George D. Kuh, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University Bloomington
Well prepared, highly motivated students tend to do well
in college and persist to graduation (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
But for various reasons, many colleges and universities enroll students
with a mix of educational backgrounds and abilities. At the same time,
some institutions seem to be more effective than others in helping
students from a wide range of abilities and backgrounds succeed in
college. These schools recognize that in terms of learning and personal
development, what students bring to college is less important than what
they do when they get to college (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
Academic advisors can play an integral role in promoting student
success by assisting students in ways that encourage them to engage in
the right kinds of activities, inside and outside the classroom.
Advisors are especially important because they are among the first
people new students encounter and should see regularly during their
first year. From our Documenting Effective Educational Practices (DEEP)
study of 20 diverse high-performing four-year colleges and universities
reported in Student Success in College (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt
& Associates, 2005), we discovered some common themes with
implications for academic advising (DeSousa, 2005). Here are four of the
more important that can be adopted by advisors at other institutions.
1. Advisors know their students well.
Subscribing to a talent development perspective on
education, advisors believe their primary task is to help change
students for the better by making certain they take full advantage of
the institution’s resources for learning. To do this, many advisors go
to unusual lengths to learn as much as they can about their students –
where they are from, their aspirations and talents, and when and where
they need help.
2. Advisors strive for meaningful interactions with students.
Another way advisors contribute to the quality of student
learning and campus life is by helping to develop, support, and
participate in mentoring programs. Mentee-mentor relationships help
create close connections with one or more key persons, relationships
that are especially important for students in underrepresented groups on
campus. Also, because connecting early with advisees is essential,
advisors at DEEP schools are involved in planning and delivering
first-year orientation programs and experiences.
3. Advisors help students identify pathways to academic and social success.
In addition to assisting students with choosing the right
courses, advisors encourage students to take advantage of the learning
and personal opportunities their school makes available. They make a
point of asking students to apply what they are learning in their
classes to real life issues, thereby enhancing student learning in ways
that many academic courses alone may not be able to accomplish. Among
the high quality co-curricular experiences that have powerful positive
effects on students and their success are service learning, study
abroad, civic engagement, internships, and experiential learning
activities. Another key to navigating college effectively is for
students to learn the campus culture—the traditions, rituals, and
practices that communicate how and why things are done at their school.
4. Advising and student success is considered a tag team activity.
At high performing schools, the educational and personal
development goals of advising are shared across multiple partners, not
just the person “assigned” this task. Faculty, student affairs staff,
and mentors along with professional academic advisors comprise the
multiple early alert and safety net systems for students in place at
DEEP schools – particularly for students who institutional research
studies indicate may be at risk of dropping out. Such team approaches go
a long way toward keeping students from falling through the cracks and
getting students the information they need when they need it.
Strengthening Institutional Responsibility for Student Learning
At colleges and universities committed to student
success, academic advisors are partners with faculty and other staff in
enhancing their institution’s educational effectiveness. Because DEEP
schools seemed to be in a perpetual learning mode – what we called
“positive restlessness” – advisors would do well to ponder the
George D. Kuh
Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University Bloomington
De Sousa, D. J. (2005). Promoting student success: What advisors can do (Occasional Paper No. 11). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.
Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J. H., Whitt, E. J., & Associates (2005). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research (Vol. 2). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Editor's Post Script: George Kuh, author of Student Success in College, delivered the opening keynote address on this topic, October 18, 2006 at the NACADA National Conference in Indianapolis.
Jo Anne Huber, NACADA President
Greetings! I hope this has been a happy
spring for each of you! As I have traveled to Regional Conferences, I
have been reminded how special NACADA members are, and I deeply
appreciate your enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication to our
mission of providing quality academic advising for our students and to
The NACADA Leadership sessions held at each Regional
Conference proved to be inspiring for those of us who conducted them and
well-received by those recently elected to office, as well as those
contemplating such a move. Member involvement in discussions at these
Conferences on NACADA's statement on the “concept of academic advising”
has also proven fruitful. The Task Force working on this project is
reviewing the input received at the Conferences and will soon meet one
more time to finalize their work to send to the Board of Directors for
The Council and the Board at the midyear meetings in Indianapolis in
April gave preliminary approval to the Diversity Committee's proposal
for an Emerging Leader program for our Association. We finally have a
well-defined plan to ensure diversity at all levels of NACADA. Hearty
thanks to Skip Crownhart and her committee for providing us with such a comprehensive plan.
Our membership continues to grow – 9145 to date! In an
effort to continue to provide the best service possible to our members,
the Council and the Board participated in a strategic planning process
in Indianapolis, facilitated by Marilyn Bedford from
IUPUI, Office of Human Resources. The two leadership groups worked
together to identify the top three initiatives to develop as a current
plan for our Association. Providing vision and direction is the primary
focus of the Board of Directors, with the strong support of the Council
members, who represent the grassroots membership, which is our true
strength. As subcommittees comprised of both groups work on specific
strategies to accomplish the main goals, updates will be provided to our
Best wishes for a successful spring and happy summer! I
hope to see many of you at one of two Summer Institutes this summer and
in Indianapolis, October 18-21, for another top-notch National
Jo Anne Huber, President
National Academic Advising Association
Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director
The NACADA Board of Directors and the Council met in Indianapolis in
April for their annual mid-year meetings and found “Indy” to be a
wonderful venue for NACADA’s upcoming annual Conference. The folks at
IUPUI were terrific hosts and provided an opportunity to see more of the
city by hosting a wonderful reception at Dean Evenbeck’s home and providing transportation through a beautiful historic district.
Couple this experience with a vibrantly beautiful downtown area
adjacent to the Convention Center and our host hotels, and everyone was
convinced that NACADA Conference participants in October will be very
pleased with their Indy experience! Restaurants and entertainment and
parks galore offer a multitude of opportunities for exploration.
In addition to the annual Conference – which has accepted over 300
presentations and is shaping up to be another terrific professional
development experience – many other NACADA initiatives are “blooming” as
well. The Publications Advisory Board is reviewing a number of
proposals for new publications, while the New Professionals Monograph
nears completion of its first draft, the “Foundations” CD on Advising
Models is being prepared for a final look by the Content Review Board,
the “Foundations” CD on Developing Cultural Identity and Worldview is
underway, and plans are being made for a monograph on Advising Special
Populations. The Professional Development Committee has recommended an
update to the Family Guide, an update to the Advising Training Video,
and some form of distance delivery of professional development material.
Add these initiatives to the Emerging Leaders program coming from the
Diversity Committee, and NACADA will continue to reap the fruits of
these blooms for years to come!
