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Voices of the Global Community


Moving Toward Funding an Advising Center Using Student Advising Fees

William P. Fleming, Sam Houston State University

The Need

Something had to be done about the advising practices at Sam Houston State University. In the years before research and scholarship became focal faculty achievements, students were assigned to faculty advisors across campus. But the days when faculty could devote the time necessary to adequately advise students were soon over. As the emphasis on research increased, faculty service areas became back burner items. This shift occurred even as it became increasingly apparent that we must provide closer and more intrusive advising for students struggling in their college courses.

Encouragement from the Administration

Talk of the need for an advising center circulated among faculty, but no changes occurred. Then a new Vice President for Academic Affairs came to Sam Houston, bringing with him the knowledge and desire for an advising center. Even so, financing was unavailable until the new Sam Houston president placed funding forefront in talks with Faculty Senate. Spurred by these talks, a committee was appointed to research Sam Houston student fees as compared to fees charged at other Texas universities. This group discovered that Sam Houston had some of the lowest overall fees in the state.

To provide students with quality advising services, we needed to find funds beyond those appropriated by the state. In our comparisons with other universities—even those of a similar size student-body within our system—we found that many increased fees, charged additional course fees, or charged advising fees.

The Proposal for an Advising Fee

In February 2002, a recommendation was submitted to the president advocating various additional fees including a designated Advising Center Fee. Rationale for this fee included the complexity of academic programs and the regulations associated with certain degree requirements. The advising fee would defray the costs of advising with income used to pay the wages of the staff associated with the University Advising Center and the costs of center operation.

The committee cited fees at comparable institutions including the University of Texas where various amounts are charged for advising--from $50 to $135 per semester or $36 to $101 per summer session--depending on the student's major, classification, and college affiliation. We proposed a $50 per semester / $25 per summer session advising fee per student.

Convincing the Students of the Need

Now came the challenge. Strategy talks began when the president stated that he would formally propose increased fees to the Board of Regents only if fees garnered student approval. We knew: (1) many students, perhaps even a majority, had experienced poor advising; (2) advising was mandatory for at least 1/3 of students (below 2.5 GPA, no SHSU GPA, TASP restrictions); (3) students, no matter how familiar they were with the catalog, did not know the intricacies of curricula; (4) many students did not know how to interpret degree plans; and (5) students doing poor academic work needed special advising. With these thoughts in mind, we approached the Student Government Association with the largest fee increase ever proposed.

Fee proposals were presented at four Student Government assemblies by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Chair of the Faculty Senate.

At each meeting, the floor was open for questions. Some students suggested that they should be able to self-advise using the catalogue. Others countered that self-advising would be impossible for transfer students designing a degree plan with course substitutions. Many could take courses they didn’t need. Other students noted that they were frustrated when their advisors were unavailable and had nowhere to turn; this was particularly true for students affected by mandatory advisement. Some questioned an advising fee for graduate students, since they are advised in their individual colleges, and suggested that graduate student advising fees be used to promote various graduate programs.

Approval of the Fee

The Student Government approved the fees. Although the vote was not unanimous, students recognized the need and accepted the proposed solution. Board of Regents approval took place in May 2002, and the Advising Center became a reality. Completely financed by the Advising Center fee, the Student Advising and Mentoring Center (SAM) now serves Sam Houston undergraduates.

Want to know more about funding and staffing of the Student Advising and Mentoring Center? “Financing an Advising Center by Using Student Advising Fees,” will be presented as a concurrent session at the 2003 National NACADA Conference (Friday, October 3, 8:45 a.m.).William P. Fleming

William P. Fleming
Sam Houston State University

From the President

Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, NACADA President

Dear Colleagues,

Last month my husband and I attended the christening of our newest grandchild, Lainey Antonia Wriggins. She is just 12 weeks old, but already is demonstrating some strong preferences and a rather assertive attitude. Her 4 year old brother Jack, whose original suggestion for his baby sister’s name was Home Depot, has still not quite decided if he is glad that she has arrived and created rather significant changes in his life…..

As I was thinking about Lainey and Jack and reflecting on my time as President of NACADA, it struck me how endings, beginnings, and change are part of all of our lives.

