Reflections from a College President: When Access is Not Enough, or The Significance of Academic Advising
Anthony Tricoli, President, Georgia Perimeter College
Editor's Note: As members of the NACADA Board of Directors, the AAT Editorial Board, and the Executive Office staff have talked with our membership around the globe, it has become clear that we share a common concern about the pressures that we all face in the current economic climate. We open this edition with the positive, constructive measures that have been taken at Georgia Perimeter College to ensure the success of the academic advising program at that institution. Then we'll hear a variety of perspectives on this topic from our membership.
As we celebrate NACADA's thirtieth anniversary, it seems appropriate to stop and reflect on the impact of academic advising on student success. NACADA's leadership in this critical component of student success has led to remarkable changes in the field, including the establishment of a professional code of ethics, best practices and research, as well as providing venues for professional development for all constituencies.
College presidents recognize the significance of academic advising as part of the health and vitality of the college communities they serve. This is a broader responsibility than simply enticing students to enter and matriculate through our hallowed doors. Enrollment is the first step in a partnership between students and the academic institution, and presidents recognize that academic advising is critical to increasing retention, graduation and transfer rates.
In difficult economic times, many citizens turn to colleges in their communities for assistance with retraining and updating their credentials. These individuals can be especially at-risk because they are primarily non-traditional students and they may lack the requisite skill set to succeed in an environment which is new to them. Those who are unable to successfully navigate the bureaucracies for which many higher educational institutions have become known may drop out. This not only negatively impacts the economic future of our students; it also erodes the economic stability of our communities. Families suffer due to the loss of income. Communities suffer due to the loss of future services, credentialed workers, and a decreased tax base. We all suffer from a loss of educational role models. There are also increased public costs in social services and crime-related expenses when students do not complete their education. In short, failure to assist students to succeed in college can have a profound and negative rippling impact on the community at large.
Since many students are at great risk of dropping out before reaching their goal of graduation or transfer, it is not enough to simply provide access to higher education. Once students are admitted, the institution is obligated to provide support to enhance their chances of success in college. In the words of Vincent Tinto (2008), 'Access without effective support is not opportunity.' Academic advising is part of a critical web of college success tools that must be employed by colleges and universities in configurations that fit their institutions' unique culture and demographic needs.
At Georgia Perimeter College (GPC), we have morphed and expanded academic advising from the traditional centralized service model to a hub and spokes model. Faculty advisors share responsibilities with professional counseling staff in response to data that we have examined regarding the special impact of faculty relationships on students' positive retention outcomes. At GPC we live by the NACADA motto: "Advising is Teaching."
Academic advising is a vital component in GPC's strategic plan; as such the college has increased its emphasis as well as its resources for training and development of faculty advisors. One example of this increased emphasis is GPC's outstanding Master Faculty Advisor Program. These Master Advisors facilitate professional development for all faculty advisors at each of our five campus locations. They have also developed a virtual advising community where faculty can connect across the vast distances between campuses of our urban multi-site institution. These Master Advisors also serve as an institutional resource to college governance bodies in the area of student success.
GPC also took a bold step and became the first academic institution in Georgia to participate in the Rapid Process Improvement Initiative (RPI) in partnership with Georgia's Office of Customer Service. Cross functional teams of faculty and staff identified significant touch point opportunities with students to ensure those moments provide value to our students. A 'New Student Orientation' session was restructured to provide students with critical information they need to begin their careers successfully at GPC.
The RPI also streamlined the advising process for our learning support students, who comprise 24% of our student body. Learning support students now receive ongoing, in-class advising from faculty. This targeted ongoing support helps our students stay on track and successfully transition into collegiate-level work.
Multiple benefits have been generated from the innovations produced via faculty participation in the RPI process. They identified and eliminated the challenges of finding the information they need when advising students. To address information issues, our faculty developed a 'Two-Click Toolkit' Web site to provide quick access to the information faculty advisors need the most, interactive programs of study that could be saved for future advising sessions and advising training modules that deliver professional development on high interest topics.
In short, GPC's faculty, staff and administrators have improved many aspects of advising and orientation in the RPI process which consisted of five intensive week-long working sessions. This work has revolutionized advising services at GPC. (Please look for our presentation on this topic at the 2009 NACADA Annual Conference in San Antonio).
However, training and streamlining processes alone are not enough to guarantee improvement of advising services. At GPC, we are moving to include assessment and incentives for advising services to continue to improve academic advising to students. Student input is an important element of measuring our success as is data collection and tracking the efficacy of these advancements in advising practice. These data will be utilized to make future improvements in advising services at the college.
Now more than ever, colleges need to find creative ways to enhance student success. While we are all chanting the 'do more with less' mantra, we must also continue to invest in student retention. Student retention is always a cost benefit analysis winner. For the community, the academic institution and mostly for our students, retention is a triple win.
College presidents are fortunate to have NACADA serving as a vital partner to institutions of higher education with their dedicated staff; high-quality state, regional and national conferences; advising database; and fine media support systems including the Web site, publications and webinars. We recognize NACADA's achievements in raising academic advising standards, developing professionalism and encouraging advising research.
I am pleased that Georgia Perimeter College and NACADA share the same goal: student success. We look forward to many productive years working together to enhance academic advising, as we increase the retention, graduation and transfer of Georgia's students.
Georgia Perimeter College
Tinto, V. (2008, June 9). Access without support Is not opportunity. Inside Higher Ed . Retrieved April 10, 2009 from www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/06/09/tinto
From the President: Ensuring the Future of NACADA
Casey Self, NACADA President
The NACADA Board of Directors and Council convened in San Antonio March 21-22 for our mid-year business meetings. I thought it would be appropriate to use this column to give my fellow NACADA members an update on two of the more timely topics the Board and Council are addressing at this time.
NACADA and Kansas State University Sign Agreement
The most exciting news that affects the sustainability of our Association is that the Board of Directors and Kansas State University have signed a ten-year agreement which continues the outstanding support of our Executive Office that K-State has provided for the past 19 years.
The Executive Office has been located within the Kansas State University College of Education since 1990; the K-State College of Education has provided outstanding support to the Association since this time. The original agreement, while modified minimally over the years, was a year-to-year agreement. With the impending retirements of key K-State administrators, then-President Jo Anne Huber appointed a Sustainability Task Force, chaired by Past President Eric White, to study the benefits of the Executive Office being located at K-State. This group found that the K-State connection has been extremely beneficial financially to the Association. After review of this report during Past President Susan Campbell's tenure, then-President Jennifer Bloom reappointed the Sustainability Task Force under Eric White's leadership to study the benefits to Kansas State University of their continued support of the NACADA Executive Office. Based upon these two reports, Michael Holen, Kansas State University Dean of the College of Education, and the Association's officers met last fall to discuss the feasibility of a long-term agreement that would ensure that both NACADA and K-State continue to benefit from the partnership.Dean Holen and the Board have worked during the past six months to develop a ten-year agreement, and at the Board of Directors' mid-year meeting on March 21, 2009, the agreement was approved by the Board.
As you can see in the photo at right, I had the honor of officially signing the agreement on behalf of the Board of Directors in my role as President of the Association.
In these very challenging financial times, this is an extremely exciting agreement, as it will allow our Association to continue to provide high quality professional development to our members without significantly raising membership or registration fees.
I want to officially thank Jo Anne Huber, Susan Campbell, Jenny Bloom, Eric White, and the members of the Sustainability Task Force for their vision and dedication which resulted in this awesome opportunity for our future. I also want to thank Roberta Flaherty (Executive Director Emeritus), Charlie Nutt (Executive Director) and the Executive Office staff for their outstanding work, both past and present, that makes NACADA run smoothly and efficiently.
NACADA Strategic Plan
The Board of Directors is primarily focused on creation, implementation, and evaluation of the NACADA strategic plan. In recent years, the following five strategic initiatives have been developed to provide direction for the commissions and interest groups, regions, committees, advisory boards, task forces, etc. in planning their activities.
- Address the academic advising needs of higher education globally
- Advance the body of knowledge of academic advising
- Champion the educational role of academic advising to enhance student learning and development in a diverse world
- Educate university and college decision makers about the role of academic advising in higher education
- Ensure the effectiveness of the NACADA organization
I am happy to report that while efforts are continuing to implement additional strategies, progress has been made on all five strategic goals. Examples of progress include the NACADA Research Symposium recently conducted in conjunction with the Region 4 Conference in Mississippi, an International Task Force to explore specific objectives in NACADA becoming a global association, and the release of the NACADA Scenes for Learning & Reflection - An Academic Advising Professional Development DVD. I would ask any NACADA member who might have additional ways to meet these strategic goals to contact me.
Finally, congratulations to the new class of elected NACADA leaders who will begin their terms in October 2009. I am extremely confident our Association will continue to be in good hands under the leadership of President-elect Jayne Drake and Vice President-elect Kathy Stockwell.
Have a terrific summer!
Casey Self, President
National Academic Advising Association
From the Executive Director: NACADA Near You
Charlie Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
This is NACADA's 30th Birthday! In "association years," we are still in our adolescence, growing and expanding, reaching for new horizons, and finding innovative ways to connect with each of you and provide the highest quality support and professional development opportunities to enhance the success of your students.
In these very difficult financial times, NACADA continues to explore a variety of ways to bring NACADA Near You. We recognize that travel budgets are being cut and traditional professional development opportunities might not be available to many of you. Therefore, our vision is to work together with our members to provide as many opportunities as possible so you can continue to grow professionally and find new and innovative ways to enhance the academic advising experiences of your students and thus increase their persistence to graduation.
