Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Academic Advising
Jennifer Wimbish, President, Cedar Valley College, Dallas County Community College District
As we move into the 21st century, we find ourselves in a time when our educational system is plagued with a high number of dropouts and many students who complete college lack important skill sets. We also know that the U.S. is falling behind other countries in developing the workforce needed to sustain our communities. As higher education professionals, we must commit to implementing programs that focus on student learning outcomes.
Stating the case to focus on student learning outcomes. When Terry O' Bannion wrote the book, A Learning College for the 21st Century, he built a case for moving to colleges that focus on learning as a measurement of student success (O'Bannion, 1997). The two statements below mentioned in his book convinced me that educators must be committed to student learning outcomes:
The National Adult Literacy Survey, the largest effort of its type, showed about one-half of four year graduates were unable to demonstrate intermediate levels of competence in reading and interpreting prose such as newspaper articles, in working with documents such as bus schedules, and in using elementary arithmetic to solve problems involving cost of meals in restaurants.
The Educational Testing service reported that 56% of American born, four year college graduates were unable consistently to perform simple tasks, such as calculating the change from $3 after buying a 60 cent bowl of soup and a $1.95 sandwich' (Wingspread Group on Higher Education, 1993).
Situations like these are becoming more common, and it is our responsibility to ensure that today's students receive the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the future.
What should we do? We all know that in the community college setting, many of our high school graduates come to us unprepared for college-level work. I believe that in order to address this problem and to ensure that our students are adequately prepared for transfer institutions and work we must: 1) develop a pre-kindergarten through university system; 2) create courses with academic instructors that are based on best practices; 3) ensure that all programs serving students are based on a student learning outcomes model; 4) use best practices for appropriate student populations; and 5) use technology to spread success stories.
Develop a pre-kindergarten through university system. We must develop a pre-kindergarten through university system that is aligned and focused on agreed upon standards of learning and measurement at every level. It is important for those of us in community colleges to work with our high schools to assess learning early in a student's high school journey. We must identify gaps in learning and partner with high school educators to develop a curriculum that addresses those gaps. Student learning must be consistently measured in a variety of ways in the high school environment so that curriculum and learning methods can be adjusted as needed. We must develop similar partnerships with university partners and continue the assessment of student learning outcomes throughout the college learning experience.
Perhaps one of the best examples of this method is a science/math institute that was sponsored by Lansing Community College. The institution brought elementary through college instructors together to study student outcomes and to discuss gaps in learning. They then took the information from their discussions and worked together to develop solutions. It is this type of program that is a must for every community college.
Create courses with academic instructors. It is important that academic advisors, student affairs personnel, and academic instructors work together to develop courses that are based on best practices and that focus on both the cognitive and affective domains. For example, at Lansing Community College a science course was offered that was constructed with multiple domains in mind.
During the first few weeks of the course, classroom activities were designed around a learning community concept in which students supported one another. During this time, students were also engaged in assessment activities to determine if they had the required skills for the course. In areas where there were deficiencies, students were referred to academic support services. For example, to be successful in this particular course, students needed to know how to use the metric system. They were assessed for this knowledge, and if needed, they were referred to the tutoring center for assistance.
During the length of the course, students kept journals in which they were asked to comment on what they had learned, what concepts were unclear, and how they felt about the learning. The journals were read by the instructor and appropriate actions were taken. In addition, the professor also worked with a team of instructors who studied test results throughout the semester. This team identified areas of concern, modified instruction, and retested when appropriate. The team then shared the instructional methods that worked the best.
At Cedar Valley College, we have developed a Community of Learners for Health Professionals in which faculty and advisors work together to ensure that students not only reach the learning outcomes of their courses, but are also successful in completing the class. Designed around a community of learners concept, some of the major components of the program are a career Web site, speaker series, and individual advisement.
Ensure that all programs are based on learning outcomes. It is important that academic and student affairs programs are based on a learning outcomes model. I once participated in a one-day student orientation program with clear student learning outcomes. There was a pre-test at the beginning of the orientation whose results were used to help student affairs personnel understand what students knew. The pre-test was followed by an orientation that addressed specific student learning outcomes, and the session ended with a post-test that measured what students had learned. The information from the program was used to improve future orientations.
Other colleges have moved to a system where all programs are a part of a student outcomes emphasis. For example, the student affairs professionals at the Community College of Baltimore County have a definition for a self-directed learner. Each student affairs department then further defines the aspects of a self-directed learner based on the department's specialty. For example, the Career Transfer Center has defined a self-directed learner as a student who is able to identify at least three careers that match his/her interests and abilities and can name at least two potential transfer institutions that match the major and other relevant criteria (Harvey-Smith, Peterka and Sullivan, 2005).
Use best practices for appropriate student populations. Our world is growing more diverse everyday; as we work to improve student success we must use best practices for the specific student populations that we serve. I am concerned when I hear of programs designed to serve specific student populations where those creating the programs failed to consult with individuals who have been successful working with these student groups.
In my home state of Texas, we are working to close the gap in achievement in higher education for African-American and Hispanic students. I remind my colleagues at my own institution that if we want to design programs that ensure success for African-American students, then we must learn more about the practices of the best historically black institutions in our country.
Use technology to spread success stories. Much has been written about technology and its role in higher education. It is important that we use technology to gather data and analyze it for improvements in services we provide students.
We must also use data to tell our story and validate the effectiveness of our programs. While at Brookhaven College, I led a team that conducted a qualitative study that revealed the success of a human development course in effectively meeting student learning outcomes. What I failed to do, however, was to provide leadership for the sharing of the information in ways that would have allowed others to benefit from our work and further validate the effectiveness of our human development program.
A Challenge. I know that academic advisors impact lives. We need ways to capture the success of students and to share this information with the world. Therefore, I issue you a challenge: As academic advisors, I ask that you build your programs based on student learning outcomes. In doing this, remember to create relationships from the pre-kindergarten through the university level, build relationships with faculty, focus on student learning outcomes, and discover ways to measure and improve results. To do this, you must stay current on the best practices for educating diverse populations and shape programs based on proven successes. Finally, use technology to support student success and to tell the world about the difference you make in the lives of today's students.
President, Cedar Valley College
Dallas County Community College District
Harvey-Smith, A., Peterka, C., and Sullivan, C. (2005). 'The Community College of Baltimore County Learning Outcomes in Student Services Plan 2006.' Developed in conjunction with the Mary land State Vice Presidents and Deans of Student Services Learning Outcomes in Students Services Project.
O' Bannion, T. (1997). A Learning College for the 21st Century. Phoenix, Arizona: American Council on Education and the Oryx Press, 1997.
Wingspread Group on Higher Education. (1993). 'An American Imperative: Higher Expectations for Higher Education.' Racine, WI: The Johnson Foundation, Inc. 1993.
From the President: Building on Our Past, Strengthening Our Future
Susan Campbell, NACADA President
Nancy Walburn, NACADA Vice President
Once again, the NACADA Annual Conference was a resounding success! The breadth, depth, and quality of presentations from the pre-conference workshops through the concurrent and poster sessions were truly outstanding. Over and over again, colleagues with whom we had the opportunity to speak during the course of the short week indicated how impressed they were with the information being presented and the commitment to student success that was evident by all. Our shared commitment to student success reinforces our own observations about NACADA's membership, that is, we are, indeed, a community of teachers-scholars-learners. We fluidly move from role to role unselfishly sharing our knowledge and ideas for practice and, simultaneously, learning from each other. Who could ask for more?
We are not only proud to be members of this community, we are humbled by the fact that, for 2006-2007, we are serving in the leadership roles of president and vice-president. In these roles, our goal is simple, that is-to continue to build upon the strengths of the Association to ensure the sustainability of NACADA. Clearly, our strengths are many. Our membership has grown more than 40% over the past three years, the number of professional development opportunities offered continues to increase, and relationships with our brother/sister organizations in higher education have become more solidified through an increasing number of collaborative projects. All of this work is exciting and evidence of the importance of academic advising to higher education, and it is work we will further during this year with our theme of Building on Our Past, Strengthening Our Future .
If this theme sounds broad, let us assure you that it is-and intentionally so! First, in any organization, it is important to build upon past initiatives and, in particular, those that are just beginning and hold promise. The Emerging Leaders Program and NACADA's Diversity initiatives are two such initiatives. These activities support the principles of inclusion upon which this Association is grounded and thus, it is critically important that we continue to focus effort in these areas. At its first meeting at the end of the Annual Conference in Indianapolis, the 2006-2007 Board of Directors approved moving forward on the Emerging Leaders Program, supporting both the conceptual bases upon which the Program was developed and the programmatic initiatives intended to encourage and develop new members. The intent of the Emerging Leaders Program is to provide opportunities-and support-for NACADA members and, in particular, those from underrepresented groups. This initiative complements the work of Jo Anne Huber and Jane Jacobson, who identified the need within our Association to find ways to engage young professionals to ensure the sustainability of NACADA. The continued efforts of Ben Chamberlain (Iowa State University) and Nathan Vickers (University of Texas-Austin) hold much promise for continuing that successful program.
