AAT banner

Voices of the Global Community


NACADA Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Academic Advising Summer Institutes

From 56 attendees in its inaugural year to 280 participants in 2005, the Academic Advising Summer Institutes (SI) have blossomed into one of NACADA's most highly-anticipated annual offerings. SI founder Wes Habley recalls that "in the early '80s, the prevailing opinion about academic advising was that, just as every institution was different, every institution’s advising program was different. In a sense, there was no real common body of understandings and beliefs about advising." However, Habley's experiences suggested otherwise. He believed that "there were commonalities across institutions and across advising programs, and those commonalities formed a set of building blocks or core concepts that could be identified and shared." Thus, in establishing the first Academic Advising Summer Institute, Habley's intention was "to provide an extensive curriculum of building blocks (core concepts) that would affirm advisors and advising and provide participants with a support network and an impetus to take action to enhance advising." Although the SI curriculum has grown and changed over the years, "in many ways," says Habley, "the intended outcomes for the first Summer Institute continue to this day."

In the following article, Dorothy Burton Nelson (Southeastern Louisiana University) describes how Habley's goals have been realized in her life.

During my early years as an instructor, advising was 'assigned' to me. I met with students before registration, worked long hours, signed hundreds of 'advising' forms, and at the close of registration, I felt that I had done my duty. My department head, a long standing member of NACADA, encouraged me to attend a NACADA Conference that was to be held in Louisville, Kentucky. I did, and I continued attending on an annual basis. After a while, I learned the buzz words, read the articles, and met professional people, but I didn't actually connect with the field of advising until I attended an Academic Advising Summer Institute in Burlington, Vermont. During that highly intensive training week, the buzz words came to life: Advising: Informational, Conceptual, and Relational; Advising information: Current, Accurate and Timely; Prescriptive versus Developmental Advising.

Those phrases were assimilated into my mental schemata of advising for the first time. By the end of the week of my first Institute, I knew that I could no longer check-off my advising duties as signing course approval forms. My plan was clear to me – my Action Plan, that is! I was going to return home and develop a new conceptual framework for advising in my department, centered on 'ask' instead of 'tell.' I was energized and ready to embark on a new career in advising. I returned home, put my plan into action, and began interacting with students, as if their experiences and perceptions were the true starting point for my job. It was no longer an assignment, but rather a challenge. It's funny how a routine job can suddenly take on new life when you look beyond the moment into the ramifications of that moment.

My job grew – not only because of the expansion of my view of advising, but because of the other professionals with whom I connected. I visited Betsy McCalla-Wriggins at Rowan University. I collected information at every state, regional and national conference. The next step for me was a move into advising administration and a whole new set of duties: training other advisors, helping them to develop a personal advising mission statement, and looking for ways to improve the experience for students. I assumed the position of Director of the Career and Academic Planning Center, and sought new information through attending the NACADA Academic Advising Administrators' Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Eric White was my group facilitator, and he posed some very stringent questions for which I had to formulate answers and present to the group, such as How will you connect your advising center to the university as a whole? and How can you effectively communicate your ideas to faculty advisors and academic units who have been in the business much longer than you? I didn't have a clue, but that was my focus for the Institute. I asked each person I met, hoping to sculpt my Action Plan for the week, finding out that the strategies were as varied as the people to whom I spoke. That meant I had to really think about the culture of my campus and determine what would work for me and the students and the faculty advisors and higher administration. I created my plan, which was to return home with a fully developed collaborative framework to activate with one academic unit... at a time. And that's what I did. Over the last few years, I've worked closer with professional and faculty advisors, witnessed changes in advising structure at Southeastern, and have had the privilege of being included in important administrative decisions. Advising efforts are evident, practices are more student-centered, and advisors seem to be listening and asking rather than telling.

DorothyBurtonNelson.jpgI've had the opportunity to join the faculty at the NACADA Academic Advising Summer Institutes for the past two years. The metamorphosis that takes place within each participant (myself included) during that one-week period is phenomenal. The work that I conduct at my home institution is now a part of a much bigger picture; that is my employment within the field of advising. What I believe and how I practice represents a deeper understanding of the role, scope and mission of advising, of advisors and of advisees, and most importantly, of the humanity present in each interaction.

Dorothy Burton Nelson
Southeastern Louisiana University
[email protected]

Editor's note: Our celebration of the Academic Advising Summer Institute's upcoming 20th anniversary will continue throughout this issue, with commentaries from other participants and faculty members, and – at the end of the publication – a little 'walk down memory lane.' We hope you'll enjoy revisiting these memories with us!

From the President: A Bright Future Ahead with a Dedication to Service

Jo Anne Huber, NACADA President 

President JoAnneHuber.jpgI am very honored to be writing my second letter as President of NACADA. We had a record number of attendees at the National Conference in Las Vegas, NV Oct. 5-8, 2006, with over 3380 registered. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we hope those in attendance found this Conference to be a most rewarding professional experience, which will lead to more opportunities in the coming year.

Jane Jacobson, Vice President, and I have designated this the year to “Build the Next Generation of Academic Advisors.” To this end, we hosted a breakfast in Las Vegas with other NACADA leaders with new professionals and/or first time attendees. We had over 35 who mingled with Board and Council members and asked very good questions about becoming involved in NACADA. In addition, an Interest Group for New Professionals, co-chaired by Nathan Vickers (University of Texas-Austin) and Ben Chamberlain (Iowa State University), had a roundtable discussion with a packed room! Clearly the interest and enthusiasm is there. We certainly plan to capitalize on this momentum! The New Member Orientation has been tailored to address this population and encourage them to become active members as well. These members represent the future of NACADA, so we want to make sure to nurture their interests and needs. Hopefully, these are our future leaders in the field.

I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations to those who have had such an impact on our association by their dedication to the Summer Institute! As you will note in this publication, the Summer Institute is celebrating 20 years of outstanding professional development opportunities for NACADA members. Without the dedication and hard work of present and past Advisory Board Chairs Wes Habley and Nancy King, their Advisory Board members, and countless others, including Diane Matteson from the Executive Office, who have provided their expertise to this endeavor, it would certainly not be the phenomenal success it has been. Congrats to all who have attended the Summer Institute and those who have unselfishly facilitated the process both behind the scenes and with the attendees!

Mark your calendars for the Regional Conferences being held in the spring! These are wonderful ways to network with professionals in our own Regions, as well as showcase our units/colleges in a more informal relaxed atmosphere than a very large national conference. Check out the dates and locations on the NACADA webpage. Jane and I plan to attend as many as possible, as will other Board/Council members, along with a representative from the Executive Office.

Jane is chairing the Visibility Work Group, along with several Board members and a representative from the Council. This group will make recommendations to the Board on additional ways to increase our global visibility while continuing to explore recognition of advisors on our campuses.

Our membership continues to soar; we now have over 9,100 members! Obviously, as an organization, we are doing many things very, very well, as evidenced by our phenomenal growth. The leadership of NACADA, along with the able members of the Executive Office, will continue to find new ways to serve our membership, from seminars/institutes to innovative technology to publications focusing on current research both in the Journal as well as monographs and possible book partnerships.

