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Voices of the Global Community


 Change Leaders: A Call to Action

Jeffrey McClellan, Theory & Philosophy of Advising Commission Past Chair

'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' - Margaret Mead.

Jeffrey McClellan.jpgRight now, astounding changes are occurring in academic advising because of the work of a few dedicated leaders. These leaders often hold no formal leadership role in their workplace or, if they do, do not depend upon it. Their institutions do not likely possess better executive leadership, cultures, or even resources. What they have that brings about changes is informal change leadership. This leadership is based not on formal authority, but rather upon five pillars of informal leadership which will surface throughout this edition of Academic Advising Today: passion, compassion, initiative, attention, and persistence.

Change leaders are passionate about the causes in which they are engaged. In fact, Smart (2005) identified drive and positive mental outlook as central to the work of informal leaders. Pielstick (2000) also found that their fun-loving approach contrasted sharply with the committed, business-like approach of formal leaders. The key difference being that informal leaders do not allow themselves to “become [so] obsessed with succeeding, or at least surviving in the world” that they “lose touch with [their] souls and disappear into their roles” (Palmer, 2004, p. 15).

Great informal leaders are not, however, merely focused on the cause they serve; they also focus on the people whom they serve and impact through their work. Indeed, it is often their concern for others that drives them to take up a cause. As Greenleaf (1977) wrote, “it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead” (p. 27). This caring, relational foundation and approach is a key aspect of informal leadership (Hoy & G., 2005; Pielstick, 2000; Smart, 2005).  Tutu perhaps said it best when he wrote,(1999) “The true leader must at some point or other convince her or his followers that she or he is in this whole business not for self-aggrandizement but for the sake of others”(p. 39).

Greenleaf (1977) suggested, 'everything begins with the initiative of an individual' (p. 28). The will to act is a central characteristic of all successful people. Born of passion and compassion, it gives rise to action. And, for informal change leaders, this call to action represents an irresistible internal force.

What leaders attend to matters immensely. The attention of a leader directs the attention of followers. Additionally, the engrossment that follows focused attention is a key contributor to peak performance (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, 1997). Csikszentmihalyi (2003) wrote, 'By paying attention one can transform even the least promising task into a complex, satisfying activity' (p. 102). Consequently, informal change leaders focus on their goals and the process for achieving these and they do not allow themselves to become distracted easily.

The final characteristic of effective informal change leaders is persistence born of hardiness. Maddi and Khoshaba (2005) defined hardiness as encompassing three key beliefs or attitudes:

  • Commitment -- the belief that staying involved even amidst stress brings success;
  • Control -- the belief that one has the power to positively influence any situation;
  • Challenge -- the belief that no matter the outcome, one can learn from what occurs.

These three attitudes lie at the heart of the persistence needed to accomplish change. Consequently, I am convinced that the ability to accomplish great changes is far more a matter of will than skill.

Perhaps the most important element of these pillars is that they are accessible to virtually all of us. They are not traits only a few possess. In reading about the tremendous things taking places in multiple institutions, it is my hope that this issue of Academic Advising Today will inspire all of us to lead change through passion, compassion, initiative, attention, and persistence.

Jeffrey McClellan
Assistant Professor of Management/Academic Advisor
Frostburg State University


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life (1st ed.). New York: BasicBooks.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003). Good business: Leadership, flow, and the making of meaning. New York: Viking Penguin.

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th Anniversary ed.). New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Hoy, W. K., & G., M. C. (2005). Educational research: Theory research and practice (7 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

Maddi, S. R., & Khoshaba, D. M. (2005). Resilience at work: How to succeed no matter what life throws at you. San Francisco: AMACOM.

Palmer, P. J. (2004). A hidden wholeness: The journey towards an undivided life: Welcoming the soul and weaving community in a wounded world. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pielstick, C. D. (2000). Formal vs. Informal leading: A comparative analysis. The Journal of Leadership Studies, 7(3).

Smart, M. (2005). The role of informal leaders in organizations: The hidden organizational asset. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Idaho.

Tutu, D. (1999). No future without forgiveness. New York: Doubleday.

From the President: Member Contributions Move NACADA Forward

Kathy Stockwell, NACADA President

Kathy Stockwell.jpg

I am honored and humbled to be writing this article as the President of NACADA, the premier organization for academic advising and student success in the world. The recent Annual Conference was, again, testament to the fact that advising is alive and well on campuses around the world, advisors are heavily invested in the success of their students, and NACADA plays an integral role in promoting and sustaining academic advising as a critical component of student services at our colleges and universities. There was a buzz in the air at the end of each concurrent session as participants hurried to share what they had just learned with their colleagues, both old and newly acquired. I went to the Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday afternoon with a heightened enthusiasm and a renewed sense of purpose to keep the organization moving forward for the benefit of all in our global higher education family.

I am joined on the Board of Directors by a group of individuals who are dedicated to maintaining NACADA’s reputation as an association that benefits all members. To this end, the Board is focusing on the following initiatives as we strive to fulfill our strategic goals:

  • Continue to address the needs of higher education globally. We have made great strides in our globalization efforts with the adoption of our new tag line and logo and the inclusion of an international attendee meeting during this year’s conference. As we move forward, international members will be encouraged to become involved in leadership activities, to submit award nominations for individuals and programs, and to actively recruit members on their own and other campuses throughout their countries. Our organizational structure will be examined to determine the best fit for our international partners.
  • Assess the technology needs of the Association. For the first time, social media played a big part in this year’s conference. While this and the recent implementation of MyNACADA are giant steps for us, we still have a way to go in understanding and implementing technology that will bring us up-to-date and carry us into the future. A technology committee has been charged with assessing these needs and determining priorities. A separate sub-committee will review the functionality of the NACADA Web site to see how it can be more user friendly for all members.
  • Educate university and college decision makers about the role of quality academic advising in higher education. A sub-committee has been charged with determining the best ways to connect with upper level administrators at our colleges and universities so we can share with them the great work being done by the academic advisors on their campuses and to introduce them to the wealth of resources available to them and their staff through NACADA.

