Suzanne M. Trump (Assistant Dean of Retention and Academic Advising, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia) and Janet Spence (Director, University-Wide Advising Practice, Office of the Provost/Undergraduate Affairs, University of Louisville) share what they gained from the NACADA Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes.
Two years ago, I was debating whether to attend the relatively new Administrators’ Institute or attend the tried and true Advising Summer Institute. I spoke with some of my colleagues and they encouraged me to try the Administrators’ Institute, rationalizing that since I was an administrator it would target my needs more than the general institute. But the two things that clinched it for me were to hear from the participants who attended the first Administrators’ Institute in San Antonio and to realize that the second Institute would be held in St. Pete Beach in February. I live outside of Philadelphia, and I am not a fan of winter, so any chance to escape for a few days to a much warmer climate seems like a great idea. I had no idea how much I would gain from the Institute.
At the NACADA National Conference in Dallas, I attended a Pre-Conference Workshop given by advising staff from Southwest Missouri State on their Master Advisor Program. I wanted to develop a similar type of program on my campus. We have a combined faculty and professional advisor system, and I wanted to create a development program that would meet the needs of both groups. I also wanted to build a program that would recognize advising as a form of teaching and learning. Finally, I wanted the program to provide a formal way to reward participants for the significant time and effort they devote to advising students on a daily basis.
I arrived in St. Pete Beach with the goal of creating a program for advisor development and recognition. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we would also have several plenary sessions where experienced administrators would share their expertise with common administrative issues. We had lectures on the development of learning outcomes for advising, understanding campus cultures, technology and assessment, among other topics. I was also assigned to a small group with an excellent facilitator, Rich Robbins. The combination of plenary and small group sessions made for a full day, and we even had homework to complete on our own. Most of us joked that we were working harder at the Institute than we normally work at our institutions. A few of us even whined about the homework, but our facilitator gave us permission not to do it; it was our project, not his, so we would lose out if we didn’t do the work. Sound like the same thing we say to our students?
The small groups are designed so that each individual has time to share his/her project each step of the way and get feedback from people who are in similar situations. My small group was great and gave me ideas that I hadn’t considered and their ideas worked very well. Rich Robbins, our facilitator, did an outstanding job. It was hard work, but I accomplished a lot.
By the time I was ready to leave for Philadelphia, I had the outline of an advisor development and recognition plan that I could implement the moment I returned to campus. I had a time line with specific projects to accomplish, and I had rough drafts of several of the components. Because of the time and energy I put into the group work, and with the input of my small group and facilitator, I was able to offer the first session of Master Advisor Training at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in May of the same year. I hoped to have 20 advisors volunteer to be in the first Master Advisor cohort, and within 24 hours of sending an email invitation, I had 25 people signed up and a waiting list with a couple additional names. The demand was so great that I decided to offer another session in August. The development plan calls for advisors to spend 1.5 days for the initial development and commit to three hours of continuing education per year, so this is a significant time commitment for both faculty and professional advisors.
Given the success I experienced at the Administrators' Institute, I decided to send one of the professional advisors who works in my office to the Advising Summer Institute. His charge was to develop the continuing education piece of the program. He returned with a plan and outline to implement a brown bag series. This past academic year, we hosted monthly brown bag sessions with good attendance and positive feedback from participants. We opened the sessions up to anyone on campus, and while we had many advisors, we also had people in other areas who were interested in the topic. In the end, we served not just the targeted group but provided opportunities for the entire campus. This academic year, we will expand the brown bag sessions to twice a month.
At times I feel that I am a shameless commercial for NACADA Conferences and Institutes, but they allowed me to develop a program which ultimately serves students better. From the initial pre-conference session at the National Conference in Dallas to the two Institutes, we relied heavily on our colleagues and took successful programs and adapted them to fit our needs. I encourage you to do the same.
Suzanne M. Trump
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
In February 2005, the University of Louisville (U of L) sent nineteen academic advisors and advising center directors to the NACADA Advising Administrators’ and Assessment Institute at St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. We were charged to develop a university-wide academic advising plan that included a vision, mission, goals and objectives with student learning outcomes for academic advising. We were also to learn best practices in developing an assessment plan for academic advising.
