Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) have been positioned at the forefront of conversations surrounding social justice, equity, and racial identity development for traditionally marginalized students in higher education. Administrators, alumni, faculty, and students are unabashedly vocal about the cultural benefits associated with these institutions. HBCUs are noteworthy in their ability to provide a culture of care, academic excellence, and social upliftment. While Black colleges represent only 3% of postsecondary education in the US, they have maintained a significant role in producing mass amounts of Black graduates (Arroyo & Gasman, 2014). Despite limited resources, many HBCUs are able to claim strong retention and graduation rates of students from diverse backgrounds that would in other spaces be deemed academically underprepared or incapable of degree attainment (Williams, et. al., 2019). While these gains have commonly been attributed to campus culture and culturally competent pedagogy, it is important to acknowledge the role of academic advising as a key component to the gains in student success at HBCUs.
While models vary across the HBCU landscape, many institutions have adopted primary role advisors that can provide dedicated service to students’ academic needs and holistic development. HBCU advisors, primary role and faculty alike, employ advising approaches and practices that go beyond the traditional scope of advising concepts and norms. The value of Black colleges lay in their ability to use strengths-based and culturally centered approaches to enriching the college experiences on their campuses. As academic advisors continue to serve as frontline personnel in many respects, it is important that the advising profession 1) remain committed to understanding the interconnectedness of HBCU advising to the fabric of student success, and 2) engage deeply in the expertise and knowledge of HBCU advisors to identify approaches to supporting traditionally underserved students.
In this NACADA Historically Black Colleges & Universities Advising Community sponsored webinar, by exploring theoretical concepts of other-mothering (Giuffrida, 2005; Strayhorn, 2014) and the village pedagogy (Harris III, 2012), the presenters will highlight how the work of advisors at HBCUs is distinctly different from other institutional types and provide effective strategies that PWI advisors and fellow HBCU advisors can employ to enhance our advising toolkits. Presenters will also provide insight into the challenges faced by HBCU advisors including burnout, limited resources, and balancing large caseloads with increasing amounts of responsibilities.
Academic Advising Core Competencies that will be addressed in this presentation include:
C1 The history and role of academic advising in higher education
C4 Academic advising approaches and strategies.
I1 Institution specific history, mission, vision, values, and culture.
I5 The characteristics, needs, and experiences of major and emerging student populations.
R1 Articulate a personal philosophy of academic advising.
R2 Create rapport and build academic advising relationships
R4 Plan and conduct successful advising interactions.
Dawn Y. Matthews, Associate Dean, University College, North Carolina Central University
Dawn Matthews’ research has primarily focused on outcomes of underserved and marginalized student populations in higher education, with an emphasis on employing anti-deficit approaches toward student success, examining the experiences of Black college women, and promoting the continued relevance of HBCUs. She has published articles, reports, book chapters, and presented at numerous higher education regional and national conferences, including hosting a NACADA webinar on Supporting Black Women College Students through Advising & Coaching in 2021. Matthews received both her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and her master’s degree in Education Administration from Virginia State University and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education Administration from Florida State University.
Dawn Nail, Interim Director, Center for Academic Excellence, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Dawn Nail (she/her/hers) has worked in the corporate and higher education sectors for over 20 years. At North Carolina A&T State University, she has taught in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, served as Associate Director, Communications Specialist, and Director of Enrollment Management Communication in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions amongst other roles. Prior to coming to A&T, she gained several years in management with AT&T Mobility and worked as a Leadership Development Manager for NCO Customer Management. During that time, she also conducted professional development training at some of the nation’s largest corporations, including American Express and Wells Fargo.Today, Nail is Interim Director of the Center for Academic Excellence, after also serving as Director of Training and Development Workshop Services, and as an Academic Advisor, respectively, where she continues to use much of her communications background. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from North Carolina A&T State University, a Master of Arts in Corporate Communication from Austin Peay State University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. Her research interests include HBCUs, Advising, Enrollment Management and Mentoring. Nail is a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, NACADA and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also enjoys public speaking, mentoring, writing and life near her hometown of Charlotte, NC.
Kweneshia Price, North Carolina Central University
Kweneshia Price is native of Hampton, VA and a proud resident of Durham, NC. Kweneshia serves as an educator, mentor, coach, and encourager to the students she encounters daily on the campus of North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In her role, she serves as the Director of Aspiring Eagles Academy and Lead Academic Coach, where she has the pleasure of supporting the needs of a unique and diverse group of students. Kweneshia graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree in English and a Master of Arts Degree in Community Counseling from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA. As a promoter of education, she recently earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Leadership at East Carolina University. Over the course of her career, she has been able to support learners of all ages through authentic instruction and engagement to meet their diverse needs. Her goal as a professional is to continue to advocate for students and to provide them the guidance, skills, and tools to be successful. She has had the privilege of supporting hundreds of students in her eight years as an educator.
Antja Dionne Caldwell, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Antja Dionne Caldwell, is a higher education professional, mentor, and mother. She graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University earning a B.A. in Speech Communications, and a master’s degree in Adult Education, with a concentration in Higher Education. With over 8 years of higher education experience, Dionne, as she is affectionately known, has excelled in supporting first year students. She has been working for her alma mater for over five years, serving as a College Success Instructor, Academic Advisor, and Program Coordinator; and in 2020, was awarded the Academic Advising Excellence Award. She is truly passionate about the work that she does with student development, academic recovery, and assisting students to achieve academic excellence. She is a firm believer that in order to step into your greatness, you must first be able to appreciate your journey, embrace all challenges, and learn from all of your mistakes; because it is at that moment that you develop self-love, self-determination, and self-discipline. This theory that she lives by, is what allows her to socially, personally, and professionally influence young scholars every day, by teaching them to see, and be, their own shade of brilliant.