Over NACADA’s 14 webinar seasons, a number of presenters have looked at a variety of communication techniques and strategies, based in theory, research, and their own experience. Because communication lies at the heart of relationship building, communication topics always draw large audiences and leave attendees asking for more.
At the 2019 NACADA Annual Conference in Louisville, KY, presentation teams from the University of Vermont and the University of Missouri shared communication practices that have proved effective with their students in both face-to-face settings and via email. Attendees described these presentations as “practical, applicable advice” that “challenged common practices with solid solutions.”These teams have joined together to share information and strategies that can assist advisors in building their communication skills and enhance interactions with their advisees.
Grounded in framing and communication theories, as well as research conducted at their institutions, the presenters will discuss methods and activities for strengthening both oral and written communications with students.They will provide action steps that attendees may implement on their own campuses, as “communication champions,” to build a culture of strong advisor-advisee communication.
Academic Advising Core Competencies that will be addressed in this presentation include:
C4 Understanding of academic advising approaches and strategies
I7 Knowledge of information technology applicable to relevant advising roles
R2 Ability to create rapport and build academic advising relationships
R3 Ability to communicate in an inclusive and respectful manner
R4 Ability to plan and conduct successful advising interactions
Nadèje Alexandre, Senior Professional Advisor, University of Vermont
Nadèje Alexandre has a doctorate in Higher Ed Administration and Advising from Seattle University. Her dissertation focuses on communication effectiveness within the theoretical frameworks of empathic listening, framing, and emotional management. Her professional interests are in student development and creating programs to support student success. She has served on numerous university committees, such as Co-Chair of International Student Advisory Council and Chair of Professional Staff Development committee. She has published papers on advising, framing and language, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence. She teaches two first year experience courses on Dialogue and Reflection and another on Social and Environmental Justice. She has conducted research on retention and the student transfer experience, prompting her to design and implement a non-credit online advising course for sophomores. She has been faculty advisor to multiple student associations such as the Graduate Student Business Association, National Association of Black Student Accountants, and Student Advisory Board. She has been a NACADA member since 2007 and remembers her very first conference in Boise, ID as a master’s student in Student Affairs. Outside of professional interests, she is a dedicated swimmer, visual artist, pianist, and avid cyclist. Oh and did we mention she is in a band?!
Karen Nordstrom, Educational Research Associate, University of Vermont
Karen Nordstrom as served in multiple roles that cross academic and student affairs at UVM over the past 13 years. She completed her doctorate in environmental thought and culture through the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources in 2015. Since then, she has served as both faculty and advising staff for the undergraduate programs in food systems and environmental studies. Karen’s teaching centers on the development of high impact educational practices that have been proven to support deeper learning and higher success for undergraduate students. Some of the practices with which she has most experience include residential learning communities, service-learning, study abroad, and undergraduate research. She has also taught through a diversity of formats, including online, workshops, seminars, and lectures. Karen’s scholarship takes an action research approach to studying these diverse learning contexts for the purpose of program development. More recently, her work has been informed by the field of contemplative learning in higher education. In 2018, she was awarded a social justice scholarship from the Association for Contemplative Mind in Society to strengthen her work focused on assessing and applying contemplative practices in higher education. She currently serves on the steering committee for the UVM Contemplative Faculty Learning Community. Karen is also a certified yoga instructor, who continues to teach and engage in advanced trainings that will further her teaching practice within the Hatha Yoga tradition. These experiences and practices enrich and inform her advising practice and her work on contemplative and high impact pedagogies with undergraduate students from a diversity of backgrounds.
Jordan Parshall, Academic Advisor, Biological Sciences, University of Missouri
Jordan Parshall has been a Biology advisor at Mizzou for the past six years. In addition to advising Biology majors, she also trains Biology Peer Advisors, teaches a first-year experience course in the falls and career explorations class in Biology in the springs, and serves on committees at the departmental-, college-, and university-levels. Jordan’s interest in communication stems from her role as the point person for departmental-wide messaging to undergraduate students, as well as her work on different committees, as she has been able to see variety in messaging and language used by different offices across the university. Though sometimes viewed as bonus work on top of individual advising meetings with students, Jordan views communication education and relationship-building through committees as integral parts of an overall goal of supporting student success.
Megan McCauley, Coordinator of Student Services, College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, University of Missouri
Megan has worked at the University of Missouri for eight years and in her current role since 2016. She advises Agriculture majors and Undeclared students in the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, supports professional and faculty advisors, and implements campus initiatives and technologies at the College-level. Her work often involves communicating over email with students who she has never met one-on-one. Megan's background also influences her current work. She earned a B.A. in Communication Studies and learned about Appreciative Advising directly from Dr. Bloom, the director of her master's program. All of these experiences affect her view of email communication and the need to strategically reach and engage students.
Tina Balser, Director of Student Success Initiatives, University of Missouri
Tina Balser has worked at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri for over ten years. Currently, she leads implementation, management, and assessment of student success initiatives and technologies. She works extensively with academic schools and colleges, faculty, and campus student support services to strategically align technologies with campus student success initiatives. Tina holds a BSBA in Business Administration from the University of Central Missouri, a M.Ed. and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri. Tina’s research and practitioner interests include campus early alert programming, student success outreach strategies, implementation of student success technologies, student communications and best practices, predictive analytics and change management practices to support student success in higher education.