ONT-Advise, Summer 2009
A Newsletter About Post-secondary Academic Advising in Ontario
Welcome to the Summer, 2009 edition of ONT-Advise! We wish you the best during the warmer months of the year, and hope that everyone gets a little vacation time to rest and relax, and prepare for the coming academic year.
We know of two colleagues who have recently achieved milestones in advising. Heather Doyle (Lakehead University) was chosen as an Emerging Leader by NACADA (for further information about the program, see www.nacada.ksu.edu/Programs/EmergingLeaders/Index.htm). Congratulations on being the first Ontarian to receive this honour (and only the second in Canada). An interview with Heather appears below.
Shari Dorr at the University of Guelph also deserves congratulations. She is a member of the ad hoc committee for professional development, and has recently completed her Master of Science degree in Academic Advising at Kansas State University (for further information, see www.dce.k-state.edu/education/advising/masters/). This program is offered on line, so it is easily accessible by those of us from Canada. There is also a graduate certificate in Academic Advising available at Kansas State that Shari completed in 2006 (for further information about this on-line opportunity, see www.dce.k-state.edu/education/advising/certificate/). Congratulations to Shari for her achievement! If you would like further information about the program, or about what it was like for a Canadian advisor to complete the program, feel free to contact Shari. She is happy to be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
If you know of any other colleagues who deserve a special congratulations for awards or achievements, please send that information to Jo Stewart (email@example.com) for publication in this newsletter.
Thoughts on Impacting Informed Professional Practice
In Post Secondary education today, we are challenged by our ability to compete well beyond the friendly competition that once existed with our closest competitors near the borders of our traditional areas. In the event we want to have longevity, we must compete on a global level. One of the areas where we can differentiate ourselves is delivery of services to students. Retention research has repeatedly shown a key service that impacts student persistence is the quality of academic advisement received. This suggests that professional development in academic advising is a very worthwhile investment for both staff and students.
In looking at the process of advising students, there are numerous areas an institution can look at in order to improve the quality of service to students. The first is to define your current gaps in service. Asking staff what they feel are areas they would like to develop in order to positively impact their effectiveness may have the added benefit of having them become more invested in the process. I would, however, caution that you communicate the need for PD to your advisors as a step forward/growth; as opposed to a perception that it is an indication that what they are currently doing needs correcting. Staff will respond favourably if they perceive you value them professionally and want to provide them with the opportunity to grow and extend their impact.
Understandably, we all face financial constraints around the type of PD we can deliver to our staff, but the first thought is to look at PD as an investment as opposed to purely an expense. Technology, such as webcast, allows you to consider lower cost options; especially when you remove the associated travel costs. Hosting a professional from another institution is one more option that you may want to consider. We were fortunate enough to have Jo Stewart, an advisor from Brock University, on our campus for a day in June. This day was valuable not only in terms of what we learned from her experience but it also allowed the advisory team to share their ideas and experiences.
Moving towards more informed professional practice is not easy nor should it be undertaken lightly. We, at Fanshawe College, look at it as a multi-stage process that will change and evolve as our staff and students change. That being said, it is a process we need to embark on to serve our students and the campus community well with excellent service in the area of advisement.
Written by Robert Kitchen,
Student Success Leader Fanshawe College
Advising 2.0: Connecting & Engaging Students
Today’s learner operates in a world that is informal, networked and filled with technology which affects how people learn (Siemens 2005).The shift in educational demands presents a need to enhance learning for our digital native student population. This technological challenge is apparent in the classroom; however, it can also pose concerns for academic advising professionals. “Students and advisors should share responsibility for both the nature of the advising relationship and the quality of the experience. Developmental advising… employs environmental and interpersonal interactions, behavioral awareness, and problem solving, decision-making, and evaluation skills” (Hurt 2007). With the emergence of collaborative online tools, advisors can take advantage of multidimensional
advising through the use of web 2.0 resources.
