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Faculty Advising in a Learner-Centered Environment: A Small College Perspective

Maura Reynolds, NACADA Small College & Universities Commission Chair

Author's note:This article explores issues of concern for all faculty-based advising situations (not small colleges alone). May we continue to recognize our similarities and acknowledge (but not focus on) our differences; we have much to learn from each other.

  " A theory doesn't have to be right to be useful" (Grow, p. 127).

This year, I've met with a group of colleagues to discuss Maryellen Weimer's Learner-Centered Teaching. The book has spurred fruitful conversation about teaching. It has also prompted me to consider whether some of its ideas may apply to faculty advising, especially at small colleges.

Weimer distinguishes between student-centered and learner-centered teaching and opts for the latter, "Being student-centered implies a focus on student needs. It gives rise to the idea of education as a product, with the student as the customer and the role of the faculty as one of serving and satisfying the customer. Faculty resist the student-as-customer metaphor for some very good reasons" (xvi). In contrast, "Being learner-centered focuses attention squarely on learning: what the student is learning, how the student is learning, the conditions under which the student is learning, whether the student is retaining and applying the learning, and how current learning positions the student for future learning. The student is still an important part of the equation. When instruction is learner-centered, the action focuses on what students (not teachers [or, I'd add, advisors]) are doing" (xvi).

Weimer's distinction between student-centered and learner-centered teaching is mirrored by Hemwall and Trachte's critiques of developmental academic advising and their adoption of a learning paradigm for advising (1999; 2003). Such considerations are not just of recent interest: the theme of the 1984 NACADA Conference was 'Academic Advising as a Form of Teaching.'

As Grow reminds us (above), situating advising in a learner/learning/teaching-centered framework can be useful whether it is 'right' or not. In the spirit of William Cronon's essay (1999), I suggest these connections:

  • Connecting advising with institutional mission. Hemwall and Trachte (2003) remind us that, while faculty may have looked at institutional mission statements, students may not be aware of them. How do institutional goals and students' personal academic goals connect? With what parts of the mission do students feel most comfortable? Which will stretch them? Using the mission statement as foundation, faculty can encourage advisees to view their education in a larger context as a process with more than private, personal significance (important though it is). In this way, faculty can help bring to life mantra-like phrases--'responsible citizenship' and 'citizen of the world'-- in most mission statements. 'We all long for something we can do that brings us deep joy and meets some significant need beyond ourselves' (Mary Sue Gast, cited in Manning, 1999).
  • Connecting advising with general education. Since they determine and teach the curriculum, faculty should do more than provide a list of requirements; they can talk with students about their rationale. What was written in 1988 rings true in 2004, 'Perhaps the most urgent reform on most campuses in improving general education involves academic advising. To have programs and courses become coherent and significant to students requires adequate advising' (Task Group on General Education, p.43).
  • Connecting advising with self-reflection. Talking about general education and institutional mission is not sufficient. Students need opportunities to integrate what they learn. Advising offers a venue for such reflection: faculty encourage students to look forward to setting or editing learning goals and to look back to see where they've been. Skillful learners grow in their ability to analyze and reflect in ways that lead to accurate self-knowledge (Weimer, 195). This self-awareness involves emotion as well as intellect. While some may rejoice in newly-discovered interests and abilities, others may mourn a future which may no longer be feasible.
  • Connecting advising with complexity. None of these connections involves once-and-for-all-time conversations. Instead, each can evoke richer, more complex thinking each time it is considered. The learning goals students set (as well as those goals colleges encourage them to set) are complex and transcend classrooms and advising appointments. '[A]s with any other human growth, development is not linear, predictable, and exclusively forward' (Weimer, 175). Students may come seeking a degree; we hope they leave understanding that 'education is not something any of us ever achieve.. Rather, it is a way of living in the face of our own ignorance, a way of groping toward wisdom in full recognition of our own folly, a way of educating ourselves without any illusions that our education will ever be complete' (Cronon, 4). Complex, indeed! As students become more complex in thinking, their capacity for empathy and appreciation of difference increases, as does their refusal to take refuge in simplistic views of complex issues (Knefelkamp, 8-9).

