Reflections from a College President: When Access is Not Enough, or The Significance of Academic Advising
Anthony Tricoli, President, Georgia Perimeter College
Editor's Note: As
members of the NACADA Board of Directors, the AAT Editorial Board, and
the Executive Office staff have talked with our membership around the
globe, it has become clear that we share a common concern about the
pressures that we all face in the current economic climate. We open
this edition with the positive, constructive measures that have been
taken at Georgia Perimeter College to ensure the success of the academic
advising program at that institution. Then we'll hear a variety of
perspectives on this topic from our membership.
As we celebrate NACADA's thirtieth anniversary, it seems appropriate to stop and reflect on the impact of academic advising on student success. NACADA's leadership in this critical component of student success has led to remarkable changes in the field, including the establishment of a professional code of ethics, best practices and research, as well as providing venues for professional development for all constituencies.
College presidents recognize the significance of academic advising as
part of the health and vitality of the college communities they serve.
This is a broader responsibility than simply enticing students to enter
and matriculate through our hallowed doors. Enrollment is the first step
in a partnership between students and the academic institution, and
presidents recognize that academic advising is critical to increasing
retention, graduation and transfer rates.
In difficult economic times, many citizens turn to colleges in their
communities for assistance with retraining and updating their
credentials. These individuals can be especially at-risk because they
are primarily non-traditional students and they may lack the requisite
skill set to succeed in an environment which is new to them. Those who
are unable to successfully navigate the bureaucracies for which many
higher educational institutions have become known may drop out. This not
only negatively impacts the economic future of our students; it also
erodes the economic stability of our communities. Families suffer due to
the loss of income. Communities suffer due to the loss of future
services, credentialed workers, and a decreased tax base. We all suffer
from a loss of educational role models. There are also increased public
costs in social services and crime-related expenses when students do not
complete their education. In short, failure to assist students to
succeed in college can have a profound and negative rippling impact on
the community at large.
Since many students are at great risk of dropping out before reaching
their goal of graduation or transfer, it is not enough to simply provide
access to higher education. Once students are admitted, the institution
is obligated to provide support to enhance their chances of success in
college. In the words of Vincent Tinto (2008), 'Access without effective
support is not opportunity.' Academic advising is part of a critical
web of college success tools that must be employed by colleges and
universities in configurations that fit their institutions' unique
culture and demographic needs.
At Georgia Perimeter College (GPC), we have morphed and expanded
academic advising from the traditional centralized service model to a
hub and spokes model. Faculty advisors share responsibilities with
professional counseling staff in response to data that we have examined
regarding the special impact of faculty relationships on students'
positive retention outcomes. At GPC we live by the NACADA motto:
"Advising is Teaching."
Academic advising is a vital component in GPC's strategic
plan; as such the college has increased its emphasis as well as its
resources for training and development of faculty advisors. One example
of this increased emphasis is GPC's outstanding Master Faculty Advisor Program.
These Master Advisors facilitate professional development for all
faculty advisors at each of our five campus locations. They have also
developed a virtual advising community where faculty can connect across
the vast distances between campuses of our urban multi-site institution.
These Master Advisors also serve as an institutional resource to
college governance bodies in the area of student success.
GPC also took a bold step and became the first academic institution in
Georgia to participate in the Rapid Process Improvement Initiative (RPI)
in partnership with Georgia's Office of Customer Service. Cross
functional teams of faculty and staff identified significant touch point
opportunities with students to ensure those moments provide value to
our students. A 'New Student Orientation' session was restructured to
provide students with critical information they need to begin their
careers successfully at GPC.
The RPI also streamlined the advising process for our learning support
students, who comprise 24% of our student body. Learning support
students now receive ongoing, in-class advising from faculty. This
targeted ongoing support helps our students stay on track and
successfully transition into collegiate-level work.
Multiple benefits have been generated from the innovations produced via
faculty participation in the RPI process. They identified and eliminated
the challenges of finding the information they need when advising
students. To address information issues, our faculty developed a
'Two-Click Toolkit' Web site to provide quick access to the information
faculty advisors need the most, interactive programs of study that could
be saved for future advising sessions and advising training modules
that deliver professional development on high interest topics.
In short, GPC's faculty, staff and administrators have improved many
aspects of advising and orientation in the RPI process which consisted
of five intensive week-long working sessions. This work has
revolutionized advising services at GPC. (Please look for our
presentation on this topic at the 2009 NACADA Annual Conference in San Antonio).
However, training and streamlining processes alone are not enough to
guarantee improvement of advising services. At GPC, we are moving to
include assessment and incentives for advising services to continue to
improve academic advising to students. Student input is an important
element of measuring our success as is data collection and tracking the
efficacy of these advancements in advising practice. These data will be
utilized to make future improvements in advising services at the
Now more than ever, colleges need to find creative ways to enhance
student success. While we are all chanting the 'do more with less'
mantra, we must also continue to invest in student retention. Student
retention is always a cost benefit analysis winner. For the community,
the academic institution and mostly for our students, retention is a
College presidents are fortunate to have NACADA serving as a vital
partner to institutions of higher education with their dedicated staff;
high-quality state, regional and national conferences; advising
database; and fine media support systems including the Web site,
publications and webinars. We recognize NACADA's achievements in raising
academic advising standards, developing professionalism and encouraging
I am pleased that Georgia Perimeter College and NACADA
share the same goal: student success. We look forward to many productive
years working together to enhance academic advising, as we increase the
retention, graduation and transfer of Georgia's students.
Georgia Perimeter College
Tinto, V. (2008, June 9). Access without support Is not opportunity. Inside Higher Ed . Retrieved April 10, 2009 from www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/06/09/tinto
From the President: Ensuring the Future of NACADA
Casey Self, NACADA President
The NACADA Board of Directors and Council convened in San Antonio March
21-22 for our mid-year business meetings. I thought it would be
appropriate to use this column to give my fellow NACADA members an
update on two of the more timely topics the Board and Council are
addressing at this time.
NACADA and Kansas State University Sign Agreement
The most exciting news that affects the sustainability of
our Association is that the Board of Directors and Kansas State
University have signed a ten-year agreement which continues the
outstanding support of our Executive Office that K-State has provided
for the past 19 years.
The Executive Office has been located within the Kansas State University
College of Education since 1990; the K-State College of Education has
provided outstanding support to the Association since this time. The
original agreement, while modified minimally over the years, was a
year-to-year agreement. With the impending retirements of key K-State
administrators, then-President Jo Anne Huber appointed a Sustainability Task Force, chaired by Past President Eric White,
to study the benefits of the Executive Office being located at K-State.
This group found that the K-State connection has been extremely
beneficial financially to the Association. After review of this report
during Past President Susan Campbell's tenure, then-President Jennifer Bloom reappointed
the Sustainability Task Force under Eric White's leadership to study
the benefits to Kansas State University of their continued support of
the NACADA Executive Office. Based upon these two reports, Michael Holen,
Kansas State University Dean of the College of Education, and the
Association's officers met last fall to discuss the feasibility of a
long-term agreement that would ensure that both NACADA and K-State
continue to benefit from the partnership.Dean Holen and the Board have worked during the past six months to
develop a ten-year agreement, and at the Board of Directors' mid-year
meeting on March 21, 2009, the agreement was approved by the Board.
you can see in the photo at right, I had the honor of officially signing
the agreement on behalf of the Board of Directors in my role as
President of the Association.
In these very challenging financial times, this is an extremely exciting
agreement, as it will allow our Association to continue to provide high
quality professional development to our members without significantly
raising membership or registration fees.
I want to officially thank Jo Anne Huber, Susan Campbell, Jenny Bloom, Eric White, and the members of the Sustainability Task Force for their vision and dedication which resulted in this awesome opportunity for our future. I also want to thank Roberta Flaherty (Executive Director Emeritus), Charlie Nutt (Executive
Director) and the Executive Office staff for their outstanding work,
both past and present, that makes NACADA run smoothly and efficiently.
NACADA Strategic Plan
The Board of Directors is primarily focused on creation,
implementation, and evaluation of the NACADA strategic plan. In recent
years, the following five strategic initiatives have been developed to
provide direction for the commissions and interest groups, regions,
committees, advisory boards, task forces, etc. in planning their
- Address the academic advising needs of higher education globally
- Advance the body of knowledge of academic advising
- Champion the educational role of academic advising to enhance student learning and development in a diverse world
- Educate university and college decision makers about the role of academic advising in higher education
- Ensure the effectiveness of the NACADA organization
I am happy to report that while efforts are continuing to implement
additional strategies, progress has been made on all five strategic
goals. Examples of progress include the NACADA Research Symposium
recently conducted in conjunction with the Region 4 Conference in Mississippi, an International Task Force
to explore specific objectives in NACADA becoming a global association, and the release of the NACADA Scenes for Learning & Reflection - An Academic Advising Professional Development DVD
. I would ask any NACADA member who might have additional ways to meet these strategic goals to contact me.
Finally, congratulations to the new class of elected NACADA leaders
who will begin their terms in October 2009. I am extremely confident our
Association will continue to be in good hands under the leadership of
President-elect Jayne Drake and Vice President-elect Kathy Stockwell.
Have a terrific summer!
Casey Self, President
National Academic Advising Association
From the Executive Director: NACADA Near You
Nutt, NACADA Executive Director
This is NACADA's 30th Birthday! In "association years," we are still in
our adolescence, growing and expanding, reaching for new horizons, and
finding innovative ways to connect with each of you and provide the
highest quality support and professional development opportunities to
enhance the success of your students.
In these very difficult financial times, NACADA continues to explore a variety of ways to bring NACADA Near You.
We recognize that travel budgets are being cut and traditional
professional development opportunities might not be available to many of
you. Therefore, our vision is to work together with our members to
provide as many opportunities as possible so you can continue to grow
professionally and find new and innovative ways to enhance the academic
advising experiences of your students and thus increase their
persistence to graduation.