The NACADA Regions are planning various state and local
meetings to bring NACADA experiences closer to members, after providing
very exciting and successful Regional Conferences. Be sure to watch the
NACADA website for announcements of these events. The website is also
the “go to” location for ever expanding academic advising information
provided by members on every issue you can imagine in the Clearinghouse
of Academic Advising Resources. Information is being added constantly,
and this should be a “bookmarked” site for every advisor and
Congratulations to the 2006 NACADA Award winners! Your
work on behalf of student success is greatly appreciated, and we are
proud to honor you for this important work. We also want to thank the
many advising professionals who are retiring this year and those who
have received campus awards for their work. Everyone deserves an award
for the tireless effort you expend to help students realize their
dreams! Thank you all!
Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, Executive Director
National Academic Advising Association
Depending on your role in higher education, you may hear the term learning community on a daily basis or perhaps much less frequently. However, the possibility is great that you have heard the term being used to refer to some sort of curricular connection amongst groups of students in the higher education setting.
The term learning community is quite broad and can be used to describe a range of activities. Back in 1990, a definition was proposed that includes “any one of a variety of curricular structures that link together several existing courses – or actually restructure the material entirely – so that students have opportunities for deeper understanding and integration of the material they are learning, and more interaction with one another and their teachers as fellow participants in the learning enterprise” (Gabelnick, et. al). While this definition is now more than 15 years old, it still works well as a basic definition of a learning community.
There are several working definitions of advising. Most speak to the fact that advising is more than the process of scheduling courses, but consider advising a process.Wes Habley, during the 2003 NACADA Summer Institute in St. Charles, Illinois argued that “Advising is a relationship based on collaboration, learning, growth, sharing, decision-making, and maximizing higher education.”
In my position as an advisor in the College of Business at Iowa State University, I work with about 100 students in approximately ten “teams” that comprise a learning community. Some of these students live on the same residence hall floor, while others do not. All of these students, however, share between two and three classes and a peer mentor. The peer mentor is an upper division student who receives a stipend to be a resource person for the students in his or her team. Recently, we’ve also added a “faculty mentor” component. Five faculty members from our college were given the committee assignment to work with us on learning teams. While this had varying degrees of success, students reported that they appreciated the opportunity to interact on an individual basis with faculty members, and many learned that faculty “aren’t as scary” once you get to know them.
My role with learning communities is to facilitate the interaction between students, peer mentors and faculty mentors. It is interesting to observe that in essence, my role as an advisor is similar. Returning to Habley’s (2003) definition, every component of advising can be found in learning communities:
Considering these definitions, it is clear to see the many connections between quality advising and learning communities. The goals of both activities are to work together with students to increase learning and increase connection to the institution. Increased connection leads to a higher likelihood that a student will be retained (Tinto, 2001). It is cheaper to retain a current student than to recruit a new one (Noel-Levitz, 2006). As advisors, we work towards the goal of retaining students and moving them successfully towards graduation. Looking at what is being done in formalized learning communities, it is intriguing to think about less formalized activities advisors can do that will net similar results. Can we, as advisors, create more intentional interactions between students and faculty? How do we foster relationships with other campus units? How do we assist in the retention of students? In what ways do we view the “whole student” versus the name on the degree audit? How can we as advisors do these things while dealing with a generation of students which is quite different from ourselves?
The learning community is an important asset to college campuses around the country. As an advising community, we should consider what we can discover from learning communities and explore methods of applying these lessons to our advising duties.
Iowa State University
Gabelnick, F., MacGregor, J., Matthews, R. S., and Smith, B.L. (1990). Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty and Disciplines. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 41. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Habley, W. (2003). Realizing the Potential of Academic Advising. Presented at NACADA Summer Institute, St. Charles, Illinois.
Noel-Levitz. (March, 2006). Connecting Enrollment and Fiscal Management. In University Business. Retrieved March 16, 2006 from http://www.universitybusiness.com/page.cfm?p=1134.
Tinto, V. (2001). Taking Student Retention Seriously. p.3. Retrieved on March 16, 2004 from http://soeweb.syr.edu/Faculty/Vtinto/Files/TakingRetentionSeriously.pdf.
Jenine Mullin, Wilmington College
Each day, 85% of college students nation-wide log on to a website called The Facebook(www.facebook.com) to catch up with friends, share photos, and learn about upcoming events on their campuses (Arrington, 2005). Online programs such as The Facebook offer users the opportunity to establish online social networks. Users register and log in using their college email address and are given the ability to search for others at the same institution. The program allows users to create an online personal profile; post photographs; and identify their majors, relationship status, interests, hobbies, favorite books, classes they are registered for, and even personal information such as address, phone number, and email address. Once logged on, users can browse the profiles of those who attend their institutions, identify those users as “friends,” set up groups for other users to join, and directly message other users.
The Facebook, started by a group of Harvard students in February of 2004, was registered to more than 300 institutions by the end of 2004 and is currently registered to nearly 900 institutions and 3.8 million users (Arrington, 2005). Judging by the popularity of the site, it seems to have positively influenced student networking. Students have begun to use the service in order to get to know their roommates before moving into the residence halls, promote upcoming events, and discuss town and gown issues. However, the ways in which students utilize their customized space may negatively impact them as well.
The information that students provide on their profiles allows thousands of others to find out where they live, their phone numbers, email, screen names, course schedules and who their friends are. Students who choose to share such information understand that they may be putting themselves at risk for stalking and identity theft. While that certainly creates a dangerous situation, what is more frightening to students is that what they choose to post may also impact them judicially on campus. Some institutions have implemented policies that hold students responsible for the content they post. From responsible computing to alcohol offenses and cheating, students at campuses across the country can now be held responsible and judicially charged for their internet postings.
Although these policies may seem unjustifiable or difficult to enforce, institutions are holding fast to the concept of demanding civic responsibility from their students. In 2005, two athletes at Louisiana State University were dismissed from their teams after posting comments about their coaches on Facebook (Brady & Libit, 2006). Institutions across the country are advising students to be cautious with the content they post and not to post anything that would represent them in a bad light. One institution, Loyola University in Chicago, has gone so far as to forbid its athletes from creating and maintaining Facebook profiles altogether. Athletics departments have more freedom than do other institutional divisions because of the terms of scholarships and athletics codes of conduct.
So what does this mean for advisors? For those of us who advise education majors,Facebook profiles may have a direct impact on students’ disposition assessments. As Lee Kem reminded us in the February 2006 edition of Academic Advising Today, dispositions are the attitudes, values, and behaviors that influence those with whom teachers interact. Evaluations of students’ dispositions can affect their admission to teacher education programs, clinical placements, student teaching, and the hiring process. As Facebook’s popularity increases amongst students and attention to it increases amongst higher education professionals, the content posted on students’ profiles may begin to impact their teaching careers.