Heady stuff. And humbling as well. In their teaching and advising, faculty can create environments to foster learning, but the decision to learn rests with the student-advisee.

When we consider advising in a learner-centered framework, we discover fruitful and challenging opportunities to involve faculty in advising and to support learners. The Small Colleges and Universities Commission plans to offer several sessions about faculty advising at the 2004 conference in Cincinnati. Hope to see you there! Until then, let conversation continue on the small college and university list-serve.

Maura Reynolds
Chair, Small Colleges and Universities Commission


Cronon, W. (Winter 1998-1999). Only Connect: The goals of a liberal education. The Phi Beta Kappa Key Reporter, 64 (2), 2-4.

Grow, G. O. (1991). Teaching learners to be self-directed. Adult Education Quarterly, 41 (3), 125-149.

Hemwall, M.K. & Trachte, K.C. (1999). Learning at the core: Toward a new understanding of academic advising. NACADA Journal, 19 (1), 5-11.

Hemwall, M.K. & Trachte, K.C. (2003). Advising and Learning: Academic advising from the perspective of small colleges and universities. National Academic Advising Association: Manhattan, KS.

Knefelkamp, L.L. (1984). Academic advising as a form of teaching. Keynote address in Proceedings of the eighth national conference on academic advising. Philadelphia, PA, 1-12.

Manning, M. M. (1999). Liberal Education for our life's work. Prepared for The Association for General and Liberal Studies, October 28. Retrieved 2-23-04 from http://www.novalearning.com/Liberal_Education_Final_Draft.pdf

Task Group on General Education (1988). A new vitality in general education: Planning, teaching, and supporting effective liberal learning. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

From the President

Ruth Darling, NACADA President 

Dear Colleagues,

One of my favorite questions to ask students is, 'What's going on?' - with the follow up, 'Tell me about it.' This spring, I have had the privilege of asking many NACADA members this same question during round table sessions at several Regional conferences. I have learned that the membership is facing similar challenges and is asking NACADA to help them meet these challenges in similar ways. I'd like to share with you a few of these concerns and how various NACADA programs and services can be of help to you.

"Budget cuts are killing my travel budget. I need professional development opportunities that are easily accessible and on-line."

  • Stay in close contact with your Region and its professional development programs through Regional conferences, State meetings and 'drive-in' conferences.
  • Be sure to read the electronic publications sent to you from the Executive Office - the Association Highlights and the NACADA Newsletter.
  • Consider the NACADA web site as an opportunity to have a weekly, 30 minute 'professional development session' right in your own office or at home. Read new articles written by our expert members on 'hot topics' or use the Clearinghouse search option to gather information on best practices in an area of interest to you.
  • Contact the NACADA Executive Office Charlie Nutt to ask about the Kansas State University on-line graduate certificate in academic advising ([email protected]).

"'Assessment' is the campus buzz word and a new expectation. I don't have any background in assessment and don't know where to start."

  • Go to the NACADA web site and click on the Assessment Commission's web page for information on best practices and assessment programs. Consider joining the Commission's list serve to take part in discussions and to ask questions.
  • Consider attending the NACADA Assessment Institute - February 2005 in Florida.
  • Watch for the Assessment Monograph on CD-rom that will be available Fall 2004.

"I need to be 'at the table' when decisions are made on my campus about academic advising. How do I get there and then make sure I'm heard?"

  • Be knowledgeable about issues, trends and best practices in advising. Read the many NACADA publications (such as the Journal, Newsletter, the new monograph scheduled for release in June reporting on the 2003 National Survey on Academic Advising).
  • Build partnerships with other campus units that focus on student learning and development, e.g. other advising units, faculty governance structures, curriculum committees, Teaching/learning Centers, Career Services, Orientation, First Year Studies, Minority Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. One voice with a shared vision is powerful.
  • Remember that being political and strategic is not a 'bad' thing!