Here are a few of the ways that we plan to bring NACADA Near You:
The NACADA Web site is an outstanding source of high
quality professional development that you and your campus colleagues
can use without leaving home. Some of the elements you can employ are:
- The NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources and the Academic Advising Today archives
include over 500 articles on a multitude of topics and issues revolving
around academic advising and student success, retention, and
persistence. Bring NACADA to your desktop by searching for articles
dealing with campus key issues; contact the author of the article for
additional information or ideas. Share articles with your colleagues on
campus; start a "NACADA article club" where you get colleagues together
once a month to read and discuss a key article or issue that can improve
advising on your campus as well as provide you with professional
- Subscribe to the new, free NACADA Podcast series and/or join in the discussion of the Executive Director Blog.
These are wonderful ways to gain valuable information on key issues in
the field of academic advising and student success without leaving your
office or iPod!
- Take advantage of one of the NACADA Academic Advising Summer Institutes.
Both of the institutes this summer will be held in cities that have low
airfares. We held the registration fees to the 2008 rate to assist
- Develop a plan for utilizing the NACADA Webcast Series each
year. The theme for the 2009-2010 series will be Reaching and Retaining
Students. The Webinars and Workinars offer a cost effective way to host
a mini-conference or seminar on your campus. Make use of the materials
that accompany each webcast or webcast CD in planning pre- and post-
activities that will bring your advising community together for a
quality professional development experience.
- Utilize the NACADA Pocket Guides
for a quality low-cost curriculum for your professional development
programming for advising colleagues and staff. The short and
comprehensive pocket guides will enable you to develop an on-going
professional development series by providing the curriculum you need.
- The Scenes for Learning and Reflection: An Academic Advising Professional Development DVD is an outstanding and cost-effective way to bring NACADA Near You.
If you are looking for an effective strategy for involving faculty
advisors in the conversations on quality academic advising, the DVD is
- Each spring NACADA hosts10 Regional Conferences that are low cost in both travel and registration. Plan to attend a Regional Conference or one of the many state or allied member conferences
- connect with colleagues near you in a quality way about our common
key issue: STUDENT SUCCESS! These are outstanding and, once again,
cost-effective ways to bringNACADA Near You!
- In this difficult budget year, the NACADA Board of Directors recently voted to keep our Annual Conference fee at the 2008 rate to better assist our members in these trying times! Bring NACADA Near You this fall in San Antonio, Texas!
- And one last idea, two of the many benefits of your membership are your subscription to the NACADA Journal and discounted member costs for NACADA publications. Bring NACADA Near You by
hosting a Common Reading program on your campus by sharing an article
from the Journal or a chapter from a monograph. This is great way to
also create a culture of scholarship and inquiry around the field of
academic advising on your campus.
The Board of Directors and the Executive Office Staff are committed to each of you. We encourage you to continue to find ways that NACADA can benefit you, your institutions, and your students.
Charlie Nutt, Executive Director
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
Advising IS Teaching: Advisors Take it to the Classroom
Amy Lance, California State University, Chico
Academic advising researchers, administrators, and student service
professionals alike make the case that advising is teaching. A 2004
draft of the NACADA Concept of Advising noted that 'academic advising is
a multidimensional and intentional process, grounded in teaching and
learning, with its own purpose, content, and specified outcomes'
(Preamble). The professions of advising and teaching both have a
responsibility for educating students to gain expertise and substance
through classroom and life experiences. Koring, Killian, Owen and Todd
(2004) saw that 'Advising and teaching are similar because both advisors
and teachers instruct in the areas of skills and content. Advising
teaches skills like decision-making and critical thinking, as well as
content like curriculum and academic regulations' (¶ 2). Academic
advisors and teachers strive to equip students with the tools necessary
to be successful in their college endeavors.
If advising is teaching, what do advisors teach? The NACADA Core Values
(2005) indicate that 'Advisors introduce and assist students with the
transitions to the academic world' (¶ 3). Academic advisors help
students understand academic expectations and empower students with the
skills necessary to meet academic and professional goals. Advisors teach
students about institutional degree programs, policies and procedures,
and resources to ensure a smooth and successful transition to collegiate
life. Advisors serve as information agents who connect students with
opportunities and student services including study abroad opportunities,
internships, and career choices. Additionally, advisors teach students
how to problem solve and recognize the impact of the choices they make
on their personal and professional aspirations.
In addition to academic advising, many college campuses have implemented
'University Life' or 'First Year Seminar' courses designed to equip
first year students with the tools necessary for a successful transition
to university life. According to the results of a survey conducted by
the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students
in Transition (2006), the objectives of a First Year (FY) seminar are to
develop academic skills, provide an orientation to campus resources and
services, and self-exploration/personal development (¶ 4). Instructors
of these courses should teach study skills, critical thinking, campus
resources, academic planning/advising, and time management (¶ 5). This
is precisely what academic advisors teach every day in one-on-one or
small group advising sessions.
There is a natural cohesiveness of FY courses and Academic Advising.
Tinto (1999) claims academic advising is so important to the persistence
of first year students that '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' (p. 9). What better way to integrate academic
advising into the first-year experience than through the classroom? When
we examine the course objectives and the roles and responsibilities of
an advisor, we clearly say that academic advisors are a perfect match
for instructors of first year courses. The purposes of FY courses and
advising are to support student adjustment and transition to college
life. The FY class can serve as a larger venue where academic advisors
can teach students about academics, opportunities, and resources; how to
develop an understanding of academic inquiry; taking responsibility for
and making good choices about relationships and social networks;
successfully dealing with problem solving, attitudes, and beliefs, while
developing a sense of purpose; and becoming a civically engaged
individual. The National Resource Center (2006) survey findings show
that University Life Courses should teach students how to navigate their
new university (policies, procedures, resources) and assist students
with academic planning, registration process, career exploration, and
making good decisions. Academic advisors are the information agents most
knowledgeable and capable to connect students to institutional values,
structure, resources, and student services. Arguably, academic advisors
should be more widely recognized and hired as teachers for FY courses.
Some colleges and universities currently utilize academic advisors and
student service professionals as teachers in first year courses. Tinto
(2002) reflects on this when he discusses that academic and student
affairs professionals are beginning to become the likely candidates to
teach in learning communities for specific populations. This is 'because
the staff of student affairs is typically the only persons on campus
who possess the skills and knowledge needed to teach some of the linked
courses' (Tinto, 2002, ¶ 15). Currently, only 31.9% of schools that have
University Life courses are being taught by academic advisors (http://www.sc.edu/fye/research/surveyfindings/surveys/survey06.html).
Academic advisors are ideal instructors for FY courses because they are
often the most familiar with institutional policies and procedures and
the resources available to new students. Teaching FY courses is an
invaluable and rewarding opportunity for academic advisors and can
expand their professional careers. Teaching FY classes builds stronger
relationships across campus; teaching supports student success, the
institution's mission, the interests of student persistence and
retention, and intellectual growth and development. I encourage advisors
to actively pursue the role of instructor for FY classes on their
Director of Undergraduate Business Advising
College of Business
California State University, Chico
Koring, H., Killian, E., Owen, J. L., & Todd, C.
(July 28, 2004). Advising and Teaching: Synergistic Praxis for Student
and Faculty Development.The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal. Retrieved February 27, 2009, from Pennsylvania State University Web site: http://www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/040728hk.htm
National Academic Advising Association. (2004). Draft of the NACADA concept of academic advising. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/Research_Related/definitions.htm
National Academic Advising Association. (2005). Statement of Core Values. Retrieved February 24, 2009, from NACADA Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/Core-Values-Exposition.htm
National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in
Transition. (2006). 2006 Summary of National Survey on First Year
Seminars. Retrieved April 6, 2009, from Web site: http://www.sc.edu/fye/research/surveyfindings/surveys/survey06.html
Tinto, Vincent. (1999). Taking retention seriously: Rethinking the first year of college.NACADA Journal, 19 (2): 5-9.
Tinto, V. (2002, April 15). Taking Student Retention Seriously: Rethinking the First Year of College.
Address presented at American Association of Collegiate Registrars and
Admissions Officers, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In Times of Budget Cuts: Difficult Issues and Possible Solutions
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow, Washington State University
We are currently experiencing one of the worst economic downturns in our
country's history. The stock market has plummeted, home owners are
facing foreclosure, and businesses are being forced to close their
doors. The severity of the recession has left America's education in a
precarious position. Colleges and universities are facing massive budget
cuts. Notwithstanding the ubiquitous claims that the budgetary woes
will not impact the core mission of American higher education, all
constituents are facing difficult choices during these troubling times.
This is certainly the case for both students and their academic
Over the last year, I have noticed more and more students who have
decided to stay in school because of the lack of desirable jobs and
fears about unemployment. Many students have chosen to attend graduate
school, obtain a second undergraduate degree or major, or sometimes,
just delay graduation. Their decision-making process isn't simply driven
by their job prospects, but also driven by the burden of debt. Today's
students owe between $25,000 and $65,000 in student loans (Lehrer, ¶ 2).
Delaying graduation thus protects them from the prospect of having to
pay back student loans in absence of a job.
The financial situation we face has also led to an increase in student
enrollment at community colleges, as laid off workers return to school
to improve their job prospects. George Boggs (2009), president of the
American Association of Community Colleges, states that many community
colleges across the nation are reporting 'double digit enrollment
increases,' despite facing a slash of their budgets (Streitfeld, ¶ 14).
As enrollments go up and budgetary allocations go down, students will
surely have a difficult time getting into classes. This translates into
more time advising students into the courses that will help them achieve
their goals. One solution might be to allow ourselves enough time with
each and every advisee. The extra time can be used wisely when we check
in with students, not just about their academics, but about their
personal health and family support systems.
Along with the decision to remain in or return to higher education,
students are also faced with a decrease in financial aid during times of
economic crisis. Whereas students from low-income families may see an
increase in their Pell Grants, students from middle-income families will
likely receive less money from the recently passed stimulus package.
Kelderman (2009) noted that without an increase to Stafford loans,
students will need to take out more expensive private loans in order to
have enough money to attend college (¶ 27). College tuition has been on
the rise every year. Lehrer (2008) stated that 'since the early '80s,
tuition and fees have grown 375 percent, almost three times more than
median family income. The average public college now costs about $14,000
per year, and the private colleges are approaching $35,000' (¶ 4).