The growing demands for advising are currently being challenged with the financial uncertainty and depleting resources at our academic institutions. Many of these sessions provided ideas and resources to design and implement web 2.0 tools for efficient and effective advising. It is in the best interest of the developing student that we re-evaluate our provision of advising services and resources. Nevitt Sanford “characterized learning as a process of challenge and response” (as cited in Terenzini, 1999, p. 34). Sanford (1967) posited that the developing individual “grows” and learns when a challenging situation is presented. It is highly controversial to suggest that websites and online resources can be seen as both challenging and supporting but it does seem that if appropriately constructed, students would benefit. Participants at the seminar learned how to engage the students they advise in this learning process.
I was fortunate enough to participate in the first NACADA Technology Seminar held this past February in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The 2-day Advising 2.0: Utilizing Technology Effectively for Campus-wide Advising seminar had a variety of presentations, hands-on workshops, and facilitated learning opportunities. Beyond the introduction of online resources for advising, the seminar participants were able to connect, network and collaborate with advising professionals from across the globe. Along with the members of the faculty team, Karen Thurmond, George Steele and Eric Stoller, I thought that this seminar enhanced our professional development and shared best practices for advising with technology.
The advisor’s role is to teach students the skills to learn and research their academic and career options. It is necessary to encourage students to become life-long learners beyond the university environment. With web 2.0 and online resources, the goal is to encourage our students to access information and prepare them to be a connected learner. When students engage in advising management, they are able to acquire knowledge, experience ownership and feel empowered in the advising process.
In addition to improving student success, many discussions were around how web 2.0 can promote sharing of resources and information among professionals in the field of advising. Many seminar participants were eager to exchange ideas and share their experiences or concerns with technology in advising at their home institutions. Topics included social networking, RSS feeds, wiki development, blogs and microblogs, advising management systems, web-based surveys and how to make connections between these tools – just to name a few. Many of these conversations have continued on beyond the seminar location on various blogs, wikis, and social networks such as Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here are a few areas to learn more about the NACADA Technology Seminar and to connect with resources and advising professionals who support technology initiatives:
· NACADA Technology Seminar Backchannel: http://nacadatech.net
· NACADA Technology in Advising Commission: http://nacada.ksu.edu/Commissions/C14/index.htm
· George Steele, Ohio Learning Network: Wiki
· Eric Stoller, Oregon State University: Blog
· A few Presentations from the Seminar
· Photos on Flickr
· Delicious Bookmarks
Brown, John Seely & Adler, Richard P. (2008). Minds on fire: open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause Review January/February 2008.
Hurt, Robert L. (2007). Advising as teaching: Establishing outcomes, developing tools, and assessing student learning. NACADA Journal Volume 27(2), Fall
Sanford, N. (1967). Self & society: social change and individual development. New York, NY: Atherton Press.
Siemens, G (2005). About. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from Connectivism: A learning theory for today’s learner Web site: http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html
Laura Pasquini, M.S. Ed
Academic Advisor II, University of North Texas
College of Business, 1167 Union Circle
Denton, TX 76203
T: 940.565.2110 phone
F: 940.565.4640 fax
Interview with Heather Doyle – Ontario’s First Emerging Leader
1. How long have you been advising at Lakehead?
I began as Coordinator of Academic Advising, at Lakehead, in August 2006. Before that, I worked as a career counsellor, and I did a counselling internship at the University of Prince Edward Island.
2. What are your goals as an Emerging Leader with NACADA over the next two years?
I have two primary goals that I hope to accomplish through my participation in the Emerging Leader program.
One goal is to become more actively involved within NACADA. I attended my first NACADA conference during my first year working at Lakehead and have been attending faithfully since. I find NACADA an incredible resource, both as a manager and an advisor. The connections I have made at conferences have been invaluable, and I look forward to cultivating those, and become more involved in the organization on a deeper level.
My second goal is I would like to conduct research and work at having it published. I have always been strongly interested in researching advising best practices, and share in NACADA’s mission to help promote scholarly research in advising.
