An advising portfolio provides a rich and diverse way to document advising expertise. Portfolio use is increasingly prevalent in higher education. Student portfolios are used to demonstrate that students have met the desired outcomes of a given major or program. Faculty use teaching portfolios to illustrate their mastery when they apply for promotion or tenure. Universities create portfolios for a number of purposes and audiences—such as accreditation or student recruitment. Portfolios provide flexibility; advisors can use both quantitative and qualitative measures and can customize their portfolio to fit their particular advising situation. So using a portfolio to document advising performance puts advisors in the mainstream of assessment activities which are becoming more demanding as well as more sophisticated in their call for accountability.
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Many institutions struggle to integrate accreditation criteria for assessment with their efforts to improve and enhance programs for their students. In this climate, the interest in and need for assessment of our students’ academic advising experiences has become a major issue on our campuses.
Ultimately, assessment is about understanding and improving. In this regard, the assessment process provides a systematic way through which information about student learning and program effectiveness can be obtained. Done in the collective and continuous way intended, the assessment process provides a systemic way to use that information to support improvements in student learning and the advising process. In the end, assessment is systematic, systemic, and relational; there are steps to the process; the process is intentional in the gathering of evidence to support improvement in learning and process; and all of the steps within the process are inextricably intertwined.
Suzanne M. Trump (Assistant Dean of Retention and Academic Advising, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia) and Janet Spence (Director, University-Wide Advising Practice, Office of the Provost/Undergraduate Affairs, University of Louisville) share what they gained from the NACADA Administrators’ and Assessment Institutes.
One acronym strikes fear into many in the south-QEP. The QEP or Quality Enhancement Plan is a requirement for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This is how one college, with NACADA 's help, survived and thrived during its QEP journey.
Today’s college students are the most diverse advisors have ever encountered; with that diversity comes the need to design advising experiences to meet certain fundamental goals while simultaneously ensuring that advising materials, delivery methods and interpersonal communication are accessible and meaningful to each student. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) offers advisors a framework for designing and delivering high-quality advising to students with varying backgrounds and learning styles. This article will first lay out some background about UDL, then focus on applying its principles in advising contexts.
E-portfolios are an increasingly important part of the college experience and can be a fundamental means for the documentation of advising outcomes....Academic advising should become a vital portion within the increasing number of e-portfolio programs. Recognizing that advising is teaching, NACADA members have promoted the advising syllabus as a means to identify learning outcomes students can attain through the advising process. The e-portfolio contributes to the achievement of numerous learning goals. Therefore, advisors should consider how the activities and expectations that make up advising syllabi can be connected to and facilitated by electronic portfolios. The possibilities are ripe for study and experimentation.
If academic advising is a form teaching, what do advisors teach?
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.
As with any profession, academic advising requires training, but institutions often struggle to identify a centralized resource or approach for implementing advisor training. With obstacles of limited financial support, workloads stretched beyond capacity, and autonomous centers with disparate advising structures, advisor training has been a challenge for many institutions. The authors offer their advisor training as a potential model for other institutions.
The author finds that the use of collaborative note writing changes the one directional aspect of advising notes while staying true to the original purpose.
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.
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 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 is “better equipped with effective tools and resources to enhance the academic advising experience” following her attendance at the 2018 NACADA Assessment Institute.
While students routinely report that the primary reason they attend college is to get a better job, few start with the end in mind. If academic advisors are to better engage students in career advising curriculum, they must weave it into all advising. This integration is difficult, but possible.
Faculty members fill many roles at the institution, but while they are experts in their field of study, they typically receive little training or preparation to serve as mentor, coach, or advisor to students. A team of primary-role advisors and advising administrators at Penn State developed a foundational on-line course designed to help the faculty advisor understand the advising role.
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.
An advising program’s mission statement is the guiding principle that should be at the back of an advisor’s mind as they enter every student interaction. The author describes a five-step process to write mission statements.
As a scholarship recipient for the 2019 NACADA Assessment Institute, the author gained new, applicable knowledge, and her team made great progress in identifying next steps for their assessment work during their time at the Institute.
Notes are instrumental for student success and instructors understand that, but do academic advisors?
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) major requirements are unique; advising students in these fields requires unique approaches, supports, and resources.