We may agree that a student would be justly penalized in his or her disposition assessment based upon issues such as poor attendance or cheating, but to what degree should students’ personal, political, or religious views and activities impact their education and careers? Would it be fair for an instructor to give poor disposition feedback based upon something he or she saw on student’s Facebook profile? What if, for instance, a student listed the Ku Klux Klan as an affiliation on his or her Facebook profile? If it seems like students would be fore-thinking enough to not include information such as that, consider other commonly posted content:
How might these types of personal information affect those who evaluate the students? If a high school student views the profile of his or her student teacher, how might the content affect their interaction with that student teacher? What if a future employer viewed a student’s profile? A December 2005 article in the University of Georgia’s student newspaper indicates that a student’s Facebook profile can seriously impact the student’s future endeavors. The reporter discovered that not only are university faculty members viewing students’ profiles before writing recommendations, but that local employers are using employed alumni to review an applicant’s profile for inappropriate content.
When using Facebook, both higher education professionals and students should proceed with caution. When talking with students, we should warn them to be cautious regarding the content that they post on their profiles. Students believe that Facebook is a students-only site, and that what they post there will only be seen by other students. We should make them aware that professors, administrators, and employers are learning about the site and can sign up for their own accounts with an institutional email address. When considering how we as advisors might use the site, we must keep our ethical standards in mind. Our goal should be to serve the students to the best of our abilities and support their success. We will need to use our best judgment when deciding whether or not to use Facebook contents in disposition assessments and be honest with our students about the impression the profile presents. Before including content from a Facebook profile in any assessments or recommendations, we should have a conversation with the student about how that content could affect the student’s career. Doing so will give students insight into how their profiles represent them and provide them with the opportunity for growth and maturity. Our students should be able to express themselves in their own networks, but we should encourage them to do so with integrity.
To learn more about Facebook, find general information about the site athttp://www.facebook.com/help.php.
Facebook.com keeps a record of each registered institution. To find out if yours is registered, visit http://www.facebook.com/schools.php.
Arrington, Michael (2005). Eighty-five percent of college students use Facebook. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.techcrunch.com/2005/09/07/85-of-college-students-use-facebook/
Brady, E. & Libit, D. (2006). Alarms sound over athletes’ Facebook time. USA Today. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/internetprivacy/ 2006-03-08-athletes-websites_x.htm
Morgan, Lauren (2005). Facebook can hurt employment chances: Be mindful of quotes, groups. RedAndBlack.com. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.redandblack.com/vnews/ display.v/ART/2005/12/06/439512618c11c
Jon Steingass and Seth Sykes, Virginia Commonwealth University
Each year, tens of thousands of college students across the United States are placed on probation as a result of the low grades they earned during the previous term. Regardless of class standing, no students—freshmen through seniors—are immune to academic performance issues. Even the most academically talented students with impressive academic credentials often find themselves struggling for the first time when they enroll in college. Reasons for student academic difficulties are not impossible to address or remedy. However, colleges and universities struggle with developing and implementing effective programs to assist students on probation. In addition, advisors have experienced difficulty locating resources that adequately address the specific needs of this student population. So what can advisors do to overcome their own frustration at working with this challenging population while at the same time assisting students to achieve academic success?
Last year, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), a state-supported, urban research university enrolling over 29,000 graduate and undergraduate students, implemented a new approach to advising students on probation. This approach consists of a ten-week, one-credit course in which instructors (either individually or in small groups) help students to develop a successful MINDSET (defined as attitudes and habits) for attaining academic success. Each letter in the word MINDSET refers to a specific component needed for success in college. The MINDSET includes Motivation, Initiative, Navigation, Direction, Study skills, Expectations, and Time management. Effectively blending principles of cognitive, behavioral, social, and educational psychology in an easy to use format, advisors are able to speak directly to students and address their specific academic problems without being harsh or judgmental. All instructors follow the same curriculum, based on a textbook written by the authors of this article specifically for this population. The book is called, Soaring to Success: Modifying your MINDSET to Leave Academic Difficulty Behind.
This new approach to advising students on probation applies six helpful techniques.
Helpful technique #1: Self-assessment of ineffective attitudes and habits. All students in the course complete a MINDSET Inventory to help them determine to what extent they identify with seven major attitudes and habits that contribute to academic difficulties. They then identify and prioritize the attitudes and habits they need to change to become a successful student. The MINDSET Inventory provides a framework on which the remainder of the course is based.
Helpful technique #2: Concrete examples of effective attitudes and habits. Over 100 concrete strategies are introduced as students begin to develop new mental attitudes and habits to replace former ineffective ones. Students identify at least two or three of the strategies in each MINDSET component and learn how to incorporate them in their daily lives. Each strategy is based on proven techniques that other students on academic probation have adopted to successfully return to good academic standing.
Helpful technique #3: Self-reflection. Self-reflection exercises are designed to enhance students’ awareness of and skill at identifying their own strengths and weaknesses as learners and to develop remedies for their own learning difficulties. Each session includes Points to Ponder exercises, which require students to reflect on current attitudes and habits that contributed to their academic difficulty. After introducing concrete effective strategies, students reflect by focusing their attention on incorporating new ways of thinking and behaving. This results in students making short-term changes that lead to long-term improvements in their learning, as indicated by achieving greater academic success.
Helpful technique #4: Change contracts. The instructors of the course clearly state that students can and must change in order to return to good academic standing and successfully achieve their educational goals. Along with providing the tools needed to change by introducing concrete strategies, the course requires students to commit to adopting new attitudes and habits by signing “Committing to Change” contracts at the end of each session. Students then have a record of their commitments and can revisit their progress on fulfilling their commitments on a regular basis.
Helpful technique #5: Self-evaluation and monitoring. Instructors also teach students how to continually evaluate their overall academic performance for the term. Students learn how to use feedback from multiple sources to determine which strategies are effective, adjust strategies that they are not fully maximizing, and discard those that are not working. Throughout the course, instructors encourage students to evaluate their current progress and make honest assessments of whether they can salvage or withdraw from classes in which they are struggling.
Helpful technique #6: Flexible format. The textbook for the course is set up in such a way that it can be used within a classroom setting or in individual advising sessions. Readers may work on each component of the MINDSET in a linear sequence beginning with motivation and concluding with time. They also have the option of individualizing the book by prioritizing the order that they address each component of their MINDSET according to their greatest needs, as identified in the MINDSET Inventory. Either strategy will address all parts of the MINDSET, even if students consider themselves not to have problems in one or more of the components.