We will continue to strive to make improvements as deemed necessary in an effort to provide the best service we can to all members. An effort will be made to assess where we are as an association – although still in the first three years of our new organization – to ensure we are still on track. Evidence certainly indicates we are so far! Additionally, the Consultant’s Bureau is being reviewed to see if improvements should be made. Lastly, the Finance Committee and Board of Directors are reviewing some concrete recommendations from the Diversity Committee for implementation in the coming year.

As members, we must never lose sight of NACADA’s primary purpose, which is to facilitate student success. That is our mission and is the basis for the formation of NACADA so many years ago.

I welcome your input and look forward to this wonderful year as President.

Jo Anne Huber, President
National Academic Advising Association
[email protected]

From the Executive Director: NACADA Memories and Milestones

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director 

BobbieFlaherty.jpgAs we continue to celebrate our growing membership (now over 9100!), it seems appropriate to pause just a moment to consider how we got to this point. So, I am going to try to highlight some of the important moments in NACADA’s history that have contributed to its continued growth and success. I am convinced that NACADA has been blessed with exceptional leadership at all stages of its development – leaders who had a vision for the Association and recognized how to continually change the organizational structure to be most responsive to the needs of the growing membership.

From Toni Trombley’s organization of the first National Conference on academic advising in 1977 with its 275 attendees, to NACADA’s founding members and first Board of Directors, through the many Boards of Directors, to today’s Leaders at all levels along with the Council and Board, each has provided guidance and inspiration that focused on the needs of members to assist them in enhancing student development and student success.

The commitment of the leadership to focus on this mission has produced a very dynamic Association. I find it interesting to see the many achievements of the Association during its relatively short life and believe it is a tribute to the leaders and their ability to change as the Association has grown and matured. The literature on association development describes this maturation process and NACADA is right on track while holding true to its mission. Check out this condensed history:

The first Board of Directors included 18 Members: 4 officers, 7 Institutional Type Reps, and 7 Geographic Reps;
Initial membership consisted of 429 Charter members (annual membership fee: $15);
Published first Newsletter;
The National Conference drew 355 attendees.

Joined CAS to help develop standards for advising.

Added Past President to the Board of Directors;
Published first Journal;
Established ERIC descriptor for academic advising.

Presented first Research Award.

Started Consultants Bureau.

Initiated National Awards Program;
First Region Conferences held.

Expanded Board of Directors to 24 positions, organized through 2 VPs with 10 Regions.

Published Report on Advising Students in Oversubscribed Majors.

Published Reports on Advising Adult Learners;
Member Placement Service formalized.

Established Research Grants;
Published Report on Advising as a Profession.

All Regions held a Regional Conference;
Decision was made to plan for an Executive Office.

Clearinghouse was established at Ohio State University.

Established the Executive Office;
Leadership consisted of: Board of Directors (23), Committee Chairs (10), Editors (2), Commissions (4), Appointed Others (4) – a total of 43 Leaders.
Membership was 2452.

Allied Member Associations recognized.

Reorganization eliminated Institutional Type Reps, decreasing the Board to 18 members with a VP Commissions; also 10 Committees, 2 editors, and 4 Commissions.

Published Report on Advisor Training;
Organized the Summer Institute for the first time through the Executive Office.

Adopted Core Values Statement for the profession.

Published first 3 Monographs;
Established NACADA Website.

Published another Monograph;
Released Advising Training Video.

Published another Monograph.

Published another Monograph.

Produced National Teleconference and Video.

With 5318 members and 56 Leaders: Board Members, Committee and Commission Chairs, the Board recognized the need to reorganize.
Published another Monograph;
Published Advising Handbook (with Jossey-Bass).

Executive Office handled all Regional Conference registrations (with budget approvals).

Board and Membership approved Governance restructuring (10 Board Members at-large charged with focusing on the Vision and Strategic Plan; 6 Council members to handle Association management issues; Executive Office charged with implementation with input from members).
Clearinghouse established through Executive Office.

Added a second Summer Institute;
Published 2 Monographs;
Published the Family Guide;
Started Administrators' Institute;
Published the first Monthly Association Highlights;
Held the first Administrators’ Pre-Conference Workshop at Regional Conferences;
Established Graduate Certificate Program in Academic Advising.

Published 3 Monographs;
Initiated National Seminar Series.

Record participation at National Conference – 3383 attendees;
Held the first Assessment Institute;
Produced first CD in Foundations of Advising Series;
Published 2 Monographs;
Revamped Newsletter (renamed 'Academic Advising Today') to focus on advising content.

Membership count topped 9100 on January 10, 2006.
Already this year, have published the Career Advising Guide with Jossey-Bass;
Added a Faculty Seminar to the professional development offerings list.

Then Archivist, J.D. Beatty, wrote in the 1991 NACADA Journal article on NACADA’s history, that

In some respects the Association’s growth has followed the developmental model outlined by William Perry, a keynoter at the 1980 Asheville conference….The Association initially had to pull together diverse needs….As the Association grew, it became more willing to accept multiplicity…..(with) shared experiences generating a growing pool of professional literature…(and) there is every reason to believe that the Association will continue to move up the developmental ladder….The Association is entering its adolescence (1991)…but it has neither lost nor forgotten the wonder years, and many chapters remain in its rich future. We 'have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.'

We thank the many dedicated leaders of NACADA’s past who have nurtured this Association through its infancy and adolescence, and prepared it for a bright future as a “grown-up” Association! Now we challenge the present and future leaders to be as visionary and successful, for we still 'have promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep.'

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, Executive Director
National Academic Advising Association
(785) 532-5717
[email protected]

Continuous Improvement and Advising

Kathy Stockwell, Fox Valley Technical College 
Dana Zahorik, Fox Valley Technical College 

Light (2001) notes that “good advising may be one of the single most underestimated characteristics of a successful college experience.” Yet, academic advising is as diversified as our varied institutional missions and purposes. Therefore, it is important that we keep in mind that advising programs are designed and implemented to meet the unique and changing needs of today’s students, their enrollment patterns, population groups, budgets, and diversity within the institution.

A faculty advising survey conducted by Janet Perry (2001) at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in Appleton, Wisconsin, asked one hundred faculty members to examine the college’s advising program. The findings concluded that faculty generally agreed that student advising is necessary and beneficial to the student body; the contact that advisors have with students has a positive impact on students’ experiences with their education; and retention is positively impacted by advising efforts. However, faculty/advisor loads have increased from the past, thus leaving less time to spend with advisees, and only 50% of the faculty surveyed indicated they felt the time allotted to advising was adequate.

As a reaction to changes in the advising environment, many colleges, including FVTC, have adopted a multifaceted advising approach that can include a combination of faculty advisors, advising professionals, group advising, and/or peer advising to better meet the changing needs of students and our institutions. According to Brenden (1986):

Such a multifaceted approach is needed in higher education to broaden its horizons and meet the challenge presented by a new breed of student and an ever changing society. At best, academic advising illuminates the many questions confronting students and assists them in discovering directions for growth and development. It is only through a comprehensive advising program—one which includes communication and information exchanges with faculty as well as fellow students on an individual as well as a group basis—that students can realize their maximum educational potential (pg. 82).