I have enjoyed the many conversations I have had with our members this spring. These connections have helped me grow professionally and have given me and other members of the Board of Directors, a true sense of the concerns our colleagues face each day. Just as we encourage our students to 'connect' with the communities on our campuses, I encourage you to 'connect' with your community of colleagues through NACADA.

Best wishes,

Ruth Darling

From the Executive Office

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director 

Each year, the NACADA Board of Directors and the Council meet at the site of the upcoming National Conference on Academic Advising. So, March 19 & 20, they met in Cincinnati and discovered a vibrant downtown setting that should please conference goers in October. They tasted Cincinnati barbeque, chili on spaghetti, and some German fare. They discovered an entertainment area across the river in Kentucky and they checked out the hotels that will be hosting the conference attendees. All are excited about their return in October and look forward to another tremendous National Conference!

The Council and the Board also worked diligently on the business of the Association. As NACADA entered the second year of the new organizational structure, it was clear that the structure is sound, albeit benefiting from continuous fine tuning.

The Board conducted teleconference meetings between the fall and spring meetings and during those meetings approved the following: a partnership with ACT, Inc. to publish the results of the National Survey on Academic Advising as a NACADA Monograph this spring; co-sponsorship of some NACADA Awards by ACT, Inc.; a budget allocation for the Commission/Interest Group fair during the National Conference; a Small Colleges/Universities Commission request for a Service to Commission award.

During their meetings in Cincinnati, the Council and Board had productive discussions concerning the value of member volunteers in the association, how we could better train those volunteers to enhance the number willing to volunteer, how we could better support their work as volunteers, how we can enhance their willingness to serve in leadership roles, and how to ensure diversity among the leadership. Both the Council and the Board discussed how we might better provide for diversity at all levels within the organization - diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, institutional type, institutional size, advising role and geographic location. A more proactive approach to identifying the advising expertise of individuals is a primary goal at this time.

Additional items discussed included: appointment of a Publications Task Force to review the role of a new series with Jossey-Bass; positive financial position of the association; preliminary summaries of membership surveys; review of other associations' dues and conference costs compared to our relative low costs; appointment of a National Conference Task Force to recommend any changes; discussion about a Conflict of Interest policy; membership plan goals; partnership with First Year Experience group on updating the joint monograph; review of draft of Core Values Statement update; review of draft of Task Force report on Definition of Academic Advising; and review of draft of plan for Executive Office evaluation.

The Council and Board both worked on the Strategic Plan by rating the overarching organization tasks proposed for each strategy and then prioritizing the tasks. Tasks specific to individual units are to be included with their individual unit goals and objectives.The Executive Office will follow up with recommended target dates for the completion of each task, assignment of tasks by unit, and identification of additional resources needed to accomplish each task. The Board will, hopefully, finalize the Plan during a teleconference call yet this spring.

I think you will like what you see in the Plan and hopefully will comment on anything that may have been overlooked that could benefit NACADA members and the field of advising. The Strategic Plan will be continuously reviewed and updated by the Board of Directors to guide the Association in its work and allocation of resources! Communicating your needs to the Board is crucial to the success and relevance of the Plan.

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, Executive Director
National Academic Advising Association

Using Creativity to Assist Students with Disabilities

Leslie Hemphill, Advising Students with Disabilities Commission Chair-Elect 

To be successful, those responsible for advising students with disabilities must look beyond what would be considered the normal scope and range of advising office responsibilities. This requires flexibility, coordination, and a willingness to step outside prescribed administrative roles.

On some campuses, large and proactive Disability Student Services (DSS) offices facilitate a number of services for students with disabilities including advisement, counseling, technological assistance, and tutoring. Although this kind of organization provides the opportunity for the coordination and flexibility of services suggested earlier, bureaucratic adherence to job descriptions may prevent a DSS office from fully utilizing its resources. One of the ironies of higher education is that the flexibility and coordination so often found in large DSS offices can also be found in much smaller institutions where a few individuals must wear many hats.