Students and instructors express appreciation for the structure that this course provides. Almost 50% of the students taking this course in 2005 were able to achieve a semester GPA of 2.0 or higher compared to only 32% who did not take the course. In addition, the first-year retention rate of students who took the course was 72% compared to 59% for students who did not take the course. We are confident that we will see even better results for the second year that we teach this course.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Higgins, E. M. (2003). Advising students on probation. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/probation.htm.
Steingass, J. & Sykes, S. (2006). Soaring to Success: Modifying your MINDSET to Leave Academic Difficulty Behind. New York: Thomson.
In the following three articles, Matthew Church (University of Louisville); Reneé F. Borns (Houston Baptist University); and Katherine Horner (Kent State University), Melissa Mentzer (Ashland University) and Leslie Monaco (Kent State University) discuss three possible approaches to grappling with institutional budget crunches.
Matthew Church, University of Louisville
Advising is changing daily. Technological advancements and increased distance education have the potential to drastically change current advising practice. Calls for accountability and the increasing litigious nature of American society have added more concerns and pressures to advisors' daily activities. Increased caseloads and lack of resources often preclude advisors from being able to engage in holistic developmental advising. This article will present the integrative approach to advising, which is a more flexible method that draws from a variety of other perspectives (Church, 2005). Many advising approaches have merit, but they may not correlate to the hectic work environment faced by many advisors.
The aim of the integrative method is flexibility and utility in academic advising matters (Church, 2005). It is a combination of elements of other approaches, such as developmental and prescriptive. The integrative method has five main components/steps:
The first step – a core grounded in the NACADA Core Values and ethical traits – is more akin to a mindset, but it is a necessity nonetheless. While it is hoped this is always in the minds of advisors, there are times when external events can fluster or distract even the best of us. Every advising appointment, even before we meet with the student, should begin with reminding ourselves of the Core Values. Advisors must be continually aware that we are responsible to the individuals we advise, our institutions, higher education, and to ourselves. While simplistic, this refocusing puts into perspective the importance of academic advising and reminds us that we are working for many different interests, giving added impetus to perform thoroughly and efficiently.
The second step is rather standard for any advising encounter: an element of prescriptive advising. Prescriptive advising involves a one-way flow of information and a hierarchical relationship, with the student as a passive recipient (Lowenstein, 1999). The integrative approach utilizes the one-way flow of information to convey requirements, but does not incorporate other aspects of prescriptive advising. In this step, the advisor lays out the remaining requirements and status of the student's academic career. Prescriptive advising can frame the appointment and allow us to use the remaining requirements as a jumping off point to discussing potential majors or interests.
The third step, an increasingly vital step, is a focus on a well-rounded education. Some students believe that the completion of the general education requirements affords them a well-rounded education, but 'a checklist is not an education' (Hones and Sullivan-Vance, 2005). Advisors need to help students identify how they can benefit from the collegiate experience. Students benefit from the skills they learn in college as much as their coursework. Advisors need to help students identify how they can attain the best education possible. Questions dealing with other interests or skills can assist students in making full use of their course selections. A biology major, for instance, may improve his or her writing immensely in a literature course. A history major may develop a life long environmental interest through a climatology course. The key is to help students learn as much as possible, so they truly benefit from their collegiate education.
The fourth step is the application of reductive advising to course selection. Reductive advising involves identifying career ambitions, major, or student interests and employing deduction to identify and suggest individual courses related to larger interests. This approach is particularly useful when dealing with electives and supporting coursework. For instance, if a biology major who is interested in applying to medical school comes to an appointment with the goal of choosing an elective course, but lacking ideas for what to take, the advisor could reduce the student's career ambitions into recommending a general psychology course. The rationale for this suggestion would be that all medical students do rotations their third and fourth year. One of the third year rotations is psychiatry, and taking the undergraduate psychology course would give the student an opportunity to have some prior acquaintance with the field. Similar circumstances exist with pre-law students and logic courses, as well as business students and economic geography courses. The main goal of this step is to take the long term and somewhat abstract and reduce it to actual course recommendations.
The last step ties into the first step; it is student approval. Ultimately, the preceding process is done for the immediate benefit of the student, who has the final say in course selection. While it is possible that the student may disagree, if the advisor has consulted with the student and worked through possible course options and selections, as well as career goals, the student is likely to agree with and pursue the recommendations made by the advisor. The result of this process is students who are satisfied with their advising experiences and schedules, as well as advisors who have successfully carried out their advising responsibilities.
There is no guaranteed best approach to advising. Developmental advising is an excellent approach, but there is not always time to follow a holistic advising approach. Many advisors have large numbers of advisees and work in advising centers where students do not have the same advisor each visit. With this situation, there may not always be opportunity to establish an extended advising relationship with a student. Constraints such as staffing and large caseloads give rise to situations where the integrative approach is most appropriate. The integrative approach is not holistic and does not lend itself to the deeper goals of developmental advising; neither is it as dictatorial as prescriptive advising. The integrative approach is a solution to dealing with the increasing responsibilities and numbers associated with academic advising. It not only involves the reaffirmation of why advisors advise and the importance of the student, but outlines an approach that is quite applicable to all advising encounters.
University of Louisville
Church, M. (2005). Integrative theory of academic advising: A proposition. The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal 7 (2). Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.psu.edu/dus/mentor.
Hones, S. and Sullivan-Vance, K. (2005). Liberal arts in the 21st century. Academic Advising Today, 28(4).
King, M.C. (2005) Developmental academic advising. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resource website at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/dev_adv.htm
Kitchener, K. S. (2000). Foundations of ethical practice, research, and teaching in psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Lowenstein, M. (1999, November 22). An alternative to the developmental theory of advising. T he Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal, 1 (4). Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.psu.ed/dus/mentor.
NACADA. (2004). NACADA Statement of Core Values of Academic Advising. Retrieved from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources website at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/Core-Values.htm
Reneé F. Borns, Houston Baptist University
Most department or office budgets do not stretch very far. Without budget growth, trying to offer additional programs and services to a multitude of students and provide adequate salaries or stipends for staff members or faculty advisors can be challenging in the face of growing student populations. In times of budget cuts, this challenge becomes nearly impossible. One method institutions have used to confront this challenge is assessing an advising fee to students. These fees may be used to provide new services or to continue to provide existing advising services. The objective of this article is to share with advising administrators methods and means by which some institutions and departments have initiated and used advising fees.
Types of Institutions Utilizing an Advising Fee. In a recent NACADA sponsored survey, only 38 of 655 (less than 6%) advising administrators indicated their institutions currently utilize an advising fee. Of the 38 responding institutions, several institutions reported the advising fee supported the entire budget of the advising unit. In other words, if the advising fee did not exist, the advising unit and its personnel would not exist. For example, advising units at Sam Houston State University, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse all have advising fees that support an advising office. In addition, advising fees may support advising at the school or college level, such as at the School of Management at the University of Minnesota and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas-Austin.