Here are a few of the ways that we plan to bring NACADA Near You:
- The NACADA Web site is an outstanding source of high quality professional development that you and your campus colleagues can use without leaving home. Some of the elements you can employ are:
- The NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources and the Academic Advising Today archives include over 500 articles on a multitude of topics and issues revolving around academic advising and student success, retention, and persistence. Bring NACADA to your desktop by searching for articles dealing with campus key issues; contact the author of the article for additional information or ideas. Share articles with your colleagues on campus; start a "NACADA article club" where you get colleagues together once a month to read and discuss a key article or issue that can improve advising on your campus as well as provide you with professional growth.
- Subscribe to the new, free NACADA Podcast series and/or join in the discussion of the Executive Director Blog. These are wonderful ways to gain valuable information on key issues in the field of academic advising and student success without leaving your office or iPod!
- Take advantage of one of the NACADA Academic Advising Summer Institutes. Both of the institutes this summer will be held in cities that have low airfares. We held the registration fees to the 2008 rate to assist campuses financially.
- Develop a plan for utilizing the NACADA Webcast Series each year. The theme for the 2009-2010 series will be Reaching and Retaining Students. The Webinars and Workinars offer a cost effective way to host a mini-conference or seminar on your campus. Make use of the materials that accompany each webcast or webcast CD in planning pre- and post- activities that will bring your advising community together for a quality professional development experience.
- Utilize the NACADA Pocket Guides for a quality low-cost curriculum for your professional development programming for advising colleagues and staff. The short and comprehensive pocket guides will enable you to develop an on-going professional development series by providing the curriculum you need.
- The Scenes for Learning and Reflection: An Academic Advising Professional Development DVD is an outstanding and cost-effective way to bring NACADA Near You. If you are looking for an effective strategy for involving faculty advisors in the conversations on quality academic advising, the DVD is excellent!
- Each spring NACADA hosts10 Regional Conferences that are low cost in both travel and registration. Plan to attend a Regional Conference or one of the many state or allied member conferences - connect with colleagues near you in a quality way about our common key issue: STUDENT SUCCESS! These are outstanding and, once again, cost-effective ways to bringNACADA Near You!
- In this difficult budget year, the NACADA Board of Directors recently voted to keep our Annual Conference fee at the 2008 rate to better assist our members in these trying times! Bring NACADA Near You this fall in San Antonio, Texas!
- And one last idea, two of the many benefits of your membership are your subscription to the NACADA Journal and discounted member costs for NACADA publications. Bring NACADA Near You by hosting a Common Reading program on your campus by sharing an article from the Journal or a chapter from a monograph. This is great way to also create a culture of scholarship and inquiry around the field of academic advising on your campus.
The Board of Directors and the Executive Office Staff are committed to each of you. We encourage you to continue to find ways that NACADA can benefit you, your institutions, and your students.
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Advising IS Teaching: Advisors Take it to the Classroom
Amy Lance, California State University, Chico
Academic advising researchers, administrators, and student service professionals alike make the case that advising is teaching. A 2004 draft of the NACADA Concept of Advising noted that 'academic advising is a multidimensional and intentional process, grounded in teaching and learning, with its own purpose, content, and specified outcomes' (Preamble). The professions of advising and teaching both have a responsibility for educating students to gain expertise and substance through classroom and life experiences. Koring, Killian, Owen and Todd (2004) saw that 'Advising and teaching are similar because both advisors and teachers instruct in the areas of skills and content. Advising teaches skills like decision-making and critical thinking, as well as content like curriculum and academic regulations' (¶ 2). Academic advisors and teachers strive to equip students with the tools necessary to be successful in their college endeavors.
If advising is teaching, what do advisors teach? The NACADA Core Values (2005) indicate that 'Advisors introduce and assist students with the transitions to the academic world' (¶ 3). Academic advisors help students understand academic expectations and empower students with the skills necessary to meet academic and professional goals. Advisors teach students about institutional degree programs, policies and procedures, and resources to ensure a smooth and successful transition to collegiate life. Advisors serve as information agents who connect students with opportunities and student services including study abroad opportunities, internships, and career choices. Additionally, advisors teach students how to problem solve and recognize the impact of the choices they make on their personal and professional aspirations.
In addition to academic advising, many college campuses have implemented 'University Life' or 'First Year Seminar' courses designed to equip first year students with the tools necessary for a successful transition to university life. According to the results of a survey conducted by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition (2006), the objectives of a First Year (FY) seminar are to develop academic skills, provide an orientation to campus resources and services, and self-exploration/personal development (¶ 4). Instructors of these courses should teach study skills, critical thinking, campus resources, academic planning/advising, and time management (¶ 5). This is precisely what academic advisors teach every day in one-on-one or small group advising sessions.
There is a natural cohesiveness of FY courses and Academic Advising. Tinto (1999) claims academic advising is so important to the persistence of first year students that 'academic advising should be an integral part of the first-year experience, not an adjunct to it. Advising should be woven into the fabric of the freshman year in ways that promote student development' (p. 9). What better way to integrate academic advising into the first-year experience than through the classroom? When we examine the course objectives and the roles and responsibilities of an advisor, we clearly say that academic advisors are a perfect match for instructors of first year courses. The purposes of FY courses and advising are to support student adjustment and transition to college life. The FY class can serve as a larger venue where academic advisors can teach students about academics, opportunities, and resources; how to develop an understanding of academic inquiry; taking responsibility for and making good choices about relationships and social networks; successfully dealing with problem solving, attitudes, and beliefs, while developing a sense of purpose; and becoming a civically engaged individual. The National Resource Center (2006) survey findings show that University Life Courses should teach students how to navigate their new university (policies, procedures, resources) and assist students with academic planning, registration process, career exploration, and making good decisions. Academic advisors are the information agents most knowledgeable and capable to connect students to institutional values, structure, resources, and student services. Arguably, academic advisors should be more widely recognized and hired as teachers for FY courses.
Some colleges and universities currently utilize academic advisors and student service professionals as teachers in first year courses. Tinto (2002) reflects on this when he discusses that academic and student affairs professionals are beginning to become the likely candidates to teach in learning communities for specific populations. This is 'because the staff of student affairs is typically the only persons on campus who possess the skills and knowledge needed to teach some of the linked courses' (Tinto, 2002, ¶ 15). Currently, only 31.9% of schools that have University Life courses are being taught by academic advisors (http://www.sc.edu/fye/research/surveyfindings/surveys/survey06.html).
Academic advisors are ideal instructors for FY courses because they are often the most familiar with institutional policies and procedures and the resources available to new students. Teaching FY courses is an invaluable and rewarding opportunity for academic advisors and can expand their professional careers. Teaching FY classes builds stronger relationships across campus; teaching supports student success, the institution's mission, the interests of student persistence and retention, and intellectual growth and development. I encourage advisors to actively pursue the role of instructor for FY classes on their campuses.
Director of Undergraduate Business Advising
College of Business
California State University, Chico
Koring, H., Killian, E., Owen, J. L., & Todd, C. (July 28, 2004). Advising and Teaching: Synergistic Praxis for Student and Faculty Development.The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal. Retrieved February 27, 2009, from Pennsylvania State University Web site: http://www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/040728hk.htm
National Academic Advising Association. (2004). Draft of the NACADA concept of academic advising. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/Research_Related/definitions.htm
National Academic Advising Association. (2005). Statement of Core Values. Retrieved February 24, 2009, from NACADA Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/Core-Values-Exposition.htm
National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition. (2006). 2006 Summary of National Survey on First Year Seminars. Retrieved April 6, 2009, from Web site: http://www.sc.edu/fye/research/surveyfindings/surveys/survey06.html
Tinto, Vincent. (1999). Taking retention seriously: Rethinking the first year of college.NACADA Journal, 19 (2): 5-9.
Tinto, V. (2002, April 15). Taking Student Retention Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College. Address presented at American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Minneapolis, Minnesota. http://suedweb.syr.edu/Faculty/Vtinto/Files/AACRAOSpeech.pdf
In Times of Budget Cuts: Difficult Issues and Possible Solutions
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow, Washington State University
We are currently experiencing one of the worst economic downturns in our country's history. The stock market has plummeted, home owners are facing foreclosure, and businesses are being forced to close their doors. The severity of the recession has left America's education in a precarious position. Colleges and universities are facing massive budget cuts. Notwithstanding the ubiquitous claims that the budgetary woes will not impact the core mission of American higher education, all constituents are facing difficult choices during these troubling times. This is certainly the case for both students and their academic advisors.
Over the last year, I have noticed more and more students who have decided to stay in school because of the lack of desirable jobs and fears about unemployment. Many students have chosen to attend graduate school, obtain a second undergraduate degree or major, or sometimes, just delay graduation. Their decision-making process isn't simply driven by their job prospects, but also driven by the burden of debt. Today's students owe between $25,000 and $65,000 in student loans (Lehrer, ¶ 2). Delaying graduation thus protects them from the prospect of having to pay back student loans in absence of a job.
The financial situation we face has also led to an increase in student enrollment at community colleges, as laid off workers return to school to improve their job prospects. George Boggs (2009), president of the American Association of Community Colleges, states that many community colleges across the nation are reporting 'double digit enrollment increases,' despite facing a slash of their budgets (Streitfeld, ¶ 14). As enrollments go up and budgetary allocations go down, students will surely have a difficult time getting into classes. This translates into more time advising students into the courses that will help them achieve their goals. One solution might be to allow ourselves enough time with each and every advisee. The extra time can be used wisely when we check in with students, not just about their academics, but about their personal health and family support systems.