Second, inasmuch as we need to build upon our past, we also need to look to our future as an Association. As we complete our third and enter our fourth year under our current organizational framework, it is time to strengthen the underpinnings of this structure in order to support the work of this ever-growing, member-driven association. In this regard, reviewing organizational documents such as by-laws and governance to ensure their currency and to strengthen the relationship between them is an important (albeit not particularly visible or sexy) activity in which to engage. It is with this 'down and dirty' work that the Board of Directors will spend much of its time during 2006-2007. In the end, we will have addressed and codified policies and practices that will serve the Association well as it continues to grow and develop.
Third, even as we support initiatives that have begun and strengthen our organizational foundation, it remains critically important to expand our programs and, in the end, strengthen our voices within the national and international higher education communities. Collaborative work with our brother/sister associations such as the National Resource Center on the First Year Experience and Students in Transition, NASPA, AASCU, and AAC&U is important to the academic advising profession. Internationally, we need to celebrate and build upon the work our Canadian colleagues have begun-adopt associational language and behavior that acknowledges the fact that the reach of NACADA already extends beyond national boundaries! In the end, the focus of our collaborative efforts should not be only with organizations external to us, but with and for each other. In this way, we can and will build upon our past, and strengthen our future.
We look forward to working with you all on this agenda.
Susan Campbell, President
National Academic Advising Association
Nancy Walburn, Vice President
National Academic Advising Association
From the Executive Director: Members are Moving this Association Forward
Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director
WOW! What a Conference and what outstanding work by your Association's volunteer leaders! We all appreciate the willingness of our colleagues to share their expertise by presenting pre-conference and concurrent sessions at our state, regional, and annual conferences, and we thank them for their work as we gather ideas and support to enhance advising at our institutions. In addition, many members also volunteer to serve the Association through participation in its operation and governance.
NACADA's shared governance structure encourages members to get involved with the Association and provides a variety of opportunities for various degrees of involvement - from committee or task force membership within one of the Divisions to the Board of Directors. Each position provides an opportunity to be involved and to shape the work of the Association while exercising your leadership skills. Many meetings take place around or during the Annual Conference, and Indianapolis was no exception. The results of some of that work are:
- NCAA Initiatives- Members of the Advising Student Athletes Commission met with Executive Office staff to provide input on the content of the two new NCAA partnership initiatives - an on-line course and an Institute.
- Institute Advisory Boards- The Institute Advisory Boards reviewed curricula for the 2007 Institutes, discussed options for participant follow-up to enhance their experience, and considered pre- and post-Webinars for participants.
- Consultants Bureau Advisory Board- This new Advisory Board began their task of reviewing the purpose and operation of the Consultants Bureau with the goal of recommending a stronger service for the members.
- Publication Advisory Board- After a review of all NACADA Publications, they discussed a timeline for reviewing older publications to determine the need for updating and long range planning for publications to meet the needs of the membership.
- Publications under development- Editors and others met to discuss timelines and content for upcoming NACADA monographs and Jossey-Bass books. Content Review Board s are continually working with the authors and editors.
- Diversity Committee- In anticipation of Board approval of their proposed Emerging Leader Program, this group began development of criteria and implementation details for a Fall 2007 class debut.
- Member Career Services Committee- Reviewed the results of their recent member survey and began developing strategies to address the issues and needs of the membership.
- Membership Committee- Developed strategies for recruiting and retaining members and strategies for connecting with underrepresented populations in higher education.
- Professional Development Committee- Reviewed current initiatives and discussed the revision of the Family Guide and its proposed translation into Spanish, as well as updating the Training Video.
- Research Committee- Continued their work to systematically engage members in research and began work on updating the NACADA research agenda and research goals.
- Finance Committee- Along with Budget review, this committee reviewed the external financial audit of the Association, discussed a policy on author/editor honoraria, and recommended a policy on non-reimbursement of alcohol as part of the $35 per diem expenses.
- Regional Division- Discussed enhancing the reporting system, the use of technology to enhance Division communications, and strategies for attracting new members.
- Administrative Division- Recommended approval of the Emerging Leaders Program and cleaning up of membership categories.
- Commission & Interest Group Division- Approved the move to commission status of the Theory and Philosophy of Advising Interest Group and discussed many issues relevant to the Division.
- Council- Welcomed a new Commission, appointed a task force to review the reporting format for Division units; advanced the Emerging Leader Program proposal to the Board with their endorsement; recommended elimination of some old membership categories.
- Board of Directors- Appointed a task force to review the by-laws and bring them into compliance with the current governance structure and operations; discussed the future relationship with Kansas State University and the organization's sustainability in relation to what KSU provides for the Executive Office; adopted the Task Force's 'Concept of Advising' document as a statement by the Association; reviewed with a consultant the role of the Board and how it should conduct business; accepted the 2007 association budget; approved an international partnership with the United Kingdom to co-sponsor an annual conference; identified diversity and leadership as areas of strategic focus for the Divisions for 2007.
A large and diverse group of members are involved in moving this Association into the future. Their work is vital to the Association's continued growth and to its success in contributing to the field and its members!
Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, Executive Director
National Academic Advising Association
Board of Directors Approve NACADA's Concept of Academic Advising Statement
At their October 21, 2006 meeting, the NACADA Board of Directors approved the proposed NACADA Concept of Academic Advising Statement.
In October 2005, NACADA President Jo Anne Huber appointed a task force, chaired by Past Presidents Ruth Darling (University of Tennessee Knoxville) and Eric White (Penn State), to develop a definition of academic advising for the Association that could guide the work done by our members at their institutions. The members of the Task Force included Peter Hagen (Richard Stockton University), Tom Grites (Richard Stockton University), Joyce Buck (Penn State), Russ Tiberii (Saint Mary's College of California), and Charlie Nutt (Kansas State University/NACADA Executive Office).
The Task Force began their discussions and work via e-mail and phone teleconferences and then met face-to-face at Richard Stockton University in January 2006. During the group's work several key issues came to light:
- A definition was too limiting and restrictive - too narrow in focus - while a concept would be broader and would provide for a conceptual approach to advising that is intentional. Academic advising is a complex process and a definition would limit the complexity of the process.
- Academic advising must be clearly discussed in the context of teaching and learning.
- The concept must identify both what academic advising is and what it should be.
- The concept must focus on the varied audiences that are concerned with academic advising.
- The concept must be bold but not defensive in regard to how the Association must be the leader in the field of academic advising.
The Task Force built a concept that included three primary components for academic advising:
- The curriculum of academic advising- The 'WHAT' of advising
- The pedagogy of academic advising- The 'HOW' of advising
- The student learning outcomes of advising- The 'RESULTS' of advising
The draft of the NACADA Concept of Academic Advising was vetted through a variety of constituency groups, including presentations and open forums at all ten of the NACADA Region meetings in spring 2006. Members were given the opportunity to discuss with one or more of the Task Force members the development of the Concept Statement as well as their concerns, issues, or suggestions for the statement. The input from the Regional Conferences was very positive in regard to the draft and invaluable to the Task Force as they continued their work on the concept.
In addition, members of the Task Force utilized the draft as they worked with advising groups on their own campuses and on other campuses as well. Once again, the responses from these groups were very positive due to the statement's recognition of the complexity of academic advising, its focus on teaching and learning, and the clearly defined components of academic advising.
One major issue that was brought to light was in regard to how the Concept of Advising Statement might be used on campuses. The Task Force felt strongly that the Concept was one of three major resources that the Association can provide to our members as they work to enhance, expand, and improve academic advising. These resources are:
NACADA is pleased to provide this new resource to our members and encourages you all to utilize the Concept of Academic Advising as you work on your campuses.
Get Back on Track: The Philosophy and Implementation of Richland College's Suspension-to-Probation Program
Tara D. Thompson, Richland College
They sit in front of us, sometimes dejected, sometimes irreverent, always wondering, "What does this mean? What's going to happen now?" Students who have earned academic suspension status are generally uneasy about speaking with an academic advisor, even though they may not tell us. Some did not realize that they were suspended until they came to register for classes. Many have lots of 'reasons' why they are in academic trouble. ALL of them need us! How can we approach these students to best meet their educational, occupational, and sometimes personal, needs?
The Richland College suspension advisors believe that each suspension student has arrived at this point as a result of very individual issues. At the first opportunity, students are asked to put in writing their explanations for how they got to this point and their ideas for how they can help themselves get back on track. To help them brainstorm factors that contributed to their suspension, these students are given a list of specific reasons/issues and asked to mark all those that apply to their situations (i.e. poor study skills, work, outside responsibilities, etc.). Advisors then use this information to coordinate a plan of action for, and with, the student. The advisors' message to the students is clear: students must accept responsibility and be part of the process that gets them back on track.
This plan of action always includes face-to-face meetings between advisors and students during the semester. These meetings give each student and advisor a chance to build rapport and strengthen their partnership. The advisor has an opportunity to listen to the student's most important educational needs, ask questions, and provide referral to appropriate resources. Our program encourages and supports one-on-one communication that can help students feel more comfortable speaking not only with their advisor, but with their instructors, fellow students, and resource personnel. Modeling this type of interaction helps students see how they can get more out of their educations when they converse with others - ask and answer questions.