The Board, the Council, and leaders at all levels of NACADA are committed to making this the best organization possible for its members. This can only happen with input from you, our members. NACADA is a grassroots organization that is inclusive of all and thrives because of the ideas that come to us from the bottom up. Who better to tell us what goes on in the world of academic advising than those who live it every day? Our leadership is available to listen to you. We want and need to hear your thoughts, ideas, and opinions; they are all important and help guide us as we develop new programming and other resources that are critical to the success of academic advising around the globe. Not only do we need your input, we need you to get involved!  Leadership opportunities are available at all levels, and we’d love to have you join us. Contact information for all NACADA leaders as well as the staff at the Executive Office is available on the NACADA Web site. Please contact any of us; we’d be more than happy to explore your ideas and/or concerns with you, or answer any questions you might have about getting more involved with the organization.

Again, I am honored to lead this member-focused organization and look forward to working with you during the next year to promote academic advising and student success on our campuses. I hope to meet many of you as I travel to regional conferences in the spring and would love to hear from you at any time.

Kathy Stockwell, President
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Fox Valley Technical College

From the Executive Director: NACADA - The Most Cost Effective and Comprehensive Resource in Higher Education!

Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director

Charlie Nutt.jpgI am always on an emotional high after our Annual Conference, but this year I am even more so.  It was exciting to open our conference with good news, including our membership rebound from a 2009 decline, increased participation at our spring Regional Conferences, and increased participation in Orlando, with nearly 2800 participants gathering for the NACADA Annual Conference. It is clear that NACADA continues to be a vibrant, growing association that is responsive to our members’ needs.

This was especially apparent in the special social media component of this year’s conference that connected our participants before, during, and after the conference, while sharing with those members unable to attend the conference.  It was fascinating to see the Facebook postings, Tweets, and Blog postings as well as the sharing of videos and live pictures among participants and non-participants alike. These social media opportunities brought a new level of involvement to the conference. I want to thank Brad Popiolek (University of Texas at Austin) and Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas) who worked so closely with Rhonda Baker from the Executive Office in designing and implementing this wonderful opportunity for the association.  Brad, Laura, and Board Member Jennifer Joslin (University of Oregon) will continue to work with the Executive Office to expand these opportunities for other association events and to connect more effectively with our members. With the addition of the MyNACADA on-line services and these exciting explorations into the use of technology, NACADA will continue to grow and expand our work and connect across the globe!

This will be an exciting year for the association and for you as you work on campus for student success! As we see significant changes in higher education across the globe, academic advising and academic advisors will be valued and respected more than ever before because of our strong connection to students’ persistence to graduation.  As NACADA members, I know that you will continue to turn to us for the most cost effective and comprehensive events and resources. These include our

  • Webcast Series focused this year on the foundations of academic advising and on student success and retention; 
  • Winter Events: Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute, Utilizing Research and Data for Student Retention Seminar, and Assessment of Academic Advising Institute held in Florida in February;   
  • Ten Regional Conferences in the spring, two of which are in Canada, demonstrating the association’s commitment to our members outside the US borders; and 
  • NACADA Summer Institutes for Academic Advising and Student Success next summer in Colorado Springs or New Orleans. 

In addition to our events, I know you also turn to NACADA for our vast free resources in the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources as well as our member-discounted publications and resources.

As NACADA members you know that NACADA is committed to providing you with the highest quality, most cost effective resources and events to support campus initiatives for student success, retention, and persistence. We also know that your colleagues and top administrators may not be aware of our comprehensive offerings. I strongly encourage you to regularly share information on our events and resources with those who make funding decisions on your campus so that NACADA will become the FIRST PLACE campuses turn when developing and implementing student success initiatives.

Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
(785) 532-5717





Jennifer Joslin.jpg

As a member of the Academic Advising Today Editorial Board for the past several years and a current member of the NACADA Board of Directors, it has been my pleasure to watch the evolution of this publication over the past five years from a “newsletter” to a quarterly e-zine with a global perspective.  Last Spring, the Editorial Board decided that, from time to time, we would like to see a themed edition, and thus for this December edition a “Vantage Point” theme has been chosen.  A vantage point is a place from which to offer a perspective based on one’s view of events or circumstances. This point of view is in keeping with what I think is one of the strengths of NACADA, its member-driven focus. We hope that you will enjoy reading the narratives that our members have shared from their personal vantage points.  –Jennifer Joslin, University of Oregon


Global Community: Don't Tell, But Ask

Oscar van den Wijngaard, Maastricht University (Netherlands)

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While never oblivious to the world outside the US, over the last few years NACADA leaders have actively pursued the idea of a “global community for academic advising.”  Clearly this raises the need to find common ground between advisors from wildly varying backgrounds. As Yung-HwaAnna Chow and others reminded us in the September 2010 edition of Academic Advising Today, once we start looking across borders we are confronted with the challenge of a complex kind of diversity. Acknowledging “cultural differences” requires us to recognize and understand how diverging approaches to advising cannot be separated from major differences in education systems. This acknowledgement in turn challenges us to reflect upon often age-old ways of thinking about society and the individual, about what constitutes learning, and about the role and purpose of education.

These differences may be very obvious, but they can also be subtle – particularly between cultures that seem to have a history and tradition in common. From a Dutch perspective, for instance, I would say that even though the Dutch share many of the same values regarding democracy with the US, the traditional American idea that a primary goal of education is the fostering of a sense of citizenship is much less prominent in the Netherlands. On a different note, even though the Dutch may have a reputation for being frugal -- and definitely want “value for money” just as any assertive American consumer – it is unclear what this means for student satisfaction when tuition in the Netherlands is about one fifth of what American students pay. In turn, although Americans may be known as highly individualistic, the average Dutch student will look much more reservedly at any institutionalized group activity, be it a campfire sing-along or a group advising session (I will however, make an exception for soccer!).

And yet, I can say without exaggeration that “discovering” NACADA at a 2007 Summer Institute has made a huge impact on the way we at the University College of Maastricht University think about and organize academic advising. UCM is one of the first liberal arts colleges in the Netherlands; we have what is called an “open curriculum” where students, to a large extent, are responsible for determining their academic focus, including deciding which courses to take. We employ a model of advising that fits the description of many “faculty advising” systems common in the US. The basic teaching method is Problem-Based Learning (PBL), and students can choose courses offered by our college or within other university departments.

