dismantling systems of oppression in higher education. Quinn is the President of the Minnesota College Professionals Association Board of Directors and is serving a two-year term (2019-2021).  

Ariel Collatz (she/her), Art’s Group Advising Center Supervisor, University of California, Davis

Ariel Collatz oversees and provides academic advising for arts students in six majors at the University of California, Davis Campus. She holds an MS in Counseling with an emphasis in Career Development. Ariel values collective action, self reflection, open communication, empowerment and the creation and sharing of knowledge. Ariel is currently serving as the Interim Chair of the newly proposed NACADA Social Justice Advising Community.

Kyle W. Ross (he/him), Academic Coordinator, College of Nursing, Washington State University

Kyle Ross is the undergraduate academic coordinator for the College of Nursing, focusing primarily on admissions and advising transfer applicants. He has been involved with NACADA for over seven years and will join the Board of Directors for the 2019-2022 term. Kyle has also served as the Advising Communities Division Representative on the NACADA Council and was a graduate of ELP Class of 2015-2017. He recently earned his Ed.D in educational leadership.

Nicole Seemungal, Undergraduate Advising Center Supervisor, University of California, Davis

As a racial healing circle facilitator, Nicole Seemungal is often in spaces with folks of color, sharing their experiences of oppression and microaggressions. The overwhelming experience of living with these negative perspectives led her to co-develop a workshop for advisors of color focused on a strengths-based approach to navigating our academic institutions, which started her on a path to changing the narratives advisors of color have about themselves and their students. In a workshop entitled "Advisors of Color: Breaking Labels," Nicole works with participants to explore the labels we assign to ourselves and our students and investigate how these labels affect our self-perception and others' perception of us.

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