Even associations go through the same experience. Over these past two years NACADA ended one phase of its development, and we began a new phase last fall as we moved into the new organizational structure. Change has been constant throughout these challenging times…and I am sure that more changes will occur as the transition continues.

I feel very fortunate to have been a participant in this phase of NACADA’s growth and development. To all of you who offered encouragement and support as we moved through major re-structuring, thank you. When we began these discussions in January of 2000, we did not know the shape or form of the new structure. But, we trusted the process and through lots of feedback from members, created a new way of operating for NACADA. To those of you who challenged us….thank you, too. Through respectful disagreement, you helped us refine, rethink, and clarify.

As you think about your own situation and reflect on your daily activities, consider the students you see who are experiencing a new beginning, an ending, or some type of change. Many face all three at the same time….especially the new students and those getting ready to graduate. Even though many of these changes are positive and self-initiated, there is still very often some degree of anxiety. In your advising role you encourage, support and sometimes challenge which gives many students the courage to grow and develop in very exciting ways.

So, as the summer comes to a close and as the new academic year begins, keep up the wonderful work you do with your students. You are having a very positive impact in their lives.

Thanks, too, for the support you have given me as President…and for having such a positive impact in my life.

Betsy McCalla-Wrigging
NACADA President
Rowan University

From the Executive Office

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty, NACADA Executive Director 

The annual NACADA National Conference will be here soon and has the Executive Office buzzing. The National Conference was the first professional development activity offered by NACADA and remains as a firm foundation upon which to build new activities and resources to meet the needs of our members. NACADA has been fortunate to have consistently introduced successful new activities and resources based on informal feedback among the leadership and the members. To continue this success, however, it is important that we continue to hear from the members exactly how the organization can assist in continued professional development and enhancement of academic advising.

The Board of Directors developed the core of an updated Strategic Plan during their mid-year meeting and has since asked each unit within the organization to contribute ideas on how we might address the goals of the association. Although we received some very good ideas from this process, it would be even more helpful if we could hear directly from the membership as to what you would like to see from the association. Therefore, I ask that you review the abbreviated copy of the Strategic Plan objectives included in this Newsletter and tell us (the Executive Office, your Commission Chair, your Region Chair, or any other NACADA leader) what you think we should be doing to address these goals. Your suggestions will be forwarded to the appropriate governing unit for consideration and we will better know what you want!

Member feedback concerning the need for an on-line graduate program has led to the partnership with Kansas State University to offer an on-line graduate certificate program. Although not a degree program, it will allow members to shorten the time on campus to complete a degree if they can transfer these on-line courses into their graduate degree programs. (Be sure to ascertain transferability before enrolling.)

National Conference evaluations / feedback always influence changes in the National Conference and this year created the establishment of some “invited” pre-conference workshops, the Commission Roundtable sessions for additional networking and information sharing opportunities, and an additional social activity for enhanced networking and FUN! The Summer Institute on Academic Advising and the Academic Advising Administrators’ Institute are also heavily driven by participant evaluations.

Another example of feedback response is our upcoming new Assessment of Academic Advising Seminar. The Administrators’ Institute 2003 participants expressed a desire for more in-depth information on Assessment in Advising, so we will immediately follow the 2004 Administrators’ Institute in St. Pete Beach, FL, in February, with an Assessment of Academic Advising Seminar. It is our intention that the Seminar will continue each year but focus on a different topic to address the continuing need for information on emerging issues.

Now is the time to provide your feedback so that we can develop activities or resources to address YOUR needs! See you in Dallas!

Roberta 'Bobbie' Flaherty
NACADA Executive Director

2004 NACADA Leadership Election Information

The next NACADA Leadership election will be held in January-February 2004. For a complete list of NACADA leadership opportunities available in the next election, visit the NACADA web site at http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Election/index.htm. You will find a link to the 2004 election information on this web page as well as under the “About NACADA” tab on the NACADA home page.

Nominations for the various positions can be submitted electronically using an online form on the NACADA web site. Forms will also be available in the NACADA display booth in the Exhibits area at the National Conference in Dallas as well as in the back of the conference program. These printed forms can be submitted while at the conference. The deadline for submitting nominations to the Executive Office for the 2004 election is Wednesday, October 15, 2003.