All survey respondents were from public institutions and 25 (66%) were from institutions with 20,000 or more students. Just 13 reported a student population of less than 20,000. A large majority of respondents were from Texas (21 total) representing academic colleges and advising units. Other states represented were Oklahoma (6), Wisconsin (5), Arizona (1), Indiana (1), Massachusetts (1), Minnesota (1), and Mississippi (1). A virtual university was also represented. All institutions except one (a community college) award four-year degrees or higher.
Time and Initiation. Most respondents indicated their campus advising fees were initiated less than five years ago. More specifically, 69% (27 respondents) indicated their advising fee was initiated within one to five years and 15% (6 respondents) indicated the fee started less than one year ago. The office that initiated the fee varied by respondents and included offices such as academic advising units, president, provost or dean’s office (66%), planning council (11%), student government (9%), or other bodies (11%) such as (each with one response) distance education, dean’s council, vice president for academic affairs, student affairs, enrollment services, academic colleges, or graduate students.
Fees Collected. Administrators reported a variety of fee recipients. For example, 37% of respondents reported the academic advising unit received the collected monies to use at their discretion. The institution as a whole received the collected fee as reported by 26% respondents, and 16% of academic colleges received the fee. The remaining (21%) indicated that a variety of other campus units, such as an academic or graduate college, student affairs, enrollment services, academic affairs, dean’s council, or distance education collected the fee.
How the fee was assessed varied greatly. Administrators indicated fees were assessed either by credit hour or by individual student per term. Of institutions that assessed the fee by credit hour, 9 institutions indicated the fee was assessed by credit hours registered per term with a fee of $1 to $15. Only one institution indicated that the fee was more than $45 per credit hour. Of 26 (70%) institutions that assessed advising fees by individual student, a majority (61%) assessed students between $1 and $50 per term, and 26% assessed students $51 to $100 per term. Three (10%) institutions assessed students $101 to $200 per term and one (3%) institution charged students over $200 per term for advising services.
Several institutions and academic advising units adjusted the fee as needed. Approximately one-third (34%) of the administrators indicated the fee had increased since initiation and none had decreased. Most fees (58% or 16 respondents) had stayed the same over years.
Use of Fee Funds. Administrators reported a number of different areas in which the fee was used. For example, many institutions used the fee for advisor salaries (20%), advisor training and development (16%), advising support staff salaries (14%), and program development (14%). The advising fee funded other items such as operational budget for an academic advising center (13%), peer advisors (7%), faculty advisor stipends (4%), distance advising technology (3%), and operational budget for the institution (2%). Administrators indicated the fee was used for other needs such as technical requirements, learning committees, or campus funding initiatives.
Student Role in Fee Collection. The role of the student is an important aspect of fee initiation. Several institutions (37% or 14 respondents) reported students formally approved the fee assessment. On the other hand, eight institutions (21%) indicated students did not play a role in initiating the original advising fee. Only 5% indicated students or student groups suggested the fee and the same amount indicated student support was solicited for fee approval. Six (16%) administrators indicated other ways which students played a role in fee creation. At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, students suggested the fee to the university administration; the student government adopted it with support from students, faculty, and staff. The student government at UW-La Crosse is a strong and powerful body and regulates the use of the fee. At Indiana University-Bloomington, the Board of Trustees approved the fee with input from student government.
Advising fees can have a tremendous impact on institutions. For example, advising centers at some institutions would not exist without the support of the advising fee, such as at Sam Houston State University. As another example, the advising fee at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse pays for half of the university advising center operating budget, which includes salaries for advisors, graduate students, peer advisors, and the director. At the University of Texas-Austin in the College of Fine Arts, the advising fee supports only advisor salaries. And, at the School of Management at the University of Minnesota, the advising fee has helped to supplement salaries of full-time advisors. Without this fee, this school would not be able to offer competitive salaries for their advisors. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s fee is shared with other campus support services on campus such as tutoring services.
An advising fee can have a positive effect on advising units. Our existing budgets in academic advising units are stretched more in time of budget uncertainty. Working within current budgets and adjusting to budget cuts is difficult. Investigating the assessment of advising fees for students may be one method in which to provide further services to students.
Reneé F. Borns
Houston Baptist University
Katherine Horner, Kent State University
Melissa Mentzer, Ashland University
Leslie Monaco, Kent State University
Institutions of higher education continually face budget constraints as they struggle to provide high quality services to students. Today many institutions turn to academic advisors for assistance in meeting this challenge. 'Academic advising is the only structured activity on the campus in which all students have the opportunity for on-going, one-to-one interaction with a concerned representative of the institution' (Habley, 1994). While the delivery of advising services varies among institutions, one option can help address the needs of both students and institutions: the employment of graduate assistants (GAs) within advising offices.
There are many benefits to the utilization of GAs within an advising office. GAs can:
The GAs benefit from:
Kent State University successfully incorporates graduate assistants into an academic advising center.
The Kent State Student Advising Center Model
When the Student Advising Center (SAC) at Kent State University initially opened, GAs served as clerical support personnel. As the SAC evolved, so did the responsibilities of the graduate assistants. In addition to some of the previous support responsibilities, GAs are assigned a caseload of approximately 30 advisees. They also teach and advise Exploratory Orientation students, present and advise during the Placement Advising Scheduling System program for incoming students, represent the SAC on campus committees, and are involved in research. GAs are also encouraged to join local, regional, and national advising associations and co-present with professional advisors at conferences.
Budgetary Considerations and Contract Development
Kent State awards assistantships on a part-time basis. A normal GA contract is 300 hours per semester, which breaks down to 20 hours per week for the 15 week semester. GAs receive a stipend of $6,300 for the first year and $6,500 for the second year, along with a tuition waiver for fall and spring semesters. GAs must meet a GPA requirement (e.g. 3.0) and maintain full-time student status. Reappointment for the second year is not automatic; instead, it is contingent upon degree progress and satisfactory performance. Kent State also stipulates that GAs cannot accept other on-campus employment.
Developing the Position Description
The position description is a dynamic document that changes with the needs of the office and as GA skills vary. As most GAs become comfortable in their roles, their knowledge increases and their responsibilities expand. On the other hand, if an individual GA does not acquire the needed skills to be effective, responsibilities can be limited and developmental guidance can be instituted. Kent State uses a five-step process to create the position description:
The Recruiting Process
The GA recruitment process at Kent State begins in the Higher Education Administration graduate program, although other institutions may look within counseling, organizational leadership, and/or educational leadership graduate programs. Advising directors at institutions without these graduate programs can recruit students from area universities or post assistantships through email list serves.