Many students with recurring academic problems need campus resources that can help expand their skills sets. Our program helps build bridges to these programs through people on campus and in the community who can assist students address a variety of needs. One student action plan may include tutoring sessions and attendance at a time management program while another may require completion of the Learning Frameworks course. This course is a combination of study skills, enhancement of basic reading/writing/math skills, time management issues, goal setting, career decision making, etc. Most importantly, students benefit from discovering their own learning styles. They understand how their learning styles may differ from faculty teaching styles, and they learn how to cope using a variety of strategies and techniques.
Tutoring sessions, the time-management program, and face-to-face advisor meetings come together with other parts of students' action plans to help students in two ways. First, as students repeat courses and attempt to earn better grades, the newly learned skills and new mindset make the job much easier. Second, as students complete new coursework, they are armed with a much larger repertoire of study techniques and strategies.
Advisors can help instill students with the desire needed to achieve the highest grades possible; they help students understand that 'average,' or 'C-level' work is just not good enough for scholarships, grants, and admission to their transfer university of choice. In many cases, students who earn As and Bs never want to go back to being average or below. Sometimes, working through an action plan helps suspension students experience success for the first time - a thrill for student and advisor alike.
In order to determine the best method to follow up with students, each suspension advisor requires the student to make individual contact with each of their instructors or requires students to self-report their progress in each class. Either way, information gathered is helpful in determining how we can further assist each student as the next registration period approaches. Individual attention helps retain many of our academically suspended students for the semester and most return for the next semester. Keeping these students involved helps us boost the retention level of our campus as a whole. With higher retention comes a greater number of successful students who ultimately graduate! Almost 50% of those in the program earn a 2.0 GPA or higher and improve their overall GPA to get back to 'good' academic standing.
All of this leads to improved accountability on the part of each student; this in turn provides support for our program and for academic advising in general. We believe that when students learn to use available resources that they are better prepared to meet not only their academic challenges but the other challenges in their lives. Next time you look at the transcript of a student who has been academically suspended, remember to hold judgment until you hear what the student has to say. In the end, you might be surprised at how much of a difference you can make!
Tara D. Thompson
The Career Coach: Ensuring Student Success at the Sharjah Higher College of Technology, United Arab Emirates
Nawal Majeed and Rafeef Dahir, Sharjah Higher College of Technology
Reprinted with permission
Every academic year, approximately 500 new students enroll at Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology pursuing their higher education in one of the top colleges in the Arabian Gulf region. The students, all female United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals, come mainly from public schools within the Northern Emirates; most have weak academic and life skills. Within the first academic year, these students are faced with challenges that include making the transition from high school to college, studying in a foreign language, choosing their major of study, and functioning in a very different cultural and social environment. Under such circumstances, making the right choices can be an overwhelming experience. To address student needs, the career and academic advisors teamed together to develop a program that supports and ensures student persistence and success.
The program, Career Coach, comprises a series of personal and career developmental workshops supported by a powerful, interactive e-profile tool. Each class, in year one, attends a weekly hour workshop with a counselor to address one of the Career Coach themes. The workshops revolve around three main themes: Self Exploration, Life Skills, and the Job Search Process. In their first semester, students participate in a series of workshops to explore their personal styles, values, characteristics, and learning styles. Students are introduced to college life, academic expectations, rules and regulations in an attempt to support them as they settle in their new environment. In the second semester, workshops are aimed at supporting students personal and academic development with sessions that revolve around building self esteem, setting goals, time management, communication skills and style, team work, assessment management and presentation skills.
As students advance through the workshops, they discover and reflect upon valuable personal information that can be utilized at different stages of their academic lives and career choices. To help students retain this information, an electronic profile was developed where students can answer questionnaires related to each subject and gain personalized feedback based on their answers. The feedback highlights their strengths and encourages the development of action plans to overcome any weaknesses they may have discovered. The interactive nature of the e-profile allows students to gain individual feedback that can help tailor decisions to their own personal needs and preferences. In turn, this helps students make educated decisions about the major that they would like to pursue at the end of their first year.
The delivery of the workshops is conducted in a friendly and relaxed environment that encourages student involvement and interaction. Scheduling of the workshops for all new students provides counselors with the opportunity to bond with students and tackle issues of concern. The workshops have become so popular that students have requested that they be offered in their second year at college. To meet this need, new workshops were developed to help students cope with the pressure of their chosen majors and develop leadership skills. As students develop each year, they are encouraged to revisit their electronic profile to re-evaluate their skills and update their profile as needed. Before entering their senior year, students complete the Self Exploration and Life Skills sections of the Career Coach before embarking upon the Job Search Process.
Completion of the first two sections provides students with the opportunity to become more aware of their individual personalities, attitudes, aspirations and vocational interests. In their senior year, students are scheduled to attend workshops that cover the job search process. These workshops are intended to prepare students for the work place. The workshops introduce students to job search skills and the e-profile allows them to reflect upon their readiness to begin the process. The aim is to ensure that all students are aware of effective job search techniques. By working through the e-profile, they identify the areas that need further development and can seek individual support from the counselor.
Students who complete the program have come full circle in the career exploration cycle. By completing the cycle, they are well aware of their personality styles and are well equipped with life skills and the techniques needed to rigorously enter the job market upon graduation.
Not only does the e-profile benefit students, it is also an excellent tool that can be utilized by the academic advisors when students come for individual advising sessions. The profile allows advisors to have in-depth information regarding each student.
Approximately 1000 first-year students have completed the Career Coach program. Although it is difficult to separate all the factors that contribute to student success, students who have completed the program have reported in focus groups that the program helped them settle into college life, build effective personal skills, and set a course of action for future careers.
Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology
Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology
Advising Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Students
Lisa Forest, University of North Texas
Most academic advisors have worked with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT) students, although they may not have realized it. Sexual orientation and gender identities are 'hidden' and often must be deliberately disclosed before others become aware. In order to better serve GLBT students, academic advisors need to create an affirming environment so students feel safe discussing their concerns. Otherwise, we lose an important opportunity to help GLBT students prepare for the academic and professional barriers they may face.
The challenges GLBT students and professionals encounter are frequently the result of laws, institutions, and cultural norms that have a homonegative or heterosexist basis. Heterosexism is the bias that heterosexuality is superior to, or more natural than, homosexuality or bisexuality. Heterosexism functions as the glue that holds barriers (e.g., discrimination, oppression, stigmatization, etc.) against GLBT persons in place. For example, because no federal law exists that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, GLBT persons are often confronted with job security concerns and have credible reason to fear being a target of discrimination.
Advisors must understand how identity management (i.e., deciding when and if to disclose one's sexual or gender identity) affects students' academic success and career decision-making. We should be prepared to help students discern and prioritize their career values so they can make well-informed decisions. Additionally, advisors should become knowledgeable about the realities of oppression and provide students with guidance based in research.
Although research in this area has increased during the past ten years, there is still a dearth of information regarding academic and career development in the GLBT population (Schmidt, 2003). A review of the literature revealed significant barriers GLBT students encounter. GLBT students reported harassment in classrooms and dorms, professors who neglected or negated academic discussion of GLBT-related issues, the detrimental effect of faculty and staff who presume heterosexuality, lost time devoted to studies to protect themselves from discrimination, and daily monitoring of the environment to make wise identity management decisions (Lopez & Chism, 1993). Gay and lesbian students have survived gay-related hate crimes on college campuses and wrestled with feelings of isolation (Leider, 2000). Lesbian women have perceived less respect and acceptance on campus than their heterosexual female peers (Thomlinson & Fassinger, 2003).
Simultaneous identities development
Individuals frequently crystallize social and career identities during adolescence. GLBT adolescents undergo an additional challenge associated with the integration of a stigmatized sexual or gender identity. Utilizing one's psychological energy to defend against societal rejection and oppression detracts from energy given to academic and professional development (Schmidt, 2003). Indeed, many gays and lesbians report their academic and professional pursuits are compromised or placed 'on hold' during their coming out process (Boatwright, Gilbert, Forrest, and Ketzenberger, 1996; Dunkle, 1996; Fassinger, 1996; Leider, 2000; Lopez and Chism, 1993; Mobley & Slaney, 1996; Tomlinson & Fassinger, 2003), sometimes prompting faculty, advisors, and students themselves to falsely conclude they are professionally immature or 'behind' (Prince, 1995).
Importance of affirming environment
Many people cannot successfully complete developmental stages unless they feel emotionally safe (Rheineck, 2005), making an affirming campus climate crucial to the successful academic development of GLBT students (Bieschke & Matthews, 1996; Degges-White & Shoffner, 2002; Fassinger, 1996; Leider, 2000; Lopez & Chism, 1993; Mobley & Slaney, 1996; Nauta, Saucier, & Woodard, 2001; Rheineck, 2005; Tomlinson & Fassinger, 2003). So important is climate, that it has more influence on the career development of lesbians than the degree to which they accept their sexual orientation (Tomlinson and Fassinger, 2003). (The process of discovering, accepting, disclosing, and celebrating one's sexual identity to oneself and to others, termed sexual identity development, is often conceptualized using the theories put forth by Cass, 1979, or McCarn & Fassinger, 1996.)