3. What is one bit of advice that you would share with other post-secondary advising professionals in Ontario?
I think the advice that I would pass along, associated with my participation in the Emerging Leader program, is to choose to not get involved within NACADA (whether it simply be attending conferences, or on a higher level) because it may be seen as a primarily American organization. Not only is NACADA working diligently on trying to “internationalize” their efforts (including having recently developed a task force working on helping the title of NACADA become more encompassing), but what I have come to discover, is that no matter where we may be from, or what type of school we work at, the issues we face daily with students, faculty and administration, are shared across the board. Making those connections, and developing those resources are invaluable to increasing the field of advising in Ontario.
4. What is your funniest student story?
There are so many to choose from, especially during this time of registration. Two that stick out the most for me: I received an email from a student at the end of last semester, on the final day of exams, early afternoon, that went a little something like this:
Dear Academic Advising,
I have a hypothetical situation. Let’s just say, that hypothetically speaking, a friend of mine slept in for their final exam this morning. And lets just say, that this same student was flying out this afternoon and didn’t have time to write the exam. What would happen? I’m just curious, it’s not for me, but for a friend.
Another funny situation is one that happens every September, without fail. At Lakehead, we offer a General Science credit in Astronomy. Every year, after the first day of classes, we will inevitably have students come into the office wanting to drop the class, because it was not at all like they expected. That’s when we explain the difference between Astronomy…and ASTROLOGY.
5. What are your passions (either at work, outside of work, or both)?
My passion, outside of work, would probably be travelling and music. In particular, travelling to hear live music.
At work, my passion would of course, relate to advising. I see the value of advising, and I also see the changing needs of students. I am passionate about making my advising office the best possible resource for students at Lakehead. As well, I am passionate about becoming more involved in understanding the broader impact of advising on the academic life cycle of students, and working to help academic advising become more recognized across Canada.
2009 Conference Update
As you all know, the Call for Proposals has been sent out by the team that is organizing the Ontario Advising Conference at Seneca this fall. If you haven’t already done so, take a minute to consider contributing to the conference by making a presentation, hosting a round-table discussion, or some other way that you can share some best advising practices with your colleagues.
2010 NACADA Region 5 Conference Update
Marty Lowman and Jo Stewart (2010 Region 5 Conference Co-Chairs) are working with a number of advising professionals from Southern Ontario as we move ahead with the planning for the 2010 NACADA Regional Conference. As you may know, it will be held from April 14-16, 2010 at the Sheraton-on-the-Falls in Niagara Falls. We will meet with Anita Beaudette (University of Guelph – Registration Committee Chair), Grase Kim (York University – Program Committee Chair), Diane Crnac (McMaster University – Hospitality Committee Chair) and Jennifer McCaul (Grand Valley State University – NACADA Region 5 Chair) this October to make final plans for the conference. Thanks to everyone from across the province who has volunteered to help out on one of these committees. Be sure that you keep the dates for next April, and plan to come to Niagara Falls for a day of sharing and learning with other advisors from around the Great Lakes (Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin).
Website That May Be of Interest
“The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal” is a journal that is published electronically by Penn State’s Division of Undergraduate Studies. According to their site, “The Mentor is a free electronic publication about academic advising in higher education. The goal of this journal (available only on the Web) is to provide a mechanism for the rapid dissemination of new ideas about advising and for ongoing discourse about advising issues. Toward this goal, articles in the journal are published continuously in a current issue in progress.” Please feel free to check it out at www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/.
A Final Word
A special thank you goes out to Robert Kitchen (Fanshawe College) and Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas – Laura is originally from Ontario), two of the advising professionals who are on the mailing list for this publication. Both stepped up to the plate and submitted articles for this edition. Please remember that we are always looking for interesting articles about different issues or perspectives in advising, so contact Jo if you have any ideas for articles, or if you would like to write a brief piece for future editions.
As always, feel free to share this newsletter with any advising professional who may not have received it. Also feel free to contact Jo Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to go on the mailing list to receive future newsletters and conference information.