Every college should view their advising program as a continuous improvement project, searching for new ways to meet student needs. For some colleges, faculty advising may be a new initiative. According to Kramer (1995), “Faculty are integral to the advising process, especially in consideration of curricular complexity, student diversity, retention, and advising as a form of teaching.” Those colleges not including faculty as advisors overlook an effective retention tool. Retention can also be enhanced by utilizing approaches such as peer or group advising. Nancy King (2000) states that “…at times group advising is not only necessary but can also be quite effective in enhancing and augmenting advising services. In addition, innovative group advising methods may offer retention value by connecting students with both their peers and an advisor (p. 228).” Group advising is one avenue that can provide more comprehensive advising services on our campuses.

In addition, peer advisors can provide an excellent supplement to academic advising. Barman and Benson (1981) suggest that peer advisors can help reduce the advisor/advisee ratio and thus provide a more personal and individual academic advising program. Last spring FVTC, a two-year college in the Midwest, piloted a peer advising program within the institution’s continuous improvement framework. The reaction from advisors, advisees, and peer advisors has been very positive.

Continuous improvement initiatives may also mean reviewing the advising model currently in place through the use of instruments such as the one developed by Perry (2001). Assessment can help determine if an advising program is indeed meeting the needs of the students. Assessment results can be used by advising coordinators to determine if the original outcomes and mission set for academic advising are still aligned with the college’s mission, plans and directions.

There are many things to consider as we continuously strive to improve our advising services. As Tom Grites (2003) states, “in tough economic times, higher education administrators are obliged to seek cost-saving measures and/or to conduct cost-benefit analyses of programs.” The addition of faculty advisors, group advising sessions, and/or the use of peer advisors could all be results of a review of the current advising model within continuous improvement initiatives. These initiatives can help meet both institutional and student needs.

Kathy Stockwell
Fox Valley Technical College
[email protected]

Dana Zahorik
Fox Valley Technical College
[email protected]


Barman, C.R. & Benson, P.A. (1981). Peer advising: A working model. NACADA Journal,1(2), 33-40.

Brenden, M. (1986). Pioneering new support systems for non-traditional baccalaureate students: Interactional advising and peer mentoring, NACADA Journal. 6(2), pg. 77-82.

Grites, T. (2003). Determining the worth of an advising unit. The Academic Advising News, 26(1). Retrieved September 3, 2005.

King, N. (2000). Advising students in groups. In V.N. Gordon & W.R. Habley (Eds.),Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook (pp. 228-237). San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

Light, R. (2001). Making the Most of College: Students speak their minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Perry, J. (2001). Fox Valley Technical College. Faculty Advising Survey Results, 1996-2001. Appleton, WI: Fox Valley Technical College

Balanced Scorecard Approach

Ilene M. Gilborn, Mount Royal College

Gambling on academic advising success? Using the balanced scorecard approach could lead to advising windfalls.

A couple of years ago, when I was asked to advise for some of our programs at the Bissett School of Business, I thought, “Why not? How hard can it be? Students come into my office and I tell them what courses to take; by the end of the semester, if I don’t hear from the Dean, I guess I’ve done a good job!”

Being an accountant, it reminded me of the simple way Henry Ford ran his company a hundred years ago. Ford manufactured the cars, people bought them for more than they cost to produce, and he knew he had done well if there was money in the bank at the end of the day. In those days, most consumers had (and wanted) little choice. In fact, Ford has frequently been quoted as saying, “The customer can have any color of Model-T he wants, as long as he wants black!”


But that was then. Modern companies are more complex as a result of global competition, vast diversification, and discerning and savvy customers. Not surprisingly, it took only one or two advising appointments for me to realize academic advising is very similar.

Since the time of Henry Ford, most companies have measured performance using summative profitability measures such as operating profit, return on investment and earnings per share. These have, and still do, provide an excellent summary of the bottom line. Yet, by themselves, financial measures are woefully inadequate for telling the whole story about a company’s operations. Here’s why.

Financial measures report past experiences. This is troublesome for two reasons. Firstly, it causes our responses to be reactive. By the time the bank calls us to say we are overdrawn, it is too late to employ preventative measures, such as a line of credit. And because we cannot change the past, we must live with the consequences—such as a poor credit rating. These types of measures are called “lag” indicators.

Secondly, we don’t get enough information from financial measures. Shareholders might be happy with only knowing the earnings per share. Managers, on the other hand, also need to know things like market share, production quality and employee turnover, so operations can flow smoothly and profits can be generated. It is obvious that a drop in product quality will lead to reduced market share and ultimately, diminished profits. Happy customers, efficient processes and a skilled workforce are all essential to successful operations—yet none of the performance measures in these areas show up on the balance sheet. These so-called “lead” indicators help managers pinpoint and resolve problems before they affect the bottom line.

In the early 1990s, two management consultants recognized the need for some kind of integrated performance measurement system that would incorporate both financial and non-financial results, lead and lag indicators, and internal and external measures. They also reasoned that because profits are linked to customer satisfaction, product quality and skillful, happy employees each of these areas should be represented by the measures selected. After a lot of research, they determined their performance measurement model should be limited to 20 to 24 different measures spread equally between four to five critical areas. Because of this “balanced” approach, they called their model “The Balanced Scorecard” (BSC).

Many companies world wide have successfully implemented the balanced scorecard for measuring their business performance. (A list of companies can be found at the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative website).

Now that I have three years of academic advising under my belt, it has occurred to me that the “balanced scorecard” could be utilized for advising assessment. Academic advising is a multi-faceted activity that has clear linkages among learning outcomes, retention rates, student satisfaction, program design and delivery, and the training and development of advisors. So, as illustrated by companies that are using the BSC, a balance of lead and lag indicators equally distributed between these five “perspectives” would not only tell us how well we are doing, but will also provide insight into where we could proactively improve our programs and prevent problems from occurring.

Implementing a balanced scorecard for academic advising would not be easy as much as we might prefer a turn-key package. Each organization must use the model as a template, customizing it to fit their particular program. In addition, a BSC is not static. As our students, programs and people change, so too must our performance measures. The dynamic nature of the scorecard insures we are always on top of our program delivery despite any changes to our academic environment.

Development of a BSC begins with a clearly stated mission or purpose, measurable objectives and strategies to meet those objectives. Then under each perspective, specific outcomes are identified for each strategy. For example, if one of our strategies is to utilize faculty advisors, then a desired outcome might be the development of faculty’s advising skills.


The next step would be to determine how each outcome will be measured. This is frequently the most difficult part of developing a BSC, particularly when it applies to an abstract product like advising. At the same time, it gives us an opportunity to study and analyze our programs while looking for measurable attributes.

Lastly, we need to establish some numerical criteria against which we will measure our actual performance. A measurable outcome for faculty development would be the number of faculty who complete the development program. Specifically, we might say our target is to have 15 faculty members complete the training program.

Once the balanced scorecard is in place, we would follow a regular cycle of use. We would need to gather evidence (results) on a regular basis—possibly for each month, each semester or each year. Integrated computer systems make this task less daunting. We would compare the results to our targets (calculate scores), and interpret them in terms of our performance. Following that, in addition to making any indicated changes, we would go back to review our strategy. This is an important part of the cycle because our “scores” may indicate weaknesses in our strategy rather than our performance.