More information about the 2004 election procedures will be sent to members this fall in the monthly Member Highlights e-mails. If you have questions about this upcoming election, contact the NACADA Executive Office at [email protected] or call (785) 532-5717.

2003 NACADA Strategic Plan

Abbreviated and In Progress, July 2003

VISION: NACADA will be the acknowledged leader within the global education community for the theory, delivery, application, and advancement of academic advising to enhance student learning and development.

Mission 1: Advance the body of knowledge of academic advising

Strategy 1: Promote, support, and conduct research.

Task 1: Distribute RFPs on critical issues to Student Personnel Grad Programs.
Task 2: Develop an endorsed definition of Academic Advising.

Mission 2: Address the academic advising needs of higher education.

Strategy 1: Identify, prioritize, and address critical issues facing academic advising.

Task 1: Survey Commission members to assess needs
Task 2: Update Core Values statement and CAS Standards

Strategy 2: Collect information about the environments in which academic advising operates.
Strategy 3: Ensure effectiveness of NACADA organization

Task 1: Review Financial Audit
Task 2: Review and develop annual budget process
Task 3: Send letters to Leadership members' campuses acknowledging contributions.
Task 4: Create training for Chairs in each division.
Task 5: Conduct needs assessment for Region Chairs
Task 6: Develop protocol for review of regions
Task 7: Solicit input from members on what NACADA can do for them.
Task 8: Initiate program to increase non-dues revenue
Task 9: Develop Administrative Division Handbook
Task 10: Review value and purpose of SI scholarships.

Strategy 4: Provide comprehensive professional development opportunities to the academic advising community.

Task 1: Update training video and add diversity issues.
Task 2: Provide advising Graduate coursework at a distance.
Task 3: Reach out to faculty with one day seminars
Task 4: Develop attendance requirements for NACADA certificate.

Mission 3: Champion the role of academic advising to enhance student learning and development.

Strategy 1: Identify and develop strategies for fostering collaboration with various advising constituencies.

Task 1: Work with regional related organizations on regional conferences.
Task 2: Establish relationship with AACSB
Task 3: Establish relationship with regional accrediting bodies.

Strategy 2: Enhance NACADA's global visibility and credibility as the resource for academic advising.

Task 1: Explore advisor certification
Task 2: Develop plan for regular contact with CAOs

Mission 4 : Affirm the role of academic advising in supporting institutional mission and vitality.

Strategy 1: Influence leaders in higher education to support quality academic advising.

Task 1: Regions establish contact with non-member institution officials

Strategy 2: Influence public policy relating to academic advising

Mission 5: Encourage the contributions of all members and promotes the involvement of diverse populations.

Strategy 1: Assess member needs and talents.

Task 1: Identify areas needing additional minority representation
Task 2: Identify minority members to get involved in Association.
Task 3: Establish a Clearinghouse of interested minority members
Task 4: Review and recommend changes to Institutional and Allied membership categories.

Strategy 2: Create an environment that promotes maximum individual inclusion and growth.

Task 1: Develop program for advisor exchanges.

Strategy 3: Expand growth opportunities.

Task 1: Recruit CIG Division Regional Liaisons
Task 2: Encourage new membership
Task 3: Increase State Drive-in workshops/seminars
Task 4: Identify Native American institutions and invite, encourage, support involvement.

Advisor Certification: A History and Update

Virginia N. Gordon, Task Force on Advisor Certification Chair 

The first NACADA Task Force on Advisor Certification was established in 2001 to explore the feasibility of creating a “program to award certificates in academic advising to NACADA members.” That group recommended that certificates be awarded and standards leading to such certificates be established. The reasons for establishing such a program were to:

  • help individual advisors establish and maintain credibility with the aid of such external standards;
  • give novice advisors clear goals to strive for; give administrators external standards to refer to on the hiring, evaluation, and promotion of academic advisors;
  • give colleges and universities standards for various assessment and accreditation purposes; and
  • influence graduate programs related to academic advising.

The NACADA Board of Directors accepted the Task Force’s recommendation and charged a second Task Force in 2002 to continue this exploration. This group was assigned the task of recommending the specific categories of advising competencies that all effective advisors should be able to demonstrate. The Task Force proposed that competencies in the following core areas of advisor knowledge and skills are essential to effective advising:

Foundations Knowledge: In this category, advisors will describe and explain their advising philosophy and the theoretical frameworks that influence their advising approaches. They will be knowledgeable about the CAS Standards and will describe how they incorporate NACADA’s Core values into their advising. The knowledge and practical implications of legal and ethical advising issues may be included here.