Nauta, Saucier, & Woodard (2001) found that GLB students reported significantly less support for their academic and career development than their heterosexual peers, a strong need for role models, and a preference for GLB role models or heterosexual role models who are GLB allies. Allies and GLB role models are important parts of an affirming campus climate.
GLBT individuals utilize identity management to cope with discrimination (Chung, 2001), and advisors should be prepared to thoroughly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of disclosing one's sexual or gender identity at work or on campus. For example, students should know that closeted gays and lesbians tend to be less satisfied in their work than 'out' workers (Day & Schoenrade, 1997; Degges-White & Shoffner, 2002). Closeted employees report more internal conflicts (i.e., interpret their non-disclosure as betraying their true identities and their group), anxiety, fear that their sexual orientation will be discovered, and the pressure of vigilantly maintaining a false identity (Boatwright, Gilbert, Forrest, & Ketzenberger).
There are benefits to remaining in the closet, however. Closeted lesbians tend to earn more money, report fewer feelings of isolation and instances of harassment, and experience more networking and advancement opportunities than lesbians who have come out (Degges-White & Shoffner, 2002; House, 2004). Regardless of identity management strategy, though, some discrimination is unavoidable. For example, many GLBT employees do not receive the same benefits that are granted to heterosexuals, such as health insurance for their life partners or use of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
To facilitate the career development of GLBT students at the University of North Texas and to increase their perception of UNT as a supportive environment, the GLBT Career Development program was developed and is implemented each semester at UNT. In the program, student participants discuss and prepare for the academic and professional barriers of greatest importance to them. Additionally, they focus on developing effective coping strategies, including an identity management strategy. The program seeks to increase GLBT students' commitment to, and self-confidence in, achieving their academic and professional goals. Request more information, including the results of a follow-up study, by contacting me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was intended to facilitate a greater understanding of the needs and concerns of GLBT students and future professionals. I am sincerely grateful to advisors who give of their time and talents to help bring about equal opportunity for all student populations.
University of North Texas
Bieschke, K.J. & Matthews, C. (1996). Career counselor attitudes and behaviors toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48, 243-255.
Boatwright, K.J., Gilbert, M.S., Forrest, L., Ketzenberger, K. (1996). Impact of identity development upon career trajectory: Listening to the voices of lesbian women. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48, 210-228.
Cass, V.C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4, 219-235.
Chung, Y.B. (2001). Work discrimination and coping strategies: Conceptual frameworks for counseling lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. The Career Development Quarterly, 50, 33-44.
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Degges-White, S., Shoffner, M.F. (2002). Career counseling with lesbian clients: Using the theory of work adjustment as a framework. Career Development Quarterly, 51, 87-96.
Dunkle, J.H. (1996). Toward an integration of gay and lesbian identity development and Super's Life-Span approach. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48, 149-159.
Fassinger, R.E. (1996). Notes from the margins: Integrating lesbian experience into the vocational psychology of women. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48, 160-175.
House, C.J.C. (2004). Integrating barriers to Caucasian lesbians' career development and Super's Life-Span, Life-Space approach. Career Development Quarterly, 52, 246-255.
Leider, S. (2000). Sexual minorities on community college campuses. (Report No. EDO-JC-00-03). Washington D.C : Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED447841)
Lopez, G. & Chism, N. (1993). Classroom concerns of gay and lesbian students. College Teaching, 41 (3), 97-104.
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Mobley, M., & Slaney, R.B. (1996). Holland 's theory: Its relevance for lesbian women and gay men. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48, 125-135.
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Schmidt, K. (2003). The effects of simultaneous developmental processes: The prediction of career development outcomes for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri Kansas City, 2003). Dissertation Abstracts International, 65, 842.
Tomlinson, M.J., & Fassinger, R.E. (2003). Career Development, lesbian identity development, and campus climate among lesbian college students. Journal of College Student Development, 44 (6), 845-860.
Web-Based Instructional Models: Applications to Advising
Anita Carter, Wayne State University
There are many benefits to utilizing the active learning environment of web-based instruction. The effectiveness of any learning environment is based upon the types and levels of cognitive and metacognitive activity engendered in the learning process (Oliver, 1996). Learning is enhanced in active environments in which students are engaged in processing personally relevant content and reflection during the learning process. Web-based instruction facilitates student-centered approaches and an active learning environment rich with visual and audio stimuli (Winfield, 1998). It can provide a medium that supports learning in an active learning environment and the ability to track skills and identify gaps in knowledge. It allows for reflective time in the learning process and a degree of participation well beyond that which is possible within the time constraints of a place-based session (Parker, 1998).
Such instruction transforms the concept of the classroom from a physical place to a conceptual area where teaching and learning occur at any time, the learner has control of content and sequence, and content can be updated constantly (Joo, 1999; Barron, 1998). It allows access to a variety of cultural experiences in context via media that might otherwise be out of reach for the learners, creating a richness of experience that might be lacking in a traditional classroom.
Web-based instruction lends itself to various types of learning along a continuum from linear (where minimal links act to connect nodes in specified sequence) to hierarchical (where some potential to choose a path through the materials is permitted) to totally unstructured (where users are free to move between associated nodes through referential links with very little structure imposed) (Oliver, 1996). It provides both visual and audio stimuli to enhance the learning experience, encourages higher order learning by encouraging browsing and exploration, and allows data input by the user into a database file or e-mail that is activated when the learner needs help from the instructor (Winfield, 1998; Oliver, 1996; Eaton, 1996).
While it is impossible to predict how learners will process information, interact, and use instructional material, the Web offers many opportunities to design instruction that will be useful for learners with various learning styles and abilities (Wild, 1996). What is required is a different mind-set that includes an emphasis on coaching and facilitation rather than teaching (Greengard, 1999). Additionally, Web-based instruction presents its own set of weaknesses, such as fragmentation of information, which must be overcome with appropriate strategies within the instructional design. Therefore, careful planning is essential.
Interactive learning environments are appropriate when the learning task contains decisions, consequences, and options; demands a high degree of learner practice; or motivation is a key concern. Involving the learner cognitively, physically, or emotionally in a program will at least engage the student/advisee in the program (Schwier, 1991).
Of the many possible design models, four seem especially helpful in creating materials related to advising: the Embedded Teacher (ET) Model, the Three Phases Navigational Model, the Model for Enhancing the Social Nature of Web-based learning, and the University of Wisconsin Learning Innovation's Model.
Embedded Teacher (ET) Model (Lohr, 1998)
The Embedded Teacher Model uses stages of the ADDIE Instructional Model in modeling the functions of a teacher in a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Functions embedded into the model are: orienting the learner, providing navigational assistance, providing instructional strategies, and providing interactive feedback. Activities at the various stages of ADDIE include:
- Analysis - orienting the learner and providing navigational tools;
- Design - providing instructional strategies and interactive feedback;
- Development - coding the GUI and creating all multimedia elements;
- Implementation - observing how learners interact with GUI;
- Evaluation - includes formative user testing of the GUI for effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal; and summative information addressing how well the product orients the learners, provides navigational assistance, presents instructional strategies, and provides interactive feedback.
This model is appropriate for any but the simplest task.
Three Phases Navigational Model (Nguyen, 1996)
The Three Phases Navigational Model has three phases, which are:
- the Orientation phase, which covers the explanation of the function of main buttons and main tasks involved;
- the Initiation phase, which provides explanation of the content of the course or lesson; and
- the Reflection phase, which allows the user to construct a conceptual map of the subject domain using simulation, and then compare it with a test module.
Applications of this model are ideal for tasks related to learning how to navigate a campus information system and acclimation to campus resources.
Model for Enhancing the Social Nature of Web-based learning(Parker, 1998)
This model is focused on the social perspective of Web-based learning. The step-by-step process is as follows:
- Present information from multiple perspectives using case studies that present diverse examples;
- Make instruction very specific;
- Create opportunities for students to develop and articulate their own representations of information;
- Emphasize students' active knowledge construction rather than passive transmission of information from instructor to student;
- Introduce students to the complexity of the information to be learned at the outset of the course to help frame the material under study;
- Stress the interconnectedness of the content to be learned; and
- Avoid oversimplification of the content. Use feedback to look for students' conceptual oversimplification and inability to apply knowledge.
Real world applications of this might include a peer advisor training or new advisor training sequence.
University of Wisconsin Learning Innovation's Model (Winfield, 1998)
This model was designed to enhance student motivation and participation for delivery of adult professional development courses. It features such learning activities as contributing to a discussion, responding to a comment, and submitting an assignment. It facilitates increasing engagement with the course content to allow students to become confident with on-line skills before being asked to perform more demanding cognitive tasks. The goals include: building up user confidence with technology, building in instructors' presence and personality, providing a clear set of learning activities, building on personal and professional experience of participants, relating content to real situation using case studies and simulation, and building in collaboration and facilitated team projects.
Real world applications of this might involve orienting students to an online probation workshop, coaching students through activities required for reinstatement, an online group meeting with students in a specific curriculum, or an online orientation program for incoming freshmen.
The Web has become a powerful instructional tool that has the potential to become the medium of choice for delivering instruction to our advisees at a distance. Realizing its true potential requires that we use it in concert with appropriate instructional design strategies.