Along with the decision to remain in or return to higher education, students are also faced with a decrease in financial aid during times of economic crisis. Whereas students from low-income families may see an increase in their Pell Grants, students from middle-income families will likely receive less money from the recently passed stimulus package. Kelderman (2009) noted that without an increase to Stafford loans, students will need to take out more expensive private loans in order to have enough money to attend college (¶ 27). College tuition has been on the rise every year. Lehrer (2008) stated that 'since the early '80s, tuition and fees have grown 375 percent, almost three times more than median family income. The average public college now costs about $14,000 per year, and the private colleges are approaching $35,000' (¶ 4). Across the country, colleges and universities are responding to budgetary dilemmas by increasing tuition. With fewer loans available, advisors will have to be creative with students' academic plans. For some students, it might be possible to take classes at the community colleges to transfer back to a four year college in order to save money. For other students, online courses will allow them to save rent and travel expenses by taking courses at home.
Another factor impacts students during budget cuts: elimination of majors and classes. At the University of Washington, Roseth (2009) noted that state budget cuts will likely translate into cuts in student enrollment and elimination of hundreds of staff and faculty positions (¶ 3). It also means that with fewer instructors, it will take students longer to complete their degrees, thus costing them more money (¶ 4).
Advisors must be prepared to deal with new challenges and situations. Students will likely feel stressed, depressed, and lost during times of crisis. Although advisors can't magically cure everything, we can provide comfort and support for our advisees. It is imperative that academic advisors be part of institutional and community networks so we can provide the most accurate information and resources to students looking for direction during these difficult times.
In addition to dealing with student issues, academic advisors are faced with their own sets of dilemmas. Job cuts have already affected millions of Americans. As each institution deals with budgetary constraints, it's difficult not to worry about job security. Possible cuts in personnel and an increase in student enrollment mean that advisors might have an overload of students. Travel freezes also compound the problem as professional development opportunities, such as attending regional and national conferences, are eliminated.
Academic advisors will have to 'do more with less' while upholding our responsibilities to our advisees. At the same time, we must deal with our individual needs and personal stresses. As the NACADA Core Values (2005) state, 'advisors are responsible for their professional practices and for themselves personally' (Core Value # 6). As such, we not only must take time to take care of our students, we must also pay attention to ourselves.
Whether we are employed or laid off, we must stay positive and reach out to our families, friends, and the advising community on campus and across the nation. A great way to stay motivated is to take on new challenges. Activities such as growing a new garden, taking a yoga class, or writing for a NACADA publication, can provide a sense of empowerment and accomplishment.
Tough times are ahead of us. When we acknowledge the economic woes and connect with others through our various communities, we learn to adapt. Then we can aid our students to secure their goals and help the economy get back on track.
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow
General Studies and Advising Center
Washington State University
Kelderman, E. (2009). Stimulus bill brings relief to some states but falls far short for others. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from The Chronicle of Higher Education Web site: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i25/25a02401.htm
Lehrer, J. (2008). Student debt rising as college costs continue to climb. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from PBS NewsHour Web site: www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/july-dec08/highered_12-08.html .
NACADA. (2005). NACADA statement of core values of academic advising. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/Core-Values.htm
Roseth, R. (2009). Proposed 2009-11 budget cuts would cost 600-800 jobs. Retrieved March 10, 2009, from University Week Web site: http://uwnews.org/uweek/article.aspx?id=47216 Streitfeld, R. (2009). Unemployed workers head back to school. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from CNN Web site: www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/02/14/unemployment.education/index.html?iref=newssearch
Helping Students Weather the Storm: Career Advising in Tough Economic Times
Gregg A. Henderschiedt, University of Florida
The current state of the economy is no secret-nearly every newscast, magazine and blog is buzzing with the latest round of bad news. Not surprisingly, students are beginning to ask questions about how majors relate to their career goals and how they should plan given the current economic reality. It is more important than ever that academic and career advisors keep up with both general economic forecasts to help students with career planning and to pay particular attention to the special needs that students may have in a down economy.
Academic advisors are beginning to hear students ask about 'recession proof' fields. In reality, no such field exists. Just a few years ago, finance and management majors would have considered themselves secure for life. Likewise many previous students counted on the dot com boom of the 1990s, which also cooled. All fields experience peaks and valleys, and career planning around the latest 'hot field' often leads to chasing a moving target later. Advisors who encourage students to gain practical experience, expand their skill sets, and remain flexible give students the tools needed to react to the range of economic cycles they will experience in their lifetime
Many students are so concerned with choosing the 'perfect' major and achieving good grades that they fail to take advantage of many opportunities to gain experience. Students often fall into the trap of believing that the only experience that 'counts' is that for which they have been paid. Internships and volunteering are great ways for students to not only build their skills, but to make important business connections and learn about a particular field. Campus involvement is also an excellent way to build leadership and problem solving skills.
Every spring, thousands of college graduates prepare to enter the job market by writing resumes, attending career fairs, and applying for jobs. With increased competition, students need to pay extra attention to detail on cover letters and resumes. Many students, with some coaching, can write a strong resume for a position, however careless mistakes become more common when they apply for positions using form letters and mass mailings. Students should keep detailed records of their applications and treat every cover letter and resume with care. Many universities have comprehensive career centers which offer workshops on resume writing, interviewing, and other important career planning skills.
Career counselors have long stressed the importance of networking during a job search, and this is even more critical in a tight job market. Many students, especially introverts, find networking daunting, when in reality it can be as simple setting up a group in an email address book. Letting everyone, including even the most unlikely friend or colleague, know about a job search can reap surprising results. Everyone who comes into contact with the student should know that he or she is 'in the market.' There are more than a few instances in which having a resume on hand has resulted in a job offer from a casual acquaintance. Students can also take advantage of networking opportunities through alumni associations which are often more than happy to connect them with professionals in a variety of fields.
Many students consider graduate school as a 'Plan B' during tough economic times. While graduate school is a valid option for many, it is important that a student consider his or her reasons for applying. Students may not have considered the substantial commitment of time and money that graduate school requires. There is also the reality that budget cuts will force some universities to limit enrollments in programs that will likely see even more applications than normal. In short, graduate school might not be the sound backup plan that students envisioned, and referrals to career counselors may be necessary to help students with their decisions.
Some students are considering alternatives to graduate school such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America or AmeriCorps. These can be excellent ways for students to delay a permanent job search, learn new skills, and obtain potentially life (and career!) changing experiences.
Looking for employment can be a full time job, and most students grossly underestimate the amount of time it takes to land their first position. Students will often limit their searches based on salary and geographic expectations, and some may need to reconsider what they consider 'acceptable' employment. It is easy to get discouraged during a long job search, so it is important that advisors watch for signs of low self esteem or depression. A few carefully worded questions and a timely referral to a mental health counseling center could turn out to be the most important career advice we can give.
Most experienced advisors know that this economic downturn, like those in the past, will bottom out at some point and conditions will improve. It is important that we convey a sense of optimism to students experiencing this for the first time during such an important stage in their career development. If advising is teaching, advisors in this economy are in a prime position to teach the career planning skills students can use for a lifetime.
Gregg A. Henderschiedt
Career Resource Center
University of Florida
So You Want To Join Peace Corps: Advising Students Toward a Rewarding International Living Experience
Jay A. Minert, University of Hawaii at Hilo
While it has been several years since I was a Peace Corps recruiter, I still find myself engaged in familiar dialogue: An advisee will look at my wall, see pictures of my Peace Corps experience, and exclaim, 'I want to do that!' Whether preparing for a Study Abroad program or showing interest in international service opportunities such as Peace Corps, these students appreciate having frank and honest discussions about the realities of living overseas. This article provides points of consideration for advisors who know similar students.
In speaking with students, I first make it clear that I no longer officially represent the Peace Corps agency, and that my views are my own (which is true for this article as well). I advise students to research the Peace Corps Web site ( www.peacecorps.gov) and contact a current Peace Corps representative to discuss their interest in service. Speaking with returned Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) can also be helpful as we each have our own unique story to tell. I served in Belize, where I ran a conservation corps for inner-city youth, and in Palau, where I implemented environmental education projects. Each PCV experience is unique; even those who serve in the same country can have very different experiences.
What makes Peace Corps so difficult that it is touted as the 'toughest job you'll ever love?' Since there can be millions of potentially challenging scenarios, I advise prospective PCVs to reflect on what might challenge them overseas. It is important to recognize that PCVs face unique challenges that depend largely on the individual's circumstance. Sure, there are those 'typical' difficulties (language barriers, homesickness, big bugs, living amongst poverty, etc.), but personal characteristics such as age, ethnic background, sexual orientation, dietary constraints, and health considerations represent a myriad of issues which can translate into unique challenges for any PCV. For example, PCVs of color may be perceived differently than white PCVs; a vegetarian might struggle at a dinner where she is the guest of honor and goat the entree. The aim is to assist applicants in discovering what their own challenges will likely be and how they intend to respond to those challenges - an integral part of the Peace Corps application process.
I encourage applicants to think about their expectations. Visualizing life as a PCV can elicit romantic images of an exotic, colorful village where small children adoringly follow the PCV who works on profoundly important projects. The truth is always somewhere in the middle: the village may seem exotic at first, but can grow to be quite boring after the initial 'honeymoon' phase; intense popularity is great, but a total lack of anonymity can become quite challenging; the village may not be a village at all, but rather a bustling metropolis; and the projects in which the PCV is engaged may not initially seem very significant when compared to the U.S.'s concept of 'work.' Despite all this, a Peace Corps experience can be profoundly important in ways the PCV never imagined.
The fact is, the more expectations a PCV brings with her, the more chance for disappointment. An applicant wanting to go to Latin America might expect a tropical environment where Spanish is widely spoken; what he might find instead is life on top of a Latin American volcano where it is cold and the primary language is a Maya dialect. PCVs usually arrive with romanticized imagery of what their service will be like, but being able to adjust to the realities of life in a developing country is critical for a successful service.