Developing the Training Program
“Effective academic advising can only be achieved if comprehensive and multifaceted advisor-training and development programs are implemented and evaluated for all types of advisors” (Nutt, 2003, p. 9). Habley (1986) indicates that all effective advisor training programs should encompass three important components: conceptual, relational, and informational.
Initial steps include the evaluation and revision of existing training programs with the special needs of GAs in mind. In many cases, the informational needs (e.g. curriculum, policies/procedures) will be fully met through a current training program. However, the conceptual (e.g. theories and roles of advising) and relational aspects (e.g. role playing, rapport-building activities) may be lacking or missing completely. These skills are vital for GAs, who often have no formalized experience in academic advising.
Next, we enlist presenters to participate in the training program. This can include individuals from a variety of campus departments. All academic advisors should be involved in the observation of GA advising and allow GAs to observe their advising appointments.
The training agenda is available to all staff, and experienced advisors are encouraged to participate. The training program is flexible so sessions can change based upon feedback and current need. Ongoing training helps reinforce material and deepen understanding as skills and knowledge are transferred to advising practice.
Ongoing Supervision; Incorporation into the Office Culture
GAs are evaluated regularly and their performance monitored. Since the office has multiple GAs, weekly group meetings are held to discuss issues and conduct ongoing training. Individual meetings are also beneficial, because each GA has a knowledge base and may have concerns or questions they do not want to address in a group setting. In the early stages of the assistantship, it is important to meet with the GAs and review notes from their advising appointments. Evaluation of graduate assistants is used for professional growth and development and to assist in making decisions regarding reappointment.
The possibility of reappointment enables GAs to be fully assimilated into the office; less supervision is required in the second year. GAs are allowed to serve on departmental and institutional committees when appropriate and when possible funding is provided so they can attend NACADA conferences. Finally, GAs are included in all departmental meetings and retreats.
Through the academic advising assistantship, GAs gain experiences that are impossible to learn in the student affairs classroom. This experience impacts their career paths. If advising is to be thought of as teaching, what better way to properly prepare the next generation of advisors?
Kent State University
Kent State University
Habley, W. R. (1986). Advisor training: Whatever happened to instructional design? ACT workshop presentation. Iowa City, IA: ACT.
Habley, W.R. (1994). Key Concepts in Academic Advising. In Summer Institute on Academic Advising Session Guide (p.10). Available from the National Academic Advising Association, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
Nutt, C. L. (2003). Creating advisor-training and development programs. In Advisor training: Exemplary practices in the development of advisor skills. National Academic Association Monograph Series, no. 9. Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.
Jordan M. Barkley, Jacksonville State University
Teaching college was supposed to be freeing and provide me with the ability to teach students who pay to be in class, who want to be in class. These are supposed to be students who are eager to soak up what I have to offer, who come to class and behave, and who are responsible. I began my higher education career as an adjunct the semester before my contract as a full-time assistant professor began. As I watched my soon-to-be colleagues manage teaching responsibilities, committee assignments, and advising sessions, I became more and more eager to begin working with students. My first semester began, and I realized that my doctoral work had prepared me to teach, but nothing prepared me for academic advising – not even my own experience on the other side of the desk. What I had imagined would be the easiest part of my job became both one of the most challenging and most rewarding.
I vowed that I would do everything that I could to ensure that my advisees received the best advice possible; after all, had I not just completed work on a terminal degree? And, I detested nothing more than receiving incorrect information or no information at all. I set out to find out how to be the best advisor I could be for my students. I wanted to give them the most up-to-date information; I wanted to be able to answer their hard questions; and most of all, I wanted to have them leave my office being grateful for all I had done for them. I knew I was a good teacher, and I also knew that I could not have become who I was without the help of others. Since my university does not assign new faculty members a mentor, I decided to choose a model from whom I could learn. I began by holding secret 'interviews' – secretive because my colleagues were not aware that they were being interviewed for the role of model. I sat in as they advised students in their content areas, and I listened as they discussed course options, grades, etc. I watched both their facial expressions and the facial expressions of their advisees. Quickly, I realized that the only way I could have the perfect model would be to melt my colleagues into one super advisor. I cut my losses and chose one, unbeknownst to her.
Once I had chosen a model, I attempted to absorb as much about advising from her as I could. From our chats, I found that one important key to successful advising is keeping detailed records. While our college recognizes several methods of advising – traditional paper advising, email advising, advising with electronic folders, etc. – no matter which method an advisor chooses to use, records are crucial. Through conversations with other faculty members, I heard what may be deemed as higher ed urban legends, such as the ones about “the student who sued because she couldn’t student teach when she was ‘supposed’ to,” or (my personal favorite) “the student who forces the administration’s hand in course substitutions because of what an advisor said.” Whether or not these are real stories, the fact remains that successful advisors who keep detailed records can often immediately reply to faulty complaints by students who insist that they have been misadvised. I found that while detailed notes did serve as protection against confusion, these notes more importantly helped to jog my memory about each student’s individual situation as he or she came in for advisement.
Detailed records, however, were not enough to provide students with all of the information they would need to complete an academic program. I noticed that the majority of my students came to advisement without even drafting a possible schedule. How was I supposed to advise students who hadn’t even thought out their own programs? The teacher in me kicked in and helped me realize that I could teach these students to care about their programs, but first, I would have to learn everything I could about the degree program. I gathered that if my advisees didn’t think that I could answer their questions, they would not come to my office with questions. And, if I could get them to return to my office for more than just being cleared for registration, I could possibly build a relationship with them and keep them from making more than just mistakes with courses. Ultimately, I immersed myself in the program. I talked with our Teacher Service Center, faculty in arts and sciences who taught the courses my students would need, and most importantly, students nearing graduation so that I could get a student’s perspective of the obstacles encountered while attempting to complete the program. And, I have to admit that when students asked what many would consider hard questions and I could provide an answer, I began to feel like a successful advisor.
I felt successful, but I noticed that I still had two major problems: saying “No' and helping students accept responsibility for their actions. I maintain that my job is to do everything within my power to help students complete their programs, but I had a hard time saying “No” to my students. I found myself advising after hours, making phone calls for students, emailing for students, and asking all the “hard” questions for my students. Sure, these are things that advisors sometimes do, but I was doing them on a regular basis. Learning to say, “No,” though, for me was like breaking an addiction. The first five to ten times were excruciatingly painful, and I felt as though I was not doing my job. That feeling passed as I saw that when I did not do everything for my students, they began to do for themselves. Next, I had to help them accept responsibility for what they did. I’m sure that every academic advisor could fill a book with reasons “why” students did not drop a class, did not attend class, did not…well, practically anything on campus. I found that the best way to help my advisees accept responsibility was to stop them when they began to make excuses. Once they realized that I was not condemning them for what they had or had not done, they tended to open up more and help me help them. I began to enjoy my advisement sessions; I had to rely less and less on the detailed information in the folders to remember my students; and I found myself making more and more time for my advisement sessions.