Wayne State University
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Peers Helping Peers: First Year Students Speak
Heidi Koring, Peer Advising and Mentoring Interest Group Co-Chair
Peer advising continues to grow in undergraduate programs (Koring and Campbell, 2005, p. 9). Despite this, little research has been devoted to outcomes of peer advising or student satisfaction with the process. What research has been done indicates that peer advising has positive outcomes in terms of student involvement, academic achievement and retention (Koring and Campbell, 2005). Nelson and Fonzi (1995) discovered that 80% of students who participate in a peer advising program find the process to be satisfactory, but they do not specify the terms of satisfaction (p. 42).
To understand the peer advising process in greater detail, this author examined comments from Lynchburg College 's 2005 survey of first year students, which queried 613 students concerning 42 peer advisors. Personal pronouns are substituted for names. Information about the peer advising program may be found at the Lynchburg College Connections webpage.
Peer advisors are most helpful to new students during the transition period by offering insider's information and by being a familiar face in the crowd. First year students comment:
- He 'helped me understand and learn how to adjust to life in college;'
- She 'was there to help me find groups in the community and on campus where I fit in;'
- He 'was a face to say hi to in a sea of unknown faces.'
Peer advisors were not usually mentioned as being helpful with specific academic matters unless they shared a major with their advisees. However, they were extremely helpful in teaching time management, goal setting and study strategies as the following comments show:
- He 'helped me see what my priorities should be in college;'
- She 'helped me learn how to manage my time;'
- He 'seemed actually to care about the different problems I was having with concentrating, focusing and studying and showed me where to go to get help with those things.'
As the last comment indicates, peer advisors' referral skills are valued by the students they advise. Students note:
- He 'clearly stated where resources and offices were located on campus when we needed them;'
- She 'helped us set up meetings with different people on campus;'
- He 'was able to teach me where everything was located so when I had to go to the computer lab or the writing center, I knew where it was.'
Why are peers so helpful to new students? Peer advisors are available at times, in places, and through communication channels not always used by advisors and administrators. The surveyed students valued this availability as seen by the following comments:
- She 'always had her door open night or day;'
- He 'says hello when he sees me in the dorm or dining hall;'
- She 'is readily available through Internet, cell phone, and instant messaging.'
Peers have validity that advisors, faculty and administrators lack because of peers' recent experience with college transition as the following comments demonstrate:
- He 'was a person I could come to if I had any problems because he has been through them.'
- She 'discussed the struggles and expectations of college on a more personal level, as one who had actually been there and experienced it.'
- He 'related some of his experiences with what I may have encountered or others may have encountered.'
Peer advisors have personal traits which new students value. Traits mentioned by survey participants include enthusiasm, helpfulness, and friendliness. However, two traits are mentioned most frequently: first, openness, by which new students mean respect for differing opinions and empathetic listening skills; and second, honesty, by which freshmen mean candor. New students comment:
- She 'was very open about sharing her experiences and letting us know that the major is very hard, but it is definitely do-able;'
- He 'was a very open minded person and listened to each and every person's idea;'
- She 'gave honest answers about how to adjust to college life.'
The relationship between peer advisor and first year student is most often described as an equal relationship. Words used by new students to describe the relationship with the peer mentor are often the same words used to describe friendships.
- He 'was a friend to all of us when we had no friends coming in to school;'
- She 'did not talk to us as freshmen. She made herself like a friend who we can talk to about anything.'
This sense of equality was often contrasted with a perceived inequality shown by upperclass students, faculty and administrators.
- She 'never looked down on us as freshmen, but as an equal:'
- He 'did not pretend to be one of our professors. He treated us like friends that he cared about.'
This friendship is a primus inter pares, or 'first among equals.' First year students referred to peer advisors as role models, mentors, and older siblings.
- She 'was a very good role model in the way of being a successful student, balancing work and play;'
- 'Although I only saw him once a week for fifty minutes, he is practically my best friend/mentor.'
- She 'was more of an older and wiser sibling than a drab administrator.'
This information is especially helpful to those training peer advisors. Training for time management, goal setting and study strategies is important since this is an area in which peer instruction is particularly effective. Interpersonal communication, especially in immediacy behaviors and empathetic listening, is important for peer advisors to master. Referring effectively is also a central skill. Finally, training should include a discussion of roles and boundaries, specifically how to be accessible without relinquishing personal space and how to present as 'first among equals' to maximize the positive value of peer advising.
Koring, H., & Campbell, S. (2005). Peer advising: intentional connections to support student learning. (NACADA Monograph No. 13). Manhattan, KS: National Academic advising Association.
Nelson, E., & Fonzi, G. (1995). An effective peer advising program in a large psychology department. NACADA Journal 15 (2), 42-43.
Creating an Academic Advising Guide for Families of New Students
Alison K. Hoff, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
If asked why they chose their profession, most academic advisors would not respond 'I love working with parents!' or ' Parents are my passion! ' Nonetheless, parents are more involved in every decision made by today's traditional-aged students.
The Action Plan I crafted at the 2005 NACADA Summer Institute focused on the interactions between our academic advisors, IPFW students and their families. My charge was to find a way to include family in the advising conversation without taking attention away from student development and still work within FERPA guidelines. I applied the following process, adapted from Robert Sternberg's (1987) Successful Intelligence, to this issue.
1. Recognize the Problem
In recent years, IPFW academic advisors have experienced an increase in family involvement during student appointments. Keeling (2003) defines today's traditional-aged college freshmen as members of the Millennial Generation (born between 1982 and 2003). Howe and Strauss (2000) suggest that members of this generation share several traits, such as being cooperative, team players, sheltered, confident, and feeling special. As a whole, this group has been protected by parents and society.
Brownstein (2000) notes that Millennial Parents 'give new meaning to the word overprotective.' They demand information and seek to be more connected to their student's school life. Called 'helicopter parents' because they tend to 'hover' over their children, these parents are often unhappy if they are asked to separate from their student for academic advising and registration sessions during summer orientation. Many of these parents refuse to attend parent sessions in favor of 'hovering' over their children during academic advising.
2. Define the problem
Many parents want to be involved in academic advising and assist in student decision making, even though federal law (FERPA) prohibits sharing of most student academic information without prior student approval. Academic advisors are faced with a dilemma: how to comply with the law without denying students support from their families. The answer lies in our willingness to create an environment that helps students realize their autonomy to develop educational plans consistent with their personal goals while still addressing the needs of their parents. Good communication is the key.
3. Formulate a strategy
To address the issue, I created an on-line academic advising guide for parents and families. This guide gives the details of the academic advising process and provides discussion questions parents and families can ask their student prior to orientation. The guide is available as a discussion tool during the parent orientation sessions. An on-line comment/questions section is also available. Hard copy business-sized cards with the Web site information are provided for front desk and advisor use.
4. How to 'sell' the solution
Who needs to have 'buy in' to get the project such as this one moving? The campus advising council? The orientation office? Other possibilities include Admissions, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the academic advising staff, the parent program director, and parent orientation leaders.
5. Allocate Resources
Probably the scarcest resource involved in this project is time. Surprisingly, crafting the guide did not take nearly as much time as expected. The development of the project started in early August and was ready for use the next June. Actual funding for a guide can be minimal if it exists solely on-line and is linked from other campus office Web sites (see step 4 above). While Internet-only information may deter some parents and family members from accessing the guide, many campuses have moved to all, or most, institution communication delivered electronically. To help connect parents to the guide, we created business card-sized Web link cards. These cards are handy referral tools for parents and families who come to the advising front desk with questions that cannot be answered due to FERPA.
Additional resources needed include:
- monies either to print the guide or Web post it as a PDF with the business-sized Web link cards
- access to the university Web site
- other campus's on-line academic advising/parent guides (available online through the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources )
the NACADA Family Guide to Academic Advising . At $3 this is a wonderful resource to help with format and content issues.
6. Evaluate the result.
How is success measured? This depends on the goal. Some good options are: parent orientation session evaluations, an on-line comment and question section linked to the on-line guide, the number of hits on the guide Web site. Keep the goal attainable (maybe 10-20% of possible connections) for the first year and plan to revise the goal each year as content and marketing are revised.
What content should be included?
When considering what should be included or excluded from the guide, seasoned advisors should trust their instincts and refer to examples. Advisors know typical questions asked by new traditional freshmen and their families. If this is a campus-wide guide, focus on families of ALL students, not just families of students assigned to your department for advising. Give credit in your reference section. Typically an institutional relations editor can assist with this. Also recognize that, based on the time line, the guide could be used as a marketing piece for potential students and their families. Inclusion of a welcome letter from the Chancellor or President is a nice addition. Stay connected with your University Relations office for other ideas and guidelines.
What content should be left out?
It is important to limit the scope of the parent/family advising guide in order to do justice to the topics. As an example, transfer student information and returning adult information can be added at a later date. Choose to focus on academic advising topics rather than attempting to represent the total college experience. Steer clear of undefined university jargon that can inhibit the guide's usefulness for parents and families of first generation students. Specific dates and times should not be included; this helps avoid constant updating. As an example, the last day to drop a course should not be listed; instead the reader should be linked to the Registrar's Web site that is updated on regular bases.