Applicants should understand that the Peace Corps can be very competitive and there are proactive things they can do while still in college. Making sound academic plans and taking courses in subject areas relevant to a desired assignment area can be beneficial. Gaining meaningful cross-cultural experience, such as Study Abroad or experiences found right here at home, is vital. Establishing a pattern of relevant volunteer activity is very important (whoever heard of someone embarking on a two-year volunteer stint with no previous volunteer experience?). Possessing language skills can be helpful for some assignments, although previous language skills may not be necessary as PCVs gain language proficiency within their country of service.
It is important that applicants reflect on why they want to serve. Many students recognize the career-advancing benefits of doing Peace Corps service. However, in considering service, students should seek a healthy balance between personal goals and pragmatic, genuine altruism.
A final piece of advice: be flexible! Applicants may insist on specific geographical or work preferences that may not be possible to accommodate. After all, the host countries request PCVs, not the other way around. If an applicant demands to be placed in Asia teaching English, but no Asian country is requesting English teachers, then that applicant will need to reassess priorities. Be open to the unknown. Applicants who are willing to serve where their skill sets are most needed find better fits. The more flexible and open PCVs can be, the more likely it is that they will enjoy their experience.
One article cannot succinctly address all of the issues surrounding Peace Corps service. However, it is my hope that this article will serve as a reference point for advisors who counsel students interested in an international living experience such as the Peace Corps. Our world is becoming ever more interconnected, and the ability to examine life from a truly global perspective is a valuable skill that everyone should possess.
Jay A. Minert
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Remembering that the Student is the Heart of the Educational Enterprise
Andrea Harris, Probation/Dismissal/Reinstatement Issues Interest Group Chair
It is no secret that our nation is in the middle of a very real economic crisis. One need not look far to read about layoffs, bailouts, and stimulus efforts. Topping the list of affected fields are the automotive industry, banking, and retail operations of all sizes. What about higher education? Around the country, college administrators are taking pay cuts and recommending program or staff changes.
As universities and colleges continue to post endowment losses and discuss selling prized art collections, many administrators anticipate less-than-optimal enrollment numbers. In an effort to stave off further staff and faculty reductions, our communities are rethinking recruitment and retention tactics. How many students do 'we' typically lose before the fifth week? How many pre-matriculated new students decide not to show up at the last second? Those who work at private institutions might wonder how many full-pay students will no longer be able to afford hefty tuition payments.
At just about every college, advisors and administrators who work with probation, dismissal and reinstatement (PDR) issues are on the forefront of retention discussions. Of course! At the end of every term, these individuals connect with students who were dismissed for a less than satisfactory academic progress. That same group might also review the readmission petitions of students who are contesting the original dismissal decision or who have demonstrated their abilities elsewhere and want to come back.
Those of us who work in the PDR trenches probably know how many students our institutions dismiss every term. Whether the net number is 14, 140, or many more, each student we dismiss has a corresponding dollar sign, which in these economically troubled times is a serious and clearly-articulated concern. How can PDR advisors walk the line between meeting their colleges' very real needs and best serving this student population?
Many probation policies are not so black-and-white as to be totally automated; thus, human oversight is often required. Regardless of an institution's policies, someone needs to review special cases (if not all cases) and certainly to review appeals. That means that PDR colleagues might have some sway over the outcome of individual cases. With pressure to keep the number of pre-enrolled students high to offset any lower new student numbers, PDR advisors might find it easier to err on the side of optimism in some potential dismissal cases.
Given the sometimes ample gray areas in our respective policies (exceptions for extenuating circumstances or 'Friends of the Board' cases), it would be possible (and understood in this economic climate) for the PDR to group allow a dismissible student an extra term. In so doing, the student would receive the benefit of the doubt and an extra chance to improve, and the institution could count on the student's continued enrollment and revenue.
In this way, implementation of PDR policies can sometimes be subjective. Maybe 'Brittany' did poorly in two major classes but she has subsequently changed her major. It is possible that 'Aaron,' who has consistent sub-par work, is really close to a 2.0 and maybe should have one more chance. As colleges continue to look at projected revenues there could be pressure on all areas to increase retention. Clearly, if PDR policies are open to interpretation, PDR decision makers might be tempted to take a more optimistic approach. The student would be pleased and the institution would be one student closer its enrollment goals. Everybody's happy, right?
Anyone who has met with PDR students pleading their cases for reinstatement has heard 'I know I can do better.' 'There were problems at home.' 'I changed my major.' Also, some students tend to confuse what they want with what they need. Does a private college student who has lost her financial aid due to probation really 'need' to come back for another expensive semester when she could attend a community college and complete some of the same classes? Maybe not.
As advisors working with students facing serious academic difficulty, should our focus be on helping the student find success at our institution, or at another school that may be a better fit? I suggest that we help students find the program that will best help them succeed. I also suggest that we encourage students to take the time needed to attend to their personal obstacles and return when they are better able to focus on studies. PDR advisors must recommend the paths that are the best for our students, regardless of the current campus economic situation.
One of the hardest parts of PDR advising is telling a student that he should not return to this school. To some extent, that is subjective call. However, when a degree audit shows that, in order to graduate, a third year student with a 1.98 cumulative GPA needs three more years of classes in which he must earn at least 'B's,' then it is better to tell him to consider other schools. By the time many of these students reach the dismissal point, they have lost financial aid and are paying for costs out-of-pocket or through high-interest private loans.
As our collegiate communities contemplate revenue shortfalls and endowment shrinkages, many of our students are facing financial concerns. Regardless of external situations, it is incumbent that PDR advisors remember that the student is the heart of the educational enterprise. Students (and our senior administrators) entrust us with their care. They should expect that our advice is transparent and particular to them and their circumstances. This is not at odds with institutional expectations for student service. When we serve our students thoughtfully and with integrity, we also reinforce the integrity of the institution we represent.
Senior Director, Student Administrative Services
Staying Positive: Five Simple Tools
Mary Beth Ely, University of South Carolina
Scientists know a lot about what makes people sad and depressed. However, it has only been in the last decade that scientists have begun actively studying what makes people happy and thrive. In 1999, Dr. Martin Seligman, in his role as president of the American Psychological Association, challenged his fellow psychology researchers to switch gears in their research and begin the 'scientific pursuit of optimal human functioning' (Lopez, 2000, ¶ 4). Since Seligman's challenge, the field of positive psychology has developed rapidly. Positive psychology focuses on three main areas: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions (Positive Psychology Center, 2007).
The positive psychology literature base has also flourished in the past decade. In 2001, The Handbook of Positive Psychology was published by Oxford University Press. Tal Ben-Shahar published a book in 2007 entitled Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. Ben-Shahar is a faculty member at Harvard and teaches a class on positive psychology that is an extremely popular course at Harvard (Ben-Shahar, 2007). In addition, Barbara Fredrickson (2009), a Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently published her research on positive emotions and overcoming negativity in the book Positivity. Her research has scientifically proven that a positive mindset can make people healthier and happier (Fredrickson, 2009). The purpose of this article is to share five scientifically proven tools from Dr. Fredrickson's research findings that can be used to help academic advisors increase their happiness and positivity levels.
Tool One: Savor Positivity. Fredrickson (2009) encourages people to intentionally revel in happy memories. One way she suggests doing this is through reliving positive experiences through looking at photographs of those moments (p. 211). Advisors can strategically place photos in their office. Not only will this improve the advisor's own positivity level, but students will be uplifted as well by images of cheerful, happy times that are shared in the pictures. The photos can be a great conversation starter and serve to let students know that the advisor has a life outside of the office.
Tool Two: Ritualize Gratitude. Fredrickson (2009) defines gratitude as simply noticing the gifts and blessings in our lives (p. 210). One way Fredrickson suggests to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. At the start or end of each day, advisors should write at least one thing they are grateful for in their gratitude journal. It can be something very small, like the beautiful flowers seen on the way to work, a friendly smile from a co-worker, or a student who was especially inspiring. This journal will serve as a deposit of positivity. Occasionally reading what has previously been written will help inspire positive and grateful feelings all over again (p. 210).
Tool Three: Develop Healthy Distractions."Distractions are important tools for breaking the grip of rumination and curbing needless negativity. The goal is simple - to get your mind off your troubles" (Fredrickson, 2009, p. 203). To achieve this, advisors can make a list of healthy distractions. Advisors should ask themselves, "How can I distract myself from negative feelings today?" Examples of healthy distractions include pulling out a good book to read for a few minutes, taking a quick walk, following a Web link to a favorite news site, or doing a crossword puzzle (Fredrickson, 2009, p. 203). Advisors will want to keep these healthy distractions handy and give themselves permission to be distracted. "It only takes a few minutes to break the cycle of a downward spiral. Yet the benefits of the turnaround are priceless" (Fredrickson, 2009, p. 203).
Tool Four: Create High-quality Connections. Advisors are fortunate that they have many opportunities daily to connect in a positive way with other people, including faculty, staff, and students. "According to Jane Dutton, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, your moments of connection with others form a dynamic, living tissue that can be either life-giving or life-depleting" (Fredrickson, p. 201) . One advising model that is focused on creating positive connections with students is Appreciative Advising (Bloom, Hutson, and He, 2008). This model of advising focuses on asking positive, open-ended questions of students that help advisors identify student strengths, as well as their hopes and dreams for their futures. The opportunity to be inspired by students' stories and dreams can also be a life-giving force for advisors.