People tell me I’m spoilt: only 700 students and close to 60 academic advisors in a teaching system based on small-scale (12 or fewer students) sessions with a lot of student-teacher interaction. I don’t feel a strong urge to disagree… Yet in all my contacts with NACADA colleagues, I have been relieved to discover that we at UCM share many issues and struggles with advisors in similar institutions across the US – and sometimes our solutions aren’t so bad. Despite our differences, apparently there will always be faculty who are slightly more reluctant to take on advising responsibilities than others, or students who think that the difference between core courses and electives is negligible, or that showing up for an appointment on time is so 2009…

This “advisors anonymous” function (backed by a host of practical information and support) is one important benefit NACADA offers. At a more fundamental level, what makes NACADA a “connector” between advising traditions and methods across the globe is its invitation to advisors to reflect on why we do what we do, and how we should be doing it.  Advising should not be a matter of prescribing to one fixed methodology. We have not transcended from prescriptive advising for all students to reintroduce it at the institutional level. The NACADA core idea that “advising is teaching” is a motto that could easily be discarded as a sales pitch, particularly in an environment where everything American is looked at with some level of suspicion. But it inevitably raises questions. How would I summarize my philosophy of advising? What actually characterizes the way we teach at our institution? How does the way we teach relate to the way we advise? Does my philosophy affect the way I advise – or the way we organize advising? If advising is teaching, then what do advisors teach? Marc Lowenstein’s response to that question in the.NACADA Journal (Fall 2005) has become part of an advising canon from which a set of questions emerges that must be asked by anyone who sets out to advise or design new advising programs. The answers to these questions are relevant and crucial in all cultural contexts where facilitating learning is the goal.

 When we claim that advising is teaching, we must be aware of the purpose and outcomes of our curriculum, the expectations that our students, institutions, and society have regarding knowledge, skills, relevance, and success. There is a risk that these things are taken for granted, particularly since they are seldom seen as part of an integral whole: the student’s study experience. There is probably no other place where this interconnectedness is more tangible than in advising. Or at least it can be, once we as advisors have asked ourselves the kinds of questions that the NACADA maxim invites us to consider.

It seems as if most of the time cultural differences are about answers, not questions. Comparing notes between colleagues from across the globe will no doubt show that while we may be driven by the same questions, our answers may be very different; there is no “global best practice”. But when we use NACADA as the means to engage in this exchange with an open mind, the gain in ideas and insights promises to be huge.

Oscar van den Wijngaard
Coordinator Academic Advising
Faculty of Humanities & Sciences
University College Maastricht
Maastricht University


Lowenstein, M. (2005). If advising is teaching, what do advisors teach? NACADA Journal 25(2), 65-73.


Venture to a New Frontier, Our Local High Schools: The Need for Partnerships between Postsecondary Academic Advisors and Secondary Schools

Amanda Hodges, East Carolina University

Amanda Hodges.jpg

President Barack Obama’s educational priorities include improving college and career readiness and re-establishing America as the global leader in higher education. But if the United States is to have “the highest proportion of students graduating from college in the world by 2020” (White House, 2010, ¶ 7), it is crucial to consider how academic advisors might be pioneers in this movement. As a starting point, advisors might look beyond what has traditionally been done to improve persistence and graduation rates within our respective institutions. The new frontier for academic advisors in today’s world of education could be as close as our local high schools.

Students seeking postsecondary success can be thrown off-course by academic, social, informational, financial, and bureaucratic barriers (Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 2008). Academic advisors can offer high school students, counselors, and educators the tools to break down these barriers. Experience as an academic advisor at East Carolina University has offered me invaluable help in guiding twelfth-grade students at a local high school through the murky and often confusing waters of postsecondary education. However, there are thousands of high school counselors who have not advised at the college level; they could better help their students if they had a connection with an academic advisor.

Stanford University’s six-year national study, the Bridge Project, noted that “neither K-12 or postsecondary education can solve the lack of student success working alone. They must work together to accomplish their mutual goals to enhance student college completion” (Kirst, 2007). As such, I propose that academic advisors consider pioneering a new frontier of collaboration between secondary and postsecondary stakeholders in order to make dreams come true for countless high school students.

Students want to pursue postsecondary education. Nearly 90% of eighth grade students aspire to postsecondary pursuits (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2007, ¶ 2); however, only about 70% of students succeed in attending college within two years of graduating from high school (Kirst, Venezia, & Antonio, 2003, ¶ 1). Unfortunately, there is little time for high school counselors to educate students about their postsecondary options and fully prepare them for higher education, which results in a lack of “accurate, high quality information about and access to courses that will help prepare students for college-level standards” (Kirst, Venezia, & Antonio, 2003, ¶ 3). This is “particularly the case in low-income high schools where access to quality and timely information is often limited due to staffing constraints and insufficient school resources…where a majority of youth is potentially first-generation college students” (Malone, 2009, ¶ 5).  Among those students who do pursue postsecondary education within two years of graduation, over half of all low-income and nearly half of minority students will not complete postsecondary degree requirements within six years (Malone, 2009, ¶ 2). Rather than being able to dedicate time for educating these students regarding the world of postsecondary education, high school counselors are called upon to perform a variety of roles that have little to do with postsecondary preparation for students. My experiences at South Central High School support this statement.

South Central High School is a Title I school where about half of all students receive free/reduced lunches and almost 70% are minorities. SCHS seniors often do not have access to the Internet outside the classroom. They lack transportation beyond city buses and, most importantly, they lack knowledge of postsecondary expectations, requirements, and processes. Registrations for SAT, ACT, and FAFSA are predominantly online as are most application materials for postsecondary institutions. These disadvantaged students face tremendous barriers from the beginning of the matriculation process. For those who gain acceptance to a postsecondary institution, the challenges of maneuvering this unknown world grow even greater. If these disadvantaged students are to succeed, and if college persistence and graduation rates are to improve, then academic advisors must consider “an earlier, long-term investment, begun when students are in secondary school” (Malone, 2009).

Bridge/transition programs exist to aid in students’ success such as Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and dual enrollment. However, statistical effectiveness of these programs has not strongly been established and very few programs have an ongoing relationship with the students or involve academic advisors. When academic advisors establish feeder relationships, we team up with secondary school counselors to ensure that future advisees begin their postsecondary careers with the knowledge required to be successful.

When academic advisors create partnerships with secondary school stakeholders, the results are far-reaching. Academic advisors can lay the foundation needed for high school seniors to graduate with the “skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college including academic content competencies, college application guidance, cognitive and critical thinking skills, civic awareness, time management and teamwork strategies, and healthy social-emotional coping abilities” (Malone, 2009, ¶ 4). When challenged to improve retention, persistence, and graduation rates, academic advisors should take the road less traveled and explore a new world of possibilities at our local high schools. Advisors who accept this challenge will reap benefits beyond compare both professionally and personally.

Amanda Hodges
12th Grade School Counselor
South Central High School
Winterville, NC


Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. (2008, May). Transition matters: Community college to bachelor’s degree. A Proceedings Report of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Washington, D.C.

Kirst, M. W. (2005). Separation of K-12 and postsecondary education governance and policymaking: Evolution and impact. In State of Education Policy Research. Edited by Fuhrman, S. & Cohen, D. Earlbaum Publishing Company.

Kirst, M.W. (2007). Enhancing college completion: Secondary schools and colleges must work together. Paper Prepared for the Penn State University Conference “Revisioning the American High School for an Engaged Citizenry,” June 7, 2007. Stanford University.

Kirst, M. W., Venezia, A., & Antonio, A. L. (2003). The Bridge Project: Executive Summary. Retrieved from www.stanford.edu/group/bridgeproject/execsummary.html

Malone, H. J. (2009, Fall). Build a bridge from high school to college: Transition programs are essential for many disadvantaged students. Phi Kappa Phi Forum. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com /p/articles/mi_qa4026/is_200910/ai_n39234016/

U.S. Department of  Education. (2007). College transition programs: Promoting success beyond high school. High School Leadership Summit. Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/hsinit/papers/trans.pdf

White House. (2010). Education Issues. Retrieved from www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education

Advising as Teaching: A High School Advisory Program as the Vehicle for Student Success

The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr., Co-Founder & Head of School, The Neighborhood Academy

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The Neighborhood Academy is a college preparatory, grades 8–12 school serving low income students from a cross section of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.  It is our goal that TNA students, many of whom will be the first in their family to graduate from high school, will not only graduate but become competitive candidates for higher education and earn undergraduate degrees. In ten years, we have had 100% of our seniors accepted to a college or university.

TNA utilizes an “advisory program” to help our students learn the academic, personal, and social skills needed to succeed. High school advisory programs as defined by Schanfield (2010) are programs where teachers meet in small groups to help students “develop a sense of belonging, build strong relations and feel a connection to a school … as they learn life-long problem-solving skills” (p. 19).  Last winter we undertook a comprehensive review of the TNA advisory program; it was that review that led us to NACADA. With the help of a NACADA consultant, we were able to expand our vision for advisory and set goals and objectives which are much more clear, concrete, and achievable.

Our students are the sons and daughters of want, yet it is simplistic to say that poverty is solely a matter of a dearth of resources. While income factors into any discussion of poverty, a more holistic view takes into account a broad range of values and experiences that we call cultural knowledge. Successful college matriculation demands not only the rhetorical commitment to higher education but to a life structured to an acceptance that graduation from college is possible. Things as simple as a consistent dinner, discussion of academic progress, and a commitment to reading and discussion of ideas are crucial to a student becoming successful. It is especially difficult for our students because they are African American and quite simply, in many of their neighborhoods, to be well spoken, well read, and purposeful is to “act White.” How one spends time, energy, resources, and whether or not one sees being educated as a betrayal of one’s ethnicity are crucial issues to resolve in attaining the goal of a college education.

In the review of our advisory program, it was clear that we must be intentional in addressing all these issues. We had to intentionally teach students to organize their lives. To that end, teaching students time and project management skills were as important as teaching the “3Rs.” Second, we had to take on the difficult task of stating clearly that becoming well educated was not a betrayal of their heritage; difficult conversations given that the majority of our faculty is White and all of our students are Black. Advisory and our group counseling program provide the “safe” venue where these conversations can take place. Third, teenagers from poverty (I would offer teenagers within all levels of society) suffer from the absence of mature adults during the critical and often crisis filled phase of adolescence. The advisor is a resource for the student who is attempting to navigate the storms that can, under certain circumstances, tear a life apart in a way from which there can be no recovery: pregnancy, AIDS, gun violence, and drug deals that fill the eleven o’clock news.

It quickly became apparent that not all teachers want to be advisors. Loving and teaching one’s discipline is quite different than wanting to guide and nurture the “whole student.” Coupled with this is the reality of guilt and denial. Teachers everywhere like to think of themselves as caring people, but we found that some faculty are reluctant to admit their lack of ease in the role of advisor because they are afraid that they might be perceived by others (and themselves) as being unkind and uncaring. Their inability to admit to others, and themselves, their discomfort led to wide disparities in the quality of student advisory experiences; thus we paired advisors who were more skilled with those who were less skilled. Finally, we learned that we must impress upon teachers that their role as an advisor is as important as their role in the classroom, in athletics, or the arts. Simply put, being skilled, diligent, and intentional as an advisor is critical to our students’ success; this is not an “add on.”

What are the concrete “deliverables” from our review? First, we decided that the college counseling process must “reach down” to the lower grades. The role of the advisor is to assist the student in making reasoned choices, acquiring needed skills, and serving as the “reality check” that will make college possible. The “hidden curriculum” of the advisory program is to create a situation where the student has connected on a much deeper level with at least one person in our school community.

Second, the role of advisor is to prepare the student to access and take advantage of the support services that are a part of the college of their choice. How many students “crash and burn” because they either didn’t know about the services that were available or were too afraid or proud to ask for help in a timely fashion?  We want our students to know what academic advising is, how to use it, how to learn and ultimately benefit from it.

What did we learn from studying academic advising at the college level? What struck us all is that concepts like “intrusive advising” are relevant and useful to high school advisors. The insights we gained from articles on the NACADA Web site on advising underprepared students and transfer students (all of our students are essentially transfer students) are relevant to our goals and objectives. There is a wealth of insight from those operating at the college level, especially for those of us who are college prep schools serving the “under-served” in the inner city.

Second, there are a lot of schools that claim to have advisory programs, but how many teachers have been trained to take on this role? If we learned nothing else in our review, we have come to believe that advising is a necessary form of teaching. It is a form of teaching that can make the large school small and a small school that much more intimate. Advising as teaching has ramifications for the culture of the academic community, retention, and the school’s reputation. Two factors, professional development and evaluation, are crucial to embedding the role of the advisor as a norm in a school community. If the institution truly values advisory at any level, it must become a factor in hiring, training, and evaluation of faculty.

Third, for the urban poor to reach college, an advisor and the advisory program are essential. The deficits are more than academic. While quality classroom instruction is critical, the shaping of a student’s character, the learning that takes place at the dinner table in more affluent homes, and the need for an adolescent to be known is crucial in moving from the academic, emotional, psychological, and spiritual confines of poverty to the exploration of the sciences, the beauty of the arts, and the exhilaration of creative thought. The education that makes college a possibility extends far beyond the classroom;   advisors and advisory programs become the vehicle for this education.

 It is hoped that the sharing of our review, study, and visioning process makes some small contribution to what we believe is an important discussion in education at all levels. Teaching, in all its forms is critical, especially for the sons and daughters of deficit. The advisor as guide and teacher and the advisory program as vehicle is critical to removing the obstacles brought on by those deficits. 

The Rev. Thomas E. Johnson, Jr
Co-Founder & Head of School
The Neighborhood Academy
5231 Penn Avenue, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA  15224
TEL:  412-362-2001 x203


Schanfield, M. R. (May – June 2010). Advisory advice. ASCA School Counselor

Professional Advisors and Faculty Advisors: A Shared Goal of Student Success

Joan M. Krush, North Dakota State University
Sara Winn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Joah Krush.jpb

Sara Winn.jpg

The advising role brings with it a number of responsibilities, including course identification, career counseling, personal counseling/referral, and professional reference (Petress, 1996). These responsibilities multiply for faculty with the number of assigned advisees. In a study of 1,500 institutions, Habley (2004) found that 73% (p. 30) require faculty to advise an average of 29 students (p. 34). To help manage the additional workload tied to faculty advising, more colleges and universities may consider adding professional advisors housed within a department or college. In these situations, professional advisors are often more readily accessible to students and can ensure that faculty have access to advising resources.

When professional advisors work in conjunction with faculty advisors within a department or college, competing priorities may develop. Commonly, faculty focus on research and grant writing, teaching, service and curriculum commitments, along with advising. On the other hand, professional advisors have as their first priority the advising of students, and then work on retention, outreach, service, career development, teaching, publications, and curriculum. Such competing priorities can make it difficult for personnel within a department or college to be aligned in their quest for consistent and clear undergraduate advising.

Drake (2007) encouraged faculty to approach advising as a teaching process, rather than a means of information transmission (p. 4). We suggest that professional advisors can assist faculty advisors in this teaching process. Recognizing that each campus is unique, we offer a few suggestions regarding how professional advisors can work effectively with faculty.

One way to successfully connect with faculty and with undergraduate students is to be actively involved in first-year introductory courses. Many institutions offer an orientation or academic skills class to first-year students. Professional advisors who teach this class can invite a faculty member to co-teach the class or ask faculty to assist in other ways. Faculty could present their research or teaching interests or aid with an exercise within the class. Incorporating faculty can create a working environment that aligns advising goals with services advisees need. Where a first-year orientation course does not exist, professional advisors could ask faculty who teach first-year students if they can visit their course for a quick introduction. During the introduction, advisors can describe the advising role and encourage students to foster relationships with faculty and professional advisors during their undergraduate careers.

Second, we suggest that professional advisors collaborate with faculty advisors in the development of an advising syllabus. Numerous examples are provided within the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. The syllabus details expectations for advisors, such as providing accurate information, treating students with respect, and allowing students to make final decisions. In addition, the syllabus describes expectations for the advisee (e.g., participating in the advising process, taking personal responsibility for their actions, and being adequately prepared for classes). The syllabus provides a solid method to outline expectations for the first-year student.

Third, professional advisors, working in conjunction with registration and records personnel, can develop a means to track student progress toward graduation. Early review of student records and timely communication by professional and faculty advisors is a proactive step towards graduation. Communicating often with students can help simplify the senior check process.

Fourth, professional and faculty advisors should work together to identify potential career options for students. In some instances, student interests and talents may lie with career options outside the declared major. While such conversations may be difficult, open lines of communication help us shepherd students through the steps in deciding if a selected degree program is the best fit. Occasionally, faculty may be so engrossed in their discipline that it may be difficult to suggest a student look outside the department. Professional advisors who work closely with faculty can help students who seem disconnected or out of place.

Fifth, professional advisors should consider a variety of ways to integrate within a department. Consider incorporating advising elements into the department’s or unit’s regular activities by attending faculty meetings (if possible), holding advising update meetings with faculty advisors, and inviting faculty to join advising sessions. Professional advisors should consider meeting individually with faculty to provide key advising updates to new faculty, or to refresh senior faculty advisors with abbreviated updates. Another approach might be to invite campus constituents to special topics meetings (e.g..,
career services, counseling, wellness, alcohol task force, registration and records, study abroad)

Finally, we suggest professional advisors work with faculty to develop a system to ensure consistency during the advising periods. Faculty and professional advisors can develop a schedule to contact advisees prior to campus’ advising week(s). They can work together on an e-mail to ensure that:

  • students are provided with the advisor locations and availability.
  • students are informed of expectations for the advising meeting, such as having a class schedule identified for the next semester or bringing pertinent paperwork to the advising session.
  • a schedule/sign-up sheet is posted with availability or that students are encouraged to contact their advisor via email to schedule an appointment within designated parameters.

Where the advising relationship is shared, it works best when all stakeholders make decisions together for the betterment of their students. We submit that professional and faculty advisors can develop a strong, valuable relationship that aids the institution and its students.

Joan M. Krush
Department of Computer Science
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

Sara Winn
School of Natural Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Drake, J.K. (2007). Components of a Successful Faculty Advising Program. Pocket Guide 5. Manhattan, KS: NACADA.

Habley, W.R. (Ed.). (2004). The Status of Academic Advising: Findings from the ACT Sixth National Survey. (Monograph No. 10). Manhattan, KS: NACADA.

Petress, K. C. (1996). The multiple roles of an undergraduate's academic advisor. Education.117: 91.

