When we think of adult learners and how to approach them as admissions counselors, program advisors and instructors, several aspects of their adult status usually come to mind. Among these are the fact that adults play multiple roles in their lives, that they often have anxiety about returning to school and that many times they are experiencing some sort of life transition at the time they decide to return to school. One characteristic of current and prospective adult students that is often overlooked, particularly by the administration, is the fact that they are consumers and are generally looking for the most out of their time and money.
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Advising students with disabilities presents many challenges to the college advisor. However, skilled advising can go a long way towards ensuring the success of a student with a disability. To effectively advise a student with a disability requires a thorough understanding of the student’s goals as well as the student’s disability, the barriers the institution may have inadvertently created, and the resources the college provides that can be used to assist the student in pursuing his or her educational aspirations.
Research and best practices in academic advising can be valuable to new and veteran advisers looking to improve their effectiveness in serving students. However, if academic advising as a profession is to realize its deserved value and status on our campuses, we must find ways to spread the good word about advising to faculty, administrators, and decision-makers beyond the existing advising community. As Richard Light, in his book Making the Most of College (2001) stated, “good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience” (p. 81). Academic advising plays an important role in student success and retention. Therefore, we must strive to collaborate and build partnerships to further research and assessment and spread the good word about academic advising to the broader higher education community.
The issue of student retention and persistence has continued to grow in importance throughout the history of higher education in our country. Early studies (Astin, 1977) focused on the characteristics of those students who did not persist. Beginning in the 1970s, the research began to focus on the reasons students remained enrolled and how colleges and universities could make changes or develop programs to increase the retention of their students.
Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience as noted by evidence gathered from 1,600 one-on-one undergraduate interviews. Several of the overarching findings from these interviews are 'actionable' by advisors. I look forward to sharing details from these findings with you at the NACADA national conference. However, since June brings freshman enrollment in many areas, I thought that you might benefit from a brief summary of the findings most applicable to advising incoming students.
According to research conducted by Philip Gardner, Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, many of today’s college students are the product of parents who have protected and sheltered their children from a dangerous world and have raised their children to see themselves as very special. These millennial students are confident and achievement-oriented, but feel pressured to succeed both academically and professionally (2003). As a result, many young adults enter college today with a sense of entitlement, a strong dependency on their parents, and the expectation that the university will hold their hand throughout their college career. What many of our academic advisers find during the Freshman Academic Orientation Program at Michigan State is that parents want to continue to hold the hand of their new college student and the student doesn’t necessarily want to let go.
Multicultural awareness is essential for academic advisors, for our cultural identity "is central to what we see, how we make sense of what we see, and how we express ourselves."
I have learned to work with a population who will one day live on the outside. Without education, many will find their way back to prison. With education, many more will lead productive lives and contribute to society, rather than take from it. If you have the opportunity to work with incarcerated students, reserve judgment for later. View your opportunity as an investment in the betterment of society. Most likely it will be an investment that returns more than any Wall Street bull market.
Diversity, interdisciplinarity, and professionalism are gauges by which we measure improvement over the last several decades. Part of the improvement is due to faculty and professional advisors who support these changes. The classic relationship between a faculty research supervisor and a master’s, doctoral or professional student is still the essential relationship. Built around that, whether at the large research institution, a small college, or the professional school, those who advise strive to meet the needs of today’s graduate and professional students.
Academic advisors face increasing challenges each year. What are the most effective ways to deal with enrollment increases when there has been little or no increase in budget? How do we handle the advising needs of these students? How can colleges effectively cope with the increasing numbers of transfer students? How can we use orientations to enhance advisement? These are just a few of the many challenges faced every day by advisors at most colleges, but particularly at two-year colleges.
For each of these three visitors the adviser plays a critical role. It is much more than course selection and graduation requirements. The relationship with Mike, Selina, and Caroline and many others like them can become a key ingredient in their undergraduate experience, and the success of the relationship depends on a full range of talents. In truth, Mike, Selina, and Caroline are drawn from advising experiences I have had over the years. While they may be literally fictional, I have seen such students, and so have you. They are a daily reminder of the challenges and rewards of our profession.
Here we will begin to explore how best to approach advising relationships in a multiculturally competent way, mindful of both the individual and cultural similarities and differences between advisor and advisee, and how those factors may influence the advising process. Suggestions are based on the author’s personal experience in helping relationships (i.e. mental health and career counseling), as well as the counseling psychology and intercultural communication literatures. The intention is to provide a description of a “both/and” approach to preparing for multicultural helping relationships. This approach can be useful with all students, regardless of how culturally similar or dissimilar advisor and advisee are, because all people are cultural beings. The objective of this article is to provide advisors with questions and principles to consider in interactions with students.