In fall 2002, Cloud County Community College, a small, rural two-year college, lost its only sign language interpreter. Through the use of student signers, parents and note takers, the two students who required sign language services were able to successfully complete the academic year. However, it was apparent that if the college was going to provide appropriate services for deaf students, a dependable method of providing services must be developed. Attempts to obtain a new interpreter proved unsuccessful since no one was willing to commute to north central Kansas for a part time signing position.

During this time, the college received a flier from the Midwest Center on Postsecondary Outreach (MCPO) describing their program to train C-Print Captionists. C-Print captioning is a method that provides real time captioning for students with hearing impairments. Laptop computers and specialized phonetic software are employed to allow a typist to equal the conversational speed of a classroom instructor.

Normally C-Print training would not be an area of concern for an Advisement Office. However, due to our college's size, the faculty and staff of the Advisement and Counseling Center are responsible for a variety of programs and services, including both advisement and accommodation for students with disabilities. Our difficulties meeting the needs of hearing impaired students meant that we viewed the training described in the flier with great interest and seriously discussed the possibility of training someone on our campus to become a C-Print Captionist.

Two salient issues quickly emerged as we brainstormed possibilities. Who would receive the training, and how would the training be funded? A candidate for C-Print training must type 60 - 70 words per minute and possess good language skills. The candidate must also be conscientious, reliable and dedicated to our students. Looking at these skills, the obvious candidate was DeeDee Coppoc, long-time NACADA member and our Advisement Center Coordinator. Of course, accommodation in general, and C-Print training specifically, are not in the job descriptions of most advising coordinators. But, with administrative permission, the coordinator was willing to participate in the C-Print training.

Funding became our next concern. MCPO agreed to provide $400 to assist in underwriting the cost of the software, meals, lodging and transportation to the C-Print training site in Milwaukee. The Advisement Center Staff turned to the college's Perkins Grant coordinator for a laptop computer and the funds necessary to complete the project. With this support, we were set.

Training began through a series of taped assignments that familiarize the trainee with the basics of the software and the more common phonetic abbreviations. Over forty hours of this training is required before the trainee actually leaves for the week-long training session in Milwaukee. The College's C-Print 'Trainee' arriving in Milwaukee, is greeted with an intense nine to four schedule for the first four days with a two-hour reprieve on Friday. Each day consists of review, introduction of new material, testing and practice, practice, practice.

The training has been worth it. As soon as the advisement coordinator returned to campus, she began providing C-Print captioning for students with hearing impairments. Now advisors and instructors working with these students are assured that quality accommodations are provided.

This story is not offered as a model but as a metaphor. Many advising offices have no need to offer C-Print Captioning. However, other needs exist that can, and do, affect our ability to advise students with disabilities. Given the opportunity to address problems in creative ways, solutions are available. It requires a willingness to stay current with innovations in technology. But, most importantly, it requires advisors who remain open to new, and sometimes unorthodox ways, to provide accommodation for students.

Want to discuss creative solutions or C-Print Captioning? Join the Advising Students with Disabilities Commission list-serve

Leslie Hemphill
Cloud County Community College

Vantage Point.jpg

Just as one of the most popular features on the evening news is 'Everybody Has a Story,' so too, every advisor has a story.

Despite the fact that some may think advisors to be a generic group, advisors are indeed diverse. We come from different backgrounds, advise different students, and work in vastly different settings. In short, every advisor has a different VANTAGE POINT!

In coming issues we will feature the unique story of one advisor who makes up our diverse association.

The Challenge of Advising Truly Non-Traditional Students

Don Sebera, Ohio University

Did you know that print-based distance-education programs bring higher education to incarcerated individuals? I advise students enrolled in one such program.

While some may advise the occasional incarcerated student who enrolls in a print-based class requiring no Internet access, it is unlikely that your program actively recruits these individuals as a student. Our program does.

