Over the past few decades, eighty-five percent of all immigrants to the United States have arrived from either Asia or Latin America; today Latinos are the largest American minority group. These demographic trends have impacted the recruitment efforts of many institutions and caused many campus administrators to incorporate diversity into their strategic plans. Furthermore, recognizing that diversity extends beyond race to include ethnicity, traditional/non-traditional status, military experience, disabilities, etc., administrators have increased recruitment efforts to attract an increasingly diverse population to our campuses. However, while administrations have focused on recruitment, the efforts to retain these students has largely become the responsibility of others, particularly those involved in academic advising.
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It was recently announced that the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) is closing its doors. As president of NACADA, this stunning announcement gave me reason to think about NACADA’s future. While I can only speculate as to the reasons for AAHE having to shut down (much of the public statement had to do with declining membership and the concomitant financial issues), it seems like a good time to raise some questions about how NACADA functions and what our future can look like.
We attempt to have a NACADA Officer and Executive Staff member at every regional conference to enhance communication with the membership. We find this very helpful in identifying new issues facing our members, in identifying members who want to get more involved in the association, and in hearing what the members want from their association.
Academic advisors face increasing challenges each year. What are the most effective ways to deal with enrollment increases when there has been little or no increase in budget? How do we handle the advising needs of these students? How can colleges effectively cope with the increasing numbers of transfer students? How can we use orientations to enhance advisement? These are just a few of the many challenges faced every day by advisors at most colleges, but particularly at two-year colleges.
Peer advising offers several advantages, including versatility, compatibility with pre-existing academic advising programs, sensitivity to student needs, and the ability to extend the range and scope of advising to times and venues when advising is not usually available.
Increasing numbers of high school graduates with learning disabilities are enrolling in colleges and universities each year. A learning disability may be manifested by deficits in the student’s reading ability (dyslexia), speech ability (dyspraxia), writing ability (dysgraphia) or math ability (dyscalculia). A student with a learning disability may also have difficulty with sustained attention, time management, and/or social skills. Some students think that when they transition to college they will “outgrow” their learning disabilities and be able to handle their studies on their own. Individuals do not outgrow a learning disability, although they may develop a host of strategies for compensating for the disability. Still, these students find that when they transition to college they continue to need academic accommodations.
For each of these three visitors the adviser plays a critical role. It is much more than course selection and graduation requirements. The relationship with Mike, Selina, and Caroline and many others like them can become a key ingredient in their undergraduate experience, and the success of the relationship depends on a full range of talents. In truth, Mike, Selina, and Caroline are drawn from advising experiences I have had over the years. While they may be literally fictional, I have seen such students, and so have you. They are a daily reminder of the challenges and rewards of our profession.
Since Fall 2003, over 180 learners have taken courses in the Graduate Certificate program. Originating faculty member Charlie Nutt, NACADA Associate Director and Assistant Professor at Kansas State University, stated, “All the students have been so dedicated and hard working – this teaching experience has been one of the most rewarding and challenging of my career.”
The election of NACADA leadership positions for terms beginning in October 2005 began on January 14, 2005 when the online voting system was made accessible to all eligible voting NACADA members. Login information and passwords were e-mailed individually to members using special mail-merging software. The positions for which candidates were seeking election included NACADA President, Vice President, Board of Directors members, Region Chairs, Commission Chairs, and Committee Chairs. The election process for these positions concluded on February 11 after which all valid votes were tallied.
From June 2005 through December 2011, this publication was titled Academic Advising Today: Lighting Student Pathways. Articles included in these archived editions will be presented in a compiled version as well as broken down into individual articles to facilitate search capacity. News features from this period may be attained by contacting the Managing Editor.