With the continuing development of online teaching, tutors are encouraged to take on the role of e-tutor and to provide tutoring and personal support through this mechanism. However, what works in a classroom does not always work online. With the loss of face-to-face contact and the visual impact that it brings, the question must be asked 'What makes a good e-tutor?'
Today academic advisors, accustomed to the >hectic pace of student advisement appointments, find that it is not just students who show up at their doors; increasingly students are accompanied by their parents. Howe and Strauss (2000) point to an increased level of parental involvement during the college years of the millennial students: traditional-aged students who are characterized as being “close to their parents.” Many advisors struggle to find effective strategies for working with parents who accompany students to advising sessions.
Our relevance assures student engagement, and engagement assures student success. Therefore, our relevancy will ensure successful students (Prentiss, 2007). Are we, as advisors, acting irresponsibly by avoiding FacebookTM? Building on Julie Traxler’s (2007) article, Advising Without Walls: An Introduction to Facebook as an Advising Tool, which focuses on the benefits of using this social networking Web site, I hope to show that, with proper care and an eye toward maintaining relevance, Facebook could be one of our most valuable tools for student engagement.
Today’s parents are often characterized as obstacles in the development of student independence and autonomy. However, results from the recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) show that students whose parents intervened on their behalf experienced “greater gains on a host of desired college outcomes, and greater satisfaction with the college experience” (NSSE, 2007, p. 25). Despite this information, college personnel often struggle with parental involvement in their students’ academic affairs; many personnel believe that the path to development of student self-sufficiency and decision-making is blocked by well-meaning, hovering parents. Instead of viewing parental involvement as obtrusive and intrusive, personnel on college campuses should embrace the potential for building a partnership with parents. Academic advisors, in particular, are in the unique position to partner with parents in a relationship that will benefit those with a vested interest in students’ success: parents, students, and advisors.
The NACADA Summer Institute provided a unique opportunity for every advisor to learn more about their role in serving students. Those who clearly defined an advising problem on their campus and developed an Action Plan probably extracted the greatest benefit from the week, but it seemed that even the least-experienced advisors with less-defined action goals left with a road-map for how to improve their own advising practices. Participants also gained a good sense of the principles that inform the way their institutions provide connections for their students.
The issues of social justice and equity are growing in importance across the academy... Although NACADA (2008) “promotes and supports quality academic advising in institutions of higher education to enhance the educational development of students” (¶1), how often do academic advisors examine their roles in upholding social justice through advising?
Just when advisors say, “I’ve finally seen it all!” an advising experience takes place that is so unusual, extraordinary, or just plain weird that it feels like an April Fool’s Day prank...expect the unexpected. In the world of academic advising, no two students and no two problems are exactly the same.
I cannot say enough positive and exciting things about NACADA and how the organization and its people have influenced my life and my professional development! To my mind, NACADA is nothing short of being a land of opportunity overflowing with milk and honey for those with a desire to become involved. NACADA believes in the abilities of its members and for those with the desire to act upon their own faith by becoming involved will find that NACADA continues to advance the advising profession towards excellence and greatness not only for us as professionals, but more importantly for the students we serve!
However, based on my research, I would add a supplemental advising approach that incorporates aspects of Bandura’s (1989) four sources of self-efficacy.
Advisors who know their students' talents and understand their faculty colleagues' gifts for helping the student grow occupy an unique position where they can facilitate strong relationships between advisees and their professors.
In recent years, there have been many references to “Advising as Teaching” in the academic advising professional literature... from my perspective as one who has spent almost 23 years plowing the fields as an academic advisor, and almost that much time growing roses as a hobby, I believe that a strong argument also can be made for using another metaphor, that of “Advising as Gardening!”
This article discusses tools that can be used to help academic advisors increase their happiness and positivity levels.
Most advisors encounter student lies during our careers. It is helpful if we have a game plan ready to address these issues with students and still maintain a professional advising relationship.
Advisors’ moment-to-moment awareness of what is happening in an advising session can have a positive impact on the experience for our students and for ourselves. Thus it is helpful when advisors understand the benefits of mindfulness practice in academic advising and the ways in which we can formally practice mindfulness in our daily routines.
It is my hope that students’ memory of me is not as an advisor sitting behind a desk, poring over Banner reports and paper files. I hope the image in their mind’s eye is of me walking, or running, somewhere on campus. I hope they remember me conversing with others and having an open door, because there is no door. I hope my example challenges them as professionals to be as accessible to their clients, patients, or students as I have tried to be for them.
While developing the blog, we kept in mind two main goals: create original and relevant content, and provide a welcoming and empowering virtual space to help students academically succeed..