Finally, we would examine our current outcomes and associated measures from each perspective to make sure they are still the best indicators of performance and will provide us with the information we need for evaluation and decision-making. With our revised scorecard, we are ready to begin the cycle again.

The following illustration provides a very rough idea of what a balanced scorecard might look like if we were to apply it to academic advising assessment.

This is a very brief introduction of the BSC, and how it might be applied to advising programs. For more in-depth information please visit the following web sites:


Ilene M. Gilborn
Mount Royal College
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
[email protected]

Advising Against 'Pop Culture'

Darren Francis, University College of the Fraser Valley

“Stephen” walks into an advisor’s office and explains that he needs help to become a doctor. Without hesitation, the advisor begins to outline the process and asks rapport building questions to develop a bond with Stephen. Through these introductory questions, the advisor is surprised to learn that although Stephen wants to be a doctor, he “does not like blood.” As the advisor learns more about his motivation for becoming a doctor, he realizes Stephen has little idea what a doctor “really” does, because his perception of medicine has been altered by his favorite television show.

Even in this day of expanding job duties, an academic advisor’s primary function remains to assist students in reaching both their academic and career goals. However, completing the primary function of the job has become more challenging because of unrealistic career expectations developed through media influence.

Analysis of media influence, both positive and negative, on society is not a new topic; however, for advisors the impact has never been more apparent. As the Faculty of Science Advisor for the University College of the Fraser Valley, I am inundated with student inquiries that are a direct result of watching popular television shows instead of general interest in the subject or career. The forensic investigation television franchises that dominate television channels across North America are an example of the impact a television show can make on student career choices. Over the last three years, the number of student inquiries relating to forensics has tripled. Even more interesting is that many students have little or no idea of what “forensics” means; they just want to do “the cool stuff” they saw on television last night. In many cases, they refer to the characters in their favorite shows by name, as if they are real people: “Last night, Nick was able to solve the murder by recreating the bomb that was used to commit the crime; I would really like to be able to do that.” This is just one example of how academic advisors are now responsible for dispelling misconceptions about the careers portrayed on television and in movies.

Academic advisors must address the misconceptions created by the media head on if we are to help students make realistic academic and career choices. A great way to facilitate this process is to have the students explain, in their own words, why they have made their respective program and/or career choices. When students explain their decision making process, it offers advisors an opportunity to dispel misconceptions students may have about a given career and provides an opportunity for students to realize errors in their decision making. For example, when working with “Stephen,” who wanted to be a doctor but didn’t like blood, I was able to highlight that all doctors work with blood, even though it was not addressed in the television show. After making that connection, Stephen asked some detailed questions about other medical-related programs that did not require him to work directly with blood. I suggested several programs and recommended that he job shadow careers that interested him to gain an accurate idea of the required work in each area. As a result of our discussion and his job shadowing, Stephen chose to pursue physical therapy, because it allowed him to help people, but did not require him to work directly with blood.

“Stephen” is but one example of how realistic career expectations can help students make good decisions. A combination of honest discussion and job shadowing allowed this student to make a practical career choice. As technology continues to expand, media influence will become greater. Academic advisors must focus their attention not only on academic planning, but on helping students make realistic career decisions by dispelling the misconceptions created by the media.

Darren Francis
University College of the Fraser Valley
Abbotsford, BC Canada
[email protected]


Advising the Major - the Job Myth

Andrew Colby, University of New Hampshire

“I like [fill in the blank], but what can I do with that major?” is the most often asked question from exploratory students to academic advisors at the University of New Hampshire’s University Advising and Career Center (UACC).

Preparing students for a career is not higher education’s primary focus. However, the question is understandable. We expect an action to produce an outcome, a direction. “Undecided” insinuates unknowing, and unknowing suggests lack of direction. We stress the need for critical thinking, developing transferable skills, immersion in learning situations, and studying a topic in-depth, i.e., the importance of college for the intellectual experience itself. Nonetheless, the anxiety over what happens the Monday after graduation weighs heavily from day one for students (and their parents); thus it demands our attention.

This is the concern common to a large portion of undergraduates, yet it receives little coordinated professional attention. What are the resources? Where are the resources? NACADA members can find career exploration resources in the Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources . At UNH, we use the University of Tennessee’s fine “What Can I do with…” information sheets, MonsterTrak’s “Major to Career Converter,” and our own Career Mentor Network, as well as handouts. Also available through NACADA is Virginia Gordon’s new book, Career Advising: An Academic Advisor’s Guide .

Early resolution increases the student’s opportunity to form an academic plan based on correct information that fits personal interests and does not fall prey to the major - job reality myth. A lot of student uncertainty comes from not knowing and not understanding outcomes of the major, especially when negotiating an academic plan with parents. (At UNH, we refer to the useful University of Tennessee “What Can I do with that major” handout as the “Parent Sheet.”)

UNH’s undergraduate population is representative of what can be found at public institutions that serve a large number of undeclared, or exploring, students. We advise Undeclared Liberal Arts and first-year English and Psychology majors - exploring students. There are 2,000 of these students, or about 18% of our undergraduate population. More specifically, we advise nearly a third of UNH’s entire first-year class.

The undeclared status troubles some students. Discomfort levels rise when exploring implies a lack of clarity and not knowing what the Monday after graduation will bring. UACC academic advisors help students form an academic plan by identifying interests, skills, and values and then connecting their findings to UNH majors, minors and programs. It is no different at other schools. Fortunately, the UACC is a combined academic and career advising center, and we have a team of career advisors ready to work with referred students and with whom we can strategize programs and activities. It is this academic-career connection that has greatly enhanced our work. (Find examples of other academic – career centers listed in the Clearinghouse .

We start working with students during their first year – the first semester if possible – to resolve the major - job reality myth. We focus our efforts on the improvement of academic advisors’ skills, so they can help students understand where choices lead, define post-university goals, and pursue options for non pre-professional majors. We capitalize upon our Residential Life expertise in coaching students through the “life” transitional issues so that advisors can highlight students’ important academic needs and insure that each student:

  1. knows the name of his or her advisor and how to make contact;
  2. understands how to develop an academic plan that focuses on a major, minor, supporting classes and extended classroom activities;
  3. develops relationships with faculty;
  4. understands how to find academic support services; and
  5. forms a plan, much like the major identification process, to determine the first-post UNH experience and to develop strategies and tools leading to options during senior year.

Academic advisors encourage students to identify interests and figure out what they need to improve while pursuing academic experiences of personal interest; networking with faculty, alumni and professionals; attending career fairs; researching internships; and developing a resume of experience outside the classroom. All of these experiences help students build an academic plan. While anxiety often remains, there is relief when students define their academic plans in a timely fashion.

It is important to remember that the real sticking points for students are not deeply rooted in anxiety, but tend to be practical concerns based on inexperience. Formal interest and vocational instruments can be valuable and play a role in the process. However, they should be employed after other techniques are tried and eliminated. Our aim is to encourage students to identify interests, skills and values, and to build problem-solving skills through an active process that puts them in new situations.

Students who design plans to investigate the major-career link navigate through problems, systems, and bureaucracies to discover processes on their own. After all, this process is an important part of higher education. Coupled with the identification of an academic plan, the advisor’s role is to help students prepare for independence by graduation, when no advisor will be there for guidance.