We Are Known by the Company We Keep

Becky Olive-Taylor, Elon University

Becky Olive-Taylor.jpgJayne Drake’s presidential column in the June 2010 issue of Academic Advising Today on student identity development might lead advisors to consider how true her remarks are for us. Identity Matters as we make daily value judgments about our work and construct professional development plans for ourselves.  But advisors’ self-constructed identities and our campus-constructed reputations may differ depending on the company we keep. Outside of our most obvious company, students, what company do advisors’ keep on our campuses?  Or more importantly, what company should advisors keep?

Of course, the answer to these questions may vary by campus and by advising delivery system, but advisors have a lot of good student information to share that can do more than just inform the ranks of our fellow advisors. As advisors, we should proactively forge liaisons across key campus offices to better inform and in turn be better informed (American Association for Higher Education Joint Task Force on Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning, 1998). As we regularly communicate across campus to fully understand our colleagues’ work and uncover intersection of that work with academic advising, we must be sensitive to our connections with important institutional constituencies.

What better way to profess advising as teaching than to partner with our institution’s center for teaching and learning to deliver workshops on academic advising.  Even if professional advisors formally advise students within a department or institution, faculty still need advising awareness to aid in their mentoring and informal advising. Advisors can work with such a center to uncover learning needs, consider our own areas of advising expertise, and partner with the center personnel to craft pertinent development sessions for both new and continuing faculty. Partnering with the center staff to specifically deliver new faculty orientation on advising means that new faculty receive experienced input and professional advisors are perceived as a meaningful resource. Depending on campus culture, faculty advisor training delivered through a teaching and learning center may attract some faculty who might not otherwise attend advising focused workshops.

Another area for coalition building is the admissions office. Admissions officers may seek campus support to program for visiting student prospects. Advisors have a role to play by sharing with students and their families how academic advising works on campus. Advisors can explain philosophical underpinnings of the delivery system and introduce campus advising resources.  When advisors partner with admissions in this way, it signals to prospective students that advising is valued and is an important part of a successful college experience. Such ongoing associations with admissions may have the unanticipated benefit to better align recruiting messages with actual campus practices. Thus, incoming students have more accurate expectations of academic advising prior to enrollment.

Connections should be made with colleagues in the financial aid/financial planning office. At a time when student access is limited by rising tuition costs, advisors must be aware of how financial aid works on our campuses and how students can best access this assistance. For example, students in poor academic standing whose financial aid packages are jeopardized need advisors who both understand the financial aid system and the accompanying student stress. Other areas of concern are learning about the general conditions surrounding the repayment of loans and helping advisees understand how they can minimize post-graduation debt burden.

Finally, advisors know it is important to keep company with personnel in campus offices charged with supporting potentially at-risk students (e.g., multicultural center, athletics, counseling services, and disability services). Ongoing dialog with personnel within these offices may reveal a more complete picture of at-risk students’ experiences and the types of programming and advising needed for strategic support.

All campus connections must extend beyond an understanding of the referral process. To be a healthy functioning campus of inter-connected teams, colleagues should regularly converse with each other.If making the rounds of these suggested academic and student service areas feels daunting, advisors might create a representative advisory council to accomplish the task. Such an advisory council may also have the indirect benefit of creating a high functioning, interconnected student services network that crosses both academic and student affairs boundaries.

As advisors we are shortsighted when we solely depend on our defined interactions with students to guide all decisions about an advising program. Administrative constraints or particular institutional histories can complicate efforts to keep good company across campus, but given time and perseverance coalition efforts create change (Whiteside, 2001). Academic advisors can pursue these coalitions on our campuses knowing that the better we understand the complexities of students’ lives, the better we can advise. After all, the quality of our advising is truly affected by the company we keep.

Becky Olive-Taylor
Associate Dean for Academic Support
Academic Advising Center
Peer Tutoring, and Disability Services
Elon University


American Association for Higher Education, American College Personnel Association, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Joint Task Force. (1998). Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning. Retrieved from www.aahea.org/bulletins/articles/Joint_Task_Force.htm

Whiteside, R. (2001). Models for Successful Change. In. J. Black (Ed.), The Strategic Enrollment Management Revolution (97-108). Washington, DC:  American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

Recognize, Realize, and Utilize New Advisors and their Unique Skills

Amy P. LaRocca,Georgia Perimeter College

Adapted from a presentation at the 2010 Region 4 NACADA Conference

Amy LaRocca.jpg

I was lucky. About four months after graduating with my master’s degree, I secured a position as an academic advisor. I was thrilled with the possibilities within my new career and began seeing students almost immediately.  As a new advisor, I have learned many lessons, often through trial and error.  I have also realized that I possess skills that are unique simply because I am a new advisor. Thankfully, I have learned how to use these skills and how to make veteran advisors aware of them. When veteran advisors recognize the unique talents new advisors possess, they can work together to maximize these skills and better assist students.

New advisors generally come into the field with one thing in common: lots of questions. Some questions I had as a new advisor were: What makes one advisor “better” than another? What makes an advisor “the best”? “the worst?” Do poor advisors give inaccurate or incomplete information? What do I say to student who flunked chemistry and cannot apply to a nursing program? With so many questions, it can be hard for a new advisor to focus on the most important issue: student success.

However, while new advisors come into the field with many questions and much to learn, they also bring with them a unique skill set. Most new advisors possess three distinct skills. First, they are enthusiastic and excited. Most new advisors are more than willing to volunteer. They want to attend conferences, participate in graduation; they seek out new experiences and ways to learn. If a guinea pig is needed to test a new idea, seek out a new advisor.  Second, new advisors actively seek improvement (Haydon, 2004). They often request input from students, supervisors, and fellow advisors in an attempt to find useful feedback and ways they can improve. Third, new advisors are likely to use research within the advising field to improve themselves and their campuses (Folsom, 2007). They comb the NACADA Web site for new tools and articles; they research successful programs at other institutions and borrow ideas that can be used in their own setting.

New advisors should learn their strengths and feel confident displaying them to their veteran counterparts. Teamwork between new and veteran advisors can lead to a better overall advising experience for students. While veteran advisors have the benefit of experience, they may need to be reminded of what it is like to be new.

