Academic Advising Resources


Several definitions of Developmental Advising exist. This list was provided by Jennifer Bloom at the University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign from a graduate level class she teaches called 'Developmental Academic Advising in Higher Education.


Fielstein and Lammers (1992) list requisites for developmental advising:
1. To improve study skills
2. To plan courses of study
3. To improve interpersonal skills
4. To understand their own values
5. To explore career options


O'Banion's (1972) key elements of academic advising:

1. Exploration of life goals
2. Exploration of vocational goals
3. Program choice
4. Course choice
5. Scheduling courses


Creamer and Creamer (1994) offer a conceptual framework for developmental advisors:

1. Setting career and life goals
2. Building self-insight and esteem
3. Broadening interests
4. Establishing meaningful interpersonal relationships
5. Clarifying personal values and styles of life,
6. Enhancing critical thinking and reasoning

Crookston (1972) says, 'Developmental counseling or advising is concerned not only with a specific personal or vocational decision but also with facilitating the student's rational processes, environmental and interpersonal interactions, behavior awareness, and problem-solving, decision-making and evaluation skills'.

Crookston’s (1972) two basic assumptions from student development theory: 'Higher learning is to be viewed as an opportunity in which the developing person may plan to achieve a self-fulfilling life; that the perspective of work and professional training more properly should be placed within the development of a life plan instead of the current tendency to prepare one's self for a profession and then build one's life around it. Teaching includes any experience in the learning community in which teacher and student interact that contributes to individual, group or community growth and development and can be evaluated….The student cannot be merely a passive receptacle for knowledge, but must share equal responsibility with the teacher for the quality of the learning context, process, and development.'

Creamer and Creamer (1994) say, 'Developmental academic advising is the use of interactive teaching, counseling, and administrative strategies to assist students to achieve specific learning, developmental, career, and life goals. These goals are set by students in partnership with advisors and are used to guide all interactions between advisor and student.'

Chickering (1994) says, 'The fundamental purpose of academic advising is to help students become effective agents for their own lifelong learning and personal development. Our relationships with students the questions we raise, the perspectives we share, the resources we suggest, the short-term decisions and long-range plans we help them think through all should aim to increase their capacity to take charge of their own existence.'

Susan Frost (1994) says, 'Developmental advisors revealed that attitude is more important than practice, process is more important than product. These advisors use the advising relationship to:

  •  Involve students in their college experiences
  • Explore with students the facts that lead to success, and
  • Show interest in students' academic progress and extracurricular achievements. (Frost, 1993)

Developmental advisors rarely make decisions for students. Rather they encourage students to ask open-ended questions, use campus resources to find answers, and plan courses of study and schedules around the outcomes of their explorations.'

Robert Brown (1984) says, 'By definition, the student development educator is knowledgeable about theories and practices in learning and development that relate to intellectual, emotional, cultural, moral, physical, and interpersonal dimensions of life. He or she trained to work with individual students, groups of students, and others who interact with students to (1) assess students’ developmental status and diagnose their developmental needs, (2) help students determine appropriate goals and experiences, (3) design and implement programs intended to foster development, (4) evaluate each student's developmental progress, and (5) record this attainment.'

Arnold Spokane (1994) says, 'We find that advising is a function-not a person-and that it must be done by a communicative team-not by an individual. The client's needs and goals drive service delivery across the full range of needs we know exist in adolescence'. He mentions Goldman’s 1992 article which, 'uses a first-rate, state of the art emergency room as an example of agility. Resources from all departments both in and outside of the hospital must be fused into a patient-response team.'

Buddy Ramos (1999) says, 'Gordon's description of three vectors for delivering academic advising should enhance his point that advisors must focus on educational, career and student growth needs of students and also focus on advising as teaching:

  • Developing competence, or increasing the intellectual, physical, and social skills that lead to the knowledge that one is capable of handling and mastering a range of tasks.
  • Developing autonomy, or confronting a series of issues leading ultimately to the recognition of one’s independence.
  • Developing purpose, or assessing and clarifying interests, educational and career options, and lifestyle preferences and using these factors to set a coherent direction for life.