Designing the Final Product
The best design ideas may come from the university relations and publications offices and from examples of other parent guides listed in the NACADA Clearinghouse.
Future of the Guide
An academic advising guide for parents and families of new students can be a starting point for campus information. Depending on the campus needs, potential additions could be endless. As an example, the addition of an interactive Web link with commentary by students, parents/families, and academic advisors could be developed. If the guide is to be printed rather than published on-line, additional funding will need to be secured.
The IPFW parent/family handbook is an example of one creative advising idea that was developed at a NACADA Summer Institute. Access the IPFW parent handbook here.
Alison K. Hoff
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
Bigger, J.J. (2005). Improving the Odds for Freshman Success. Retrieved November 16, 2006 from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/First-Year.htm
Brownstein, A. (2000, October 13). The next generation? The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2000). Millennials Rising: The next great generation. New York: Vintage Books.
Keeling, S. (2003). Advising the millennial generation. NACADA Journal, 23 (1&2), 30-36.
Jones, L. P., & Purvis, L. L. F. (2002, February). The freshman advocate: The new advising tool for retention. Session presented at the NACADA Region 4 Conference, Callaway Gardens, GA.
Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The history of America 's future, 1584 to 2069. New York: Quill/William/Morrow.
Sternberg, R. J. (1997). Successful intelligence: how practical and creative intelligence determine success in life. New York: Penguin Putnam.
Adventures in Assessment - A Team Approach
Louise Cecil, Sharon Jacobsen, and Deborah Littleton, University of Alabama at Birmingham
The highly decentralized advising system at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) makes it difficult to gain a reliable view of the effectiveness of advising on campus. In response to the developing emphasis on campus toward assessment, a team of advisors was asked to lead an initiative to address this need. As representatives of the UAB advising community, we were asked by the administrators of our institution to attend the 2005 NACADA Assessment of Academic Advising Institute to begin the assessment process. Although we were from three different units, we were able to utilize our campus wide Committee on Academic Advising (CAA) to provide the structure for this project. The result of our two-year effort is a comprehensive approach to assessment that will be implemented university wide.
In February 2005, the UAB assessment team traveled to the three-day Institute. This working Institute offered three levels of experience, which incorporated presentations by the Institute leaders and time in small groups to work on individual campus needs. As beginners in assessment, we participated in level one, led by Charlie Nutt and Susan Campbell, which included organizing the components of assessment and defining its terms. Through this experience, we gained an understanding of the multifaceted nature of developing an assessment program at UAB. We found it valuable to have a team working on our unique concerns at the Institute.
Upon our return to campus, the assessment team met every other week for three months to integrate new vocabulary and concepts learned at the Institute into a process for our campus. In May 2005, we led a one day workshop for the advising community to develop values, mission, advising delivery goals, delivery outcomes, and student learning outcomes. Approximately 30 faculty and professional advisors participated in small group exercises that we designed.
This workshop was an interactive day to promote participant ownership of the assessment process at UAB. With an emphasis on advising as teaching and learning incorporated from the Institute, we presented this concept in our workshop through games and brainstorming in small and large groups. The group developed a mission statement and identified advising delivery goals and outcomes.
There was still much work that needed to be completed before we could design a comprehensive assessment plan that could be embraced across units. In late May, the assessment team led three follow up meetings where ten to fifteen advisors worked together to revisit the components developed at the workshop. These advisors became loyal participants in the assessment process. Electronic communication was maintained during this time to keep all advisors informed. We finalized the mission statement, advising delivery goals, delivery outcomes, and student learning outcomes. Using the template from the Assessment Institute, we devised an academic advising syllabus to be adapted by each advising unit on campus.
The advising syllabus informs students of advisor and advisee responsibilities as well as expected student learning outcomes. This tool has been adopted by advisors across campus with the understanding that if students are required to participate in assessment on our campus, we must identify our expectations for both advisor and student. The syllabus is now given to students at New Student Orientation.
Now we were ready to develop our assessment instruments. Understanding the importance of key stakeholders in this process, we decided to connect with resources on campus conversant with statistical testing and analysis of instruments. In late summer 2005, we asked the Interim Chair of the Department of Communication Studies, Larry Powell, to join our team. Provided with the delivery goals and outcomes, he was able to create a survey instrument using a Likert scale. Powell ran a pilot study with several of his communication studies classes to test the validity and reliability of the questions. Several questions were discarded at this time. The feedback from the pilot study allowed us to complete the instrument for the 2006 NACADA Assessment Institute.
Our team was also joined by Ed Cook of the Department of Psychology, faculty representative on the CAA Steering Committee. He volunteered to create an advising test as a product of the expected student learning outcomes for the academic advising experience. We plan to pilot this additional instrument in the upcoming year.
Our goal at the 2006 NACADA Assessment of Academic Advising Institute was to formulate an Action Plan for implementing assessment on our campus. With two instruments in hand, we had clearly defined goals for the Institute. At our individual meeting with Institute faculty member and group facilitator Rich Robbins, we were provided feedback on our assessment tools, suggestions for a pilot study, and recommendations for an on-line survey mechanism. He was generous with his encouragement and support throughout this process.
In April, we met with the CAA steering committee to present our findings from the Assessment Institute with the goal of maintaining the support and involvement of the advising community. It was suggested that we meet withDave Corlissof the UAB Office of Planning and Analysis to inquire of existing resources on campus to assist with implementation. After several meetings with the assessment team, Corliss was instrumental in developing an online survey through Zoomerang. With the support of the faculty of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the online instrument was piloted with two introductory classes in sociology and history in summer 2006. Students were asked to complete the survey on the Zoomerang Web site; there was a 38% return. Now that we are confident of the reliability of our instrument, we can proceed with university-wide implementation.
From the very beginning we were fortunate to have the support of UAB administration, Nancy Walburn, Director of General Studies, Bert Brouwer, Dean of Arts and Humanities, and Tennant McWilliams, Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Without the leadership of our NACADA colleagues and the Assessment Institute, we could not have moved forward with this process. Our experience has been a rewarding one because of the team approach and the collaboration and support from all levels on our campus.
Academic Advisor in the School of Arts and Humanities
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Academic Advisor in the Division of General Studies
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Director of Assessment and Advising in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
University of Alabama at Birmingham
QEP, NACADA and LEEP: How a Plethora of Acronyms Led One Institution to a New Model of Academic Advising
Amy Copley Tilly, Craven Community College
One acronym strikes fear into many in the south-QEP. The QEP or Quality Enhancement Plan is a requirement for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This is how one college, with NA CADA 's help, survived and thrived during its QEP journey.
The QEP is 'a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issues related to enhancing student learning' (Commission on Colleges, 2004, p. 21). SACS emphasizes that the development of the QEP must be broad-based, the topic should be creative and vital, and the project must be implemented over the long term with a five year impact report.
Craven Community College in New Bern, North Carolina began its QEP discussions in 2004. From the beginning, the college was dedicated to a grassroots initiative; the QEP committee included faculty and staff representatives from all areas of the college. The QEP Committee used a model of participative change similar to Toyota 's, as described by Kennedy (2003), who emphasized the knowledge and power of the workforce. In this model, leadership defines goals and allows the workforce, the real experts, to define and meet the challenges. This leads to quicker buy-in, although it requires an administration that trusts its workers; organization leaders transform from order-givers to participants in learning. The QEP Committee, composed of worker stakeholders from all areas of the college, was the expert team who made decisions based on information gathered at group sessions held throughout the college.
Analysis of focus group data (600 comments from 150 people), a student survey, and Institutional Effectiveness Committee discussions led to the identification of academic advising as the QEP focus. On the college's 2005 opening day, a NACADA consultant delivered the keynote address and conducted sessions with Student Services and faculty advisors. The QEP broad topic was tied into the college's biennial strategic plan process. The QEP Committee focused discussion on these strategic plan enhancement goals and discovered concern regarding student ability to set and achieve goals related to educational plans that lead to careers.
The QEP Committee mapped advising as a process from the viewpoint of our most challenging student-Joe/Jill Clueless. We considered what students need for success, defined as students leaving Craven equipped for their futures in the workplace or at their transfer institutions. We thought about academic advising as an intentional process where student learning would occur; we wanted to move away from equating advising with registration.
A review of The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) 2005 student learning guidelines for academic advising revealed that our initiative was concerned with three areas: student ability to set and pursue goals, realistic student self-appraisal, and student career choice. Learning college research pointed to the value of educational planning and goal-setting. O'Banion (1997) advanced six principles of a learning college including: 'The learning college engages learners as full partners in the learning process, with learners assuming primary responsibility for their own choices' (p. 47). When the learner first 'engages' the college, two expectations should be made clear: 'learners are full partners in the creation and implementation of their learning experiences' and 'learners will assume primary responsibility for making their own choices about goals and options' (p. 49). Consequently, from the beginning, colleges must assess learners' 'abilities, achievements, values, needs, goals, expectations, resources, and environmental/situational limitations' (pp. 49-50) and help students understand how their personal situations affect their educational and career options. Tagg (2003) specifically discussed the challenge community colleges face with their open door policy. The open door policy works both ways--easy to get in, easy to get out. Students' beliefs and attitudes about school are tied to their beliefs and attitudes about themselves. As a result, students define the purpose of college as it relates to their personal goals; when students see no connection between college and their personal goals, whether articulated or not, they leave. Tagg laid out five characteristics of a learning paradigm college including 'A learning paradigm college should support students in pursuing their own goals' (p. 124). Students need college to 'help clarify their long-term goals, to discover their heretofore undiscovered potential, to surprise themselves' (p. 131).
