Komal Rizvi, Wesley R. Habley Summer Institute Scholarship Recipient
I knew that I had to attend the NACADA Summer Institute after reading the intriguing itinerary, and my experience proved me to be correct. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to virtually attend the Summer Institute in July of 2021. Applying for the scholarship allowed me to have the most beneficial, enlightening, and transformative experience that I have had in my career thus far. I have been successful in overcoming financial obstacles when it comes to learning. Receiving scholarships made it possible for me to graduate from Temple University with a Bachelor’s of Secondary English Education degree in 2016 and working in my former position as a Program Assistant at Duquesne University enabled me to use tuition remission to graduate with my Master’s of Higher Education Administration degree in 2021. At the time I attended this conference, I was a Program Assistant at Duquesne University in the School of Education where I worked for 4.5 years. It is a private, Catholic, and Spiritan institution that sits on a bluff overlooking Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The campus and its community members promote a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I was fortunate to work with a very supportive Department Chair and Dean in the School of Education during my time there. I am currently an Undergraduate Academic Advisor at Carnegie Mellon University in the Information Systems Department, which is just minutes away from my former institution. It is an inviting private, research institution with an innovative, interdisciplinary, and diverse & inclusive campus that reflects its world-renowned programs. I am again blessed with two supportive supervisors, the Associate Director of Undergraduate Education and the Director of Undergraduate Information Systems Program.
What I admire most about NACADA is that it is inclusive of all, and the Summer Institute is no exception to that. At the event, I had the pleasure of interacting with many seasoned academic advisors, but there were also new and aspiring ones. The Summer Institute emphasizes that regardless of what your role is on campus, you can create the changes that you want to see in the future of academic advising, which left me feeling empowered and reinvigorated to make strides towards honing the facilitation of student support and success throughout their academic journeys and beyond. The four days were packed with exciting and insightful information that consisted of a combination of foundational sessions, topical sessions, group sessions, and optional engagement sessions, which allowed for attendees to discuss and build upon our individual and shared goals about advising in a variety of ways. There were several exciting topical sessions offered, so I had trouble choosing which ones to attend, but thankfully I was able to catch up on the rest later. I had the opportunity to engage with dedicated and experienced faculty with varying institutional backgrounds, who served as group faculty facilitators, consultants, and presenters.
What made this experience unique was the individualized attention every attendee received for their specific school and goals. Each attendee was part of a small group for their institution type that was led by a faculty facilitator, which were further broken down into subgroups of individuals who worked at the same institution or similar institution types. I had the pleasure of working with Rich Robbins, who shared valuable insights with the group as a whole, as well as in our subgroups. In my subgroup, I made connections with other student affairs professionals, who also worked at private institutions and together we fleshed out ideas, discussed challenges, and provided suggestions about each other’s action plans and day-to-day job functions, which we all found very supportive. In addition, there was almost an entire day dedicated to consultations, where each attendee had the opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one, fifteen-minute consultation to receive feedback on their action plan from a faculty member of their choice. Being a huge fan of flipped advising, I had to meet with George Steele, which was an amazing experience as he helped me determine concrete steps to make my action plan feasible. I found the consultation day to be very beneficial in developing and modifying my action plan because it gave me time to flesh out and reflect on my ideas during my consultation and on my own.
This experience allowed me to hone the ideas I already had and be inspired to think of new ones. There is so much I want to do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our services to students, but the Summer Institute helped me narrow down where to start. I proposed to the leadership at Duquesne University in the School of Education to advocate for the academic advising centralization initiative to encompass the graduate level, build flipped advising modules to provide students with a 24/7 resource, and develop an advising syllabus, advising statement, and advising committee. Once I become more acclimated at Carnegie Mellon University, my hope is to use the knowledge that I gained from the Summer Institute to positively impact academic advising practices for both the Information Systems Department and the institution in the years to come.
NACADA did an excellent job making this virtual experience interactive during the pandemic. If you are considering attending, I highly encourage you to do so, even if you are not in a formal academic advising position or are new to advising! If finances are an issue, the scholarship is worth applying for. At the very least, compiling the required application materials will help you take pride in your work and accomplishments.
Information Systems Program
Carnegie Mellon University
Cite this article using APA style as: Rizvi, K. (2022, March). Brimful development at the NACADA summer institute. Academic Advising Today, 45(1). [insert url here]