Across the country, colleges and universities are responding to
budgetary dilemmas by increasing tuition. With fewer loans available,
advisors will have to be creative with students' academic plans. For
some students, it might be possible to take classes at the community
colleges to transfer back to a four year college in order to save money.
For other students, online courses will allow them to save rent and
travel expenses by taking courses at home.
Another factor impacts students during budget cuts: elimination of
majors and classes. At the University of Washington, Roseth (2009) noted
that state budget cuts will likely translate into cuts in student
enrollment and elimination of hundreds of staff and faculty positions (¶
3). It also means that with fewer instructors, it will take students
longer to complete their degrees, thus costing them more money (¶ 4).
Advisors must be prepared to deal with new challenges and situations.
Students will likely feel stressed, depressed, and lost during times of
crisis. Although advisors can't magically cure everything, we can
provide comfort and support for our advisees. It is imperative that
academic advisors be part of institutional and community networks so we
can provide the most accurate information and resources to students
looking for direction during these difficult times.
In addition to dealing with student issues, academic advisors are faced
with their own sets of dilemmas. Job cuts have already affected millions
of Americans. As each institution deals with budgetary constraints,
it's difficult not to worry about job security. Possible cuts in
personnel and an increase in student enrollment mean that advisors might
have an overload of students. Travel freezes also compound the problem
as professional development opportunities, such as attending regional
and national conferences, are eliminated.
Academic advisors will have to 'do more with less' while upholding our
responsibilities to our advisees. At the same time, we must deal with
our individual needs and personal stresses. As the NACADA Core Values
(2005) state, 'advisors are responsible for their professional practices
and for themselves personally' (Core Value # 6). As such, we not only
must take time to take care of our students, we must also pay attention
Whether we are employed or laid off, we must stay positive and reach
out to our families, friends, and the advising community on campus and
across the nation. A great way to stay motivated is to take on new
challenges. Activities such as growing a new garden, taking a yoga
class, or writing for a NACADA publication, can provide a sense of
empowerment and accomplishment.
Tough times are ahead of us. When we acknowledge the
economic woes and connect with others through our various communities,
we learn to adapt. Then we can aid our students to secure their goals
and help the economy get back on track.
Yung-Hwa Anna Chow
General Studies and Advising Center
Washington State University
Kelderman, E. (2009). Stimulus bill brings relief to some states but falls far short for others. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Web site: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v55/i25/25a02401.htm
Lehrer, J. (2008). Student debt rising as college costs continue to climb. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from PBS NewsHour Web site: www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/july-dec08/highered_12-08.html .
NACADA. (2005). NACADA statement of core values of academic advising. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from the NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Clearinghouse/AdvisingIssues/Core-Values.htm
Roseth, R. (2009). Proposed 2009-11 budget cuts would cost 600-800
jobs. Retrieved March 10, 2009, from University Week Web site:
Streitfeld, R. (2009). Unemployed workers head back to school. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from CNN Web site: www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/02/14/unemployment.education/index.html?iref=newssearch
Helping Students Weather the Storm: Career Advising in Tough Economic Times
Gregg A. Henderschiedt, University of Florida
The current state of the economy is no secret-nearly every newscast,
magazine and blog is buzzing with the latest round of bad news. Not
surprisingly, students are beginning to ask questions about how majors
relate to their career goals and how they should plan given the current
economic reality. It is more important than ever that academic and
career advisors keep up with both general economic forecasts to help
students with career planning and to pay particular attention to the
special needs that students may have in a down economy.
Academic advisors are beginning to hear students ask about 'recession
proof' fields. In reality, no such field exists. Just a few years ago,
finance and management majors would have considered themselves secure
for life. Likewise many previous students counted on the dot com boom of
the 1990s, which also cooled. All fields experience peaks and valleys,
and career planning around the latest 'hot field' often leads to chasing
a moving target later. Advisors who encourage students to gain
practical experience, expand their skill sets, and remain flexible give
students the tools needed to react to the range of economic cycles they
will experience in their lifetime
Many students are so concerned with choosing the 'perfect' major and
achieving good grades that they fail to take advantage of many
opportunities to gain experience. Students often fall into the trap of
believing that the only experience that 'counts' is that for which they
have been paid. Internships and volunteering are great ways for students
to not only build their skills, but to make important business
connections and learn about a particular field. Campus involvement is
also an excellent way to build leadership and problem solving skills.
Every spring, thousands of college graduates prepare to enter the job
market by writing resumes, attending career fairs, and applying for
jobs. With increased competition, students need to pay extra attention
to detail on cover letters and resumes. Many students, with some
coaching, can write a strong resume for a position, however careless
mistakes become more common when they apply for positions using form
letters and mass mailings. Students should keep detailed records of
their applications and treat every cover letter and resume with care.
Many universities have comprehensive career centers which offer
workshops on resume writing, interviewing, and other important career
Career counselors have long stressed the importance of networking during
a job search, and this is even more critical in a tight job market.
Many students, especially introverts, find networking daunting, when in
reality it can be as simple setting up a group in an email address book.
Letting everyone, including even the most unlikely friend or colleague,
know about a job search can reap surprising results. Everyone who comes
into contact with the student should know that he or she is 'in the
market.' There are more than a few instances in which having a resume
on hand has resulted in a job offer from a casual acquaintance. Students
can also take advantage of networking opportunities through alumni
associations which are often more than happy to connect them with
professionals in a variety of fields.
Many students consider graduate school as a 'Plan B' during tough
economic times. While graduate school is a valid option for many, it is
important that a student consider his or her reasons for applying.
Students may not have considered the substantial commitment of time and
money that graduate school requires. There is also the reality that
budget cuts will force some universities to limit enrollments in
programs that will likely see even more applications than normal. In
short, graduate school might not be the sound backup plan that students
envisioned, and referrals to career counselors may be necessary to help
students with their decisions.
Some students are considering alternatives to graduate
school such as the Peace Corps, Teach for America or AmeriCorps. These
can be excellent ways for students to delay a permanent job search,
learn new skills, and obtain potentially life (and career!) changing
Looking for employment can be a full time job, and most students
grossly underestimate the amount of time it takes to land their first
position. Students will often limit their searches based on salary and
geographic expectations, and some may need to reconsider what they
consider 'acceptable' employment. It is easy to get discouraged during a
long job search, so it is important that advisors watch for signs of
low self esteem or depression. A few carefully worded questions and a
timely referral to a mental health counseling center could turn out to
be the most important career advice we can give.
Most experienced advisors know that this economic
downturn, like those in the past, will bottom out at some point and
conditions will improve. It is important that we convey a sense of
optimism to students experiencing this for the first time during such an
important stage in their career development. If advising is teaching,
advisors in this economy are in a prime position to teach the career
planning skills students can use for a lifetime.
Gregg A. Henderschiedt
Career Resource Center
University of Florida
So You Want To Join Peace Corps: Advising Students Toward a Rewarding International Living Experience
Jay A. Minert, University of Hawaii at Hilo
While it has been several years since I was a Peace Corps recruiter, I
still find myself engaged in familiar dialogue: An advisee will look at
my wall, see pictures of my Peace Corps experience, and exclaim, 'I want
to do that!' Whether preparing for a Study Abroad program or showing
interest in international service opportunities such as Peace Corps,
these students appreciate having frank and honest discussions about the
realities of living overseas. This article provides points of
consideration for advisors who know similar students.
In speaking with students, I first make it clear that I no longer
officially represent the Peace Corps agency, and that my views are my
own (which is true for this article as well). I advise students to
research the Peace Corps Web site ( www.peacecorps.gov)
and contact a current Peace Corps representative to discuss their
interest in service. Speaking with returned Peace Corps Volunteers
(PCVs) can also be helpful as we each have our own unique story to tell.
I served in Belize, where I ran a conservation corps for inner-city
youth, and in Palau, where I implemented environmental education
projects. Each PCV experience is unique; even those who serve in the
same country can have very different experiences.
What makes Peace Corps so difficult that it is touted as the 'toughest
job you'll ever love?' Since there can be millions of potentially
challenging scenarios, I advise prospective PCVs to reflect on what
might challenge them overseas. It is important to recognize that PCVs
face unique challenges that depend largely on the individual's
circumstance. Sure, there are those 'typical' difficulties (language
barriers, homesickness, big bugs, living amongst poverty, etc.), but
personal characteristics such as age, ethnic background, sexual
orientation, dietary constraints, and health considerations represent a
myriad of issues which can translate into unique challenges for any PCV.
For example, PCVs of color may be perceived differently than white
PCVs; a vegetarian might struggle at a dinner where she is the guest of
honor and goat the entree. The aim is to assist applicants in
discovering what their own challenges will likely be and how they intend
to respond to those challenges - an integral part of the Peace Corps
I encourage applicants to think about their expectations. Visualizing
life as a PCV can elicit romantic images of an exotic, colorful village
where small children adoringly follow the PCV who works on profoundly
important projects. The truth is always somewhere in the middle: the
village may seem exotic at first, but can grow to be quite boring after
the initial 'honeymoon' phase; intense popularity is great, but a total
lack of anonymity can become quite challenging; the village may not be a
village at all, but rather a bustling metropolis; and the projects in
which the PCV is engaged may not initially seem very significant when
compared to the U.S.'s concept of 'work.' Despite all this, a Peace
Corps experience can be profoundly important in ways the PCV never
The fact is, the more expectations a PCV brings with her, the more
chance for disappointment. An applicant wanting to go to Latin America
might expect a tropical environment where Spanish is widely spoken; what
he might find instead is life on top of a Latin American volcano where
it is cold and the primary language is a Maya dialect. PCVs usually
arrive with romanticized imagery of what their service will be like, but
being able to adjust to the realities of life in a developing country
is critical for a successful service.
Applicants should understand that the Peace Corps can be very
competitive and there are proactive things they can do while still in
college. Making sound academic plans and taking courses in subject areas
relevant to a desired assignment area can be beneficial. Gaining
meaningful cross-cultural experience, such as Study Abroad or
experiences found right here at home, is vital. Establishing a pattern
of relevant volunteer activity is very important (whoever heard of
someone embarking on a two-year volunteer stint with no previous
volunteer experience?). Possessing language skills can be helpful for
some assignments, although previous language skills may not be necessary
as PCVs gain language proficiency within their country of service.
It is important that applicants reflect on why they want to serve. Many
students recognize the career-advancing benefits of doing Peace Corps
service. However, in considering service, students should seek a healthy
balance between personal goals and pragmatic, genuine altruism.
A final piece of advice: be flexible! Applicants may insist on specific
geographical or work preferences that may not be possible to
accommodate. After all, the host countries request PCVs, not the other
way around. If an applicant demands to be placed in Asia teaching
English, but no Asian country is requesting English teachers, then that
applicant will need to reassess priorities. Be open to the unknown.
Applicants who are willing to serve where their skill sets are most
needed find better fits. The more flexible and open PCVs can be, the
more likely it is that they will enjoy their experience.
One article cannot succinctly address all of the issues surrounding
Peace Corps service. However, it is my hope that this article will serve
as a reference point for advisors who counsel students interested in an
international living experience such as the Peace Corps. Our world is
becoming ever more interconnected, and the ability to examine life from a
truly global perspective is a valuable skill that everyone should
Jay A. Minert
University of Hawaii at Hilo
Remembering that the Student is the Heart of the Educational Enterprise
Andrea Harris, Probation/Dismissal/Reinstatement Issues Interest Group Chair
It is no secret that our nation is in the middle of a very real economic
crisis. One need not look far to read about layoffs, bailouts, and
stimulus efforts. Topping the list of affected fields are the automotive
industry, banking, and retail operations of all sizes. What about
higher education? Around the country, college administrators are
taking pay cuts and recommending program or staff changes.
As universities and colleges continue to post endowment losses and
discuss selling prized art collections, many administrators anticipate
less-than-optimal enrollment numbers. In an effort to stave off further
staff and faculty reductions, our communities are rethinking recruitment
and retention tactics. How many students do 'we' typically lose before
the fifth week? How many pre-matriculated new students decide not to
show up at the last second? Those who work at private institutions might
wonder how many full-pay students will no longer be able to afford
hefty tuition payments.
At just about every college, advisors and administrators who work with
probation, dismissal and reinstatement (PDR) issues are on the forefront
of retention discussions. Of course! At the end of every term, these
individuals connect with students who were dismissed for a less than
satisfactory academic progress. That same group might also review the
readmission petitions of students who are contesting the original
dismissal decision or who have demonstrated their abilities elsewhere
and want to come back.
Those of us who work in the PDR trenches probably know how many students
our institutions dismiss every term. Whether the net number is 14, 140,
or many more, each student we dismiss has a corresponding dollar sign,
which in these economically troubled times is a serious and
clearly-articulated concern. How can PDR advisors walk the line between
meeting their colleges' very real needs and best serving this student
Many probation policies are not so black-and-white as to be totally
automated; thus, human oversight is often required. Regardless of an
institution's policies, someone needs to review special cases (if not
all cases) and certainly to review appeals. That means that PDR
colleagues might have some sway over the outcome of individual cases.
With pressure to keep the number of pre-enrolled students high to offset
any lower new student numbers, PDR advisors might find it easier to err
on the side of optimism in some potential dismissal cases.
Given the sometimes ample gray areas in our respective policies
(exceptions for extenuating circumstances or 'Friends of the Board'
cases), it would be possible (and understood in this economic climate)
for the PDR to group allow a dismissible student an extra term. In so
doing, the student would receive the benefit of the doubt and an extra
chance to improve, and the institution could count on the student's
continued enrollment and revenue.
In this way, implementation of PDR policies can sometimes be subjective.
Maybe 'Brittany' did poorly in two major classes but she has
subsequently changed her major. It is possible that 'Aaron,' who has
consistent sub-par work, is really close to a 2.0 and maybe should have
one more chance. As colleges continue to look at projected revenues
there could be pressure on all areas to increase retention. Clearly, if
PDR policies are open to interpretation, PDR decision makers might be
tempted to take a more optimistic approach. The student would be pleased
and the institution would be one student closer its enrollment goals.
Everybody's happy, right?
Anyone who has met with PDR students pleading their cases for
reinstatement has heard 'I know I can do better.' 'There were problems
at home.' 'I changed my major.' Also, some students tend to confuse what
they want with what they need. Does a private college student who has
lost her financial aid due to probation really 'need' to come back for
another expensive semester when she could attend a community college and
complete some of the same classes? Maybe not.
As advisors working with students facing serious academic difficulty,
should our focus be on helping the student find success at our
institution, or at another school that may be a better fit? I suggest
that we help students find the program that will best help them succeed.
I also suggest that we encourage students to take the time needed to
attend to their personal obstacles and return when they are better able
to focus on studies. PDR advisors must recommend the paths that are the
best for our students, regardless of the current campus economic
One of the hardest parts of PDR advising is telling a student that he
should not return to this school. To some extent, that is subjective
call. However, when a degree audit shows that, in order to graduate, a
third year student with a 1.98 cumulative GPA needs three more years of
classes in which he must earn at least 'B's,' then it is better to tell
him to consider other schools. By the time many of these students reach
the dismissal point, they have lost financial aid and are paying for
costs out-of-pocket or through high-interest private loans.
As our collegiate communities contemplate revenue shortfalls and
endowment shrinkages, many of our students are facing financial
concerns. Regardless of external situations, it is incumbent that PDR
advisors remember that the student is the heart of the educational
enterprise. Students (and our senior administrators) entrust us with
their care. They should expect that our advice is transparent and
particular to them and their circumstances. This is not at odds with
institutional expectations for student service. When we serve our
students thoughtfully and with integrity, we also reinforce the
integrity of the institution we represent.
Senior Director, Student Administrative Services
Staying Positive: Five Simple Tools
Mary Beth Ely, University of South Carolina
Scientists know a lot about what makes people sad and depressed.
However, it has only been in the last decade that scientists have begun
actively studying what makes people happy and thrive. In 1999, Dr.
Martin Seligman, in his role as president of the American Psychological
Association, challenged his fellow psychology researchers to switch
gears in their research and begin the 'scientific pursuit of optimal
human functioning' (Lopez, 2000, ¶ 4). Since Seligman's challenge, the
field of positive psychology has developed rapidly. Positive psychology
focuses on three main areas: positive emotions, positive individual
traits, and positive institutions (Positive Psychology Center, 2007).
The positive psychology literature base has also flourished in the past decade. In 2001, The Handbook of Positive Psychology was published by Oxford University Press. Tal Ben-Shahar published a book in 2007 entitled Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.
Ben-Shahar is a faculty member at Harvard and teaches a class on
positive psychology that is an extremely popular course at Harvard
(Ben-Shahar, 2007). In addition, Barbara Fredrickson (2009), a Kenan
Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, recently published her research on positive emotions and
overcoming negativity in the book Positivity. Her research has
scientifically proven that a positive mindset can make people healthier
and happier (Fredrickson, 2009). The purpose of this article is to share
five scientifically proven tools from Dr. Fredrickson's research
findings that can be used to help academic advisors increase their
happiness and positivity levels.
Tool One: Savor Positivity.
Fredrickson (2009) encourages people to intentionally revel in happy
memories. One way she suggests doing this is through reliving positive
experiences through looking at photographs of those moments (p. 211).
Advisors can strategically place photos in their office. Not only will
this improve the advisor's own positivity level, but students will be
uplifted as well by images of cheerful, happy times that are shared in
the pictures. The photos can be a great conversation starter and serve
to let students know that the advisor has a life outside of the office.
Tool Two: Ritualize Gratitude.
Fredrickson (2009) defines gratitude as simply noticing the gifts and
blessings in our lives (p. 210). One way Fredrickson suggests to do this
is to keep a gratitude journal. At the start or end of each day,
advisors should write at least one thing they are grateful for in their
gratitude journal. It can be something very small, like the beautiful
flowers seen on the way to work, a friendly smile from a co-worker, or a
student who was especially inspiring. This journal will serve as a
deposit of positivity. Occasionally reading what has previously been
written will help inspire positive and grateful feelings all over again
Tool Three: Develop Healthy Distractions.
"Distractions are important tools for breaking the grip of rumination
and curbing needless negativity. The goal is simple - to get your mind
off your troubles" (Fredrickson, 2009, p. 203). To achieve this,
advisors can make a list of healthy distractions. Advisors should ask
themselves, "How can I distract myself from negative feelings today?"
Examples of healthy distractions include pulling out a good book to read
for a few minutes, taking a quick walk, following a Web link to a
favorite news site, or doing a crossword puzzle (Fredrickson, 2009, p.
203). Advisors will want to keep these healthy distractions handy and
give themselves permission to be distracted. "It only takes a few
minutes to break the cycle of a downward spiral. Yet the benefits of the
turnaround are priceless" (Fredrickson, 2009, p. 203).
Tool Four: Create High-quality Connections.
Advisors are fortunate that they have many opportunities daily to
connect in a positive way with other people, including faculty, staff,
and students. "According to Jane Dutton, co-founder of the Center for
Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan's Ross
School of Business, your moments of connection with others form a
dynamic, living tissue that can be either life-giving or life-depleting"
(Fredrickson, p. 201) . One advising model that is focused on creating
positive connections with students is Appreciative Advising (Bloom,
Hutson, and He, 2008). This model of advising focuses on asking
positive, open-ended questions of students that help advisors identify
student strengths, as well as their hopes and dreams for their futures.
The opportunity to be inspired by students' stories and dreams can also
be a life-giving force for advisors.
Tool Five: Find Nearby Nature.
Frederickson (2009) advocates that people intentionally seek out
opportunities to be energized by the outdoors (p. 205). Thankfully,
college campuses are usually full of areas of natural beauty. Academic
advisors should aim to find those places on their campus. Why not hold a
staff meeting outside when the weather permits? Find places on campus
that are restorative and make these places a regular destination
(Fredrickson, 2009, p. 205). To increase positivity, advisors should
visit these places during breaks, on the way to/from the parking lot,
during lunch, etc. A change of scenery can be just what is needed to
increase positivity levels.
Having a positive outlook will help advisors not only be better
advisors, but will also help them become happier and more fulfilled
people. As Shane Paul said:
It takes courage to demand time for yourself. At first glance, it may
seem to be the ultimate in selfishness, a real slap in the face to those
who love and depend on you. It's not. It means you care enough to want
to see the best in yourself and give only the best to others. It is
silent recognition that your obligation to them is to give your best,
and nothing less (as quoted by Christine, 2008, ¶ 1).
The five simple steps described in this article are proven ways
for academic advisors to increase their positivity and happiness levels.
Mary Beth Ely
Higher Education and Student Affairs
University of South Carolina
Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfillment. New York: McGraw Hill.
Christine. (2008, December 29). Embracing self care. Retrieved March 9, 2009, from Woman Tribune: http://womantribune.com/embracing-care.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York: Crown Publishers.
Lopez, S. J. (2000). The emergence of positive
psychology: The building of a field of dreams. Retrieved March 3,
2009, from APA Online: www.apa.org/apags/profdev/pospsyc.html
Positive Psychology Center. (2007). Retrieved March 3, 2009, from University of Pennsylvania: www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/
Professional Development on a Budget
Scott Amundsen, NACADA Mentor
Les Ridingin, NACADA Emerging Leader
As academic advisors, the opportunity to travel to various conferences,
institutes, and seminars is not only a worthwhile benefit, but a
necessary 'perk' for a variety of reasons. First, it keeps us refreshed
and up-to-date on current practices within the field. Second, it affords
us the chance to network with colleagues from other institutions.
Therefore, although we know that in the current economy travel
opportunities might be few and far between, we want to encourage our
advising colleagues to not give up on pursuing these benefits! Here we
share some 'tried and true' tips for increasing the chances of attending
off-campus professional development opportunities on the institution's
- Priority Registration.Timing
and preparation are crucial. Plan ahead and prepare a budget; these
steps increase the likelihood that supervisors will listen to a travel
request. Most conferences have a priority registration discount, which
can save $50-100 depending on the event, so it is a good idea to seek
buy-in as quickly as possible. Be alert for any other registration
discounts offered. Prime examples include graduate student discounts or
multiple participants from the same institution. Paying ahead for an
event also decreases the likelihood that the institution will 'pull the
plug' during tight times, so pay attention to registration deadlines.
- Be a Presenter. When a
presentation proposal is accepted by the conference committee it
increases the likelihood of being allowed to attend the event. However,
taking a supervisor by surprise with news of an accepted presentation is
not wise. We suggest being upfront with supervisors; let the
administrator know that you plan to submit a proposal. Perhaps the
supervisor will even be interested in co-presenting! Creative planning may be required. Les notes: 'When I first approached a
supervisor about submitting a conference presentation proposal I was
told that my scope was too limited. I took this as an indicator that I
had not communicated enough with my supervisor regarding my interests. I
followed Scott's advice and spoke with a colleague who agreed to be a
co-presenter. Our proposal was accepted, we attended the conference, and
our unit was proud when we won an award for the presentation!'
- Be a Leader. Administrators are
more likely to support travel for those who are leaders in their
professional organizations. Additionally, some reimbursement may be
offered by the organization for those who serve in a leadership
capacity. TheNACADA Emerging Leaders Program,
for example, provides Emerging Leaders with $1500 to take advantage of
NACADA professional development opportunities. Our work as an Emerging
Leader / Mentor team has boosted our institutions' support of our
relevant travels and covered Les' costs for travel to the NACADA Annual
Conference. Look for these opportunities and apply! Just be sure that
all commitment requirements are well understood upfront. Les recalls: 'When I was accepted into the NACADA Emerging Leaders
Program, it reflected well on my department dean and his negotiating
position for requesting travel monies for me was strengthened. As a
result, I was allowed to attend the NACADA Spring 2009 Regional
Conference as well as the fall Annual Conference.'
For conferences within a day's drive, carpooling is a great
budget-stretcher. Reach across campus - or even to a nearby institution -
to find travel companions who can share expenses. If carpooling is not a
viable option, before jumping to the airlines, consider other mass
transit possibilities. Many larger conference cities can be reached by
rail or other mass transit options. When airline travel is the best
option, be sure to check all possible savings opportunities. Might
frequent flyer miles accumulated on campus be utilized? Use travel
search engines, such as www.kayak.com, www.priceline.com, www.hotwire.com, and www.travelzoo.com, and check price listings daily. Many sites post new deals at noon
each Wednesday. Consider all alternate route possibilities for the best
- Hotels. Book early,
particularly for the conference host hotel, since rooms at conference
rates often fill early. Consider sharing a room. Conferences often
provide links to other attendees seeking to share a room. While this
option is not for everyone, it can cut expenses so significantly that it
can mean the difference between going and staying home! Another option
to consider is staying at a nearby property rather than the host hotel.
Sometimes the willingness to walk a few blocks each morning and evening
can result in significantly lower rates. Use online sites such as www.priceline.com. www.tripadvisor.com, and www.biddingfortravel.com
to seek the best deals. If the event is in a resort area, such as
Orlando, San Antonio, Miami, or San Diego, consider renting a timeshare
- Meals. Avoid room service,
which is often very costly. Explore the local cuisine; the hotel
concierge desk is an excellent source of information. Ask for available
literature that may contain coupons, and check out www.restaurant.com for local restaurant discounts or find local grocery store delis. Scott notes: "I always splurge with one nice meal when I travel; it is
worth it to enjoy the local cuisine or a celebrity chef. Following Les'
suggestion to try The Bongo Room during the 2008 NACADA Annual
Conference in Chicago gave me the opportunity to taste Smore Banana
Flapjacks that are 'to die for'! I make up for my splurge by locating
the local sub-shop and grocery store for other low-cost meals."
Even in tight times - perhaps especially in tight times - we must take
care of ourselves. Professional development events pay long-term
dividends; our careers will ultimately suffer if we miss out on these
opportunities. While we hope the tips we have shared will help our
colleagues save money and will open funding doors that might have seemed
closed, we also know that, realistically, in these very tight times
occasionally we may have to just 'bite the bullet' and pay our own way!
While it may sound radical, offering to pay for professional development
opportunities shows great initiative and dedication that may be
remembered by our administrators. Actions such as this may have a future
pay-off that we can not anticipate today.
We hope to see you at a NACADA professional development event very soon!
University of North Carolina Wilmington
University of Texas at Arlington
Motivational Interviewing in Advising: Working with Students to Change
Robert F. Pettay, Kanas State University
There is a metaphor about the individual who walks down a street, falls
in a hole in the sidewalk, gets up, and then does it again, and again.
Initially the individual feels no responsibility for the outcome. Then
enlightenment comes and the individual simply chooses to walk down
another street to get to the same destination. This metaphor reminds me
of students who visit with advisors yet continue to engage in behaviors
detrimental to academic success. Even after advisors recommend different
directions, the students continue to miss classes, utilize poor study
habits, and employ poor self-management skills. Then they are surprised
to find themselves on continued academic probation or returning from
prior academic dismissal to experience the same outcome. Is there some
way advisors can help these students overcome their ambivalence to
change and initiate a new type of behavior?
Prescriptive advising is based on authority, with the primary
responsibility for the dispensing of information and the prescribing of
remedies for problems falling to advisors (Winston & Sandor, 1984).
But advice and information are only effective if the individuals
receiving them actually internalize and engage in the behaviors being
prescribed. Compare this approach to developmental advising, which
involves the facilitation of rational processes, environmental and
interpersonal interactions, behavioral awareness, problem-solving,
decision making, and evaluation skills (Crookston, 1972). The
developmental approach encourages the use of a variety of communication
and motivational skills, including motivational interviewing.
Motivational interviewing (MI) as defined by Miller and
Rollnick (1991) is a directive, client-centered counseling technique for
eliciting behavior change by helping clients explore and resolve
ambivalence. This method has the advisor leading the session in a way
that is subtle, gentle, responsive, and imaginative, as opposed to
prescribing a solution to solve a problem. The implicit theory behind
motivational interviewing is that MI will lead to an increase in client
(in our case, student) change talk and diminish student resistance. The
extent to which a student defends the status quo will be inversely
related to behavior change, and the extent to which a student verbally
argues for change will be directly related to behavior change. For an
advisee to initiate productive behaviors, the advisee must be ready,
able, and willing to make a change.
Motivational interviewing is based on four general principles:
expressing empathy, developing discrepancy, rolling with resistance, and
supporting self-efficacy. Empathy has been defined as experiencing an
accurate understanding of the student's awareness of his or her own
experience, to sense the student's private world as if it were our own,
but without ever losing the 'as if' quality (Rogers, 1957). Developing
discrepancy involves helping the student recognize the difference
between the current behavior and the desired behavior. Rolling with
resistance requires the advisor to avoid arguing with the student, but
continue to use open-ended questions to draw the student back to the
discrepancy in the current behavior. Perceived self-efficacy is defined
as people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated
levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect
their lives (Bandura, 1994). Even when an advisee recognizes the need to
change a current behavior, actual change will require both a belief in
the capability to engage in the new behavior and belief in the
likelihood that this change will lead to a desired outcome.
One challenge to using Motivational Interviewing in the
advising environment is maintaining the 'spirit' of MI in the typical
constraints of the environment. The three characteristics that represent
the spirit of MI include collaboration, evocation, and autonomy (Miller
& Rollnick, 2002). Collaboration involves setting a nonjudgmental,
supportive environment conducive for self-exploration, and evocation
involves facilitation of the issues related to behavior change, both pro
and con. Autonomy involves respect for the student's decision-making
process as the student is the ultimate agent of change. The advisor must
establish principles for the use of MI that maintain the integrity of
the concept, but work within the time constraints and number of sessions
available for working with the advisee on behavior change.
Strategies for using MI in the advising setting vary. One approach
that has been used in the community-based intervention field is to
negotiate the student's agenda. Rollnick asserts that starting with the
student's agenda for the session is an effective way to establish
rapport and focus on student priorities (Rollnick, Mason, & Butler,
1999). The advisor may state that the purpose of the meeting is to look
at the reasons for academic dismissal, but allow the student to talk
about the main concerns he or she holds right now, rather than try to
choose an issue for the student. Another approach might include the use
of a decisional balance scale worksheet to examine the pros and cons of
the targeted behavior (Hecht, Borrelli, Breger, DeFrancesco, Ernst,
& Resnicow, 2005) with the student. A final strategy may involve
providing personal feedback to the advisee based on testing and
monitoring results. This approach would assist in helping the advisee
develop awareness of the behavior and examine the discrepancy between
the current behavior he or she is engaging in, and the desired behavior
Motivational Interviewing was developed to treat
addictive behaviors, but has also been found to be effective in changing
health behaviors such as physical activity (Hecht et al., 2005),
dietary behaviors (Burke, Arkowitz, & Menchola, 2003), and obesity
(Carels et al., 2007). Advisors may recognize a number of advisee
behaviors that may benefit from the use of MI. Poor study skills, low
engagement, low academic self-efficacy, and poor time-management skills
all can negatively impact the academic success of students. Instead of
handing materials to the student or giving advice in a prescriptive
manner, MI would allow the student and advisor to work in collaboration,
with the student choosing initial behavioral changes to improve the
current situation. These small first steps can lead to additional
behaviors beneficial to the academic success of the student, and this
facilitative, empathic approach can enhance the advisor-advisee
relationship in future interactions
Robert F. Pettay
Department of Kinesiology
Kansas State University
Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press.
Burke, B.L., Arkowitz, H., & Menchola, M. (2003). The
efficacy of motivational interviewing: A meta-analysis of controlled
clinical trials. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 843-861.
Carels, R.A., Darby, L., Cacciapaglia, H.M., Konrad, K.,
Coit, C., Harper, J., et al. (2007). Using Motivational Interviewing as a
supplement to obesity treatment: A stepped-care approach.Health Psychology, 26 (3), 369-374.
Crookston, B.B. (1972). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching. Journal of College Student Personnel, 13, 12-17.
Hecht, J., Borrelli, B., Breger, R.K.R, DeFrancesco, C.,
Ernst, D., & Resnicow, K. (2005). Motivational Interviewing in
community-based research: Experiences from the field. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 29-34.
Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people to change addictive behavior. New York: Guilford Press.
Miller, W.R. & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people to change (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.
Rogers, C.R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95-103.
Rollnick, S., Mason, P., & Butler, C. (1999). Health behavior change: A guide for practitioners. London: Churchill Livingstone.
Winston, R.B., & Sandor, J.A. (1984). Developmental academic advising: What do students want? NACADA Journal, 4 (1), 5-13.
ADA Amendment Act: What Advisors Need to Know
LaDonna Bridges, Advising Students with Disabilities Commission Chair
The number of students with documented disabilities - physical,
cognitive, psychiatric or medical - has been steadily increasing on
campuses across the country. A 2004 study by the Department of Education
found that students with disabilities account for nearly 11 percent of
the student population, a 2 percent increase from 2000. The recent
passage of the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 has many campus disability
service providers wondering if the numbers will continue to rise in the
coming years. Advisors are likely to encounter an increasing number of
students with disabilities as well.
Two laws ensure access to higher education for students with
disabilities: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Non-discrimination and
reasonable accommodation are two core rights for individuals with
disabilities. To qualify as having a disability, an individual must have
a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more
major life activities, have record of such an impairment, or be regarded
as having an impairment. In the years since the ADA was passed, a
series of Supreme Court decisions has narrowed the definition of
disability. More time was spent in legal challenges determining whether a
disability was substantial rather than whether discrimination occurred
or a reasonable accommodation was denied. The ADA Amendment Act (ADAAA)
of 2008, which became law in January 2009, was a move by Congress to
return to a broader definition of disability, as outlined in the Rehab
Act of 1973 and as intended by the ADA in 1990. The ADAAA will shift
focus back to provision of reasonable accommodations and accessibility.
Although no one can predict with certainty the impact of the ADA
Amendment Act on higher education, one of the most notable changes is
the expansion of the list of major life activities. Reading,
concentrating and thinking are now included along with caring for
oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping,
walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning,
communicating and working. Bodily functions considered major life
activities were amended to include normal cell growth, digestive, bowel,
bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine,
immune system and reproductive functions. This exhaustive list leads
many disability service providers and others responsible for determining
reasonable accommodations to conclude that the number of students
seeking accommodations is likely to increase.
The exclusion of mitigating measures when considering the
presence of a disability is another significant change resulting from
the ADA Amendment Act. Mitigating measures, as a rule, reduce the impact
of the impairment on an individual's functioning. For example, a
psychiatric condition may qualify an individual as having a disability
even though the individual is functional with proper medication use and
has not had an acute episode in many years. While mitigating measures
cannot disqualify an individual from being considered disabled, the
positive and negative impacts of mitigating measures can be applied to
determine reasonable accommodations.
While the ADAAA broadens the definition of disability, it does not
impact the process of determining reasonable accommodations. In no
circumstance is an institution forced to fundamentally alter the nature
of its programs or services. Students will be required to self-disclose,
to provide qualified documentation, to request accommodation, and to
self-advocate. Nonetheless, it is conceivable that the passage of the
ADAAA will result in disability service providers spending more time in
deliberative and interactive processes with students to determine
While advisors do not need to know the intricacies of
these laws, they would be well served to know the basics and to
understand the framework within which many students attend college.
Advisors should first and foremost have knowledge of and a relationship
with the campus office responsible for receiving documentation and
determining accommodations. The campus's ADA officer - who may not be
the same as the disability services coordinator - is another important
contact for advisors. As most documentation is considered confidential,
advisors should not ask a student for documentation directly but instead
put the student in contact with the appropriate offices.
Although the advisor may not determine academic
accommodations, the advisor's relationship with a student with a
disability is crucial to the student's success. Students with
disabilities may need special considerations when scheduling classes or
choosing course formats; they may need course substitutions or referrals
to other campus services. Advisors should establish an advising
atmosphere that is disability friendly.
A few considerations can go a long way in facilitating the advisor relationship with a student with disabilities:
- Asynchronous advising may be helpful for a student
who has a psychological or health disability. A request by a student to
exchange emails in lieu of one-on-one meetings may not be an
unreasonable request by some students. Students who require a personal
care attendant may be dependent on others' schedules, requiring more
flexibility than other advisees.
- Advisor offices should be physically accessible for
students in a wheelchair or with a visual impairment. In addition to a
welcoming atmosphere, the office should be free of clutter and easy to
navigate. If the advisor's office is not accessible, the advising
location needs to be changed.
- Self advocacy is important for all college students
to learn, but it is particularly important for students with
disabilities. Advisors can provide guidance and recommendations for
students about working with faculty and participating in co-curricular
activities on campus.
Advisors are uniquely positioned to support students with
disabilities and awareness of changes in the law, such as with the ADA
Amendment Act, are important. In July, NACADA will release the 2nd
edition of the Advising Students with Disabilities monograph. The ADA
Amendment Act is only one important topic that will be addressed through
this publication. Intrusive advising strategies, working with
psychiatric disabilities, meeting the unique needs of veterans, and
creating universal access for all students are a sampling of chapters in
the timely monograph.
Framingham State College
Our Vantage Point topic for this edition is Military Students, and we have five authors sharing their perspectives on this subject. Lisa Keenan,
Chair of the Advising Military Students and Dependents Interest Group,
looks at some ways advisors can respond to the general needs of military
students. Phyllis Goldberg, Paul Kyle and Randall Dawson,
Johnson County Community College, discuss what their institution has
done to address the mental health needs of returning veterans. And Steven Bailey, Rhode Island School of Design, considers the unique needs of international military students.
Making a Difference to the Military Student
Lisa A Keenan, Advising Military Students and Dependents Interest Group Chair
Advisors on campuses across the U.S. have noted increased numbers of
military students enrolled at their institutions. Bash (2003) affirmed
that higher education must respond to the needs of these students with
programs that aid smooth transitions if these students' collegiate
experiences are to be meaningful. Whether veterans, reservists, or
active duty service members, these students bring a commitment to learn
and achieve that is equivalent to the commitment they made to
voluntarily serve our country. They are eager and motivated to use their
earned benefits to pursue an education that will hopefully lead to
fulfilling the dreams they had while serving in hostile lands. Yet,
their patience can be worn thin if they find that their chosen college
or university is more bureaucracy driven than even the military.
Military students, like all students, want to attend an institution
where they feel welcomed and understood.
The assistance of one advisor helped a U.S. Air Force reservist
overcome institutional bureaucracy and continue her enrollment in
school. Jane (a pseudonym) served in the U.S. Air Force for five years
and became a reservist in 2006. She was enrolled at the satellite campus
of a state university, majoring in elementary education. Jane drafted
her educational plan with as much attention to detail as was demanded of
her while she served her country. She and her advisor developed an
educational plan that would allow her to graduate while continuing to
serve in the reserves. The summer before her graduation Jane received
word that her unit would be activated for three weeks to the Middle
East; this deployment would come that fall at the same time she would
start the final five courses needed for her spring internship and
graduation. Jane contacted her advisor for assistance; the advisor
recommended that she contact each course instructor. Since Jane received
such short notice of her deployment, her window of time to gain
approval from all five instructors and acquire books before she deployed
was very narrow. Her situation was complicated further by strict
requirements of the financial assistance she was receiving from the
Montgomery GI Bill. She had a rigid timeline to complete her degree;
delaying a semester meant that she would lose all financial assistance.
With the help of her advisor, Jane contacted every
instructor. This was not an easy task during the summer months. Yet,
with her advisor's assistance she was able to meet with each instructor -
each of whom gave her a syllabus or created one for her before she
departed the country. They all agreed to work with her to resolve this
complex academic dilemma. This allowed her to acquire her textbooks and
make further plans with students in the class who could help her
continue her education while serving our country. It is an
understatement to say that Jane was relieved and grateful to be a part
of a university where her unique military situation was understood.
Jane is one example of the varied circumstances facing students in
the military. This university is just one of the many 'military
friendly' institutions where personnel do what they can to make a
difference in these students' academic and personal lives. Institutions
seeking to be military friendly will do well to follow suggestions made
in thePrinciples of Good Practice for Institutions Providing Voluntary Education Programs on Military Installations(MIVER, 2003).
Advising is a one part of a student's experience in the
academy; good advising can have a significant impact on a student's
successful college experience (Light, 2001). Reservists and active duty
service members can be called upon at a moment's notice, as was the case
with Jane. These abrupt interruptions can wreak havoc with students'
academic goals and impact their GI Bill contributions to family incomes.
When advisors help students such as Jane, they help relieve the
students' stress in serving; the service members' main priority then can
be serving our country and not worrying about their ability to continue
Advisors who work with military students should remember
that these students are eager and motivated to use the benefits they
earned to start new academic endeavors. They are not seeking special
treatment; they only hope that that their instructors and advisors will
be mindful of their many responsibilities which are unparalleled when
compared to those faced by more traditional students (Bash, 2003).
Communication, collaboration, and commitment will show students that
their education success matters. Advisors can make a difference by
helping these students connect with the resources that will help them
overcome obstacles and successfully adjust to college life (Redden,
2008). Advisors can provide assurances that they will not be abandoned
on the educational and financial battlefields.
Advisors working with military students can learn more about the
complexities and successes of this student group by joining NACADA's Advising Military Students and Dependents Interest Group and its listserv. Supportive ideas are exchanged to better serve this population.
Lisa A. Keenan
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Watson School of Education
Bash, L. (2003). Adult learners in the academy. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing
Light, R. (2001). Making the most of college: students speak their minds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Military Installation Voluntary Education Review (MIVER).
(2003). Principles of Good Practice for Institutions Providing
Voluntary Education Programs on Military Installations. American Council
on Education. Retrieved on January 7, 2009, from www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Search§ion=PDF6&template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentFileID=299 .
Redden. E. (July 10, 2008). Operation transition in Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved February 16, 2009, from www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/07/10/veterans
Veterans Turned Students: Understanding Military Culture and PTSD
Phyllis Goldberg, Paul Kyle, and Randall Dawson, Johnson County Community College
Clint Upchurch, with the 101 st Airborne, was asked to be the gunner in
the lead Humvee of a convoy escorting a top general through the
dangerous dusty roads of southern Iraq. One moment, Clint was looking
for combatants through a cloud of sand and sun. In the next, we believe
that he was hearing the laughter of Jesus watching Paul Kyle's nephew
Clint bouncing from cloud to cloud, with his three-year-old niece who
had tragically passed away a year earlier. Clint did not know what hit
him, but the loved ones he left behind and the two other soldiers in the
vehicle who barely survived will have to find ways to cope with the
life-long physical and psychological scars of that fateful day. This is
but one of hundreds of stories of roadside bombs and combat-related
traumas that have left soldiers physically and emotionally disabled.
Often, emotional injuries can be more debilitating than the physical
ones. Our service members in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation
Enduring Freedom (OEF, the war in Afghanistan) are exposed to horrific
experiences. As a result, many will have traumatic memories that will
last a lifetime. In a Rand Corporation testimony before a House
Subcommittee, Terri Tanielian estimated 'that as of April 2008
approximately 303,000 OEF/OIF veterans were suffering from PTSD or major
depression.' She also expressed concern that those rates might be even
higher in the 'Reserve Components and those who have left the military
While the cluster of symptoms now identified as PTSD have been
recognized for many years, they have not always been called PTSD, nor
have they always been recognized as a real psychiatric disorder. The
nineteenth-century term for PTSD was 'Railway Spine.' This was a term
previously used to describe the physical trauma people experienced as a
result of train accidents and carried over to describe the unexplainable
symptoms veterans of the Civil War experienced. During World War I,
World War II, and the Korean conflict, the term changed to 'shell shock'
and 'battle fatigue.' It was not until the Vietnam War that PTSD was
labeled a personality disorder. No matter what it is called, one thing
has been common from the Civil War until now: PTSD has been seen by many
as an individual character flaw rather than a diagnosable and treatable
disorder. Although this misguided view has subsided within the mental
health community the stigma continues to be an issue within both the
civilian and military cultures.
Joseph Law (2008), a leading expert on PTSD, outlines the basic screening criteria:
- Frightening experiences in the past month:
- Nightmares or recurrent thoughts of experiences
- Trying not to think about it
- Constantly on guard, easily startled or distracted
- Feel numb or detached from others
- Criteria for referral/positive screen or treatment: 'Yes' on two or more questions
Law suggests that treatment should include a systemic
approach to PTSD diagnosis. He has found multiple psychological
theoretical approaches to be the most effective and emphasizes the
critical need to include the family in any treatment strategies.
While many military leaders of today recognize mental health problems
in their ranks, they have a difficult time balancing the warrior ethos
with mental health needs of their service members. Although the 'warrior
mentality' may be difficult for some to accept, military leaders would
argue that it is essential to the job given the military. Few could deny
that military members are called upon to perform a very daunting task
when they put their lives on the line to defend our country. They must
possess certain qualities, skills, and characteristics in order to meet
the demands of the job. They must be respectful of the chain of command,
disciplined, loyal, focused, and prepared to exert high levels of force
and aggression when needed. Military personnel either possess these
behaviors, skills, and attitudes when they join, or they learn them
through their training and the military culture.
The military strives to create a warrior mentality, but
to the modern military's credit, it recognizes the qualities that make a
good warrior can be maladaptive in the civilian world. Programs such as
www.battlemind.org have been
created to address combat pre-deployment and the post-deployment
transition to the civilian world and our college campuses.
In 2008, Johnson County Community College created a veterans'
advisory committee composed of a cross section of staff and faculty to
explore what could be done to expand services and create a veteran
friendly campus. This group looked at outreach, financial aid, and
counseling resources and created the following short term goals:
- Create a survey asking veterans what the college can do to help them feel more engaged.
- Provide a space for veterans to gather and share experiences.
- Seek funding to serve those who may no longer be eligible for veterans' benefits.
- Include at least one veteran on student committees.
- Honor our student veterans during a Veterans Day celebration on our campus.
- Provide in-service training for staff and faculty on
TBI (traumatic brain injury) & PTSD (post traumatic stress
disorder) and develop a handout that can help faculty and staff be more
aware of symptoms.
- Partner with our local Veterans Center and the Veterans Administration to offer the best services at various sites on campus.
An increasing number of veterans will be attending
college campuses, taking advantage of current VA benefits or the new
post-9/11 benefits that will go into effect in August 2009. It is
impossible to estimate how many of these 'veterans turned students' have
PTSD symptoms, but it will likely be a significant number. It is
important that academic advisors and counselors have an understanding of
PTSD and the military culture in order to better serve these proud
service members. Our goal at JCCC is to engage our veterans and provide
the best learning environment and services we can to assist our veterans
in meeting their educational goals.
Johnson County Community College
Johnson County Community College
Dean of Student Services
Johnson County Community College
Law, Joe. (2008). Combat stress and PTSD: Working with veterans and their families. Eau Claire, Wisconsin: PESI,LLC.
Tanielian, Terri. (2009). Assessing Combat Exposure and Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder in Troops and Estimating the cost to Society; Testimony
presented before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on
Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs on March 24, 2009.
International Fine Arts Students with a Military Bearing
Steven J. Bailey, Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is one of the most prestigious
fine arts schools in the world. A number of our students come to
Providence from around the world. They are very successful at learning
the skills and traits that RISD is indeed famous for teaching: the art
of design. Students here learn the things artists need to do to support
themselves using their talents (including video gaming or graphic
design) and receive a liberal arts education.
In this ever-changing world, more international students
are pulled away from school and asked to support their comrades-in-arms
in the conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere. Many are very
patriotic in keeping their home countries free from terrorists. While in
America we are doing the same thing, for many Far East students, and
especially for those from South Korea, it is mandatory that they enlist
One of the trickiest things South Korean students must do
is fulfill their military service obligation in their home country
during their schooling. They must leave school and their peers for up
four years right in the middle of their studies. When these students
return to academic life, they are older, more mature, and more
disciplined than before, but are now studying with a group of students
who may not be as detail orientated.
I, too, am a veteran and know that the adjustment to civilian life
can be daunting and uncomfortable. In the military, soldiers are drilled
for years, learn to pay attention to detail, work on their own, and
develop their own problem-solving skills. To transition back into a fine
arts scenario is probably one of the hardest things a returning soldier
can do. It can be very intimidating to become creative again, re-learn
how to think as an artist, and retrieve the deep-down fluidity that was
there before being called to active duty.
Advisors are one of the most important supports for these
returning students as they get comfortable with being with younger and
less mature students and decide if they want to stay in school. Our
international military students are of prime importance to RISD, and we
work to accommodate them as we can. However, we now see more and more of
these students withdraw after they have been called to serve their
military obligations. As the wars in the Middle East continue, more and
more of these students must decide whether to attend college at all
after high school.
RISD listens to the concerns of returning international
students; they help advisors help others returning to school. We will
hold a reception for these students where staff and faculty members who
have served in the military will share their thoughts and concerns and
show their support for them. We are planning this reception,
appropriately, on Veterans Day.
Advisors can make a difference to these returning
students and their futures. Advisors who listen attentively to their
concerns and help them adjust back to a fine arts mentality without too
much distress are invaluable. Advisors do not need to have a military
background to listen to concerns and help these students.
Military students in the fine arts are especially
vulnerable; they need special attention or they may grow unnerved or
disgruntled enough to leave the institution and not finish their
degrees. Advisors can help.
Steven J. Bailey
Rhode Island School of Design
Academic Advising and the Math Gap
Deborah Herzog, Two-Year Colleges Commission Member
From Washington D.C. to California and many
places in between, the story is often the same. Fabel (2008) reported
that in the Washington D.C. area 'nearly two-thirds of recent high
school graduates who enroll at the area's community colleges need
remedial classes to fill gaps in basic English, reading and math,
according to data collected from local institutions' (¶ 1). In fact,
many experts see a nationwide decline in math-preparedness. Carter
(2008), from California State University Northridge, noted that 'more
than 60 percent of students in community colleges need some kind of
remedial class -- most often, math training -- before they can take
credit-bearing courses, according to recent studies. This comes with a
price tag: A study published this summer shows that community colleges
spend more than $1.4 billion on remedial courses every year' (¶ 2). The
tax-paying public has been known to express concern at financially
supporting basic mathematics instruction in colleges when these skills
were supposed to have been learned in the K-12 system.
George Boggs, president of the American Association of
Community Colleges, stated, 'It's almost a national tragedy to have this
many students coming out of high school not prepared for college' and
'remedial math courses are always one of the very large programs in
community colleges. We are getting more students in remedial courses
because math is one of the most prominent obstacles for student success'
(Carter, ¶ 7).
Many community colleges have turned to online tutorial
programs attached to remedial math textbooks and used in math resource
centers. Carter (2008) noted that 'a series of 2007 surveys showed that
online homework in basic mathematics, introduction to algebra, and
college algebra helped with test preparation and lesson retention.
Central Ohio Technical College reported 81 percent of students surveyed
said they preferred online math homework' (¶ 16). On-line homework
supports the completion of homework and provides for immediate
correction of errors.
Lewis and Clark Community College completed a remake of the Math
Resource Center in September 2007. The Math Resource Center (MRC) is
physically located in the commons area of the Science and Math complex
for easy student access. Specially selected students serve as math
tutors who are available during all hours of operation, generally 8:00
a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on
Fridays. The center houses computers and study tables. In-room resources
include solution manuals, textbooks for all math classes, and
calculators. Internet-connected computers allow student access to online
Enrollment in remedial mathematics courses at Lewis and
Clark makes up more than 70 percent of the total math enrollment
(Banziger, 2008). Banziger shared results of a survey of 125 students
enrolled in mathematics courses (some of whom were regular MRC users and
others who were not) noting that:
- The math instructor is the most common source of information about the MRC. For many students there are multiple sources.
- The MRC was utilized by almost 37 percent of
students in remedial courses and almost 49 percent of those enrolled in
transfer level mathematics courses.
- Most users of the MRC were there for multiple purposes including study groups for physics and access to non-math Web sites.
- Students are spending, on average, almost as much time per week in the MRC as they do in a math class.
- The help received in the MRC is appreciated by 80 percent of users.
- The most commonly offered suggestion was the need for more tutors.
Looking at survey results, the question remained, if 70
percent of students need remediation, how do we get a greater number of
those in most need to seek help in the MRC when needed? Academic
advisors joined the discussion.
Advisors are often the bearers of bad news to students following the
completion of college placement tests. We must tell students when their
skills have placed them in courses below college level. We sometimes
face students and parents who are unhappy or unwilling to pay for
remedial coursework. Everyone wants their courses to 'count;' advisors
must explain how remedial classes 'count' toward skill-building that
will give students the best chance for academic success in mathematics.
The Two-Year College Commission suggests that advisors
discuss the following questions in regard to working with students
underprepared in mathematics:
- What are our responsibilities as academic advisors to connect these students to resources that can help them succeed?
- What resources, such as a dynamic Math Resource
Center, are available on our campus that can give these academically
underprepared students the best chances to succeed?
- Should advisors have the ability to automatically
enroll students in a 'math lab section' where their skill levels can be
assessed and a plan developed that includes scheduled times in a Math
- Would a different organization of course offerings,
e.g., a modularized system where course topics are broken into smaller
increments and success is judged at the end of each increment, work
better with remedial students than 16-week courses?
- Would completely lab-assisted forms of instruction
(with no lectures) work better, especially with traditional-aged
students who may be more comfortable with computer-based instruction?
Deborah A. Herzog
Lewis and Clark Community College
Banziger, George. (March 10, 2008). Personal communication: Summary of Survey of Math Resource Center.
Carter, Dennis. (2008). As more first-year students need
remedial math instruction, low-cost online programs are coming to the
aid of college leaders. California State University, Northridge News
Clippings, e-School News. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from
Fabel, Leah. (2008). Most first-year community college
students need remedial math and English, data show in. Examiner.com.
Retrieved April 1, 2009 from
Tips for Creating a Successful Resume
In a tough economy, job searchers need to give themselves
every advantage possible. A good résumé review can assist in landing
that all important interview. Below is a list of tips for creating an
effective résumé for an academic advising job search.
- Remember that there is no one way to create a
résumé. What one person likes, another may not. Focus on making sure it
is accurate and professional.
- Ask for input from other advisors and higher education professionals before deciding on the résumé that's right for you.
- Keep it to one or two pages unless you have
significant experience in your field. If you do have a multiple-page
résumé, make sure it has relatively complete pages.
- Be prepared to explain any gaps in your employment during an interview.
- Use the two-address format if you will be moving soon.
- Keep type font simple. It's best to use Times New Roman or Arial.
- Use 8½' x 11' white or light colored, good quality
paper. Avoid flashy 'look at me' colors. Use matching paper for your
cover letter and résumé. Send them in a 9' x 11' mailing envelope with
the address typed on the envelope or on a label.
- Justify the left margin, but not the right. It's easier to read.
- Highlight important information (your name, titles of positions, and major categories) with boldface font.
- Use 11- or 12-point font and do not use graphics.
- Save your résumé on a flash drive. That will make it
easier to update and/or change. Keep the flash drive in a safe place,
and always have a back-up copy. Using a saved copy will also let you
make targeted résumés for different advising positions for which you are
- Use action words when describing what you have done. Examples include: created, managed, developed, revised, presented, etc.
- Proofread! Don't let one mistake prevent you from getting an
interview. The quality of your résumé reflects the quality of your work
and your professionalism.
- List graduation as 'expected' or 'anticipated' along with the date if you are still working on your degree.
- Remember the Three-Example Rule: If you list a skill, be able to discuss three examples.
- Highlight computer/technology knowledge and skills,
such as student information systems and experience in working as part of
a group or team.
- Quantify your advising experience by indicating how
many students you advise, how many presentations you have given, and how
many students attended your event.
- Show your national, regional, and state NACADA
involvement and other professional association memberships and related
- Watch for updated résumé and cover letter samples on the NACADA Member Career Services homepage .
- Utilize your campus resources, such as résumé guides
provided by your campus career center, or check out other university
career center Web sites.
- Have your résumé reviewed at NACADA conferences. A
representative of the Member Career Services committee will be available
to review résumés and provide suggestions at each national conference.
The NACADA Member Career Services committee is always
looking for new committee members to join the group in its mission to
provide new career and job search resources for the association. If
interested, please contact us today!
NACADA Member Career Services Committee Chair
Academic Advisor, Mastodon Advising Center
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)
IPFW Office of Career Services (n.d.). Career Guide. Available from http://www.ipfw.edu/career/resources/guides.shtml.
NACADA Member Career Services Committee (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2009, from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/AdministrativeDivision/career.htm .
Hoff, A. & Parker, J. (2008).How to Conduct an Advising Job Search. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from NACADA: http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/AdministrativeDivision/career.htm .
Hoff, A. & Parker, J. (2009, March). Faux pas to avoid in an advisor job search.Academic Advising Today, 32 (1). Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/ePub/AAT32-1.htm
It takes but one SPARK to ignite the flame for an idea. Does your campus have an unusual or exceptional process or program that could spark an idea on another campus? If so, tell us about it in 350 words or less. Send your 'Sparkler' to Leigh@ksu.edu
This edition's SPARKLERs come from James P. Cousins (University of Kentucky) and Terry Musser (Penn State University).
James Cousins tells us that in the summer of 2007, the University of Kentucky's College of Arts and Sciences overhauled its existing advising model.
Prior to the transition, eight full-time advisors oversaw advising for
freshmen and sophomores-once a student reached junior status, advising
responsibilities fell upon departmental faculty. The addition of ten
full-time academic advisors to the College's Advising Center has allowed
each of the College's academic departments to host its own professional
advisor. Once a student reaches sophomore status, she or he is handed
over to an 'embedded advisor' who then advises that student throughout
their undergraduate career. James says,'The benefits of this model
are apparent. Departmental advisors are recognized catalysts for student
development, outstripping the strictures of their traditional roles and
expanding on original mandates by matching subject-specific expertise
to college, university and community resources. The integration of
professional advisors into academic departments has also allowed faculty
members to focus on student mentorship. Realizing these benefits,
several departments have initiated protocols in support of this end.' In the Department of Anthropology, for instance, all students are assigned faculty mentors (based on their
anthropological interests). Majors are then required to meet with their
assigned faculty mentor once a semester-this is in addition to their
regular meetings with the departmental advisor. In order to ensure
compliance, students must have their mentor sign a 'Pre-Registration
Faculty Release Form.' These forms are presented to the departmental
advisor at the time of their registration appointment. Without a signed
form, students are prohibited from registering for courses. 'But such
measures are rarely required;' James tells us, 'students are
overwhelmingly in favor of mentorship, using this time to discuss career
opportunities, preparation for graduate school, opportunities for
independent research, and other information related to their
sub-disciplinary and regional interests.' In initiating programs of
faculty mentorship, departmental advisors are made active participants
in the fields they've been assigned, maintaining an up-to-date knowledge
of faculty scholarship and recent scholarly trends. The attainment of
such knowledge is paramount to the mentorship process, without it, an
accurate pairing of student interest and faculty specialties is
impossible. For more information on Faculty Mentors and the Departmental
Advisor, contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Musser has been working
with a team at Penn State to develop online materials to help incoming
students prepare for their academic orientation day. They wanted to put
video clips into their Web site that include current students giving the
incoming class advice about preparing and what to expect. However, they
found that the cost and energy it takes to produce good video footage
was daunting! Fortunately, Terry says,'Laura Brown from
our team had a brilliant idea. Why not invite the students to create
their own YouTubeT videos that we could use? We came up with $100 as a
prize, and we are currently running a competition for the best video.
That is such a small amount to spend to get these wonderful, creative
videos that students have produced! And for some students, this could be
part of their academic portfolio.'For more information, contact Terry at txm4@AG.PSU.EDU