Advising Forum

The journal invites responses to periodic Advising Forum topics related to advising issues, philosophies, and trends. Each topic and the comments submitted by readers are archived and accessible indefinitely.

Important qualities in advising candidates

The National Academic Advising Association defines key professional competencies (http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Academic-advisor-competencies.aspx) all advisers should strive to develop. With these in mind, what top three characteristics, qualities, or skills would you look for in advising candidates to best ensure/predict their success in these areas? Why do you feel these qualities are most important?

What is your opinion?

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Key messages during orientation

An important time of year involves new student orientation and the academic information advisers present to incoming first-year students. Though orientation programs differ in many regards, what key messages do you hope new students take away from orientation? In this first teaching moment, what do you hope these new students will do or remember?

What is your opinion?

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Academic advising and student success

Much has been written about undergraduate retention, persistence to degree completion, and overall student success in higher education. Increasingly, academic advising has been recognized as a significant factor in these areas, though opinions vary on the key elements of advising that most significantly impact a student’s progression toward degree completion. What do you think? What part or characteristics of an advising program do you think are most critical in ensuring student success?

What is your opinion?

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Who or what informs your advising practice?

Many theories grounded in education and the social sciences provide the foundation for academic advising programs in higher education. As an advising practitioner or administrator, do you subscribe to a certain theory that you think is especially relevant and helpful? If so, please share. Is there a particular theorist who inspires the work you do and how you do it?

What is your opinion?

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Growing and succeeding as an adviser

Successful academic advisers strive to continuously build knowledge, develop skill sets, and improve their practice. This takes concentration and deliberate effort, which then leads to positive change. In a busy environment, however, it can be difficult to set goals and assess improvements. From your own experience, how do you think advisers can best measure and evaluate their own development as practitioners? What can advising units do to help advisers reflect on and assess the way they work?

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Advice for a new advising colleague

New academic advisers have their hands full learning their institution’s academic policies and procedures, as well as familiarizing themselves with the day-to-day operations of their advising unit. On top of that, new advisers find themselves also developing their own advising styles, preferences, and routines. What tips would you give a new colleague to help him or her develop a personal advising approach and philosophy that is both meaningful and effective?

What is your opinion?

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How much should you include in advising notes?

Sometimes students’ unusual circumstances, personal challenges, or medical or emotional conditions warrant extra documentation that could help you or other advisers provide appropriate guidance/references and also help you monitor progress or anticipate difficulties. Should you include this kind of documentation in the official notes system or leave them out but perhaps “store” them in a private file? Does your advising unit have a protocol when handling sensitive information? What’s your opinion?

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Collaborating with Student Affairs and Other Campus Partners

A student’s total educational experience refers to his or her engagement with a range of college/university learning opportunities potentially encompassing course work as well as student life, academic advising, career planning, and perhaps volunteering, clubs, research, global citizenship, education abroad, and internships. How can academic advising centers, student affairs units, and other campus partners work together to guide students toward this total experience? Can you share specific examples or know of successful programs?

What’s your …

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Keeping it real or bursting bubbles?

Sometimes students aim for goals and majors that seem highly improbable, and academic advisers may find it challenging to be the voice of reason– positive yet realistic– rather than be perceived as pessimistic and discouraging. How can advisers help students know themselves better and thoughtfully consider more plausible areas of study without stepping on their dreams? What should advisers keep in mind as they engage advisees in conversations about choices of majors and plans for the future?

What …

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Academic Adviser Qualifications

What are, or should be, the minimum qualifications to become an academic adviser in higher education? What criteria are most critical? Are some qualifications “non-negotiable,” or are other experiences or combinations of education/training acceptable and perhaps desirable?

What is your opinion?

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     ISSN: 1521-2211