Veteran advisors who work with new advisors can benefit in several ways. First, there can be a cycle of misunderstanding between veteran advisors and new students. Veteran advisors can become accustomed to repeating information and may be unaware that they are explaining things in an unclear manner. Often it takes a new advisor who says, “I am confused by that explanation” for a veteran advisor to realize how a student might also be confused. Similarly, veteran advisors can forget what it is like not to know certain things. All students may not know how to access an academic calendar from the institution’s homepage or that a “W” and a “WF” are not the same thing. A new advisor who asks can remind veteran advisors that this information is also new to some students.  Further, new advisors can work with advisor training coordinators to provide feedback and reflections on new advisor training activities. It is important that those who create training programs receive feedback from participants within the program (Folsom, Joslin, &Yoder, 2005). New advisors can be a great resource for evaluating new training systems.

Another way both new and veteran advisors can gain skills is to partner for individual and group advising sessions. Some of the best experiences that I had during my first weeks as an advisor came from sitting in on advising sessions with a veteran advisor. Observing another’s advising session gives an advisor the chance to experience diverse advising styles. New advisors typically use prescriptive advising, and while this is an effective way to convey valuable information to the student, prescriptive advising may not allow an advisor to appreciate students as individuals outside of their academic role (Hale, Graham, & Johnson, 2009). When new and veteran advisors co-participate in advising sessions, it gives the new advisor a chance to see a more interactive style of advising. In addition, when a veteran advises alongside a new advisor, the veteran advisor can see the new advisor’s unique skills in action. This partnership can help new advisors gain confidence while increasing their knowledge base.

I was lucky that I found an amazing job and lucky to work with advisors who value my skills and perspective. However, I realize that I was not the only one who was lucky. Having a new advisor on staff can create a wonderful opportunity for veteran advisors to improve and for new advisors to learn. Both new and veteran advisors should realize the value in their relationship and should continually foster that relationship. Such cooperation does much for each advisor, but more importantly; these relationships further our opportunities to improve student success through high-quality academic advising.

Amy P. LaRocca
Student Affairs Counselor
Advising, Counseling, and Retention Services
Georgia Perimeter College

References and Resources

Altiparmak, M. (2004). Reflections from the field: Advice for new advisors. Advising Today, 27(4), 12-13.

Folsom, P. (Ed.). (2007). The New Advisor Guidebook: Mastering the Art of Advising Through the First Year and Beyond. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.

Folsom, P., Joslin, J., & Yoder, F. (2005) . From advisor training to advisor development: Creating a blueprint for first-year advisors. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Advising-first-year-students.aspx

Grewe, M. E. (2010). Reflections of a first-time adviser. The Mentor, electronic publication about academic advising in higher education. Volume 1, number 1. Retrieved from: www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/

Hale, M., Graham, D., & Johnson, D. (2009). Are students more satisfied with academic advising when there is congruence between current and preferred advising styles?.College Student Journal, 43(2), 313-324.

Haydon, L. (2004). If I were to write a book about academic advising for new advisors. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Advising-book.aspx

Miller, M. A. (2002, December). How to thrive, not just survive, as a new advisor. The Academic Advising News, 25(4). Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/newadvisor.aspx

Advisement Blogging for the Millennial Generation

David Lichtenstein, University of Southern California

The inspiration to start a blog stemmed from frustration during my time as an undergraduate student. As typical at many universities, I received information about internship and research opportunities from academic advisors via email. Though stuffed with useful information, I found these emails cumbersome to read as they often were long, patchwork collections that frequented my inbox. In truth, I began ignoring these emails altogether when I was not actively seeking a position, and later it proved challenging to locate the information when I looked for experiences and jobs. When I became an academic advisor, I thought there must be a better way for students to browse and search for these valuable opportunities using a familiar, Web-based interface.  That’s when I turned to Blogger©.

At first, my Biological Sciences (BISC) Blog was simple: an Internet age reimagining of the cork bulletin board. My colleague and I posted such things as internships, volunteer, and scholarship opportunities, and campus events; we built viewership among our biology students by marketing the blog in email communications, one-on-one advisement sessions, and presentations. To our happy surprise, the blog was a huge success. Since its inception, we have posted more than 700 events and opportunities and have received over 80,000 visits (the only intended audience being USC’s 900 biology majors and minors). From a qualitative survey of our students, we discovered that over 70% were satisfied (and less than 1% were dissatisfied) with the BISC Blog.

Given the enthusiastic response from our students, I became curious why more advising units do not consistently use this communication platform for student information. During my exploration of the use of technology in higher education, I found that most college academic advising blogs are managed by an individual advisor or small group in a single department. Most of the blogs I visited use stock templates, have few or infrequent posts, or are simply no longer active. Typically, content consists of advising dates and procedures, recommendations (e.g., “make a course plan to ensure positive movement toward your graduation goals”), or more general academic and career advice. I believe that consistent and timely delivery of content as well as overall presentation of material impact how students perceive blogs as reliable and trusted resources that can enhance their educational experiences. Positive perception can increase site viewership and thus augment a blog’s influence as a vehicle for teaching and advising.

Building on student feedback and my exploration of academic blogs, I began adding new features to the BISC Blog, including social networking, embedded media, a subscription option for daily email updates, and Google Calendar. My goal was to create a visually-appealing and social Web site for students while avoiding the temptation to add flashy-yet-frivolous features. Though I do not have formal computer science training, the availability of good documentation and open source code allowed me to create a major redesign over a few months.

Other advising units were impressed with our efforts and soon wanted similar blogs of their own. To assist our college’s efforts to centralize academic advising, I expanded the redesigned BISC Blog into three sibling blogs for each of the academic divisions of our college: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities. I believe these blogs help students profit from the collective knowledge of a vibrant community of advisors with diverse backgrounds and experiences. To create ownership for each department, we allow individual advisors to submit content on behalf of their department. As is the case in any group writing effort, it was imperative that we establish style and editorial guidelines to ensure consistency and professionalism. For example, we maintain a standard format for all postings and do not allow advertisements or classifieds on the site. I am proud to report that we already have a budding community of academic advisor-bloggers from various departments within the college.

Technology is constantly evolving and student needs change. As a result, the blog will continue to be an in vivo experiment. At this time in biology advising, we have phased out the practice of sending “opportunities and events” emails as we feel confident that students actively use the blog. By not overstuffing students’ inboxes, we have increased the salience of higher-priority email communication.  My hope is that our students will contribute to and view the blogs as more than just another campus information kiosk, and advisors will continue to blog substantive academic and career advice in addition to passing along opportunities. The blog platform allows unprecedented student access within our college community and helps us improve the continuity of the information stream to students.