A google search titled “Linking Majors to Careers” turned up helpful college and university sites that address this issue. (Try it: you’ll find some useful information.) Many sites describe similar processes and list similar resources. This information coupled with theClearinghouse and the listserv sponsored by the Undecided and Exploratory Students Commission can help advisors access or borrow ideas that work.

I hope this short opinion piece generates a discussion of available resources and practices that schools use to sort out this practical but significant and common obstacle facing the vast majority of “exploring” students.

Andrew Colby
University of New Hampshire
[email protected]

Academic Advising and the Dispositions Assessment Process

Lee Kem, Advising Education Majors Commission Chair

Teacher = Knowledge + Attitudes + Behavior

We all know students who are successful academically but have not made successful teachers. It takes more than knowledge to be a good teacher – attitude ordispositionsare also important. Dewey (1933/1938) emphasized the importance of attitudes and the union of attitude and skilled methods. Attitudes include open-mindedness and whole-heartedness, and “no separation can be made between impersonal, abstract principles of logic and moral qualities of character. What is needed is to weave them into unity' (Dewey, p. 34). Bloom (1956/1976) introduced the taxonomy of instructional objectives in three domains (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) and emphasized the importance of the affective in the learning process. Woolfolk (1998) expanded on the relationship among the cognitive, affective, and behavioral domains. Alexander (2003) reiterated the strong ties between cognitive/affective attributes of learners and how these attributes impact the acquisition and comprehension of information. Based on this knowledge, it is evident that more than knowledge and behaviors need to be assessed in teacher education programs.

Knowledge is assessed by entrance/exit tests and GPA. Behaviors can be assessed by such things as observations, interviews, and behavior journals. How do we assess attitude or the affective domain? This area of assessment is being added in many education programs, often driven by NCATE accreditation.

What are dispositions? According to an article in the December 2005 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, a 2002 NCATE booklet on professional standards defines dispositions as “values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behaviors toward students families, colleagues, and communities.' These dispositions “are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice.” To meet NCATE requirements, universities are currently seeking to determine appropriate ways to operationalize the assessment of the dispositions of teacher candidates.

Assessment: Who, what, when, how? Faculty seem to be the main assessors of attitudes or dispositions. Disposition evaluation usually occurs at checkpoints such as the admission to teacher education interview, admission to student teaching, and field/supervisor experience. Additional assessment can occur based upon a flagging system that utilizes attitudes exhibited during classroom activities.

Students can also be evaluated on dispositions based on class participation and presentations. If a student is part of a presentation group and doesn’t come to class that day, this can indicate that the student may have a problem with caring and responsibility! Plagiarism, cheating, absenteeism, and failure to complete assignments are indicators that dispositions of responsibility and ethical behavior may be an issue.

Academic advisors should advocate for inclusion in the disposition assessment process at their institutions. Advisors need to become an integral part of the disposition assessment process. We see students in less threatening settings where their true dispositions may be evident. Thus, advisors have a different and often more in-depth insight into the dispositions and behaviors of students. Advisor evaluation of these students should be formalized and valued. A disposition checklist needs to be included in the advisement process and submitted for consideration as part of the admission/evaluation process.

Students must be informed early in the program about the dispositions expected of teacher candidates. Some universities utilize a signed “Code of Conduct” or “Disposition Agreement.” This can be incorporated into freshmen orientation or introduction to education courses.

There are a multplicity of approaches that can be used for disposition evaluation. At one NACADA National Conference session, information was gathered about how different institutions assess dispositions. Some of the different approaches include: group interview assessments, interview checklists, self-assessment checklists, classroom checklists, flagging systems, student teacher evaluations, supervising teacher assessment, portfolios, journals, signed contracts, and an information manual.

Members of the Advising Education Commission may be contacted for additional information about these different approaches to evaluation of dispositions.Dawn Black ([email protected]) will provide additional information about the group interview assessments process utilized at their University. Jill Niemeyer ([email protected]) has a presentation for training in how to recognize good teacher dispositions. At Murray State University, student dispositions are assessed in freshman orientation, in classes through a flagging system, at the admission to teacher education process, and in advising. Additional information is available from [email protected]. Please contact me for the names of other advisors with information about disposition assessment.

Concerns:Based on the NCATE definition, operationized disposition assessments tend to center around the expectations for students as future teachers: demonstrating professional responsibility, fostering collegiality, embracing diversity, demonstrating commitment to learning, caring, honesty, maintaining professional and personal integrity, and social justice. Utilizing measurements of attitudes does create concern, however. Isolating and evaluating such factors as tolerance, responsibility, enthusiasm, caring, and confidence can present problematic issues when attempting to quantify. According to The Chronicle (2005), one of the major areas of concern in assessing dispositions centers on the concept of social justice. In some cases, dispositions focused beyond responsibility and communication skills to include the teacher candidates’ views on politics, sexism, racism, white privilege, and homophobia.

Institutions may be hesitant to dismiss students based upon disposition assessments because of retention or legal concerns. Faculty may not be trained in disposition assessment and can be negligent in evaluating students with potential problems. It is often difficult to gain “buy-in” outside the education program concerning the importance of disposition assessment. Student remediation plans must be developed if weaknesses are discovered through the assessment and students are denied admission based on the assessment criteria. Staff time must be set aside for conducting remediation. It can be difficult to identify students who “talk the talk” but have not internalized the concepts related to dispositions. It is important that information regarding expected dispositions be provided early in the program so students can understand expectations and the assessment process. Faculty seeking tenure may be reluctant to become involved in the assessment process because of possible repercussions; at some institutions, the process is too informal and dependent on faculty choosing to share concerns about students exhibiting problem areas. Faculty may not be involved in the admission process and thus may not perform interviews. This limits the feedback that can be provided by faculty concerning the dispositions of the future teachers.

Conclusions:Assessing dispositions is an area that is necessary but difficult and is still in the process of development. Academic advisors have a plethora of valuable information about student dispositions and this resource is underutilized. More information needs to be gathered about the who, what, when, and how of disposition evaluation. Increased formal involvement of advisors needs to be explored and implemented.

Lee Kem
Murray State University College of Education
[email protected]


Alexander, P.A. (2003). The development of expertise: The journey from acclimation to proficiency. Educational Researcher, 32(8). 10-14

Bloom, B. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.

Bloom, B. S. (1976). Human characteristics and school learning. New York: McGraw Hill.

The Chronicle of Higher Education (2005). We don’t need that kind of attitude. Retrieved February 14, 2006 from http://chronicle.com/weekly/v52/i17/17a00801.htm. Note: You may need your institution's Chronicle password to access this article.

Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. Boston: D. C. Heath & Co.

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Macmillan.

Woolfork, A. E. (1998). Educational psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

What if They Still Don't Get It?

Tina McNamara, Multicultural Concerns Commission Chair

The Marquette University School of Education prepares teachers for urban classrooms. As the School’s Director of Undergraduate Advising, I occasionally hear complaints from beginning students (who, as a group, are predominantly Caucasian) about what they consider to be the disproportionate focus on diversity issues within their Education courses.“I’m not a racist!” each student invariably proclaims. They report that the recurring discussion about white privilege and social justice makes them feel uncomfortable. “Good!” I think to myself. “Here’s the opening for a serious teachable moment.” I feel prepared to talk with these students about the program’s goals. We discuss the importance of recognizing ourselves as cultural beings and how biases aren’t always apparent intellectually but can manifest themselves in practice.