The Ohio University program evolved into a total distance-education program, as on-site programs disappeared after legislation eliminated Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students. Although delivering services to incarcerated students was a political hot potato for many institutions, our program persisted, and over the last three years, monthly enrollments have tripled.

What are your ideas about this student population group? Take a moment and give it some thought before proceeding. Have some ideas? Let’s see how accurate you are.

About 95% of our current students are male. Their average age is 33 years. They typically come from California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Texas. Most impressive, their collective college GPA is 3.2. Many seek, but few earn Bachelor’s degrees. In fact, just five of 38 degrees awarded since 2000 were baccalaureate degrees. These students pursue business-oriented associate degrees to become self-employed, believing their recent position with the state or Federal government will not provide a resounding endorsement for others to hire them. They honestly seek a second chance, and I like to believe most earn it.

Like most incarcerated individuals, a majority of these students are under-prepared, and developmental math and English courses are in heavy demand. Many have little or no college and the GED is their only academic credential. Yet, ironically, the incarcerated program produces my brightest students.

Although our students typically take twice as long to earn a degree as on-campus students, there are exceptions. One student has completed half the degree requirements in only two-and-a-half year and is on track to finish the remaining courses in the next year-and-a-half, while maintaining a 3.3 GPA. Another student earned an ‘A’ on a special project to gain senior level math credit in modern algebra. Prior to incarceration, another student worked internationally under a different name and did not have access to original documents. He completed the experiential learning program by producing the required documentation from memory. These experiences are not uncommon. In fact, on-campus professors frequently comment that our students have been the best distance students to ever take their class.

While these students’ academic achievements are impressive, the hurdles they overcome only add credence to their accomplishments. Study environments and testing conditions are often poor. Institutional respect for education varies by facility and thus many students have little assistance or support from prison staff. Often, students are limited to courses that require no hardbound books, or contraband items, such as highlighters or maps. Courses, such as introductory aviation, are deemed to be security threats and are not allowed.

Money is paramount. Because these students do not qualify for federal financial assistance, family members sacrifice to cover enrollment expenses for the individual who was once the family breadwinner.

Advising these students is a challenge! Most communications take place through U.S. Mail; therefore advising these students is time consuming; reading and writing letters consumes a majority of my time. Phone communication with the student is almost non-existent, though communication with families is frequent. Each student provides release of information forms upon entering the program. These forms save time, and frustration, when addressing issues related to material shipments, courses, finances, degree requirements, and careers. It is one-stop shopping at its best.

The humanistic side of advising these students is most significant. As their academic advisor, I understand why they are incarcerated, because they tell me. I know their horrible mistakes and must remind myself that I work with a student, who often is also a parent, and not just a felon. I feel their pain when a new student calls for information and gives a prison address. I feel their frustration and helplessness at not being able to make things better or to change history.

I have learned to work with a population who will one day live on the outside. Without education, many will find their way back to prison. With education, many more will lead productive lives and contribute to society, rather than take from it.

If you have the opportunity to work with incarcerated students, reserve judgment for later. View your opportunity as an investment in the betterment of society. Most likely it will be an investment that returns more than any Wall Street bull market.

Don Sebera
Ohio University
Independent and Distance Learning Program Advisor

Strategies for Helping Education Majors Meet Program Requirements

Lee Kem, Advising Education Majors Co-Chair

"What do you mean I can't student teach? I've completed almost all my courses! You can't do this to me!"

How can a student reach this point in the program without meeting the basic admission requirements? If we permit students to begin taking education classes, where is the line drawn beyond which the student cannot enroll in additional courses without meeting admission requirements? Do we, as advisors and educators, have a responsibility to help students meet the admission requirements? What approaches have been utilized and how effective are these strategies?

An e-mail polled the NACADA Advising Education Majors Commission list serve regarding these questions.

