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Frequently Asked Questions from Academic Advising: Campus Collaborations to Foster Retention

Q. Do you have any suggestions of strong, sound incentives for professional advisors who are not faculty and do not have the benefit of a tenure/promotion track system?

One might consider some sort of career ladder for advisors so that they could to perceive that promotion is possible. Substantial financial assistance to attend conferences, such as NACADA national and regional conferences might also help. Obviously the incentives for each adviser might be different depending upon his/her time spent in advising, commitment to the profession, etc. Professional development should be a strong component in the administration of advising and all supervisors of advisors should take the time to ascertain what the incentives are for each employee.

Eric White, Ed.D.

Penn State University
' 05 NACADA President

Q. Where is the best place to house the professional academic advising unit? Academic affairs or student affairs?

There is no blanket answer to this question.....other than the placement of advising must fit the institution's culture, its mission, and the needs of its students. Most of all, advising is a collaboration which must span academic/student affairs boundaries to be successful. I think I would have the ideal situation if the advising program had the influence, power, and budget of the academic affairs side of the institution while having an underlying student development philosophy.

Wes Habley
ACT, Inc.

'86-87 NACADA President

Q. Frequent, quality contact is the most important factor for retention. Do you have any suggestions for part-time advisors to improve total contacts with students?

Part-time advisors are particularly troubled by the fact that students have full-time lives and need to see them on *their* schedule, not the schedule allowed by the college's contract. Email or voice mail can only address part of the problem. The critical issue is letting your advisees know when and how they can get in touch with you. Electronic contacts can communicate hours available and best means to be in contact. Use any and all at your command. Students burn out with electronic contacts so it is also critical to send at least one *short* handwritten note each semester. Once you get a student into your office, don't let them leave until they have scheduled their next meeting. If the initial contact is for a "quickie" be sure to schedule a solid half-hour for getting to know hopes and dreams. If the initial contact is longer and more reflective, set up a shorter followup to see steps they have taken to explore issues raised. Remember, they don't leave without an appointment reminder slip!

Victoria A. McGillin
Linfield College

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