I feel less prepared, however, to talk with those students, close to completing our program, who voice similar concerns when they want me to suggest a “good school” for student teaching, or when they want to know whether a particular school is in a “good neighborhood.” How can students who have successfully completed the majority of our curriculum still harbor such concerns?

Jacqueline Jordan Irvine (2003), in Educating Teachers for Diversity, suggests that the problem may be with the curriculum. She believes in the old cliché “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and cites a study in which the researcher found “that Texas teachers who had some multicultural course work were still unprepared to teach culturally diverse students. Consequently, inadequate or cursory knowledge can lead to more, not less, hostility and stereotyping toward culturally different students” (16). Jordan goes on to argue that providing only a smattering of information about multicultural issues “ignores developmental aspects of cross-cultural competence that require time for preservice teachers (many of them young adults) to grapple with, reflect upon, and assimilate complicated issues associated with their own personal, social, cultural, and ethnic identities” (17). However, if the problem were largely with the curriculum, I think there would be more students who have not internalized the messages about multiculturalism. Thankfully, the number of students who “don’t get it” is few.

In Conversations About Being a Teacher, McGuire’s (2005) character, Tonya, discusses what she refers to as the “Teacher Effectiveness Awareness Stretch Model” for multicultural education. Teacher education students, she argues, move through the following stages: Unaware, Aware, Acceptance, Understanding, and Appreciation (51-53). In the first stage, Unaware, students don’t know much about how to be an effective teacher. They move to Aware once they begin to notice cultural differences and realize they should “try to do something” (52). Acceptance comes from reflection on differences and respect for others’ rights to be different as well as recognizing the need for change (52). Understanding requires students to read, interact, and take risks (54). The last stage, Appreciation, includes being able to “relate to others based on how you are similar” and being sure to “listen and respect each student’s right to speak and be heard” (54-55). Perhaps then, the students seeking the “good neighborhood” may not have “stretched” enough. So, how can I, as an advisor, help these students move on?

Cornett-DeVito and Reeves (1999) suggest that there are “two central ways that academic advisors can prepare all students for success in a multicultural world” (35). They believe that advisors should to be “fully aware of the academic and extracurricular opportunities available to students” that can help broaden their experiences (35). Also, they suggest that advisors should “model competent intercultural communication” skills themselves (35). Certainly, these are important ways to assist students who may be resistant to exploring multicultural issues. These suggestions, however, do not address the needs of students who have already participated in multiple experiences and have worked with culturally sensitive advisors and faculty.

What can an advisor to do to help these students? Unfortunately, not much has been written about this particular dilemma. Perhaps our best answer lies in continuing to employ developmental advising. Students need to be challenged about their comments. They need assistance in looking at how their attitudes affect their career goals, and they need someone who is willing to listen without judging them. While change for these students may not come as quickly as I would like, I remain confident that they will be lifelong learners who will eventually “stretch.”

Tina McNamara
Marquette University
[email protected]


Cornett-DeVito, M.M. & Reeves, K.J. (1999, Spring). Preparing students for success in a multicultural world: Faculty advisement and intercultural communication. NACADA Journal, 19 (1). (pp.35-44).

Cunningham, L. (2003). Multicultural awareness issues for academic advisors. Academic Advising Today 27 (1). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/ePub/AAT27-1.htm

Elhoweris, H. & Parameswaran, G., & Negmeldin, A. (2004). College Students’ Myths About Diversity and What College Faculty Can Do. Mulitcultural Education, Winter 2004. Vol. 12, Iss. 2.

Irvine, J. (2003). Educating Teachers for Diversity: Seeing with a Cultural Eye. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

McGuire, J. (2005). Conversations about Being a Teacher. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Priest, R. & McPhee, S.A.. (2000). Advising multicultural diversity: The reality of diversity. In V. Gordon, W. Habley and Associates (Ed.), Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook (pp. 105-117). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Advising in a Different World

Susan Boland, Tidewater Community College 

I always have to laugh the first day of classes. While other instructors scurry around the halls looking for their classrooms, I am able to walk directly to mine, for it is always the noisier room. ESL students talk – loudly – to one another.

Talk about different worlds.

Last summer I attended the NACADA Summer Institute (SI) as a team member from my community college. There were about 130 participants in this SI; about twenty were faculty members. Of those twenty faculty members, I was the sole ESL teacher. I asked a lot of questions, and I did a lot of listening. Once again, I was struck with the dissimilarities when it comes to ESL students.

Academic advisors, I was told, repeatedly pose this question to the student sitting across from their desk: “What do you want to do here?” The usual reply is “I don’t know.” But, when I address this question with my students, I have to preface it with this statement: “We are now going to have a discussion. I am going to ask the whole class a question. Do not shout out what you want to say.Raise your handand I will call on you, one by one.”

ESL students have BIG plans. This semester I am teaching everyone from a future heart surgeon to a future auto mechanic. I have no doubt that these students have the ability and determination to make their dreams come true, but they will need an academic advisor to help them find their way.

Some of us may recall our own experiences with academic advising as a professor who helped put our schedules together and ensured that we took the right courses in order to graduate. Academic advisors do much more than that; my academic advisor helped me make one of the biggest decisions of my life.

After completing my freshman year, I did not feel connected to the college I was attending. I decided, as an English major, to do my sophomore year at a university in England. I felt connected there; in fact, I felt so connected that I remained in England for my junior year as well. At the close of my junior year abroad, I found a university stateside that would accept my freshman credits as well as the 60 credits I accumulated during my two years abroad – every one in English Literature.

Upon my arrival back in the states, I was scheduled to meet with an academic advisor to review my transcript and set up my schedule for my final year. The advisor asked me several questions: what were my plans after graduation? I don’t know. He pursued his line of questioning: when I graduated, would I be going back to England or staying in the States? I don’t know. There was a long hmmmm, as he considered my circumstances. He then wisely advised that I take some courses with the word “American” in the title. Together, we came up with Early American Literature, American Political Thought, and another A – Anthropology – because clearly I had an interest in different cultures.

That semester I read James Fennimore Cooper’s tale of pioneers immersed in the uniquely American experience of the Adirondacks in the early 1800s. As I worked my way through The Federalist Papers for my American Political Thought class, I began to understand the Constitution. This was all stitched together in Anthropology, which allowed me to step back and understand the origins and development of culture, and how cultural values are manifested in things like the Constitution. After graduation, I did not go back to England. Instead, I remained stateside and went on to become an ESL teacher.

My academic advisor saw that much more was at stake than just the completion of a degree. He saw a young woman who was lost between two shores; with his guiding wisdom I found the tools to make a decision that would impact the rest of my life.

Our students will make similar life-defining decisions as they transition from ESL classes into programs in which they will learn the skills that will enable them to reach their goals. This can be a complicated progression through the labyrinth of an institution of higher education as well as through the, at-times-impossible, challenge of crossing cultures. As their ESL teachers, we want them to be prepared. Academic advisors will not only assure that these students take the right courses; they also will be on stand-by to assist these students in making decisions that must be faced on this difficult road.