'Winston, Ender, and Miller (1982) defined developmental academic advising as: 'a systematic process based on close student-advisor relationship intended to aid students in achieving educational, career, and personal goals through the utilization of the full range of institutional and community resources. It both stimulates and supports students in their quest for an enriched quality of life. (It) reflects the institution's mission of total student development and is most likely to be realized when the academic affairs and student affairs divisions collaborate in its implementation.'

ACT (1984) 'Academic advising is a developmental process which assists students in the clarification of their life/career goals and in the development of educational plans for the realization of these goals. It is a decision-making process by which students realize their maximum educational potential through communication and information exchanges with an advisor; it is ongoing, multifaceted, and the responsibility of both student and the advisor.''


American College Testing Program National Center for the Advancement of Educational Practices. (1984). Advising Skills, Techniques and Resources. Iowa City: American College Testing Program.

Brown, R. D. (1984). The student development educator role. In U. Delworth & G. R. Handson (Eds.), Student Services (pp.191-208). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Chickering, A. W. (1994). Empowering lifelong self-development. NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 50-53.

Creamer, D. G. & Creamer, E. G. (1994). Practicing Developmental Advising: Theoretical Contexts and Functional Applications. NACADA Journal 14(2), 17-24.

Crookston, B. B. (1972). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching.

Journal of College Student Personnel, 13, 12-17. Article reprinted with permission in NACADA Journal, 14 (2), 5-9.

Fielstein, L.L. and Lammers, W. J. (1992). The Relationship of Student Satisfaction with Advising to Administrative Support for Advising Services. NACADA Journal 12(1), 15-21.

Frost, S. H. (1994). Advising Alliances: Sharing Responsibilitiy for Student Success. NACADA Journal 14(2), 54-58. Referecing Frost, S. H. (1993) Developmental Advising: Practices and Attitudes of Faculty Advisors. NACADA Journal 13(2), 15-20.

O'Banion, Terry. (1972). An Academic Advising Model. Junior College Journal, volume 42 p. 62, 64, & 66-69. Reprinted with permission in the NACADA Journal 14(2), 10-16.

Ramos, Manuel 'Buddy'. (Speaker). (1999). Academic Advising: Campus Collaborations to Foster Retention (video recording in conjunction with PBS Adult Learning Service). Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association.

Spokane, A. R. (1994). The agile academic advisor. NACADA Journal, 14(2), 68-70.

Winston, Jr. R. B., Enders, S. C., & Miller, T. K. (Eds.) (March 1982). Developmental approaches to academic advising. New Directions for Student Services , 17.

Nancy S. King
Kennesaw State University
'98-99 NACADA President

How does developmental advising best fit into the 7 organizational models?

Developmental advising can definitely be used in any of the organizational models. Since it requires more time and is based upon the development of a relationship between advisor and student, it is not compatible with quick, registration-oriented sessions.

Nancy S. King
Kennesaw State University
'98-99 NACADA President

Using the total intake model, how are students referred to faculty members when technical questions arise?

You could have program or departmental liaisons to the Advising Center who would be available at key advising times or generally as a referral resource. My experience has been that faculty, particularly those in more technical programs, want to be involved. You might ask for their ideas on the best way to do this.


Margaret 'Peggy' King
Schenectady County Community College
'92-93 NACADA President

After learning theory and basic concepts of developmental advising - what are some of the first steps you suggest for adapting from prescriptive to developmental techniques - on a practical and daily basis?

I would recommend a gradual shift in focus from the scheduling of classes to a more in-depth understanding of a student's growth in decision-making, goal-setting, and problem-solving abilities. The advisor should spend time talking with the student about the purposes of advising so that both understand the potential benefits of an advising relationship. I would also suggest spending an increasing amount of time listening to advisees reflecting on the specific skills they are learning in their classes and the relevance this has for their lives. The advisor’s summary notes following an advising session should increasingly indicate these types of discussions with the student. I would emphasize, however, that not all sessions will be developmental. There are those situations when advising should be prescriptive in nature.


Nancy S. King
Kennesaw State University
'98-99 NACADA President



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