For the USC College Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences blogs, visit http://college.usc.edu/blog-directory

David Lichtenstein
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Office of College Advising
University of Southern California



Looking for a Few Good Mentors!

ELP.jpgPssst…over here. We’ve been looking for you. Yes you, Commission Chair. And you, Board Member. Yes, you too Regional Conference Chair. We don’t want to alarm you, but we’ve been searching high and low for you, and we believe we have finally located a perfect fit. We need you. For what, you ask? For the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program. What is it? Well, let us tell you…

Developed by the NACADA Diversity Committee, the Emerging Leaders Program was designed to encourage members from diverse groups, as defined by the Board of Directors (including ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disabilities, sexual orientation, institutional type, size, and employment position), to get involved in leadership opportunities within NACADA. Ten Emerging Leaders and Ten Mentors are selected each year for this two year program. Mentors work closely with the Leaders, connecting them to areas within the association they are interested in and helping them develop a plan for continued involvement and growth in the association.

Sounds important? You bet. With the entry of the fourth class of Emerging Leaders, NACADA has already seen Leaders from the first three classes serve on Committees and Advisory Boards, act as Region and Commission Chairs, and Chair the Annual Conference, just to name a few successes. What do we need from you?  Ah yes, what we need from you…come closer. This is very, very important. We need you and your talents to act as a Mentor to one of our 2011-2013 Emerging Leaders.  Don’t feel qualified? You might be surprised. Mentors from the Emerging Leaders Program come from all walks of NACADA life and all levels of leadership and involvement. To qualify as a Mentor, you must be either a current or past NACADA Leader. This can be at the state, regional, or national level; in an elected or appointed position; as chair or member of a committee, advisory board, or task force; chair or member of a regional or commission/interest group steering committee. Whew! After all that info, we are certain you can find yourself somewhere in that list.

So is that it? Well no, that is not all. We refer you to the Emerging Leader Program Web site for Mentor requirements, but we are certain that once you read through the information, you will find that you are qualified and should consider applying for this exciting opportunity. The best piece of news is that we changed the application process for Mentors. We no longer need a statement of support from your immediate supervisor. Simply answer the question prompts with thorough and thoughtful responses, and you are well on your way to a life-changing experience. 

You know the Emerging Leaders will get something out of this program, but what about yourself?  We are glad you asked.  Perhaps, some words of wisdom from past Mentors in the program will help you see the benefits of becoming a Mentor:

'Although this might sound like hyperbole, put simply, this is the most innovative and rewarding program we have put together.  You can really make a difference in the lives of new leaders and familiarize them with the guiding principles of NACADA while simultaneously learning from the Emerging Leaders new trends in advising.”

'My experience as an Emerging Leader Mentor has been one of the highlights of my career.  I have learned as much from my mentee as I hope he has learned from me.”

“This experience has been life altering for me in the sense that I have had the opportunity to meet a number of truly wise and talented people whose commitment to the profession, to their own professional development, and to each other is a lesson in humility and dedication.”

"Set the stage for the next generation of advisors and leaders in our association."

“The act of mentoring causes us to stop and take stock of our own values, the paths we choose, and what we still have to learn.'

So, it sounds like something you would like to do? Fantastic, we knew we found the right person for this very important responsibility. Remember, being a Mentor is about so much more than what you can give of yourself. That is an important part, but it could really be an important opportunity to get much more in return. Sandy Waters.jpgWe need Mentors like you, leaders who have moved the Association forward on its path, to help us develop our leaders of the future. For only a two year commitment of your time, you could receive a lifetime of rewards.

Sandy Waters, ELP Advisory Board Chair
Todd Taylor, Emerging Leader, 2008-2010 Class




Accessing the Hidden Job Market

The job search can be a daunting experience, even when the job market is at its peak.   During an economic downturn, such as the one the United States is currently facing, the job search process becomes even more difficult and requires a new set of strategies.

The more traditional resources for finding job postings through print or online job announcements are certainly still worth checking.  Some examples of organizations or companies used by institutions of higher education include The Chronicle of Higher Education, NACADA resources and listservs, academiccareers.com, specific college and university Web sites, and other professional associations and listservs.  But remember that hundreds, if not thousands, of other job searchers are also accessing these resources.  With this said, it is now even more important to tap into the “hidden” job market.

The hidden job market is accessed by networking, a practice that is more easily embraced by the extroverts of the world, but there is ample opportunity for the less socially inclined as well.  Consider the following practices to find positions in academic advising:

  • Prepare for your first professional academic advising position by volunteering or interning at an institution of higher education in your community.  If you are employed as an academic advisor and want to learn more about administrative positions and other opportunities for promotion, try job shadowing or conducting informational interviews with your director/supervisor.  To help prepare for this type of position, try offering assistance with managing budgets, developing and planning day-to-day activities and future events, and supervising student employees.
  • Attend and present at regional, annual, and international NACADA conferences as well as other association conferences, workshops, and seminars.
  • Solicit feedback and respond to professional email listservs you subscribe to; submit articles for publication in the associations’ print and online resources.
  • Serve as a member of professional associations’ committees based on your specific interest areas.
  • Share your knowledge and expertise with community groups in need of assistance with the populations they serve.  Consider topics on preparation for and attainment of educational, career, and personal goals.
  • Take time to earn additional college degrees and professional certifications.  Gain other professional knowledge to remain current, if not ahead of the curve, by developing innovative program and service ideas.
  • Take time to assess your interests, needs, strengths, transferrable skills, and work-related values to determine the type of institution and the type of students you would like to advise.
  • Manage your job search and networking efforts by recording who you’ve communicated with, when, where, and how.  Follow up any communication and experience you’ve had with a potential employer or colleague by sending a note of appreciation.
  • Keep your resume and CV current so it will only require a minimal amount of customization when you find a position you want to apply for.  This will allow more time and effort to be directed to the cover letter.  Have your resume available when you anticipate encounters with higher education professionals; consider a business card style resume for initial meetings.
  • Stay positive, take care of yourself, and treat yourself to something rewarding each time you accomplish one of these strategies!

Alison Hoff
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Chair
Academic Advisor and National Student Exchange Coordinator
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Brandis Bernard
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Member
Academic Advisor and Coordinator of Academic and Career Exploration
University of Nevada, Reno



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Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.