This research verified that we were on the right path, but the QEP Committee had trouble finding language to discuss our students' needs. TheNACADA Assessment Institutegave the committee the tools we sought, and we quickly identified our mission, goals, and 14 student learning outcomes. While our discussions laid the groundwork for our QEP, NACADA tools gave us direction and focus. Once we identified student learning outcomes, we mapped how learning would be delivered and assessed. Once again tools from the NACADA Assessment Institute provided the roots we needed to delineate how we would deliver advising and create task forces, timelines, and new job descriptions.
Our QEP officially became the LEEP (Learning through Effective Educational Planning) initiative that, with its frog standard-bearer, rapidly became recognized throughout the college. LEEP brought together diverse areas of our institutional culture to focus on teaching students to take responsibility for their educational paths. The LEEP student learning outcomes encourage student learner development in active and effective educational goal-setting including:
- Knowledge of learning programs and requirements at Craven Community College
- Ability to select coursework to satisfy program and personal goals
- Student ownership of education and goals as demonstrated by timely student learner action
- Appreciation of resources available to help meet those goals
LEEP implementation will begin in fall 2007 with the first student cohort in health careers. These students will attend a mandatory orientation to the career area, complete career interest inventories and placement tests, establish a more intensive relationship with their advisors, and complete first-year classes oriented to their career area. These experiences will provide the tools and resources necessary to empower students to select and complete learning opportunities suited to their interests, abilities, and goals.
The QEP journey has been invaluable. With NACADA's help we found the language and tools needed to delineate our dreams and plans for the college. We have learned much about our college, our colleagues, and ourselves. We are excited about the changes and are poised for the LEEP.
Amy Copley Tilly
Craven Community College
English Instructor and QEP Chair
Academic advising program: CAS standards and guidelines .(2005). Retrieved March 16, 2006.
Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. (2004).Handbook for reaffirmation of accreditation. 2nd printing.
Kennedy, M. N. (2003). Product development for the lean enterprise: Why Toyota's development system is four times more productive and how you can implement it. Richmond, VA: The Oaklea Press.
O'Banion, T. (1997). A learning college for the 21st century. Westport, CT: American Council on Education and the Oryx Press.
Tagg, J. (2003). The learning paradigm college. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
Advisors' Role in Enrollment Management
Darren Francis, University College of the Fraser Valley
Editor's Note: Darren is an August 2005 recipient of the Kansas State University / NACADA Academic Advising Graduate Certificate.
With competition for students at an all-time high, enrollment management is a prominent area within post-secondary education. As a result of this competition, most individuals connected with the academy are aware of the term enrollment management. Although familiar with the term, many are confused by its use because its meaning varies both within and across campuses. For example, a marketing director may view enrollment management as the development of student contacts for continued growth, but a registrar may see it as the management of applications and registrations. John Maguire, a pioneer in enrollment management research, feels that it is best defined as 'bringing together often disparate functions having to do with recruiting, funding, tracking, retaining, and replacing students as they move toward, within, and away from university' (1976; as cited in Henderson, 2001, p.7). With careful consideration of Maguire's definition it becomes clear that academic advisors are essential in the enrollment management process because we see students at all stages of their post-secondary careers.
Academic advisors play an important role in the development of students, but it is often assumed that our influence takes place primarily once the student has matriculated. As the academy continues to evolve, it is possible that we will 'touch' students at many points during their academic career. For example, advisors at many institutions are responsible for recruiting at high schools and tradeshows; as a result, they contact students as early as Grade 10 and 11 and therefore influence students' final post-secondary decisions. The comprehensive nature of our interactions with students makes academic advisors uniquely skilled and well suited for contributing to enrollment management efforts. For example, in a single day an advisor can assist a potential student as she learns more about the institution (recruiting) and its scholarship and loan options (funding), connect with a student who is close to graduating (tracking), assist an at-risk student as he develops a plan for long-term academic success (retention), and help a transfer student understand her transfer credit evaluation and choose courses for the upcoming semester (replacement). In working with students at all stages of their post-secondary career, advisors gain a better understanding of what students need and want. The result is that academic advisors are sought after by those coordinating institutional enrollment management efforts.
As the field of enrollment management continues to develop, advisors will be asked to assume leadership roles because of our unique background of student involvement and post-secondary administration. It is our knowledge of both areas that give us the ability to affect change throughout the institution. The result will be the success of our students and the long-term viability of the institution.
University College of the Fraser Valley
Abbotsford, BC Canada
Henderson, Stanley E.(2001). On the Brink of a Profession. In Jim Black (Eds.), S trategic Enrollment Management Revolution (pp. 3-36). Washington, DC: American Associate of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
Creating Personalized Advising: How to Advise over 1,000 Majors with Only Two Advisors
Mary Ann Miller, Indiana University
One of the hallmarks of a small, liberal arts college is its ability to provide students with a personal connection with the institution. The Department of Biology at Indiana University - Bloomington (IUB) has over 1,200 majors and, until recently, only two advisors. This large advisee load challenges advisors who seek to provide students with both excellent guidance and the kind of personal attention they would find in a smaller school.
The IUB Biology Advising Office is committed to making sure that our students know that we see them as more than numbers. Our strategy must work; despite over 60 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, each Biology advisor was selected as Advisor of the Year two of the past three years. We would like to share how we provide our students with a 'small university atmosphere.'
Overview of Indiana University 's Biology Program. The Department of Biology has five undergraduate degrees and two minors. The more than 1,200 majors and over a hundred students pursuing minors require that we have excellent time management skills.
At Indiana University, students are admitted to the University Division for their first 26 credit hours; they can designate their chosen degree when they complete these credits and have a 2.0 GPA. As soon as this occurs, we establish a relationship with our students. This involves email follow-up after their registration; we send out a 'Welcome to Biology' e-mail when they certify into the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Biology. However, building on this initial welcome takes the support of the entire office.
Office Staff. First and most importantly, an office staff must work well together. We must be able to rely on each person to ensure that the office runs smoothly and student questions/concerns are answered in a timely manner. Luckily, we have an excellent student services coordinator and assistant who do everything from schedule appointments to coordinate paperwork during registration.
Informational Sessions. At the beginning of the semester, we meet with students in a series of sessions during which we teach them how to read degree progress reports and answer questions regarding degree requirements. We also offer informational sessions covering the importance of a minor, as well as sessions dealing with how to apply to graduate or professional schools. These sessions allow our majors to meet with us personally and learn how to use institutional resources effectively.
Important Materials. Besides sessions designed to put a human face on the advising process, we have found that it is equally important to assist students by providing information about courses recommended for their specific interests. We supply handouts on important courses for pre-medical students as well as courses suggested for those planning to attend dental and other professional schools. These materials are available to any student who drops by the office; this makes the Advising Office a natural stop for students seeking information about courses that help them meet their goals.
Master E-Mail List. In addition to the printed flyers, we utilize a mass e-mail list that allows us to reach out to our majors. Each semester, we send a welcome email that provides information about the official calendar, important dates and vital Web links. We let them know our advising office hours and how to schedule an appointment. This allows us to be in continual communication with our majors and emphasizes our commitment to helping them achieve their goals.
Scheduling Advising Appointments. To maximize efficiency and student contact during peak advising before registration, we have changed how we handle student appointments. Instead of allowing students to call or email the office to set up an appointment, we require that they come in person to sign up for an appointment. We provide separate schedule books for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors in which students can schedule appointments. Since students are responsible for making their own appointments, this frees up staff time for seeing students. As a result, we are able to provide more of the personal guidance they desire.
We also schedule hours for walk-in appointments so that students can have brief questions answered. This allows us to see many more students and again increases the amount of personal time we have for each student. It is important to note that while we do not require our majors to meet with us for advising prior to registration, we do strongly encourage them to see us. There will always be those students who should have come for advising but chose not to see us, but the majority of students appreciate that they are encouraged rather than required to come for advisement.
Student Recognition - Positive and Negative. We strongly believe that recognizing student milestones is an excellent way to let students know that their academic success is important to both the department and to the university. We routinely send letters to students for achievements such as the Dean's List, Phi Beta Kappa nomination, and graduation. This kind of recognition takes time, but students tell us that our efforts are appreciated.
It is important to follow-up with students in academic difficulty. We contact these students by e-mail rather than a letter addressed to their home. We encourage them to come in and see us to make sure they can remain on track or to help them consider other options. This contact lets students know that the institution cares about them.
Graduation. It is equally important to let students know how proud the department and the university are to have them as one of our new alumni. We believe that this contact has a subtle effect upon recruitment and development. Parents who like the attention one child received are more likely to send other children to the university; likewise alumni who appreciate the attention they received as students are more likely to wish to give back to the university.