1: What test/scores are required for admission to teacher education? Results ranged from:

  • ACT. High: Sub scores Reading 27, English 25, Math 27. Low: 21 composite score
  • PPST (Praxis I). Sub scores: Reading 178 – 172, Writing 176 – 171, Math 178 – 173. Composite score: 526 – 516.
  • Other instruments used: CLAST, THEA, CBEST, WEST-B, C-BASE

2: When must requirements be met? Results ranged from:

  • Prior to semester student enrolls in upper division education courses
  • By end of sophomore year/beginning of junior year

3: How many credit hours of education courses can be taken before full admission status is granted? Results range:

  • 3 - 60 credit hours
  • most in the 3-15 credit hour range

4: What is available to assist students in meeting the General Academic Proficiency (GAP) requirement?

  • Tutoring Centers; faculty or peer tutoring
  • Remedial courses
  • PLATO – Web-based program
  • Supplemental Instruction
  • Learning Plus
  • Workshops for Praxis I

5: If students cannot meet the GAP requirement, what options are available?

  • Student advised to change major
  • Student changes university
  • Student blocked from taking further education courses until meet requirement

As a regional open enrollment university, Murray State University permits students with an ACT composite score below 21 to begin taking education courses. Students are not permitted to enroll in practica courses (the 16 required credit hours taken the semester prior to student teaching) without admission into teacher education. Most denials result from failure to meet the GAP requirement.

The concept of blocking practica enrollment is troublesome. Why has the student been permitted to continue in the program to this point? What has been done to assist the student? How could the stress and trauma of ‘blocking’ be alleviated or reduced? In the past, MSU has tried tutoring and remedial courses with limited success and a new approach was needed.

Our new policy is based on the premise that there are excellent future teachers who have difficulty passing the GAP admissions requirements. Astin (1999) maintains that it is our responsibility to be a ‘talent developer’ of students. Public schools are guided by the philosophy of ‘No Child Left Behind’. In the same vein, McCabe (in Callan, 2000) supports ‘No One to Waste’ suggesting that we must provide opportunities and resources for college students to be successful. Astin (1998) argues for a paradigm shift from ‘identifying smart students’ to ‘developing smartness’ so no future teacher is wasted.

The new MSU plan addresses teacher education admission in the freshman orientation course as suggested by Boylan (1999). A lab component is now included that focuses on test preparation through discussion groups and lab practice. Discussions concentrate on time and stress management, study skills, and test taking strategies. Participants construct knowledge and develop analytical and critical thinking skills as they discuss of the ‘hows and whys’ of test questions. As participants take responsibility for discussion and practice, the paradigm shifts from instruction to learning (Barr & Tagg, 1995). Feedback for this semester’s pilot test group has been very positive with participants stating that the discussions about the ‘hows and whys’ of test questions are most helpful.

The Advising Education Commission would like to hear the strategies used on your campus to solve this dilemma. Let us know on our list-serve.

Lee Kem
Murray State University


Astin, A.W. (1998) Remedial education and civic responsibility. National Crosstalk, 6(2), 12-13 Retrieved from http://highereducation.org/crosstalk/pdf/ctsummer98.pdf

Astin, A. W. (1999, Spring). Rethinking academic “excellence”. Liberal Education, 7-18.

Barr, R B., & & Tagg, J. (1995) From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change Magazine, 27 (6), 13-15. Retrieved from http://critical.tamucc.edu/~blalock/readings/tch2learn.htm

Boylan, H.R. (1999). Exploring alternatives to remediation. Journal of Developmental Education, 22 (3), 204-10. Retrieved from http://www.ced.appstate.edu/centers/ncde/reserve%20reading/V22-3alternatives%20to%20remediation.htm

Callan, P. M. (2000, Fall). An interview: Robert McCabe. National Crosstalk, Retrieved from http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/ct1000/interview1000.shtml


2004 NACADA Leadership Position Election Results

The election of NACADA leadership positions for terms beginning in October 2004, began on January 9 when the new online voting system was made accessible to all eligible voting NACADA members. Candidates were seeking election to a variety of positions, including NACADA President, Vice President, Board of Directors members, Region Chairs, Commission Chairs, and Committee Chairs. The election process for these positions concluded on February 6 after which all valid votes were tallied. Julia Wolf and Bob Maddula in the Executive Office were responsible for developing and implementing the successful on-line voting system.