Advisors will have a general knowledge of the characteristics of college students and will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the student demographics of their institution and the unique characteristics of the students they advise. They will have an understanding of multicultural differences and how this influences the way they approach students from different cultures. Although student development theory is an obvious choice, they may demonstrate familiarity with any theory (from any discipline) that has implications for understanding the characteristics of the students they advise.

Knowledge of Higher Education:Since advisors work in a variety of higher education settings, it is crucial they have a knowledge of the history of higher education in general and their institution specifically. Advisors should also be familiar with the current issues facing higher education including ethical and legal implications affecting advising. They should have a basic knowledge of academic disciplines and the development and rationale for the curriculum.

Many students expect their advisor to discuss career issues that relate to their overall college education and the occupational relationships with their academic major(s) in particular. They should be familiar with the career resources that are appropriate for student access, such as the Internet, career library, and other career services on their campuses. They should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the career decision-making process in the context of advising and should have the advising skills to assist students to confirm, select, or change a major.

How advisors communicate with students is an obvious requisite for effective advising. Advisors must demonstrate their ability to relate to individuals and groups of students using communication, helping (counseling), and problem-solving skills. Competent writing skills are important as advisors communicate with students and colleagues through e-mail and other technologies.

Although advisors work in a higher education setting, their knowledge of their local institution is paramount. They should be able to demonstrate knowledge of their institution’s mission and goals, institutional policies and procedures. They must be experts in the discipline and curricula for which they advise. They should be familiar with retention issues on their local campus, graduation requirements, and both campus and community referral resources.

Advisors must demonstrate their knowledge and usage of their institution’s technological systems that are integral to academic advising. They should be equally competent in other technological tools (e.g., e-mail, Web browsers) and tasks (e.g., downloading software, file management).

These knowledge and skills are the core competencies that have been identified by the Task Force thus far. Since identifying these competencies is still in the formative stage, some may be added, deleted, or changed. The next step is to explore how advisors might demonstrate their competencies in these areas. Several methods have been identified completion of approved workshops or seminars; “knowledge-based” examinations that may be offered in person or on the Web; or a combination of workshops or seminars; or knowledge-and-skill-based tests that would apply these competencies to the workplace. To that end, the NACADA Executive Office staff is currently in contact with consulting firms that work with professional organizations considering certification programs. These consultants help organizations move through the process of planning, developing, and designing programs. In addition, the NACADA Board asked that the Professional Development Committee and the Task Force look at what professional development activities might contribute to the earning of a “seat time” certificate acknowledging exposure to these areas of knowledge. That analysis is in progress.

NACADA is striving to address your professional development needs in a number of ways. Be sure to express your needs as they arise. More information should be available at the National Conference in Dallas in October.

Virginia N. Gordon
Ohio State University – Main Campus

Some Current Issues Facing International Students: How Can Advisors Help?

Patrick T. Slowinski, NACADA ESL/International Student Advising Interest Section Chair

The tragedies of September 11, 2001, have had lasting impacts on many who pursue higher education in the United States. International students represent one group that definitely needs our assistance at this time. Some particular concerns involve helping international students understand how to stay in status at all times, and to deal with any negative stereotypes that may have emerged since some of those involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks were in the United States on student visas.

The Bureau of Immigration and Citizenship Services (BCIS) has implemented SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) to better track international students as they are studying in the United States. To better understand SEVIS and some potential pitfalls for international students (e.g., failure to report a change of address, failure to maintain full-time student loads, etc.) Our colleagues at the National Association of International Educators have provided quality information, links to the BCIS, and resources to help us assist international students, so they may remain in the United States legally. Please visit: http://www.nafsa.org/sevisresources for this timely information.

In addition to receiving correct and updated information, international students require advisors who are willing to go the extra mile for them. Some particular challenges that advisors can help international student with include: dealing with culture shock, adapting to new teaching and learning environments, understanding the American higher education system, understanding US social norms, and adapting to food, climate, and legal systems.

