I am taking a much needed break from paper writing to share something from my day. The institution I advise for holds Preview Days for admitted students, during which they can tour facilities and speak to faculty, staff, and current students to get a fuller sense of the degree programs and opportunities awaiting them. Two new students came up to our advisor's booth today with their parents, and I overheard one student say that they would be in their academic advisor's office All. The. Time.
Part of me thought back, "Pshaw. You say that now!" I did not share this thought, but I did speak to getting the fullest value out of ones time in college. To my left I noticed one of their parents nodding vigorously. She even grabbed my hand to hold it and thank me afterwards. That was a little odd, but OK. I rolled with it because these are the kinds of responses colleges hope to get. They want admitted students to grab the first pen they can find and check the box to respond Yes! I'm coming this fall!!
Then what happens next? School, life, job--all the experiences college brings. Will that new student be in their academic advisor's office all the time? Probably not. Yet it does shine a harsh light on the fact that some students are more likely to meet with their advisor than others. Nowadays advisors can tap into great web-based services to help them reach and survey their entire student caseload, but how do we meet all students with some regularity and without fail? Teaching is academic advising, yes, but minding ones curricular path is not our toughest sell to students anymore.
I suspect that trust is the toughest sell for academic advisors among emerging, multicultural students and their families. If parents and their students do not trust us, when did advisors fail in their efforts to earn the trust of these important stakeholders? There are times when I wonder if issues begin before the academic advisor gets involved. I have also learned that it is not often one thing or experience that breaks trust. Mistakes are going to happen. If only transparency could permeate all transactions in higher education from this moment forward...
When the academic advisor cares and the student knows they matter, that is when (I am learning) there is a better shot of getting the student on board with their educational participation.
I like being on the front lines collaborating with and advocating for students because I care about the global citizenry of tomorrow and value creative, life-long learning above all else. Whatever gets in the way of seeing this flourish gives me pause. There is always room to improve service to the students and their families!
Creative reflections on academic advising and learning
Cultivating dual resilience: Teaching shame recovery and image rebuilding through academic advising.
Unless noted otherwise, all content copyright 2017-2020 by Tanya Wineland.