The election of the Division Representatives for the Administrative and Regional Divisions for the two-year term beginning in October 2004 was held immediately after the conclusion of the general election. Only those individuals who would be serving as Unit Chairs within his/her respective division as of the conclusion of the national conference in Cincinnati this fall were eligible to vote for these elected Division Representative positions.

The 2004 election results are as follows:

Board of Directors:
President (1-year term, 2004-2005): Eric White, Pennsylvania State University
Vice President (1-year term, 2004-2005): Elaine Borrelli, University of New Mexico

Board of Directors (3-year term each, 2004-2007):
Jo Anne Huber, University of Texas, Austin
Jane Jacobson
, Iowa State University
Nancy Walburn, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Division Representatives:
Administrative Division Representative (2-year term, 2004-2006): Rich Robbins, Cornell University
Regional Division Representative (2-year term, 2004-2006): Kazi Mamun, University of Southern California
Commission & Interest Group Division Representative (2-year term, 2004-2006): Maura Reynolds, Hope College

Region Chairs (2004-2006):
Mid-Atlantic Region 2: Jon Steingass, Virginia Commonwealth University
Southeast Region 4: Annie Turman, Georgia State University
North Central Region 6: Carol Gruber, University of Minnesota
Northwest Region 8: Sarah Ann Hones, Southern Oregon University
Rocky Mountain Region 10: Beth Isbell Tapley, University of New Mexico

Commission Chairs (2004-2006):
Advising Administration: Linda Chalmers, University of Texas-San Antonio
Advising Students with Disabilities: Les Hemphill, Cloud County Community College
Advising Transfer Students: Troy Holaday, Ball State University
Assessment of Advising: Victor Macaruso, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Engineering & Science Advising: Jeanette Sorensen, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Faculty Advisors: Kathy Stockwell, Fox Valley Technical College
LGBTA Concerns: Lynne Carlson, University of Southern Florida
Multicultural Concerns: Tina McNamara, Marquette University
Small Colleges & Universities: William Van Dusen, Regis University
Undecided & Exploratory Students: Elizabeth Higgins, University of Southern Maine

Commission Chairs (2004-2005):
Advising Education Majors: Karleen Edwards, Hofstra University
ESL & International Student Advising: Lizette Bartholdi, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Committee Chairs (2004-2006):
Finance Committee: Celeste Pardee, University of Arizona
Membership Committee: Brandy Zito, University of Alabama
Research Committee: Joyce Buck, Pennsylvania State University

Lost in Reference Land

Dear Career Corner:

I am getting ready to apply for a new job and have been asked to provide three references - do you have any helpful hints for selecting and dealing with references? - Signed, Lost in Reference Land

Dear Lost in Reference Land:

Before deciding who to select as references, take time to carefully consider what information the search committee will be seeking from your references. Then figure out which of your references is in the best position to give them the information they will need. Most search committees would like to have the opportunity to speak to your current employer, but you may decide that you do not wish to submit this person's name early in the process. In this situation, you could utilize references from a previous position or other people from your current place of work who are capable of commenting on your effectiveness.

Please make sure that you ask the permission of people you are considering for your reference list before including them in such a list. It is most appropriate to do this in person or over the phone. Anytime you list a person as a reference, you should send them a copy of the job description, your resume, and your cover letter. Always remember to thank your references and keep them apprised of the outcomes of the searches.

When you list your references, please make sure that you include their name, title, institution, work address and phone number, plus their e-mail address. Double-check the accuracy of the information that you provide on your reference list. Another helpful hint is to include a short sentence or two under each reference that explains your relationship to that person. This will help the person charged with calling your references know in advance the nature of your relationship to the person and save time for both your reference and the caller.

Do you have a career related question? If so, submit your questions on-line. Questions will be answered anonymously.

Jennifer Bloom
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Chair

Posted in: 2004 June 27:2


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