Tool Five: Find Nearby Nature. Frederickson (2009) advocates that people intentionally seek out opportunities to be energized by the outdoors (p. 205). Thankfully, college campuses are usually full of areas of natural beauty. Academic advisors should aim to find those places on their campus. Why not hold a staff meeting outside when the weather permits? Find places on campus that are restorative and make these places a regular destination (Fredrickson, 2009, p. 205). To increase positivity, advisors should visit these places during breaks, on the way to/from the parking lot, during lunch, etc. A change of scenery can be just what is needed to increase positivity levels.
Having a positive outlook will help advisors not only be better advisors, but will also help them become happier and more fulfilled people. As Shane Paul said:
It takes courage to demand time for yourself. At first glance, it may seem to be the ultimate in selfishness, a real slap in the face to those who love and depend on you. It's not. It means you care enough to want to see the best in yourself and give only the best to others. It is silent recognition that your obligation to them is to give your best, and nothing less (as quoted by Christine, 2008, ¶ 1).
The five simple steps described in this article are proven ways for academic advisors to increase their positivity and happiness levels.
Mary Beth Ely
Higher Education and Student Affairs
University of South Carolina
Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfillment. New York: McGraw Hill.
Christine. (2008, December 29). Embracing self care. Retrieved March 9, 2009, from Woman Tribune: http://womantribune.com/embracing-care.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York: Crown Publishers.
Lopez, S. J. (2000). The emergence of positive psychology: The building of a field of dreams. Retrieved March 3, 2009, from APA Online: www.apa.org/apags/profdev/pospsyc.html
Positive Psychology Center. (2007). Retrieved March 3, 2009, from University of Pennsylvania: www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/
Professional Development on a Budget
Scott Amundsen, NACADA Mentor
Les Ridingin, NACADA Emerging Leader
As academic advisors, the opportunity to travel to various conferences, institutes, and seminars is not only a worthwhile benefit, but a necessary 'perk' for a variety of reasons. First, it keeps us refreshed and up-to-date on current practices within the field. Second, it affords us the chance to network with colleagues from other institutions. Therefore, although we know that in the current economy travel opportunities might be few and far between, we want to encourage our advising colleagues to not give up on pursuing these benefits! Here we share some 'tried and true' tips for increasing the chances of attending off-campus professional development opportunities on the institution's dime.
- Priority Registration.Timing and preparation are crucial. Plan ahead and prepare a budget; these steps increase the likelihood that supervisors will listen to a travel request. Most conferences have a priority registration discount, which can save $50-100 depending on the event, so it is a good idea to seek buy-in as quickly as possible. Be alert for any other registration discounts offered. Prime examples include graduate student discounts or multiple participants from the same institution. Paying ahead for an event also decreases the likelihood that the institution will 'pull the plug' during tight times, so pay attention to registration deadlines.
- Be a Presenter. When a presentation proposal is accepted by the conference committee it increases the likelihood of being allowed to attend the event. However, taking a supervisor by surprise with news of an accepted presentation is not wise. We suggest being upfront with supervisors; let the administrator know that you plan to submit a proposal. Perhaps the supervisor will even be interested in co-presenting! Creative planning may be required. Les notes: 'When I first approached a supervisor about submitting a conference presentation proposal I was told that my scope was too limited. I took this as an indicator that I had not communicated enough with my supervisor regarding my interests. I followed Scott's advice and spoke with a colleague who agreed to be a co-presenter. Our proposal was accepted, we attended the conference, and our unit was proud when we won an award for the presentation!'
- Be a Leader. Administrators are more likely to support travel for those who are leaders in their professional organizations. Additionally, some reimbursement may be offered by the organization for those who serve in a leadership capacity. TheNACADA Emerging Leaders Program, for example, provides Emerging Leaders with $1500 to take advantage of NACADA professional development opportunities. Our work as an Emerging Leader / Mentor team has boosted our institutions' support of our relevant travels and covered Les' costs for travel to the NACADA Annual Conference. Look for these opportunities and apply! Just be sure that all commitment requirements are well understood upfront. Les recalls: 'When I was accepted into the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program, it reflected well on my department dean and his negotiating position for requesting travel monies for me was strengthened. As a result, I was allowed to attend the NACADA Spring 2009 Regional Conference as well as the fall Annual Conference.'
- Transportation. For conferences within a day's drive, carpooling is a great budget-stretcher. Reach across campus - or even to a nearby institution - to find travel companions who can share expenses. If carpooling is not a viable option, before jumping to the airlines, consider other mass transit possibilities. Many larger conference cities can be reached by rail or other mass transit options. When airline travel is the best option, be sure to check all possible savings opportunities. Might frequent flyer miles accumulated on campus be utilized? Use travel search engines, such as www.kayak.com, www.priceline.com, www.hotwire.com, and www.travelzoo.com, and check price listings daily. Many sites post new deals at noon each Wednesday. Consider all alternate route possibilities for the best pricing.
- Hotels. Book early, particularly for the conference host hotel, since rooms at conference rates often fill early. Consider sharing a room. Conferences often provide links to other attendees seeking to share a room. While this option is not for everyone, it can cut expenses so significantly that it can mean the difference between going and staying home! Another option to consider is staying at a nearby property rather than the host hotel. Sometimes the willingness to walk a few blocks each morning and evening can result in significantly lower rates. Use online sites such as www.priceline.com. www.tripadvisor.com, and www.biddingfortravel.com to seek the best deals. If the event is in a resort area, such as Orlando, San Antonio, Miami, or San Diego, consider renting a timeshare property.
- Meals. Avoid room service, which is often very costly. Explore the local cuisine; the hotel concierge desk is an excellent source of information. Ask for available literature that may contain coupons, and check out www.restaurant.com for local restaurant discounts or find local grocery store delis. Scott notes: "I always splurge with one nice meal when I travel; it is worth it to enjoy the local cuisine or a celebrity chef. Following Les' suggestion to try The Bongo Room during the 2008 NACADA Annual Conference in Chicago gave me the opportunity to taste Smore Banana Flapjacks that are 'to die for'! I make up for my splurge by locating the local sub-shop and grocery store for other low-cost meals."
Even in tight times - perhaps especially in tight times - we must take care of ourselves. Professional development events pay long-term dividends; our careers will ultimately suffer if we miss out on these opportunities. While we hope the tips we have shared will help our colleagues save money and will open funding doors that might have seemed closed, we also know that, realistically, in these very tight times occasionally we may have to just 'bite the bullet' and pay our own way! While it may sound radical, offering to pay for professional development opportunities shows great initiative and dedication that may be remembered by our administrators. Actions such as this may have a future pay-off that we can not anticipate today.
We hope to see you at a NACADA professional development event very soon!
University of North Carolina Wilmington
University of Texas at Arlington
Motivational Interviewing in Advising: Working with Students to Change
Robert F. Pettay, Kanas State University
There is a metaphor about the individual who walks down a street, falls in a hole in the sidewalk, gets up, and then does it again, and again. Initially the individual feels no responsibility for the outcome. Then enlightenment comes and the individual simply chooses to walk down another street to get to the same destination. This metaphor reminds me of students who visit with advisors yet continue to engage in behaviors detrimental to academic success. Even after advisors recommend different directions, the students continue to miss classes, utilize poor study habits, and employ poor self-management skills. Then they are surprised to find themselves on continued academic probation or returning from prior academic dismissal to experience the same outcome. Is there some way advisors can help these students overcome their ambivalence to change and initiate a new type of behavior?
Prescriptive advising is based on authority, with the primary responsibility for the dispensing of information and the prescribing of remedies for problems falling to advisors (Winston & Sandor, 1984). But advice and information are only effective if the individuals receiving them actually internalize and engage in the behaviors being prescribed. Compare this approach to developmental advising, which involves the facilitation of rational processes, environmental and interpersonal interactions, behavioral awareness, problem-solving, decision making, and evaluation skills (Crookston, 1972). The developmental approach encourages the use of a variety of communication and motivational skills, including motivational interviewing.
Motivational interviewing (MI) as defined by Miller and Rollnick (1991) is a directive, client-centered counseling technique for eliciting behavior change by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence. This method has the advisor leading the session in a way that is subtle, gentle, responsive, and imaginative, as opposed to prescribing a solution to solve a problem. The implicit theory behind motivational interviewing is that MI will lead to an increase in client (in our case, student) change talk and diminish student resistance. The extent to which a student defends the status quo will be inversely related to behavior change, and the extent to which a student verbally argues for change will be directly related to behavior change. For an advisee to initiate productive behaviors, the advisee must be ready, able, and willing to make a change.
Motivational interviewing is based on four general principles: expressing empathy, developing discrepancy, rolling with resistance, and supporting self-efficacy. Empathy has been defined as experiencing an accurate understanding of the student's awareness of his or her own experience, to sense the student's private world as if it were our own, but without ever losing the 'as if' quality (Rogers, 1957). Developing discrepancy involves helping the student recognize the difference between the current behavior and the desired behavior. Rolling with resistance requires the advisor to avoid arguing with the student, but continue to use open-ended questions to draw the student back to the discrepancy in the current behavior. Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives (Bandura, 1994). Even when an advisee recognizes the need to change a current behavior, actual change will require both a belief in the capability to engage in the new behavior and belief in the likelihood that this change will lead to a desired outcome.
One challenge to using Motivational Interviewing in the advising environment is maintaining the 'spirit' of MI in the typical constraints of the environment. The three characteristics that represent the spirit of MI include collaboration, evocation, and autonomy (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). Collaboration involves setting a nonjudgmental, supportive environment conducive for self-exploration, and evocation involves facilitation of the issues related to behavior change, both pro and con. Autonomy involves respect for the student's decision-making process as the student is the ultimate agent of change. The advisor must establish principles for the use of MI that maintain the integrity of the concept, but work within the time constraints and number of sessions available for working with the advisee on behavior change.