As much as there are dissimilarities between student groups, there are similarities between ESL teachers and academic advisors. As I watched these good people at Summer Institute devise Action Plans to take back to their campuses, I witnessed the same passion that I witness whenever I get together with my ESL colleagues. The critical role of academic advising is not understood nor appreciated enough by institutions of higher education. Academic advisors are trained professionals; they are ready. Trust me, academic advisors CAN and DO help our students solve some of life’s more complicated dilemmas.

Susan Boland
Tidewater Community College
[email protected]

Let's Take a Walk down the Summer Institute 'Memory Lane'

SI-1.jpgIn 1987, Summer Institute founder Wes Habley – who was completing his two-year term as NACADA's president – had recently accepted a position as Associate Director of the ACT National Center. The role of the Center was to develop conferences and workshops on a variety of topics in higher education. Habley recalls that it had become clear to him "that academic advising was unlike any other student support service. It afforded the continuing process of engaging students in a positive and meaningful way about important educational and career decisions." From the "huge groundswell of interest in advising" that he had witnessed in his thirteen years as an advisor, Habley knew "that advising was as exciting to many, many other people as it was to me…My new role with ACT provided a venue to develop and lead conferences and workshops. As a result, we offered the first Summer Institute at the University of Iowa in 1987."

PeggyKing.jpgThere were 56 participants that first year, and the faculty included Peggy King, Virginia Gordon, Sara Looney, and Mike Keller. Peggy King is the only SI faculty member, besides founder Wes Habley, who has served at the Institute every year since its inception. King says, "I remember feeling so honored when Wes Habley asked me to serve on the faculty of the first Summer Institute on Academic Advising. I had the advantage of being one of the only two-year college people who got involved with NACADA at the very beginning, and Wes wanted that perspective represented on the faculty. And to be involved in the creation of something new related to the work I loved doing was really exciting!

The first institutes were held at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, a city I came to enjoy tremendously. They were small – you got to know the participants – and while we worked hard, we always had fun. I have great memories of getting to know the other faculty who became involved over the years and who have become close friends, of getting to know many of the participants and always learning from them, of early morning walks along the Iowa River and watching the baby ducks, of the boat trips on Thursday evening where the entire group dined and danced to the music of Electric Leroy, of the wonderful steaks we had at our faculty dinner at LB’s Steakhouse, and of shopping in the Lands End Outlet store in downtown!


It was both challenging and exciting to plan that first Institute. But it was even more exciting to meet with the faculty following the conclusion of that Institute and the ones that followed, to realize how successful each one had been, and then to modify the format and content to make it even better for the future. The teamwork that went into that planning in the early years was very special.

Once the Institutes grew and we started moving them around the country, they provided wonderful ways to meet new people, to help many individuals become more engaged in their advising activities, and to see cities and institutions I would never have the chance to visit. Looking back over the years, the SI in Madison (1997) stands out for me. While I’ve always enjoyed my small groups, that group really connected and, because of a task we were assigned in preparation for our Institute dinner (to create an advertisement for NACADA), I think I laughed my way through the Institute (and we won the contest!). We’ve never been asked to do that since! Many of those small group members have gone on to take an active role within NACADA, so that was an added plus."

1988faculty,jpgJerry Ford and Tom Brown joined the SI faculty (left) in its second year. The 1988 faculty members were:

Seated: Gary Kramer, Carol Ryan, Buddy Ramos
Standing: Wes Habley, Al Hood, Peggy King, Jerry Ford, Tom Brown

1993faculty.jpgIn 1993, SI was organized for the first time through the NACADA Executive Office, with Executive Director Bobbie Flaherty (front, right) and EO staff assisting with event management. Flaherty remembers that "it was exciting to welcome the SI to NACADA and to facilitate its growth outside of Iowa City, where ACT had provided its solid foundation."

Faculty that year included Carol Ryan, Jerry Ford, Tom Brown, Wes Habley, Buddy Ramos, Gary Kramer,and Peggy King. Staff were Donna Appleglise (ACT), Bobbie Flaherty, and Joan Kohake.

Diane&Wes.jpgDiane Matteson began serving as the NACADA Event Coordinator for 1995 SI at Copper Mountain, Colorado, and each year since then she has worked with Wes Habley to make sure all is ready for the participants' arrival. "Planning and organizing the day-to-day details for this event is a pleasure," says Matteson, "in large part because people involved in this profession are other-centered, rather than self-centered. This makes it easy for me to not only complete my responsibilities, but to have fun in the process. It's a privilege to meet and work with so many people who contribute so much to their students and institutions."

RemySottoGroup.jpgFaculty member Remy Sotto fondly recalls SI 2003 in San Diego, when her Small Group took a moment to 'smell the roses.' Sotto says, "It is a privilege and joy to serve as a NACADA Summer Institute faculty member. The privilege is the opportunity to guide lively and in-depth discussions on advising concepts and ideas with veteran and novice participants. This sharing energizes, inspires and challenges us to improve and enhance our profession. The joy is the interaction and networking with colleagues. During six program-packed days, we not only share ideas, but also laughs and smiles. It is great fun to be a Summer Institute faculty member – exhausting too, but I’ll focus on the FUN."


Also in San Diego in 2003, SI participants give a 'C' for 'Charlie' (Nutt), NACADA Associate Director. Nutt explains, "Participants work very hard during this intense week-long Institute. Because of this, we always have one evening for just fun. This gives everyone a chance to network, let their hair down, and enjoy themselves!"


Jennifer Bloomwho joined the SI faculty in Chicago in 2004, recalls that 'being asked to participate on the faculty of the NACADA Summer Institute was one of the biggest honors of my professional career. The opportunity to not only work with some of the most prestigious names in the field of academic advising, but also to learn from the SI participants, was amazing. I still am in contact with my SI 2005 Small Group and look forward to maintaining those connections. The Summer Institute changes lives – I know it has changed mine."

The 2005 Institutes were held in St. Paul, Minnesota and Colorado Springs, Colorado.


In St. Paul, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins' Small Group (left) enjoyed the local character.

2005 Faculty StPaul.jpg

McCalla-Wriggins, along with faculty members Alice Reinarz, Eric White, and Nancy King (right) – and all of the SI participants – also enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Mississippi River.

CharlieNutt.jpgCaseySelfSmGroup.jpgIn Colorado Springs,Charlie Nutt (left) presented all aspects of the situation to his Small Group, while other participants discussed their Action Plans with faculty member Casey Self (right).

Gaya-Gonzalez and Oquendo.jpgLillian Gaya-Gonzalez and Carmen Oquendo (Inter American University of Puerto Rico) explained that their experience at Summer Institute 2005 in Colorado Springs helped them define their ideas.  "When we came here, we didn't have a clear picture of what we wanted to do, and our Action Plan was not very defined.  After you go through all the lectures, and especially the Small Group discussions, you get a lot of ideas and a lot of tips on how you should focus your energy and how you should direct your Action Plan…The best thing is that it gives you time to think about different models of programs that you can make at your institution, and you have that time out of your normal environment, so that makes you feel better and you just concentrate on one thing… academic advising.  We didn't know at the beginning that there were different professionals who do advising, and that was very enlightening for us… We also realized that without assessment, we would not be able to do a good job, even if we have the desire and energy.  Assessment is really important, and it is something that we have not paid too much attention to."