NACADA members who seek professional development and recognize the importance of networking with others in the field will find LI to be a valuable resource for themselves and their students.
Veterans have always been part of the landscape of most universities, and many bring with them issues of readjustment, PTSD, and disabilities. It is essential that advisors understand how to engage with veterans in advising sessions and in conversations about their academic trajectories.
The fight or flight instinct is not unique to students or academic stress, but it might not be a connection the students have previously made. When advisors recognize the link between this biological instinct and student behavior, they can better educate, mentor, and guide students to a healthier and more productive response to stressful situations.
The authors discuss an initiative developed to fill a gap in professional development opportunities available to the academic advisors at their institution.
Implementing a successful outcomes assessment plan, particularly one that assesses learning and performance across campus units, is a big undertaking. The authors consider ten essential, intangible elements of any successful outcomes assessment endeavor.
This article introduces solution-focused advising, a framework built and adapted from solution-focused counseling theory, as another tool for advisors to utilize within their approaches.
The authors contend that it is important to provide high quality online advising services that allow for comprehensive, face-to-face interactions with students, even when those students are off campus. With limited resources and demands on time, it is also critical to design an online advising option that is sustainable long-term.
With increasing numbers of student veterans entering the nation’s colleges and universities, it is critical that professionals in higher education understand the unique perspectives and experiences they bring to the campus and that appropriate models to support their academic success are developed.
All around the world, educators find that parents of college students today are more involved than ever before. Culture is an important factor in exploring the role of parental influence on college students. The author discusses some of the cultural factors that are particularly salient at her institution, the American University of Sharjah.
Advisors recognize that students with different enrollment patterns may have different goals and need different types of support. Knowledge of these enrollment patterns can influence conversations with students to help create both short- and long-term plans.
The HLC Academy for Student Persistence and Completion at Marshall University created the MU EDGE mentoring program to pair experienced faculty mentors with incoming “murky middle” freshmen to find out what Marshall can do to better retain this under-served population through more intrusive advising.
This article highlights existing concepts on how to develop an advising center at the university level while describing the process one specific college took to advising center creation, giving the reader examples of how suggestions from the literature can be implemented.
One of the hardest things advisors face is the notion that they cannot always be the hero. As advisors, we want to help and we want to make things as easy as possible. Yet, there are so many things that are just beyond our control.
The author shares insights gained during her own classroom experience.
In August 2017, the field of academic advising lost a champion with the passing of recent NACADA Journal co-editor Leigh S. Shaffer. Leigh, a recognized scholar in his field of social psychology, authored or co-authored 11 peer-reviewed articles for the NACADA Journal, more than any other author in the Journal’s history.
Over the last six years, new cohorts of mentors and protégés (new advisors) have entered the program to aid in their personal and professional development at Temple University.
The 49er Finish Program at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been actively pursuing its stop out students for over 10 years, catering to adult learners who are seeking to finish what they started. Tactics are threefold: personalized marketing, support services, and institutional enhancements.
The author, a relatively new advisor, shares his introductory experience into the NACADA Summer Institute learning community.
Advising administrators and training developers frequently ask how advisors can build relational core competencies such as communicating inclusively and conducting successful advising interactions. The author presents theory-informed practical recommendations for advisors to help address the “how” of some of the relational core competencies.
Most major academic advising theories stress the importance of the advising relationship. In advising, the quality of the relationship between advisor and student is at the heart of most interventions. The author notes that the shared focus of various advising theories on factors that foster the advisor-student relationship is very similar to the common factors theory in psychology.
Emotional exhaustion may be a prevalent threat to those working in the field of advising. How can job burnout be avoided when the fundamentals of the job seem to necessitate frequent and intense emotional labor?
The benefits of excellent academic advising for students warrant new and creative approaches; the authors utilize pre-advising reflective writing to improve student learning and success.
The author has found that the “teach-a-man-to-fish” philosophy supports the notion of challenging our limitations; asking unprompted, imperfect questions; and relentlessly seeking answers to simple as well as complex questions.
To be an expert on the culture of all students that advisors advise and teach is unrealistic. However, getting to know each student in terms of their personal stories and backgrounds is doable. This is particularly important as the student population in higher education continues to diversify.
Black women advisors may experience the field of academic advising quite differently than their male and White peers. Sista circles have played a vital role in lives of Black women for over 150 years, providing a safe supportive space for them to seek help, encouragement, knowledge, and support in issues that impact them.
During the summer, the staff of Academic and Career Development at IUPUI works closely with other institutional offices to offer two-day orientation programs for incoming first-year students.
The author reflects on what she has learned during a decade as an academic advising supervisor.
The culture within an office whose team provides service to others can set the tone for communicating positively in each situation, whether it is with a student, colleague, or a stakeholder.