Strategies for using MI in the advising setting vary. One approach that has been used in the community-based intervention field is to negotiate the student's agenda. Rollnick asserts that starting with the student's agenda for the session is an effective way to establish rapport and focus on student priorities (Rollnick, Mason, & Butler, 1999). The advisor may state that the purpose of the meeting is to look at the reasons for academic dismissal, but allow the student to talk about the main concerns he or she holds right now, rather than try to choose an issue for the student. Another approach might include the use of a decisional balance scale worksheet to examine the pros and cons of the targeted behavior (Hecht, Borrelli, Breger, DeFrancesco, Ernst, & Resnicow, 2005) with the student. A final strategy may involve providing personal feedback to the advisee based on testing and monitoring results. This approach would assist in helping the advisee develop awareness of the behavior and examine the discrepancy between the current behavior he or she is engaging in, and the desired behavior and outcome.
Motivational Interviewing was developed to treat addictive behaviors, but has also been found to be effective in changing health behaviors such as physical activity (Hecht et al., 2005), dietary behaviors (Burke, Arkowitz, & Menchola, 2003), and obesity (Carels et al., 2007). Advisors may recognize a number of advisee behaviors that may benefit from the use of MI. Poor study skills, low engagement, low academic self-efficacy, and poor time-management skills all can negatively impact the academic success of students. Instead of handing materials to the student or giving advice in a prescriptive manner, MI would allow the student and advisor to work in collaboration, with the student choosing initial behavioral changes to improve the current situation. These small first steps can lead to additional behaviors beneficial to the academic success of the student, and this facilitative, empathic approach can enhance the advisor-advisee relationship in future interactions
Robert F. Pettay
Department of Kinesiology
Kansas State University
Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press.
Burke, B.L., Arkowitz, H., & Menchola, M. (2003). The efficacy of motivational interviewing: A meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 843-861.
Carels, R.A., Darby, L., Cacciapaglia, H.M., Konrad, K., Coit, C., Harper, J., et al. (2007). Using Motivational Interviewing as a supplement to obesity treatment: A stepped-care approach.Health Psychology, 26 (3), 369-374.
Crookston, B.B. (1972). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching. Journal of College Student Personnel, 13, 12-17.
Hecht, J., Borrelli, B., Breger, R.K.R, DeFrancesco, C., Ernst, D., & Resnicow, K. (2005). Motivational Interviewing in community-based research: Experiences from the field. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 29-34.
Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York: Guilford Press.
Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people to change (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.
Rogers, C.R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95-103.
Rollnick, S., Mason, P., & Butler, C. (1999). Health behavior change: A guide for practitioners. London: Churchill Livingstone.
Winston, R.B., & Sandor, J.A. (1984). Developmental academic advising: What do students want? NACADA Journal, 4 (1), 5-13.
ADA Amendment Act: What Advisors Need to Know
LaDonna Bridges, Advising Students with Disabilities Commission Chair
The number of students with documented disabilities - physical, cognitive, psychiatric or medical - has been steadily increasing on campuses across the country. A 2004 study by the Department of Education found that students with disabilities account for nearly 11 percent of the student population, a 2 percent increase from 2000. The recent passage of the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 has many campus disability service providers wondering if the numbers will continue to rise in the coming years. Advisors are likely to encounter an increasing number of students with disabilities as well.
Two laws ensure access to higher education for students with disabilities: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation are two core rights for individuals with disabilities. To qualify as having a disability, an individual must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, have record of such an impairment, or be regarded as having an impairment. In the years since the ADA was passed, a series of Supreme Court decisions has narrowed the definition of disability. More time was spent in legal challenges determining whether a disability was substantial rather than whether discrimination occurred or a reasonable accommodation was denied. The ADA Amendment Act (ADAAA) of 2008, which became law in January 2009, was a move by Congress to return to a broader definition of disability, as outlined in the Rehab Act of 1973 and as intended by the ADA in 1990. The ADAAA will shift focus back to provision of reasonable accommodations and accessibility.
Although no one can predict with certainty the impact of the ADA Amendment Act on higher education, one of the most notable changes is the expansion of the list of major life activities. Reading, concentrating and thinking are now included along with caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, communicating and working. Bodily functions considered major life activities were amended to include normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, immune system and reproductive functions. This exhaustive list leads many disability service providers and others responsible for determining reasonable accommodations to conclude that the number of students seeking accommodations is likely to increase.
The exclusion of mitigating measures when considering the presence of a disability is another significant change resulting from the ADA Amendment Act. Mitigating measures, as a rule, reduce the impact of the impairment on an individual's functioning. For example, a psychiatric condition may qualify an individual as having a disability even though the individual is functional with proper medication use and has not had an acute episode in many years. While mitigating measures cannot disqualify an individual from being considered disabled, the positive and negative impacts of mitigating measures can be applied to determine reasonable accommodations.
While the ADAAA broadens the definition of disability, it does not impact the process of determining reasonable accommodations. In no circumstance is an institution forced to fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services. Students will be required to self-disclose, to provide qualified documentation, to request accommodation, and to self-advocate. Nonetheless, it is conceivable that the passage of the ADAAA will result in disability service providers spending more time in deliberative and interactive processes with students to determine reasonable accommodations.
While advisors do not need to know the intricacies of these laws, they would be well served to know the basics and to understand the framework within which many students attend college. Advisors should first and foremost have knowledge of and a relationship with the campus office responsible for receiving documentation and determining accommodations. The campus's ADA officer - who may not be the same as the disability services coordinator - is another important contact for advisors. As most documentation is considered confidential, advisors should not ask a student for documentation directly but instead put the student in contact with the appropriate offices.
Although the advisor may not determine academic accommodations, the advisor's relationship with a student with a disability is crucial to the student's success. Students with disabilities may need special considerations when scheduling classes or choosing course formats; they may need course substitutions or referrals to other campus services. Advisors should establish an advising atmosphere that is disability friendly.
A few considerations can go a long way in facilitating the advisor relationship with a student with disabilities:
- Asynchronous advising may be helpful for a student who has a psychological or health disability. A request by a student to exchange emails in lieu of one-on-one meetings may not be an unreasonable request by some students. Students who require a personal care attendant may be dependent on others' schedules, requiring more flexibility than other advisees.
- Advisor offices should be physically accessible for students in a wheelchair or with a visual impairment. In addition to a welcoming atmosphere, the office should be free of clutter and easy to navigate. If the advisor's office is not accessible, the advising location needs to be changed.
- Self advocacy is important for all college students to learn, but it is particularly important for students with disabilities. Advisors can provide guidance and recommendations for students about working with faculty and participating in co-curricular activities on campus.
Advisors are uniquely positioned to support students with disabilities and awareness of changes in the law, such as with the ADA Amendment Act, are important. In July, NACADA will release the 2nd edition of the Advising Students with Disabilities monograph. The ADA Amendment Act is only one important topic that will be addressed through this publication. Intrusive advising strategies, working with psychiatric disabilities, meeting the unique needs of veterans, and creating universal access for all students are a sampling of chapters in the timely monograph.
Framingham State College
Our Vantage Point topic for this edition is Military Students, and we have five authors sharing their perspectives on this subject. Lisa Keenan, Chair of the Advising Military Students and Dependents Interest Group, looks at some ways advisors can respond to the general needs of military students. Phyllis Goldberg, Paul Kyle and Randall Dawson, Johnson County Community College, discuss what their institution has done to address the mental health needs of returning veterans. And Steven Bailey, Rhode Island School of Design, considers the unique needs of international military students.
Making a Difference to the Military Student
Lisa A Keenan, Advising Military Students and Dependents Interest Group Chair
Advisors on campuses across the U.S. have noted increased numbers of military students enrolled at their institutions. Bash (2003) affirmed that higher education must respond to the needs of these students with programs that aid smooth transitions if these students' collegiate experiences are to be meaningful. Whether veterans, reservists, or active duty service members, these students bring a commitment to learn and achieve that is equivalent to the commitment they made to voluntarily serve our country. They are eager and motivated to use their earned benefits to pursue an education that will hopefully lead to fulfilling the dreams they had while serving in hostile lands. Yet, their patience can be worn thin if they find that their chosen college or university is more bureaucracy driven than even the military. Military students, like all students, want to attend an institution where they feel welcomed and understood.
The assistance of one advisor helped a U.S. Air Force reservist overcome institutional bureaucracy and continue her enrollment in school. Jane (a pseudonym) served in the U.S. Air Force for five years and became a reservist in 2006. She was enrolled at the satellite campus of a state university, majoring in elementary education. Jane drafted her educational plan with as much attention to detail as was demanded of her while she served her country. She and her advisor developed an educational plan that would allow her to graduate while continuing to serve in the reserves. The summer before her graduation Jane received word that her unit would be activated for three weeks to the Middle East; this deployment would come that fall at the same time she would start the final five courses needed for her spring internship and graduation. Jane contacted her advisor for assistance; the advisor recommended that she contact each course instructor. Since Jane received such short notice of her deployment, her window of time to gain approval from all five instructors and acquire books before she deployed was very narrow. Her situation was complicated further by strict requirements of the financial assistance she was receiving from the Montgomery GI Bill. She had a rigid timeline to complete her degree; delaying a semester meant that she would lose all financial assistance.
With the help of her advisor, Jane contacted every instructor. This was not an easy task during the summer months. Yet, with her advisor's assistance she was able to meet with each instructor - each of whom gave her a syllabus or created one for her before she departed the country. They all agreed to work with her to resolve this complex academic dilemma. This allowed her to acquire her textbooks and make further plans with students in the class who could help her continue her education while serving our country. It is an understatement to say that Jane was relieved and grateful to be a part of a university where her unique military situation was understood.