Two years ago, with the encouragement of our administration, the Biology Advising Office created a Biology Reception preceding the actual graduation ceremony. This is a formal affair at which graduating students are announced by the Chair. Faculty and staff attend to offer their support, and refreshments are served. Students are presented with both a certificate and a program listing the names of graduating students. This event has been very well received; students and their families are thankful for this individual recognition.
These efforts have helped the Biology Advising Office of Indiana University-Bloomington create an environment in which students feel that their academic success matters and that the institution has a vested interest in their progress. We believe that when an entire office works together, it is possible for a large program to provide the kind of atmosphere typically found in a small university. We hope that these examples will help advisors with large case loads develop their own programs to engage students on a more personal basis.
Mary Ann Miller
Be an Exceptional Academic Advisor: Share Yourself, Become a Mentor
Crystal Mata Kreitler, Angelo State University
Borman and Motowidlo (1993) define contextual performance as the willingness to volunteer to perform activities not part of the job, giving extra enthusiasm when necessary, and adhering to rules even when it is personally inconvenient.
Academic advisors are human beings. As such, we sometimes perform our advising duties without taking full advantage of opportunities that are presented. While we freely give suggestions for academic planning in our 15-30 minute student sessions, shouldn't we aspire to do more? Why should we settle for mediocrity? Wouldn't students benefit from academic advisors who exhibit Borman and Motowidlo's contextual performance?
As academic advisors, we have an opportunity to not only encourage students to earn their degrees, but we can take a special interest in helping them develop into successful professionals. Giving a student 'an ear' to actively listen, providing the 'extra push' needed for forward academic progress, and at times, sharing our own experiences with students should never be done in a sense of duty but should be a privilege. Helping students find academic direction before enrollment will satisfy students' short term objectives, but inspiring them will enrich their confidence and have a far-reaching effect on their undergraduate experience.
When I was an undergraduate, academic advising was mandatory before registration; therefore, I was required to meet with an academic advisor and listen to his class suggestions. I never felt connected to him and was desperate for a mentor who would take more interest in my academic endeavors. Like many students, I was ambivalent about my future; I lacked a connection with someone on campus. Throughout my first two years in college, I was obligated to meet with professors and the same advisor each semester. Early in my junior year, to my surprise, I left another required meeting feeling inspired and motivated. I had renewed confidence that continues to effect my professional development today. I met with a faculty advisor who took interest in what I had to say and in my academic plans. He directed me toward an environment that would foster my academic progress. More importantly, I found a role model and a mentor.
Some will say that there is a difference between an academic advisor and a mentor. One researcher said that a fundamental difference between mentoring and advising is that, more than advising, mentoring is a personal as well as professional relationship (Chippindale, 2005). Others may say that there are boundaries that should not be crossed. I understand and honor the professional relationship that must be maintained between an academic advisor and a student. However, can't an academic advisor serve as both a mentor and advisor without crossing boundaries? Yes, we can! Most individuals will take advantage of the opportunities given them throughout their education and careers. Why not seize each chance to be remembered for encouraging and giving guidance when it was most needed?
In the broad sense, a mentor is someone who takes a special interest in helping another person develop into a successful professional. An effective mentoring relationship is characterized by mutual respect, trust, understanding and empathy. Mentors are good listeners, good observers, and good problem solvers. Mentors make an effort to know, accept, and respect the goals and interests of a student (Chippindale, 2005). The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development notes qualities of a good mentor that include being skilled at providing instructional support and modeling being a continuous learner. The good mentor communicates hope and optimism and is effective in different interpersonal contexts (Rowlet, 1999). After reviewing some of the mentoring literature, it became clear that these are the attributes I aspire to practice in each advising session.
Mentoring can be learned, but not taught (Handelsman, Pfund, Lauffer & Pribbenaw, 2005). Good mentors discover their own objectives, methods, and style by mentoring. No two students are the same. Students do not develop along the same trajectory. Therefore mentoring must be continually customized, adjusted, and redirected to meet each student's needs. A skilled mentor's decisions and actions are guided by a reflective philosophy, a well-developed style, and an ability to assess student needs. No book can tell us how to deal with every student or situation, but a systematic approach to analyzing and discussing mentoring may lead us to a method for tackling the knotty challenges inherent in the job (Handelsman, Pfund, Lauffer & Pribbenaw, 2005). This is the same for academic advisors. No two academic advisors have the same method; we each convey our knowledge and professional recommendations in our own unique style. Each of us brings special experiences to share and an individual approach to advising students. Still, we have limitless chances to become a mentor and/or a role model; the only limit is the extent of the student's academic and professional capacity.
I remind advising veterans to encourage the 'rookies' to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by this wonderful profession and our professional association. Most importantly, share yourself. You may be remembered as an 'exceptional' academic advisor, role model and mentor.
Crystal Mata Kreitler
Angelo State University
Borman, W.C., & Motowidlo, S. J. (1993). Expanding the criterion domain to include elements of contextual performance. Chapter in N. Schmitt and W. C. Borman (Eds.),Personnel Selection. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 71-98.
Chippindale, S. (2005). Mentoring: a high-impact endeavor. Mercury, 34, 47-48.
Handelsman, J., Pfund, C., Lauffer, S., Pribbenaw, C. (2005 ). Entering mentoring. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Rowley, J. (1999). The good mentor. Educational Leadership Journal, 56, 20-22.
Dear Career Corner
I have finally found the kind of advising position I've been looking for and just accepted the offer. How do I let my current boss and colleagues know? What should I be thinking about as I get ready to leave?
Dear Moving On,
Congratulations on your new position! Leaving a position raises a number of considerations and is best approached with some forethought. Let's start with your first question.
It is always best to tell your boss in private and be diplomatic. Let your supervisor know how much you've appreciated the opportunities afforded you to expand your advising knowledge and skills. You may be asked why you are leaving, so have your reasons clearly thought out in advance. Keep the meeting on a positive note. Resist any temptation to complain about your responsibilities or the people with whom you've worked. The same goes for sharing your news with colleagues. Don't brag about your new position; remember that you don't want to burn your bridges with anyone - you never know when you'll meet any of them again. Consider that anyone could be a potential future reference.
Leaving a job entails some planning, and it's never too early to get started. Here's a brief list to consider:
The bottom line is to maintain a sense of professionalism and courtesy. Your departure will be remembered long after you've gone.
- Giving notice. First, check your employee handbook to see if there is a policy on the amount of notice you must give. Keep in mind that it is difficult to replace someone in two weeks and most employers prefer 2-4 weeks' notice. A short, formal letter to the HR department giving adequate notice is appreciated. Generally, you don't need to provide much explanation.
- Personal documents on your computer. Be sure to download all personal documents to a CD or disk to take with you. Erase personal documents from the computer's hard drive.
- Benefits. Check your employee handbook to understand what benefits (outstanding salary, vacation time, other payments, COBRA) you are entitled to and mark your calendar for any paperwork deadlines.
- Wrap up any loose ends. Make a list of all outstanding work and projects, and finish what you can. Think about how difficult it might be for a new employee to take over, so a desk reference or manual is always helpful. If there's time, offer to help train the new hire.
- Maintain your work ethic. Being a short-timer may tempt you to slack off in your work habits. Continue to work as you always have.
- Create a list of people with whom to stay in touch. Start a list of mentors, as well as friends, with whom you know you will want to continue contact. Remember, they are potential references and may be willing to continue as mentors.
Chair, Member Career Services Committee
Annual Conference in Indianapolis a Huge Success!
Nearly 2,600 colleagues came to Indianapolis October 18-21 to share information on current advising topics. To paraphrase one participant: 'I thought this Conference was outstanding. I have never been to a conference where the rooms were so full with participants on the last day of the conference. Obviously, the Conference attendees were really energized in Indianapolis and eager to learn as much as they could.'
Keynote speaker George Kuh (author of Student Success in College ) discussed Thinking DEEPly about Academic Advising and Student Engagement in the Opening General Session. In the second General Session, outgoing NACADA President Jo Anne Huber and incoming President Susan Campbell shared the platform to discuss their vision of Building on our Past; Strengthening Our Future.
The 2006 NACADA Award recipients were honored at a special Awards Ceremony and Reception on Wednesday afternoon prior to the opening session of the Conference. Photos of all award recipients can be viewed on the Awards website.Complete lists by category of award recipients and their institutions can also be found online.
Orientation Sessions for First-Time Attendees and New NACADA Members, conducted by NACADA Leaders, were a major hit this year, as the standing-room only crowds connected by Region, areas of interest, and other commonalities.
Attendees found a variety of new publications available at the NACADA Booth, coordinated by NACADA Marketing Manager, Bev Martin.
After Conference hours, attendees enjoyed the numerous nearby dining and entertainment opportunities. Congratulations to the Conference Committee: Alan Welch (Chair), Sue Aufderheide, Larry Ottinger, Thomas Kenyon, Barbara Austin, Janice Keim, Jerry Harrell, Thomas Konkle, Cathy Buyarski and Lisa Ruch - along with Conference Director Nancy Barnes- for a job well done!