Now that I enjoy advising, I don’t look at academic advising as something else I have to do other than teaching; I see advising as an equal to classroom instruction. I have signed on to be a part of my university’s summer orientation seminars for both in-coming freshmen and transfer students, and I also spend a good amount of time discussing with colleagues how we can improve our advising procedures. Just as I constantly seek ways to develop my teaching abilities professionally, I now spend an equal amount of time honing my advising abilities. Ultimately, I am making this program my own!
Jordan M. Barkley
Jacksonville State University
Linda Chalmers, (formerly of the) University of Texas-San Antonio
I have long heard a saying that I would chuckle over, “Those who can’t teach, consult.” Mind you, I am neither formally a teacher nor a consultant (as of this writing), so I beg the pardon of the author of this quote because I think the truth is quite the opposite, “Those who consult, teach.”
It was almost one year ago to the date of this publication that I eagerly awaited a consulting team that my university had contracted through the NACADA Consultants Bureau. These three individuals, noted in their fields of teaching, technology, administration, and academic advising, were coming here to help us illuminate the perceived challenges within our advising structure.
The need for contracting consultants was decided at an advising fee advisory committee meeting some months prior. When a fee increase was requested to hire more personnel to assist with the rising amount of administrative workload of the advisors, the student members requested a review of how well their current monies were being put to use before any future monies were approved. As the committee chairperson and the Executive Director of Advising, I was asked to move forward with contracting consultants and the committee approved the funding for it.
After I pondered a beloved Covey (1989) principle, “Begin with the end in mind,” I started drafting what we wanted to learn from the consulting visit. These objectives would be the guiding light for the consultants. We needed to know how well we were managing our internal processes, utilizing technology, supporting advisor morale, and meeting institutional expectations of advising. I knew it would take a team and not an individual to accomplish these objectives, and they would only be allotted a few days to do this, according to my funding.
Following the institutional processes for bids, we were happy to award the consulting contract to the NACADA Consultants Bureau. It was imperative that I had the objectives defined in as much detail as possible in order to select the consultants with the most expertise. We settled upon three outstanding individuals for the team.
The NACADA Executive Office secured the commitment of the individuals, and we discussed a proposed visitation date, approximately three months from the awarded bid date. I served as the institutional contact, and the Executive Office contact asked one of the consultants to lead the team and work with me directly.
After settling upon a visitation date, I gathered information to send to each consultant. This information consisted of the University catalog, advising statistics and summary data, the initial document from '99-'00 that framed the reorganization of academic advising and expectations of improvement, summaries of meetings with the advising fee advisory committee, advising directory online website, organizational charts, student advisee satisfaction survey summaries, and any other documents that I deemed helpful to give the consultants the advising contextual framework at my institution.
Prior to the consulting visit, I gathered together the advising center directors and their associate deans in a meeting about the upcoming visit. I gave them copies of the consultants’ resumes and all materials I sent to the team. They had an opportunity to assist with determining the agenda of the visit. In turn, they would prepare their staffs. It was important that there be a climate of trust and openness and not secrecy to assure a successful outcome.
The consultants received the agenda, and we discussed the “who, why, and what” of it. I was asked to include certain offices whose work impacted the advisors, such as the admissions office and registrar office. It was a jam-packed schedule for a three day visit, and it did not include students. The decision to focus solely on processes affecting the efficiency of daily routines and advisor expectations of their jobs was made collectively by the Advising Directors and me.
Once the team arrived, there was not a moment to spare. We initially met the evening of their arrival, so I could answer any questions that they had while preparing for the visit. I dedicated a staff member to seeing that the team was escorted to and from their appointed locations. The consultants maximized their time by determining in advance who would visit with the director, the advisors, and the support staff and in what order. The consultants met together with the Associate Deans, AVP and VPSA in order to determine what the expectations and concerns about advising were from the upper administration.
It was a whirlwind visit to cover six professional staff advising centers and various other institutional groups that impacted and interacted with advising; however, the consulting team accomplished their mission. Within a few weeks of their visit, we had a lengthy but meaty report detailing what these experts in advising observed and recommended concerning our processes, technology usage, advisor morale, and other factors impacting the delivery of advising. It also taught us to trust our own instincts about procedures that were not quite what they should be and that we were right to question how they were measuring up. It was then up to us to use their advice to improve and to highlight the delivery of our advising services.
As I said in the opening of this article, it’s been a year since their visit and ten months since we received the report. We did select the areas we wanted to concentrate upon and divided into workgroups to further examine them. Recommendations upon the consultants’ observations have been submitted to upper administration, and we trust they will soon be acted upon. As we well knew going into the process, the wheels of higher education grind slowly – but we are confident of a positive long-term outcome.
Editor's note:In March of this year, Linda – former NACADA Advising Administration Commission Chair – left her position at the University of Texas at San Antonio to become a technology consultant at a private corporation. We wish her all the best in her new endeavors.
Covey, Stephen R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Inc.
The election of NACADA leadership positions for terms beginning in October 2006 began on February 3, 2006 when the online voting system was made accessible to all eligible voting NACADA members. Login information and passwords were e-mailed individually to members using special mail-merging software. Positions up for election included NACADA President, Vice President, Board of Directors members, Region Chairs, Commission Chairs, and Committee Chairs. The election concluded on February 24, after which all valid votes were tallied.
The election of the Division Representatives for the Administrative and Regional Divisions for the two-year term October 2006-October 2008 was held immediately after the conclusion of the general election. Only those individuals who would be serving as Committee Chairs within the Administrative Division and as Region Chairs within the Regional Division at the conclusion of the 2006 National Conference were eligible to vote for these elected Division Representative positions. The incoming appointed Division Representative for the Commission & Interest Group Division was later announced by Susan Campbell, incoming NACADA President; that individual will also begin a two-year term in October 2006 following the National Conference.
The 2006 leadership election results are as follows:
Board of Directors:
President (1-year term, 2006-2007): Susan Campbell, University of Southern Maine
Vice President (1-year term, 2006-2007): Nancy Walburn, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Board of Directors (3-year term each, 2006-2009):
Terry Musser, Penn State University
Rich Robbins, Cornell University
Casey Self, Arizona State University
Division Representatives(2-year term, 2006-2008):
Administrative Division Representative: Ruth Hussey, Penn State University
Regional Division Representative: Glenn Kepic, University of Florida
Commission & Interest Group Division Representative: Kathy Stockwell, Fox Valley Technical College
Region Chairs (2006-2008):
Mid-Atlantic Region 2: Sandra Waters, Old Dominion University
Southeast Region 4: Kyle Ellis, University of Mississippi
North Central Region 6: Kimberly Vess Halbur, North Dakota State University
Northwest Region 8: Karen Sullivan-Vance, Western Oregon University
Rocky Mountain Region 10: John Mortensen, Utah State University
Commission Chairs (2006-2008):
Advising Administration: Cindy Iten, University of Kentucky
Advising Students with Disabilities: Joyce Howland, SUNY-Empire State College, Alfred Campus
Advising Transfer Students: Jess Ray, Illinois State University
Assessment of Advising: Naomi Wright, New Jersey City University
Engineering & Science Advising: Peg Steele, Ohio State University
Faculty Advising: Rhonda Sprague, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered & Allies Concerns: Jennifer Joslin, University of Iowa
Multicultural Concerns: Kris Rugsaken, Ball State University
Small Colleges & Universities: Julie Stockenberg, Colorado College
Undecided & Exploratory Students: David Spight, University of Texas at Austin
Committee Chairs (2006-2008):
Finance Committee: Lynn O’Sickey, University of Florida
Membership Committee: Ben Chamberlain, Iowa State University
Research Committee: Joshua Smith, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
The NACADA Board of Directors and the Executive Office appreciate the time that NACADA members took to study the qualifications and platform statements of the candidates and cast their votes online. We also thank all individuals who participated in the election—the candidates who ran for office as well as those who nominated them. Congratulations to those who have been elected to leadership positions. Their willingness to make this commitment to NACADA is greatly appreciated.
If you or a colleague are interested in serving in a NACADA Leadership position and would like to become a candidate in next year’s elections, nominations must be submitted via the 2007 Leadership Recommendation Form to the Executive Office by Friday, November 3, 2006. An online nomination form will be available this summer on our web site at www.nacada.ksu.edu/Election/index.htm, which can be completed and submitted electronically. NACADA members will be notified of its availability via e-mail in the monthly Member Highlights. There will also be a Word version of this form available at this same site that can be printed, completed, and sent by mail or fax to the Executive Office. Leadership Recommendation forms can also be submitted at the NACADA National Conference in Indianapolis where forms will be available in the Conference program, at the NACADA display booth, at the Commission & Interest Group Fair, and at the Conference registration area.
Dear Career Corner,
I took a couple of years off to have a family and now I do not know how to get back into the advising field. What can I do? I’m feeling discouraged.
Dear Discouraged Advisor,
First off, congratulations on your family!
So how do you get back into your field? Through careful planning and an active approach. All of the critical thinking and research skills you have developed will come in handy at this time.
Looking for work requires a multi-approach plan. First, update your resume. Have other people look it over for you. A resume should be updated every year, as it is easy to forget the things that we are involved in. Have advising colleagues look at your resume and provide constructive criticism. Your resume needs to include action words. For an academic resume, it is okay to go beyond the standard two pages, but only if you have legitimate items for the resume. Bright colored paper and bizarre graphics do not go over well in academia.
On a side note, please put in your email address, but DO NOT have an address that will cause prospective employers to wince. I have a hard time envisioning contacting a prospective employee whose email address is studmuffin@whatever. Your resume is a professional representation of you, as is your email. Most professionals in the field do not make this mistake, but sometimes young professionals do.
Once you have your resume in hand, research your field. What are the latest trends in advising? What issues are we facing regionally and nationally? For example, transfer articulations might be a hot topic in your region, while nationally there are increasing numbers of academically under-prepared students. Read the Chronicle of Higher Education, along with the NACADA Journal, Academic Advising Toda y, and theClearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources.
How are your technology skills? This is a perfect time to update them. Are you comfortable designing PowerPoint presentations? What about Excel? Take a class while you are looking for a job. That way you can show a prospective employer that you are refreshing your technology skills.
Conduct some informational interviews. Contact academic advisors and talk with them about their jobs and the status of advising on their campuses. This will get your name out there, as well as give you insight into different offices. Just because you are looking for work does not mean that you will take the first job offered. You are looking for the right fit.
Finally, be honest with yourself. What are the most important elements for you in your job? Do you want to work in a team environment or on your own? Can you take initiative or do you prefer direction? Do you want flexible hours for your family or the traditional 8 to 5 ?
When looking for work, I always recommend that you do some volunteer work. It is important to feel useful and volunteering helps you contribute to others. You can opt to volunteer with NACADA or any organization. Several years ago, the Chair of the Member Career Services Committee volunteered at a local high school, advising students on post-secondary options. It turned out to be a great way to meet people in the community along with feeling useful, while searching for a job.
It is difficult to look for work, and it is easy to get discouraged. Remember that you are a good advisor and have a lot to offer an institution.
Chair, Member Career Services Committee
Western Oregon University
It 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 Leigh@ksu.edu.
This edition’s SPARKLER comes from Jim Galvin (Coordinator/Academic Adviser, CLA Health and Natural Sciences Student Community) and Jodi Malmgren (Director, Learning Abroad Center) of the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
Students who study abroad wish to know that the courses they take will apply to their academic program. The University of Minnesota–Twin Cities created a process to help students and advisors better evaluate how study abroad courses will fit into an undergraduate program prior to departure.
The Curriculum Integration project fosters close collaboration between study abroad advisors, academic advisors, and departmental colleagues. Our Academic Planning for Study Abroad form (APSA) is a result of this. The purpose of this document is as follows:
The student initially meets with a study abroad advisor, who provides the student with an APSA form and guides the student in finding course descriptions. The student then visits the academic and departmental advisor(s) for course evaluations and graduation planning. Each advisor signs the form. The student also signs the form to acknowledge their understanding of the transfer equivalency. A copy of the form is returned to the study abroad office.
Many courses in the most popular programs have been evaluated. For students participating in such programs, departmental and collegiate advisors are able to provide exact transfer equivalencies. However in some programs, the evaluations will be contingent upon a full evaluation of the course syllabus and materials when the student returns.
The APSA is a valuable component in long range graduation planning. Planning for a study abroad leads students and advisors to discuss major and career plans. Advisors often prepare multi-year graduation maps to chart out sequence courses and multiple scenarios.
The APSA is an important tool for helping students and advisors turn the dream of study abroad into reality. Students also develop a comprehensive plan to help ensure timely graduation.
Download the APSA at:http://www.umabroad.umn.edu/academic/academicPlanningForm.pdf
For more information, contact Jim Galvin at JGalvin@class.cla.umn.edu or Jodi Malmgren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's Note: Watch for more from Galvin & Malmgren in the September edition ofAcademic Advising Today.