Professional Development for Academic Advisers

Are you satisfied with the training resources available to you as an academic adviser? How did you “learn the ropes,” and how do you remain effective? Does your unit or campus offer formal instruction for new advisers; do you attend webinars, conferences, or workshops that review or introduce innovative strategies that support your advising practice; do you and your colleagues take part in research initiatives, informally compare notes, or read and discuss advising literature? Can you suggest improvements or ways in which academic advisers can become and remain proficient in the field?

What is your opinion?

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    Lynne Carlson

    I have been an adviser for a long time. When I started there was a “sink or swim” mentality in many of my work environments. Luckily, I was a quick study and had a background in higher education environments both as a student and staff member.
    I now work in an environment of a Professional Learning Community (PLC). We worked together to learn and grow as advisers, professionals and individuals. We have a central training manual for advisers that is updated regularly and a training regimen that allows for individual learning styles. We are encouraged attend webinars, conferences and workshops. We also split up administrative roles in the office where each individual that goes to a meeting comes back to the group to disseminate the information from that meeting. We are constantly looking for and trying out new strategies in advising.
    We look for research initiatives and exchange ideas from advising literature and other sources. It is work but keeping current in the advising field and academia is very important for advisers. Our faculty colleagues can tell us that to be accepted as professionals by our peers requires the lifelong learning model. Being current in your profession allows for innovation and growth which keeps you invigorated and excited about your profession.
    One thing about the advising profession in higher education is that it can change constantly. Do not be afraid to attempt something out of your “comfort zone.” Our director understands that a PLC depends on involvement, communication and change. None of these come without some uncomfortable friction. But part of the professional and learning parts requires this conflict to achieve the growth of the unit. We have created a wonderful community within our office. It is fun to come to work, tiring at times and even stressful but we have each others’ backs and work well together.


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