The Institutes’ faculty did an exemplary job of facilitating our group’s work and went out of their way to accommodate our needs. Susan Campbell served as our facilitator, Ruth Darling offered advice and direction, and Charlie Nutt was our key cheerleader and motivator. Of course, Charlie Nutt and Bobbie Flaherty managed to keep us on task by tracking us down with the infamous bells. (One may be interested to know that Charlie brings the bells to the beach and sends participants back to work!)
The University of Louisville group accomplished a great deal at the Institutes, and we utilized every opportunity to learn and work. The groundwork for the development of our advising vision and mission, goals and objectives stemmed from the U of L Challenge for Excellence goals. Our group also reviewed the CAS Standards for Academic Advising, NACADA’s Core Values, the Education Trust website, and the Academic Advising Handbook.
We created an advising vision, mission, and goals and objectives. We also began the process of creating student learning outcomes.Nora Allen, academic advisor and Ph.D. student at the University of Louisville, developed a model of four phases of student development as students move through the advising process.
- In the Acculturation phase (typically the first year), students become aware of resources, the advisor/advisee relationship and responsibilities, diversity, how to resolve conflict, and how to build new relationships. In this phase they learn how to communicate and navigate within the university structure.
- In the Crystallization phase (usually the sophomore year), students become ingrained to the institution. Major and career exploration takes place, self assessment occurs, and the students begin to create an academic plan leading to the completion of a degree.
- Immersion is the third phase (typically, the junior year), in which students identify with their career choice by declaring a major. They finalize their academic plan, begin networking, and develop a closer mentoring relationship with the faculty. Students in this phase start building a resume and become connected to the Career Center.
- The last phase, Mastery and Completion (senior year) includes finishing the degree requirements, networking, resume completion, participation in an internship, preparing for admission to graduate school or job search, and refining research skills.
Within each phase, four categories of learning were created: technology, academic development, personal development, and social development. Our group planned to identify the student learning that needs to occur within each category of learning.
The NACADA Institutes gave the University of Louisville the opportunity for this group of advising leaders to bond and to develop respect and collegiality for each other. At the University of Louisville, it is rare for the academic advisors and advising center directors (which are spread out among seven units) to get together to work on university-wide projects. The academic advisors sometimes have opportunities to talk to their colleagues over the telephone or via email, but not usually in person. At the institutes, we spent some time getting to know each other, shared what we are doing in our respective units, and discussed what is important for our students to learn and receive from the advising process. This was an invaluable experience for U of L academic advisors.
Where Are We Now? Upon returning to campus in mid-February, the group pledged to meet biweekly until it developed all student learning outcomes for the four categories of learning in the four phases. Four small groups were formed to develop student learning outcomes (SLOs) for each of the four phases. When the small groups reported back to the entire group, we discovered there were overlapping and duplicate SLOs. At that time, we decided to change our strategy and have small groups assigned to each category of learning. This resulted in a congruent and sequential set of 98 SLOs.
A group prepared a report to the Undergraduate Council in early June 2005. The report included a recommendation for an advising vision, mission, goals and objectives and student learning outcomes from the freshman to senior years. The Undergraduate Council and the University Provost appreciated the group’s diligent work on the project and has decided to start implementation of the SLOs outlined in the Acculturation phase. Currently, a group is working with the University’s Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning in the development of 14 on-line modules that will include the SLOs recommended by the advisors’ group.
Thanks to the faculty of the NACADA institutes, the support of the U of L administration, and the dedication and work ethic of our 19-member advisors’ group, we are well on our way in implementing a university-wide academic advising program at the University of Louisville.
University of Louisville
Cite this article using APA style as: Trump, S. & Spence J. (2005, December). Attendance at the NACADA Academic Advising Administrators' Institute (AI) and Assessment of Academic Advising Institute (AS) produced results. Academic Advising Today, 28(4). [insert url here]