Some international students may also feel they are discriminated against because they may pose a security threat to the United States. Ultimately, advisors can intervene this fall to identify international students and assist them in adapting to a new environment and new security measures. Often an understanding voice or face can do more than we know in helping international students make the necessary adaptations as they study in the United States.

Patrick T. Slowinski
Brigham Young University

Get Better Not Bitter!

Beatrice L. Logan and Annie H. Turman, Georgia State University

Is your job a source of stress in your life? Do you feel overworked and unappreciated? Do you feel irritable about minor things at work, or need a huge effort to complete the simplest tasks? Does it seem like you are always geared up, need to hurry up, catch up, or shut up? Are you fed up? If you answered yes to these questions, you could be the victim of too much stress.

In the advisement profession, seldom a day passes in which someone doesn’t make a stress-related comment, such as “I’m burned out,” or “I’m under too much stress.” While few of us, if asked, can provide a formal definition of stress, most are all too familiar with how it feels. Simply stated, stress is the physical and emotional condition felt when we are excited, face change, feel powerless, or feel threatened.

Let's face it, everyone gets stressed out, but it doesn't have to take over our lives. Can we eliminate job stressors? No, --and it’s a good thing we can’t. A certain amount of stress is required in our lives to motivate us to reach new levels of performance. What we can do is recognize that we have the power to choose our actions.

We don't have to become upset, tense, or irritable. These reactions often make situations worse, and can have harmful effects. Choose to positively manage stressful situations. Although the choice may be different depending on the situation, realize that we can control our reactions.

Listed below are some stress management techniques that can help minimize the negative effects of stress. Since no single technique is ideal for every situation, try each technique, deciding which is the best to manage the stress of a particular circumstance. Realize that the success of a technique is determined by the commitment to change and the regularity with which the method if practiced.

Daily Reflection.  Each day is a special gift, an opportunity to serve and be a catalyst for change. To create a link between your spirituality and the job, start each day with 15 minutes of quiet reflection time. Visualize a positive day and go forth with an unrelenting commitment to exercise a positive attitude, fairness, patience, honesty, and integrity.

Deep BreathingSitting upright, close your eyes, relax and focus your mind on an object. Inhale slowly through your nose; hold your breath and count to eight. As you exhale slowly through your mouth, repeat 'Re---LAX “ four times.

ImageryClose your eyes. Imagine a calm, beautiful scene. Picture yourself at that location. Repeat affirmative phrases.

Neck RollsSitting erect with your shoulders level let your chin drop forward. Slowly roll your head in a full circle. Repeat five times, alternating directions.

Self-MassageTightly cup your hands and apply firm circular strokes to your forehead, cheeks, neck, shoulder and other body areas that are tense.

HumorLaughter is FIRST AID for the soul. You cannot laugh and hold tension at the same time. Whatever makes you laugh, cultivate it. Start a personal humor collection file of your favorite comic strips, jokes, e-mails, etc.

Change Your AttitudeWhat messages are you sending to yourself? Some stress comes from negative thoughts — grudges, hurt, and anger. Look on the bright side and lighten your load. Repeat affirmations like, ' I am filled with inner peace.”

Shred ListWrite down names of people, worries, pressures and concerns that contribute to your stress. When your list is complete, S-H-R-E-D it.

Manage Your TimeIn descending order of importance, make a list of the things you need to do each day. Complete each task, one at a time. Learn to set limits for yourself and say 'no' to others. At the end of each day, reflect on your accomplishments, not the unfinished tasks.

Talk It OutYou do not have to cope alone. Sometimes just talking about concerns can help put them into perspective. Find an objective person whom you trust and vent your worries and frustrations.


Stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to make you tense, irritable, upset, and unhappy. You have the choice to GET BETTER or BITTER. Be productive, GET BETTER! Make the commitment to manage stress and enhance your health and happiness.

For additional stress management techniques, attend the What’s an Advisor to Do? Coping with Job Stressors session at the NACADA National Conference in Dallas.

Beatrice L. Logan
Annie H. Turman
Georgia State University

Suggested Reading

Carlson, Richard. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. New York: Hyperion, 1997.

Hill, Napoleon, and W. Clement Stone. Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Johnson, Spencer. Who Moved My Cheese, New York: G. P. Pitman’s Son, 1998.


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