posted on November 05, 2012 11:45
Book by J. Bradford Hodson & Bruce W. Speck
Review by: Temesha Corbin Christian
Academic Advising Administrator
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
This short volume has intent to generate "out of the box" thinking for student service areas. It is, in brief, a collection of essays highlighting "new" ways to support the unique needs of students at various higher education institutions. The editors enlisted the help of mainly university administrators to relate their assorted program development, implementation and success. Indeed, the information presented is both practical and applicable when wholly supported by administration. Nevertheless, out of eight chapters, merely one chapter refers somewhat directly to academic advising. Therefore, Entrepreneurship fails to produce a profound contribution to the field of academic advising.
Specifically, this journal edition attempts to provide solutions to current issues plaguing student services in higher education. For example, state mandates often trigger university goals and financial focus. Missouri Southern State University's directive by the state governor was to graduate students who had had global/international perspectives and/or experiences. Because every student could not afford to study abroad, MSSU created the idea of country-based "themed semesters," where the entire institution would integrate the theme into its educational plans: dining services, classroom learning, lectures and actual study abroad opportunities. Similarly, when the state of Kansas became more rigorous in its admission policies for four year universities, Pittsburg State University (PSU) and Fort Scott Community College (FSCC) formed a partnership that would allow a smooth student transition, almost seamless, from one to the other. The Shared Campus Program, then, means underprepared students attending FSCC can live and take classes at PSU, in essence sharing space.
Crucially, one must ask where does advising come into play? The fact is that only one chapter of this short book dedicates itself to what might be deemed developmental and/or intrusive advising. When a new major was created at the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), a newly built campus, administrators were quick to understand the need for advisor-like professionals. They settled on Student Success Coaches. The purpose of the Coach is not only in academic guidance for students but also relationship building for both students and faculty: a "holistic" approach to student learning.
When creating the Coach position, UMR seemed to define the term "academic advising" as a deficient one where advisors do not respond "promptly" to issues and/or determine early intervention plans. The authors state that the "...Coach model de-emphasizes the need for students to receive permission from the coach (as an advisor) to enroll, or change courses, and instead creates a relationship that provides guidance and support..both formal and informal" (p. 48). Those of us in the field, though, know that a narrow understanding of academic advising leads to disjointed services and experiences for the people we claim to educate: students.
In summation, Entrepreneurship in Student Services is a special journal edition directed toward employees who can affect change and, consequently, those who have a budget, as is evident by the chapter writers. This book, though a quick and interesting read, is limited in scope when thinking of the academic advising realm. The one chapter that refers directly to advising demonstrates the critical fact that that university's definition of advising is unclear. The other chapters, then, keep advisors on the periphery holding only supporting roles in programmatic changes and additions.
Entrepreneurship in student services (New directions for higher education #153). (2011). Book by J. Bradford Hodson & Bruce W. Speck. Review by Temesha Corbin Christian. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 75 pp., $29.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-1180-7335-3