posted on November 20, 2012 15:55
Authored by: Peggy
accurate that there is no truly new idea, just modifications of
old ones. It's certainly true in higher education. One of
the great benefits of NACADA is the sharing of information and
ideas, acting as a springboard for the creation of new ideas or
the reworking of old ones. NACADA's national and regional conferences
stimulate a wealth of ideas.
Tinto was the keynote speaker for the NACADA's National Conference
in the fall of 1999 in Denver, Colorado. I was so inspired and
motivated to look for new avenues to help students that Tinto
was all I could talk about to my then dean, Rusty Fox, at the
airport when we were waiting for our flight back to Oklahoma.
I must have talked nonstop because every time Rusty tried to start
a sentence, he ended it by saying, 'No, that's fine. Go ahead.'
And on I talked. Evidently I was not the only one who was mesmerized
by Tinto's remarks, as he was asked to write an article for the
NACADA Journal highlighting his keynote address (Tinto, V. (1999).
Taking Retention Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College. NACADA Journal, 19 (2), 5-9). The statement that still
sticks in my mind from Tinto's address was the idea that advisors
should be in the classroom. They should be taking every opportunity
to get information to students and influence student success.
As he stated in the article, 'academic advising should be an
integral part of the first-year experience, not an adjunct to
it. Advising should be woven into the fabric of the freshman year
in ways that promote student development and that provide clear,
consistent, and accurate information that is easily accessible
to students.'(p. 9) I thought about how many workshops we provided
for students. Even after careful preparation, beautiful handouts,
masterful promotion, two students may show up. What were we doing
wrong? Tinto had the answer-go into the classroom. The next
question, of course, was how are we going to sell that to faculty
members. Understandably, our professors resist having class time
taken from their students. The most important thing to our professors
was providing valuable subject content to students. Who could
argue with that?
week after our return home from Denver, Rusty told me about a
program he knew of called, 'Don't Cancel That Class'. Professors
who were attending conferences, or for other reasons could not
meet with their class, asked student services personnel to present
information to their class or classes. Many colleges provide information
under this model, including Duke University, University of Massachusetts,
Waynesburg College, University of Michigan, and Randolph and Macon
College. I don't know who had the original idea, but it still
is a great idea. Rusty and I put our heads together and came up
with the idea for 'College Café' modeled after the idea of 'Don't
Cancel That Class'. Rusty thought having a fancy printed menu
with wonderful graphics would lend a little class to the project
and he had an idea in mind for such a menu. Before we got much
further, however, Rusty was offered an opportunity he couldn't
resist back in his home state of Texas. I worked in bits and pieces
on a menu (not very fancy, but it has graphics) and offerings
for 'College Café'.
a new dean, John Hockett, the idea of College Café was moved forward.
John and I met with the academic deans to get their reactions
and questions. They were supportive and suggested we give faculty
members the opportunity to have input. I met with department
chairs to present College Café and the philosophy behind it. By
going into the classroom and 'capturing' students, we had the
opportunity to give students information they often didn't even
know they needed. Our objectives were (and still are):
students to information that may increase the students' success
rate in classes.
- Increase students' resilience
to normal stresses of academic life.
- Increase students' comfort level
with counselors in Student Development, so they are more likely
to seek out available resources.
- Increase students' personal understanding
of their own life circumstances.
- Integrate academic advising with
the whole college experience.
- Build collaboration between Academic
Affairs and Student Services.
Provost invited me to introduce College Café during the 2002 Fall
Convocation. Faculty members were given 'menus' and the concept
of College Café was introduced. This also gave professors the
opportunity to ask questions and to match a face to the service
being provided by The Center for Student Development. Every Student
Development Counselor has the opportunity to present information
to students through College Café. At our institution, some divisions
utilize this service more than other divisions, but all divisions
have used College Café at one time or another. Students have been
very receptive to the presentations. Attached is a copy of our
College Café menu of services. Like
most of my colleagues in NACADA, I invite you to use what you
wish in order to assist students.
Professor of Psychology
Oklahoma City Community College
this resource using APA style as:
P. (2003). College Cafe. Retrieved from
the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: