Developmental Academic Advising in Higher Education: The Class
Jennifer Bloom, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
This summer, I was given the opportunity to create, develop, and teach a course on the topic of
Developmental Academic Advising in Higher Education for the Department of Educational Organization
and Leadership (EOL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Having served as an
adjunct assistant professor in the department since graduating in 1995 with my Ed.D. in higher education
administration, I was honored that the department head, Dr. Paul Thurston, presented me with this
challenge. It was an excellent experience for me and has made me a better person, teacher, and adviser.
B.B. Crookston (1994) was the first to point out the parallels between advising and teaching. I certainly found my
advising experience influenced and improved my teaching, and likewise this experience has improved my
The course was offered the second four weeks of the summer semester and met Monday through Thursday from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. Students earned one unit (four hours) of credit for taking this elective class. Six master’s degree
students and one doctoral student from the Higher Education Administration program took the course, and
none of them were full-time academic advisers. My goals were to make this a discussion-oriented seminar
that would give the students a broad overview of the topic of developmental academic advising and to give
the students an opportunity to get their work published.
Students were graded on six different activities, and two of the assignments were to be submitted for
publication. The first project was to write a book review for the NACADA Journal. Dr. Howard Schein,
editor of the book reviews section of the Journal, works on the UIUC campus, so students had easy access
to the books for review. The second assignment was to write an article related to the topic of academic
advising for The Mentor. Its managing editor, Michael Leonard, enthusiastically endorsed allowing my students to
submit their articles to this on-line journal. Students were also evaluated on an oral presentation on their
Mentor article topic, in-class projects, and class participation.
Each week, the class focused on a different set of topics related to developmental academic advising. The
first week provided the foundation for the rest of the course. We covered the differences between
developmental and prescriptive advising, read the landmark developmental academic advising articles by
B.B. Crookston (1994) and Terry O’Banion (1994), discussed advising structures, and talked about the impact advising
has on retention.
Week two focused on how developmental academic advising is implemented at different types of
institutions. We had guest speakers from community colleges, non-traditional degree programs, and
graduate and professional schools share their advising programs, philosophies, and experiences. In
addition, we spent one class period looking at living and learning programs that have an advising
Developing an awareness of the developmental needs of particular student populations was the topic of the
third week. Once again, guest speakers provided first-hand insight to the unique developmental needs of
freshmen, undecided, student-athletes, minority, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual students. This was one of
the favorite weeks for the students in class in large part due to the great speakers. Two speakers were
accompanied by a panel of students who spoke about their experiences and how advisers have made or
could make a difference in their lives.
We wrapped up the class with sessions on legal and ethical issues and advising as a career. On the last night,
students gave oral presentations on the articles they had written for The Mentor.
Overview of Student Articles Submitted to The Mentor
On the very first day of class, we began to talk about possible topics for Mentor articles. The diversity of
topics chosen by students was incredible, and each selected a completely different subject area to tackle.
Here is a brief description of each of the articles written for The Mentor:
“Closing the Gap Between Academic Advising and Career Counseling” by Michelle Fisher. Michelle is a
graduate assistant in the Career Center here at UIUC. She was intrigued by the O’Banion (1994) article
which emphasized the importance of advisers helping students not only choose majors and classes, but also
making sure these choices align with students’ career and life goals. Since many campuses have separate
career and advising centers, Michelle’s paper offers practical suggestions for forging a stronger tie between
career counselors and academic advisers to better serve students.
“Reflections on My Peer Advising Career” by Ronyelle Bertrand. Ronyelle graduated in May 1999 from
Xavier University in New Orleans. This was her first graduate-level course, and she wanted to explore the
topic of peer advising, as she had served as a peer dean for three years at Xavier. She does an excellent job
of sharing how her opinion of peer advising has evolved since the beginning of class as she learned about
the importance of developmental academic advising. Ronyelle offers concrete suggestions on how to
improve the quality of peer advising programs.
“Strategic Thinking Can Help Advisers Overcome Identity Crisis” by Kathryn Rybka. Kathryn is the
Marketing Director for the Illini Union and is halfway through her doctoral coursework in the EOL
Department. Kathryn drew upon her training and background in strategic planning to give advisers on
college campuses a mechanism to evaluate who they are and where they should be going. She provides
broad guidelines that any campus advising group could use for organizing a strategic planning session.
“Board of Trustees Program – A Commitment to Adult Education” by Terri Parr Cummings. Terri was a
nontraditional undergraduate student; therefore, when Dr. Kaye Woodward, the Director of the Board of
Trustees Program at Eastern Illinois University, came to talk to us about advising nontraditional adult
students, Terri knew that her topic had to focus on this population. Terri chose to investigate the reasons behind
the great success of Dr. Woodward’s Board of Trustees Program. I think you’ll be impressed by the
program’s commitment to meeting the unique developmental needs of nontraditional adult students.
“Mentoring Programs for Asian Pacific American Students” by Santanu Rahman. Santanu is an Asian Pacific
American student who has a graduate assistantship through the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs
Office here at the University of Illinois. This is a relatively new office on this campus; Santanu would
like to develop a mentoring program that pairs Asian Pacific American students with knowledgeable and
empathetic faculty and academic professionals. He discusses some of the unique identity development
issues this group of students faces and why a mentoring program would effectively meet these students’
“Incorporating Active-Learning Strategies in Academic Advising” by Katrina Mann. Katrina’s interest in
this topic was a byproduct of the book, Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom, Bonwell and Eison (1991), which she
read for her NACADA Journal book review requirement. She was so fascinated by the active-learning
concepts that she chose to discuss ways advisers can easily improve their effectiveness by incorporating
active-learning techniques into the advising session.
“Continuing the Connection: Does Academic Advising Impact an Institution’s Relationship with Alumni
and Donors?” by Sarah Schilling Ross. This may be the article that has the most impact on the field of
academic advising. Sarah shows there are other means of fiscally justifying advising programs in addition
to the economic value of retention. It is Sarah’s background in development and her current position as
Director of Alumni Relations in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Economic Sciences (ACES),
that allows her to make the argument that good advising can have a different kind of monetary impact on
higher education institutions. She highlights two examples of financial contributions made to the College
of ACES to honor faculty advisers. Certainly this piece should lead to further discussion concerning the
economic impact of high-quality academic advising programs.
I hope you will enjoy reading these articles and will be able to implement some of the ideas set forth by the
authors. I’m extremely proud of these seven students and the quality of their work. One of the most
important aspects of submitting these articles to an on-line journal is that readers have the opportunity to
provide immediate feedback on the articles. Please share your comments we value your input.
If you would like to find out more about the course requirements, please visit the course website at
http://vci.cso.uiuc.edu/courses/EOL490AA/index.html. To receive a copy of the reading list for the class, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonwell, C.C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom.
ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University,
School of Education and Human Development.
Crookston, B. B. (1994). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching. NACADA
Journal, 14(2), 5-9.
O’Banion, T. (1994). An academic advising model. NACADA Journal, 14(2), 10-16.
Jennifer Bloom is Assistant Director, Medical Scholars Program, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Organization & Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She can be reached at (217) 244-1512 or email@example.com.
Published in The Mentor on September 13, 1999, by Penn State's Division of Undergraduate Studies
Available online at dus.psu.edu/mentor
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