Jane is one example of the varied circumstances facing students in the military. This university is just one of the many 'military friendly' institutions where personnel do what they can to make a difference in these students' academic and personal lives. Institutions seeking to be military friendly will do well to follow suggestions made in thePrinciples of Good Practice for Institutions Providing Voluntary Education Programs on Military Installations(MIVER, 2003).
Advising is a one part of a student's experience in the academy; good advising can have a significant impact on a student's successful college experience (Light, 2001). Reservists and active duty service members can be called upon at a moment's notice, as was the case with Jane. These abrupt interruptions can wreak havoc with students' academic goals and impact their GI Bill contributions to family incomes. When advisors help students such as Jane, they help relieve the students' stress in serving; the service members' main priority then can be serving our country and not worrying about their ability to continue their education.
Advisors who work with military students should remember that these students are eager and motivated to use the benefits they earned to start new academic endeavors. They are not seeking special treatment; they only hope that that their instructors and advisors will be mindful of their many responsibilities which are unparalleled when compared to those faced by more traditional students (Bash, 2003). Communication, collaboration, and commitment will show students that their education success matters. Advisors can make a difference by helping these students connect with the resources that will help them overcome obstacles and successfully adjust to college life (Redden, 2008). Advisors can provide assurances that they will not be abandoned on the educational and financial battlefields.
Advisors working with military students can learn more about the complexities and successes of this student group by joining NACADA's Advising Military Students and Dependents Interest Group and its listserv. Supportive ideas are exchanged to better serve this population.
Lisa A. Keenan
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Watson School of Education
Bash, L. (2003). Adult learners in the academy. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing
Light, R. (2001). Making the most of college: students speak their minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Military Installation Voluntary Education Review (MIVER). (2003). Principles of Good Practice for Institutions Providing Voluntary Education Programs on Military Installations. American Council on Education. Retrieved on January 7, 2009, from www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Search§ion=PDF6&template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentFileID=299 .
Redden. E. (July 10, 2008). Operation transition in Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved February 16, 2009, from www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/07/10/veterans
Veterans Turned Students: Understanding Military Culture and PTSD
Phyllis Goldberg, Paul Kyle, and Randall Dawson, Johnson County Community College
Clint Upchurch, with the 101 st Airborne, was asked to be the gunner in the lead Humvee of a convoy escorting a top general through the dangerous dusty roads of southern Iraq. One moment, Clint was looking for combatants through a cloud of sand and sun. In the next, we believe that he was hearing the laughter of Jesus watching Paul Kyle's nephew Clint bouncing from cloud to cloud, with his three-year-old niece who had tragically passed away a year earlier. Clint did not know what hit him, but the loved ones he left behind and the two other soldiers in the vehicle who barely survived will have to find ways to cope with the life-long physical and psychological scars of that fateful day. This is but one of hundreds of stories of roadside bombs and combat-related traumas that have left soldiers physically and emotionally disabled.
Often, emotional injuries can be more debilitating than the physical ones. Our service members in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF, the war in Afghanistan) are exposed to horrific experiences. As a result, many will have traumatic memories that will last a lifetime. In a Rand Corporation testimony before a House Subcommittee, Terri Tanielian estimated 'that as of April 2008 approximately 303,000 OEF/OIF veterans were suffering from PTSD or major depression.' She also expressed concern that those rates might be even higher in the 'Reserve Components and those who have left the military service.'
While the cluster of symptoms now identified as PTSD have been recognized for many years, they have not always been called PTSD, nor have they always been recognized as a real psychiatric disorder. The nineteenth-century term for PTSD was 'Railway Spine.' This was a term previously used to describe the physical trauma people experienced as a result of train accidents and carried over to describe the unexplainable symptoms veterans of the Civil War experienced. During World War I, World War II, and the Korean conflict, the term changed to 'shell shock' and 'battle fatigue.' It was not until the Vietnam War that PTSD was labeled a personality disorder. No matter what it is called, one thing has been common from the Civil War until now: PTSD has been seen by many as an individual character flaw rather than a diagnosable and treatable disorder. Although this misguided view has subsided within the mental health community the stigma continues to be an issue within both the civilian and military cultures.
Joseph Law (2008), a leading expert on PTSD, outlines the basic screening criteria:
- Frightening experiences in the past month:
- Nightmares or recurrent thoughts of experiences
- Trying not to think about it
- Constantly on guard, easily startled or distracted
- Feel numb or detached from others
- Criteria for referral/positive screen or treatment: 'Yes' on two or more questions
Law suggests that treatment should include a systemic approach to PTSD diagnosis. He has found multiple psychological theoretical approaches to be the most effective and emphasizes the critical need to include the family in any treatment strategies.
While many military leaders of today recognize mental health problems in their ranks, they have a difficult time balancing the warrior ethos with mental health needs of their service members. Although the 'warrior mentality' may be difficult for some to accept, military leaders would argue that it is essential to the job given the military. Few could deny that military members are called upon to perform a very daunting task when they put their lives on the line to defend our country. They must possess certain qualities, skills, and characteristics in order to meet the demands of the job. They must be respectful of the chain of command, disciplined, loyal, focused, and prepared to exert high levels of force and aggression when needed. Military personnel either possess these behaviors, skills, and attitudes when they join, or they learn them through their training and the military culture.
The military strives to create a warrior mentality, but to the modern military's credit, it recognizes the qualities that make a good warrior can be maladaptive in the civilian world. Programs such as www.battlemind.org have been created to address combat pre-deployment and the post-deployment transition to the civilian world and our college campuses.
In 2008, Johnson County Community College created a veterans' advisory committee composed of a cross section of staff and faculty to explore what could be done to expand services and create a veteran friendly campus. This group looked at outreach, financial aid, and counseling resources and created the following short term goals:
- Create a survey asking veterans what the college can do to help them feel more engaged.
- Provide a space for veterans to gather and share experiences.
- Seek funding to serve those who may no longer be eligible for veterans' benefits.
- Include at least one veteran on student committees.
- Honor our student veterans during a Veterans Day celebration on our campus.
- Provide in-service training for staff and faculty on TBI (traumatic brain injury) & PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and develop a handout that can help faculty and staff be more aware of symptoms.
- Partner with our local Veterans Center and the Veterans Administration to offer the best services at various sites on campus.
An increasing number of veterans will be attending college campuses, taking advantage of current VA benefits or the new post-9/11 benefits that will go into effect in August 2009. It is impossible to estimate how many of these 'veterans turned students' have PTSD symptoms, but it will likely be a significant number. It is important that academic advisors and counselors have an understanding of PTSD and the military culture in order to better serve these proud service members. Our goal at JCCC is to engage our veterans and provide the best learning environment and services we can to assist our veterans in meeting their educational goals.
Johnson County Community College
Johnson County Community College
Dean of Student Services
Johnson County Community College
Law, Joe. (2008). Combat stress and PTSD: Working with veterans and their families. Eau Claire, Wisconsin: PESI,LLC.
Tanielian, Terri. (2009). Assessing Combat Exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Troops and Estimating the cost to Society; Testimony presented before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs on March 24, 2009.
International Fine Arts Students with a Military Bearing
Steven J. Bailey, Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is one of the most prestigious fine arts schools in the world. A number of our students come to Providence from around the world. They are very successful at learning the skills and traits that RISD is indeed famous for teaching: the art of design. Students here learn the things artists need to do to support themselves using their talents (including video gaming or graphic design) and receive a liberal arts education.
In this ever-changing world, more international students are pulled away from school and asked to support their comrades-in-arms in the conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. Many are very patriotic in keeping their home countries free from terrorists. While in America we are doing the same thing, for many Far East students, and especially for those from South Korea, it is mandatory that they enlist and fight.
One of the trickiest things South Korean students must do is fulfill their military service obligation in their home country during their schooling. They must leave school and their peers for up four years right in the middle of their studies. When these students return to academic life, they are older, more mature, and more disciplined than before, but are now studying with a group of students who may not be as detail orientated.
I, too, am a veteran and know that the adjustment to civilian life can be daunting and uncomfortable. In the military, soldiers are drilled for years, learn to pay attention to detail, work on their own, and develop their own problem-solving skills. To transition back into a fine arts scenario is probably one of the hardest things a returning soldier can do. It can be very intimidating to become creative again, re-learn how to think as an artist, and retrieve the deep-down fluidity that was there before being called to active duty.
Advisors are one of the most important supports for these returning students as they get comfortable with being with younger and less mature students and decide if they want to stay in school. Our international military students are of prime importance to RISD, and we work to accommodate them as we can. However, we now see more and more of these students withdraw after they have been called to serve their military obligations. As the wars in the Middle East continue, more and more of these students must decide whether to attend college at all after high school.
RISD listens to the concerns of returning international students; they help advisors help others returning to school. We will hold a reception for these students where staff and faculty members who have served in the military will share their thoughts and concerns and show their support for them. We are planning this reception, appropriately, on Veterans Day.
Advisors can make a difference to these returning students and their futures. Advisors who listen attentively to their concerns and help them adjust back to a fine arts mentality without too much distress are invaluable. Advisors do not need to have a military background to listen to concerns and help these students.
Military students in the fine arts are especially vulnerable; they need special attention or they may grow unnerved or disgruntled enough to leave the institution and not finish their degrees. Advisors can help.
Steven J. Bailey
Rhode Island School of Design
Academic Advising and the Math Gap
Deborah Herzog, Two-Year Colleges Commission Member
From Washington D.C. to California and many places in between, the story is often the same. Fabel (2008) reported that in the Washington D.C. area 'nearly two-thirds of recent high school graduates who enroll at the area's community colleges need remedial classes to fill gaps in basic English, reading and math, according to data collected from local institutions' (¶ 1). In fact, many experts see a nationwide decline in math-preparedness. Carter (2008), from California State University Northridge, noted that 'more than 60 percent of students in community colleges need some kind of remedial class -- most often, math training -- before they can take credit-bearing courses, according to recent studies. This comes with a price tag: A study published this summer shows that community colleges spend more than $1.4 billion on remedial courses every year' (¶ 2). The tax-paying public has been known to express concern at financially supporting basic mathematics instruction in colleges when these skills were supposed to have been learned in the K-12 system.
George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, stated, 'It's almost a national tragedy to have this many students coming out of high school not prepared for college' and 'remedial math courses are always one of the very large programs in community colleges. We are getting more students in remedial courses because math is one of the most prominent obstacles for student success' (Carter, ¶ 7).
Many community colleges have turned to online tutorial programs attached to remedial math textbooks and used in math resource centers. Carter (2008) noted that 'a series of 2007 surveys showed that online homework in basic mathematics, introduction to algebra, and college algebra helped with test preparation and lesson retention. Central Ohio Technical College reported 81 percent of students surveyed said they preferred online math homework' (¶ 16). On-line homework supports the completion of homework and provides for immediate correction of errors.
Lewis and Clark Community College completed a remake of the Math Resource Center in September 2007. The Math Resource Center (MRC) is physically located in the commons area of the Science and Math complex for easy student access. Specially selected students serve as math tutors who are available during all hours of operation, generally 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Fridays. The center houses computers and study tables. In-room resources include solution manuals, textbooks for all math classes, and calculators. Internet-connected computers allow student access to online mathematics software.
Enrollment in remedial mathematics courses at Lewis and Clark makes up more than 70 percent of the total math enrollment (Banziger, 2008). Banziger shared results of a survey of 125 students enrolled in mathematics courses (some of whom were regular MRC users and others who were not) noting that:
- The math instructor is the most common source of information about the MRC. For many students there are multiple sources.
- The MRC was utilized by almost 37 percent of students in remedial courses and almost 49 percent of those enrolled in transfer level mathematics courses.
- Most users of the MRC were there for multiple purposes including study groups for physics and access to non-math Web sites.
- Students are spending, on average, almost as much time per week in the MRC as they do in a math class.
- The help received in the MRC is appreciated by 80 percent of users.
- The most commonly offered suggestion was the need for more tutors.
Looking at survey results, the question remained, if 70 percent of students need remediation, how do we get a greater number of those in most need to seek help in the MRC when needed? Academic advisors joined the discussion.
Advisors are often the bearers of bad news to students following the completion of college placement tests. We must tell students when their skills have placed them in courses below college level. We sometimes face students and parents who are unhappy or unwilling to pay for remedial coursework. Everyone wants their courses to 'count;' advisors must explain how remedial classes 'count' toward skill-building that will give students the best chance for academic success in mathematics.
The Two-Year College Commission suggests that advisors discuss the following questions in regard to working with students underprepared in mathematics:
- What are our responsibilities as academic advisors to connect these students to resources that can help them succeed?
- What resources, such as a dynamic Math Resource Center, are available on our campus that can give these academically underprepared students the best chances to succeed?
- Should advisors have the ability to automatically enroll students in a 'math lab section' where their skill levels can be assessed and a plan developed that includes scheduled times in a Math Resource Center?
- Would a different organization of course offerings, e.g., a modularized system where course topics are broken into smaller increments and success is judged at the end of each increment, work better with remedial students than 16-week courses?
- Would completely lab-assisted forms of instruction (with no lectures) work better, especially with traditional-aged students who may be more comfortable with computer-based instruction?
Deborah A. Herzog
Lewis and Clark Community College
Banziger, George. (March 10, 2008). Personal communication: Summary of Survey of Math Resource Center.
Carter, Dennis. (2008). As more first-year students need remedial math instruction, low-cost online programs are coming to the aid of college leaders. California State University, Northridge News Clippings, e-School News. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from http://blogs.csun.edu/news/clips/2008/09/22/ .
Fabel, Leah. (2008). Most first-year community college students need remedial math and English, data show in. Examiner.com. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from www.examiner.com/a-1475396~Most_first_year_community_college_students_need_remedial_math_and_English__data_show.html
Tips for Creating a Successful Resume
In a tough economy, job searchers need to give themselves every advantage possible. A good résumé review can assist in landing that all important interview. Below is a list of tips for creating an effective résumé for an academic advising job search.
- Remember that there is no one way to create a résumé. What one person likes, another may not. Focus on making sure it is accurate and professional.
- Ask for input from other advisors and higher education professionals before deciding on the résumé that's right for you.
- Keep it to one or two pages unless you have significant experience in your field. If you do have a multiple-page résumé, make sure it has relatively complete pages.
- Be prepared to explain any gaps in your employment during an interview.
- Use the two-address format if you will be moving soon.
- Keep type font simple. It's best to use Times New Roman or Arial.
- Use 8½' x 11' white or light colored, good quality paper. Avoid flashy 'look at me' colors. Use matching paper for your cover letter and résumé. Send them in a 9' x 11' mailing envelope with the address typed on the envelope or on a label.
- Justify the left margin, but not the right. It's easier to read.
- Highlight important information (your name, titles of positions, and major categories) with boldface font.
- Use 11- or 12-point font and do not use graphics.
- Save your résumé on a flash drive. That will make it easier to update and/or change. Keep the flash drive in a safe place, and always have a back-up copy. Using a saved copy will also let you make targeted résumés for different advising positions for which you are applying.
- Use action words when describing what you have done. Examples include: created, managed, developed, revised, presented, etc.
- Proofread! Don't let one mistake prevent you from getting an interview. The quality of your résumé reflects the quality of your work and your professionalism.
- List graduation as 'expected' or 'anticipated' along with the date if you are still working on your degree.
- Remember the Three-Example Rule: If you list a skill, be able to discuss three examples.
- Highlight computer/technology knowledge and skills, such as student information systems and experience in working as part of a group or team.
- Quantify your advising experience by indicating how many students you advise, how many presentations you have given, and how many students attended your event.
- Show your national, regional, and state NACADA involvement and other professional association memberships and related conferences.
- Watch for updated résumé and cover letter samples on the NACADA Member Career Services homepage .
- Utilize your campus resources, such as résumé guides provided by your campus career center, or check out other university career center Web sites.
- Have your résumé reviewed at NACADA conferences. A representative of the Member Career Services committee will be available to review résumés and provide suggestions at each national conference.
The NACADA Member Career Services committee is always looking for new committee members to join the group in its mission to provide new career and job search resources for the association. If interested, please contact us today!
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Chair
Academic Advisor, Mastodon Advising Center
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
IPFW Office of Career Services (n.d.). Career Guide. Available from http://www.ipfw.edu/career/resources/guides.shtml.
NACADA Member Career Services Committee (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/AdministrativeDivision/career.htm .
Hoff, A. & Parker, J. (2008).How to Conduct an Advising Job Search. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from NACADA: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/AdministrativeDivision/career.htm .
Hoff, A. & Parker, J. (2009, March). Faux pas to avoid in an advisor job search.Academic Advising Today, 32 (1). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/ePub/AAT32-1.htm
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 SPARKLERs come from James P. Cousins (University of Kentucky) and Terry Musser (Penn State University).
James Cousins tells us that in the summer of 2007, the University of Kentucky's College of Arts and Sciences overhauled its existing advising model. Prior to the transition, eight full-time advisors oversaw advising for freshmen and sophomores-once a student reached junior status, advising responsibilities fell upon departmental faculty. The addition of ten full-time academic advisors to the College's Advising Center has allowed each of the College's academic departments to host its own professional advisor. Once a student reaches sophomore status, she or he is handed over to an 'embedded advisor' who then advises that student throughout their undergraduate career. James says,'The benefits of this model are apparent. Departmental advisors are recognized catalysts for student development, outstripping the strictures of their traditional roles and expanding on original mandates by matching subject-specific expertise to college, university and community resources. The integration of professional advisors into academic departments has also allowed faculty members to focus on student mentorship. Realizing these benefits, several departments have initiated protocols in support of this end.' In the Department of Anthropology, for instance, all students are assigned faculty mentors (based on their anthropological interests). Majors are then required to meet with their assigned faculty mentor once a semester-this is in addition to their regular meetings with the departmental advisor. In order to ensure compliance, students must have their mentor sign a 'Pre-Registration Faculty Release Form.' These forms are presented to the departmental advisor at the time of their registration appointment. Without a signed form, students are prohibited from registering for courses. 'But such measures are rarely required;' James tells us, 'students are overwhelmingly in favor of mentorship, using this time to discuss career opportunities, preparation for graduate school, opportunities for independent research, and other information related to their sub-disciplinary and regional interests.' In initiating programs of faculty mentorship, departmental advisors are made active participants in the fields they've been assigned, maintaining an up-to-date knowledge of faculty scholarship and recent scholarly trends. The attainment of such knowledge is paramount to the mentorship process, without it, an accurate pairing of student interest and faculty specialties is impossible. For more information on Faculty Mentors and the Departmental Advisor, contact James at email@example.com.
Terry Musser has been working with a team at Penn State to develop online materials to help incoming students prepare for their academic orientation day. They wanted to put video clips into their Web site that include current students giving the incoming class advice about preparing and what to expect. However, they found that the cost and energy it takes to produce good video footage was daunting! Fortunately, Terry says,'Laura Brown from our team had a brilliant idea. Why not invite the students to create their own YouTubeT videos that we could use? We came up with $100 as a prize, and we are currently running a competition for the best video. That is such a small amount to spend to get these wonderful, creative videos that students have produced! And for some students, this could be part of their academic portfolio.'For more information, contact Terry at txm4@AG.PSU.EDU