Recognizing the value advisors bring to an institution creates a feeling of cooperation, ownership, and commitment.
Students who return to college after a stop out period often have stories of arduous journeys of self-discovery predicated on competing demands of personal and professional life. Listening carefully to these students’ stories can provide advisors with resources to assist them successfully navigate the challenges and obstacles that until now have prevented them from achieving their higher education goals.
Safe Conversations is an educational program that focuses on dialogue promoting a new way of talking and listening to one another. When applied appropriately, connection and safety occur which promotes respectful and healthy relationships.
Academic advisors come from different lived experiences, educational, and professional backgrounds. Considering the multitude of paths coming into the field, it is essential to work with new advisors to support them through their transition into the advising field and retain them for the future of the field.
Occasionally, students enter their advising session with personal baggage to share with their advisor that detours the conversation away from the normal advising issues. Knowledge of psychological first aid (PFA) give advisors tools to support students who are striving to overcome a traumatically challenging situation before making a referral to another support resource on or off campus.
In addition to helping students plan, understand, and make meaning of their best path to graduation, academic advisors consistently contribute to student success beyond the advising appointment. It is vital for academic advisors to clearly communicate the variety of advising-related responsibilities in a way that is easily understood to all constituents across campus.
When blackness, queerness, and nonconformity intersect, the burdens students carry can be profound. Studies have shown a connection between queerness and discrimination, harassment, and victimization on U.S. college campuses. Academic advisors cannot underestimate how these incidents impact the lives and academics of BQGN students. The author offers methods that can be utilized to assist these students.
The author, a Wesley R. Habley Summer Institute Scholarship recipient, considers the Institute as was one of the most pivotal experiences of her career. She left with great ideas, some of which she has already implemented into her institution’s advising program.
Research suggests that mental health and academic performance are positively correlated. Advisors are not expected to provide mental health counseling to students, but they would be remiss to ignore the impact of psychological issues and mental health on students’ experience, performance, and success. While treating students for mental health concerns may be beyond advisors’ scope, there are some ways in which they can address the issues.
The high-involvement intervention model encourages developmental advising by providing students with an opportunity to gain knowledge and maintain ownership of their decisions and experiences, while at the same time allowing advisors to become an integral part of student success and development.
HBCUs have been leaders in producing and leading African American students toward health professions. Advisors must recognize HBCUs like a catalyst for change and bastion of future health professionals that need to be cultivated and mentored.
Establishing a Director of Student Academic Success position provided an opportunity to rethink outreach at the author’s institution. The goal was to remove as many barriers as possible, which resulted in distinct changes.
Shifting the mindset from treating traditional undergraduate students as adolescents to recognizing them as emerging adults can allow advisors to build genuine and meaningful relationships with their advisees. Utilizing Knowles (1988) six principles of andragogy, not as a checklist but as a mindset, allows advisors to build meaningful, genuine, and authentic relationships.
For decades, higher ed institutions have been pondering how to improve retention and degree completion rates. And yet, in spite of all kinds of programs and centers and initiatives, few have really moved the needle much in the right direction. In the search for the easy answer to a complex question: How can we help our students persist?, institutions have overlooked the fact that we have been asking the wrong question all along. The revision should read: How can we help our student persist? And we need to ask it thousands of times.
Two of the greatest barriers to implementing high-quality early intervention programs are the challenges of generating faculty buy-in and determining a reliable set of predictors. Advisors may be uniquely qualified to serve as intervention agents due to the relationships they form with students, often beginning at orientation.
The authors examine the lived experiences of an Emerging Leader and his Mentor as they progressed through the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program. Following completion of the program, both continue to serve NACADA in various ways and encourage participation in the Emerging Leaders Program.
A student’s inability to become socially integrated into the campus community can lead to both institutional and systematic departure. While a sense of belonging is beneficial to all students, it is vital to retain more black male students. Students’ relationships with their academic advisor is one where belonging can develop.
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) major requirements are unique; advising students in these fields requires unique approaches, supports, and resources.
The human mind is full of complex emotions and often these emotions drive us to places that we may not have prepared for. As academic advisors, we see students display a range of emotions every day. When deciding the best role for an advisor working with students experiencing negative affective emotions, it may be best to consider an advisor’s training and the context of the situation.
The term holistic advising has existed in the field of academic advising for years, but as an aspect of an office’s approach, not necessarily as a central design element in supporting students. When the word holistic is applied to advising, it suggests that advisors cannot look at students through a purely academic lens, but rather must regard them as a whole person.
Academic advisors are witnessing a growing population of students that identify as first generation. These students need validation that they belong in a university setting and that their degree is attainable.