Erin Kilbride.jpgErin Kilbride shared the exciting results of the Action Plan she created during Summer Institute 2005.  As a result of Erin's work at the Institute, her advising office in the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis (IUPUI) is offering a new online advising option to its undergraduate and Evening MBA students.  Using "instant messaging" technology, students are now able to interact online with a live Kelley advisor who can respond to questions and offer basic advice.  Although they stress that online advising is a convenience for students, not a substitute for face-to-face advising, the Kelley advisors feel that the online advising lets students get answers quickly and use their face-to-face meetings – which often have to be scheduled weeks ahead of time – to discuss more substantive issues.  In a recent press release, Jane Lambert, Kelley Indianapolis' Executive Director of Academic Programs, said "This is an effort to help students with the task of juggling classes, homework, work and life commitments… We want to use every tool available to us to make more information available - this (instant messaging) technology has become very popular, and we're pleased to be able to use it to make life easier for students."


Therese Montoya.jpgTherese Montoya (Lower Columbia College) says of her experience at the 2005 Summer Institute in Colorado Springs, "This is a great opportunity for staff and administrators and faculty, because there's a firm foundation provided for the value of academic advising.  There's more to it than what one would think, and it's a great training opportunity… When I got here, I had some trepidation about exactly what I was getting myself into, but the organizers have really helped us to focus on one issue that we wanted to solve, and there's a number of avenues for getting to the nitty-gritty on things, from people that are attending the Institute as well as from the people that are providing this service… It's energizing."


Ramon Walker.jpgRamon Walker (left, Regis University) said that he really enjoyed Summer Institute 2005 in Colorado Springs.  "The faculty were outstanding.  The subject matter was extremely relevant to what I do at my university.  Another thing that I really liked is they put all the presentations in a binder to take with you.  I really recommend the experience."

Michael H. Turpin (Kilgore College), 2002 Winner of a Summer Institute Scholarship, has concluded, "My Summer Institute experience was great. It not only validated some of my own ideas, plans, and practices, but also gave me some very practical suggestions for enhancing our institution's advising program. It gave me time to get away from my office telephone and all of the "projects" sitting on my desk and allowed me to focus on what was going on within our advising program. We've been able to implement some of the suggestions and ideas I gleaned during the Institute, and we have a stronger advising program as a result. With shrinking dollars allocated to professional development, the Summer Institute scholarship helped make my attendance a reality. I enthusiastically recommend it to individuals and to institutions' advising teams." 


As he has done every year, Wes Habley presented a General Session at SI Colorado Springs in 2005. Habley notes that while 'there are facets of the SI that have remained relatively constant over the years…there have also been significant changes." The entire curriculum of the Institute is reviewed every year by the SI Advisory Board, and sessions are modified, new content is introduced, and the number of workshops and topical sessions is expanded as needed.
"Twenty years ago," says Habley, "I had no idea that this effort would have 20 years of staying power...the fact that we are entering our 20th year is amazing to me. It makes me feel proud and old at the same time."



Dear Career Corner,

Lately I’ve been feeling a little bored at work. I don’t feel like I’m being challenged and my fear is that I will start to stagnate. Help! What can I do to get excited about my job as an academic advisor?

Not Challenged


Dear Not Challenged,

First of all it is perfectly normal to have slump times in your career. We all go through them, especially after a particularly difficult term. It can start to feel like the same old routine. The good news is that you can get re-energized about your career as an academic advisor.

Frequently in advising sessions I ask students what activities they are involved in on campus. Do they belong to student government, participate in clubs and organizations, take on leadership roles or play sports? The same holds true for professionals. It is a responsibility to ourselves and the institutions we serve. We need to be involved in our profession outside of our regular job duties. Not only do we re-energize ourselves and stay up to date on trends and issues, but, in the simplest of manners, we model professional behavior to students.


The first step is to make a list of what you want to accomplish. Do you want to give a presentation at a Regional or National Conference? How about writing a book review for NACADA? Next, list any roadblocks or challenges that may hinder you. For example, if you want to take on more responsibility in the office, then what or who is stopping you? Next, look for ways to take on more responsibility; perhaps there is a project that the office needs completed. Talk to your supervisor about your desire and design an opportunity that will let you grow. Do not be afraid to take on new tasks. This is a great opportunity to learn.

Here are a few ways that you can get professional development and get excited about your job.


  • Take an advising course from Kansas State University. You can begin working towards your Graduate Certificate in Academic Advising. ( Find out what courses are available and how you can get enrolled.)
  • Volunteer to help at your Regional Conference. There are plenty of ways you can help. 
  • Develop a presentation for the Regional or National Conference. (February 10, 2006 is the submission deadline for Presentation Proposals for the October 2006 National Conference – there's still time to submit your ideas!)
  • Write a NACADA book review. ( Find out what books are available and how to get signed up.)
  • Read the monthly Clearinghouse article and discuss it with colleagues.
  • Get active in a Commission or Interest Group. ( Discover the possibilities!)

Karen Sullivan-Vance
Chair, Member Career Services Committee
Western Oregon University
[email protected]

SparklerBanner.jpgIt takes but one SPARK to ignite the flame for an idea. Does your campus have an unusual or exceptional process or program that could spark an idea on another campus? If so, tell us about it in 350 words or less.  Send your "SPARKLER" to [email protected]  

This edition’s SPARKLER comes from Bob Rozzelle (I.T. Director & Academic Advisor, LAS Advising Center, Wichita State University), who shares about his unit's Faculty Expectations Videos:

Many entering students do not have a realistic idea of faculty expectations of student responsibilities and performance. The instructors of the Introduction to the University classes in each of the undergraduate colleges believe it is helpful to introduce students to some of the realities of university coursework and professor expectations early in their university careers. We recognize and respect that each professor has a unique style and approach. We believe early exposure to styles and expectations will help students grasp the importance of learning to adapt to the diverse approaches of our faculty.

We asked a number of faculty to share why they teach, what they hope students gain from their teaching and how students can best prepare to be successful in their classes. In addition, each demonstrated a brief teaching lesson to illustrate his/her approach to the discipline. By taping these sessions, we are able to provide students with flexible access and not have to request repeat faculty appearances. And, these sessions are available to students through streaming video so they can view them through BlackBoard wherever they have access to high speed Internet.

The intent of this assignment is to impress upon students the import of paying attention to faculty expectations and why. We believe this knowledge and understanding will promote student success and satisfaction.

Here’s the assignment…

Choose four different faculty from the list on Blackboard.
Then, for each:

  1. Put the name of each faculty member you choose & the department listed;
  2. Describe your perception of that professor’s style of communication and teaching;
  3. Write three to five key points the professor made in his/her presentation; and
  4. Then, list at least four points made by the professors that you would most likely share with a friend or relative who was beginning college study. State WHY you would select each point to share.

We believe that you will enjoy this, gain increased understanding of professor expectations and get a sense of each professor’s personality and approach to teaching.

If you would like more information about WSU's Faculty Expectations Videos, contact Bob at [email protected]


There are currently no comments, be the first to post one!

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.
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.