Monthly Archives: May 2015

Advice: get advised!

A few weeks ago, I started working at a different university. I am very excited to be on this campus, and for the opportunity to work with a specialized student population! In the short time I have been here, I have interacted with numerous students engaging in research and analysis both locally and abroad, students working with external clients through their coursework, and student leaders who have been, and are, delivering support services (scheduling assistance) and appreciation events (graduation celebration) for their peers.

This week, our institution hosted an advising conference for the more than 200 advisors across the campus. The campus leadership recognizes the importance of advising and support services, so greatly, advising initiatives were addressed in three of four recommendations for campus growth and change, in a internal report conducted three years ago.

The keynote speaker at this conference was Charlie Nutt Ed.D., the Executive Director of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). I had the opportunity to engage with Charlie during a small group question and answer session, and hear his keynote address! During both, he both spoke about the importance of advisor-advisee relationships for all students. He referenced the research done by Richard Light, of Harvard (2001), which came to the same conclusion: students need positive, directive, supportive advising throughout their college career in order to persist and feel personal worth. (Dr. Light’s research and NACADA resources were both utilized in ‘On the Quad.’)

Students and parents in the high school stage, please know, college relationships with academic advisors/counselors, is much different than the high school model. Meeting with them should be done frequently, and never viewed as an inconvenience or a punishment.

Students and parents in the college stage, please know, no matter what year you are (your student is) in, find at least one advisor, staff or faculty, who has the time to get to know you, who provides you a listening ear and reflective, helpful guidance, who motivates you, keeps you accountable, and helps you grow and succeed!

Commencement

For my College (and my University), tomorrow is commencement.  Graduation.  The end of lots of things (classes, lectures, final exams, essays, etc.).  And, the beginning of many things (new job/career, new routine, new set of self-discipline skills to plan and implement).

In between the end and the beginning, celebrate.  You deserve it.  Take time to celebrate; think back on the road you have travelled.  Give credit where it is due — parents, friends, teachers, professors, workmates and . . .you!  You did it!  Be proud.  Be glad.  And, be respectful of the work you put into earning your degree.

I’ll be congratulating 43 majors in my Department who are done (finally!); and hundreds of others in my College who are engaging in the ‘final ritual’.

Good luck!

Advising Advice

On our campus it is the season of registration.  In early May, registration begins — people with priority registration go first.  The folks who get this great date include veterans and athletes among some other select groups (for example, our Honors Program students get priority registration).  Currently — in the second week of May — many sophomores are having the chance to register.  Students learn their registration date in early to mid April — almost a month in advance; and, the knowledge of when registration will begin is posted in various places, so it does not sneak up on anyone (who is paying attention).

But, this week, I’ve had 7 desperate emails from students who need advising RIGHT NOW.  They send me emails that say things like “Hi, my registration date is in three hours and I was hoping to come by your office hours and get some ideas about what classes I should take.”  Or:  “Hi, do you have time tomorrow at 8:30 AM to advise me about which classes to take in Fall?  My registration date is tomorrow at 9:30 AM.”

This is too late.  This is way too late.  Moreover, this is not a strategy for success.  You can not expect your professor (or advisor) to be available on demand (like Netflix!).  Professors and advisors have schedules, meetings, and lives.  All of these things get in the way of doing “advising on demand.”  This means that you, dear student, must plan.  You must put into your calendar (on your phone or the paper one) the day that registration begins.  Then, 2 weeks prior to that you make an appointment with your advisor.  This is plenty of time to be able to reasonably get advice for the following semester.  And, the advising session won’t be rushed or hectic.  It will be a student support and success advising session; not a student in a panic advising session.

Make plans.  Implement them.  Do well.