Academic advising teaching our students to be independent learners
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Academic Advising: Teaching Our Students to Be Independent Learners ~~~~~. Charlie L. Nutt, Ed. D. National Academic Advising Association Associate Director Kansas State University [email protected]

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Academic advising teaching our students to be independent learners

Academic Advising:

Teaching Our Students to Be Independent Learners

~~~~~

Charlie L. Nutt, Ed. D.

National Academic Advising Association

Associate Director

Kansas State University

[email protected]


People will forget what you say. They will even forget what you do. But they never forget how you made them feel

Maya Angelo


you do. But they never forget how you made them feelGood advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience.”

Richard LightMaking the Most of College (2001)


“Advising is viewed as a way to connect students to the campus and help them feel that someone is looking out for them.”

George Kuh

Student Success in College (2005)


“Advisors are campus and help them feel that someone is looking out for them.”interpreters who help students navigate their new world. As such, academic advisors have to make connections.”

Nancy King

2005 Summer Institute on Academic Advising


Key Issues in Higher Education Globally campus and help them feel that someone is looking out for them.”

  • Time to Graduation

  • Retention/Persistence

  • Transferability

  • Assessment of Student Learning

  • Cost of Education

  • General Education Core

  • Value of Higher Education


Dec. 2004 – Pell Institute Study – What Institutions With Higher Than Expected Graduate Rates Have In Common:

  • High student participation in advising and counseling opportunities

  • Intentional Academic Planning

  • Educational innovations to assist students


July 2004 – Pell Institute Study With Higher Than Expected Graduate Rates Have In Common:

Institutions Focused on Student Retention and Persistence:

  • Teach students how to effectively make decisions and maneuver the system

  • Teach students how to make decisions about career and/or majors

  • Teach students how to identify and utilize campus resources and assistance


Advising that contributes to the teaching and learning mission of the institution:

Is a student-centered process

Facilitates behavioral awareness and problem-solving, decision-making and evaluation skills

Encourages both short-term and long-term goal-setting


Makes the students feel that they “matter” mission of the institution:

Stresses the shared responsibility between the student and the advisor, with an emphasis on the advisor helping the students to make decisions for themselves and teaching them the skills and knowledge they need make decisions and be successful.


  • Questioning Skills mission of the institution:

    • Focus questions on the concerns of the students not on the concerns of the advisors

    • Use open-ended questions focused on the student, not on advisor --

      • not “How can I help you” - instead “What do you want to talk about today?

      • not “What can I do for you today” - instead “What issues do you have about semester”

    • Closed-ended questions are used to gather vital information and are necessary -- but be aware they are indicators of your interest in only facts, not concerns or interests of the students


  • Referral Skills mission of the institution:

    • all referrals must be based on the students’ needs, concerns, and life issues - not on the advisor’s own feelings or views

    • explain in a clear and open manner why the student should seek assistance from another source

    • advisor and student must joint develop a plan of action for the referral and expected results

    • provide all information to the student for the referral -- reason, possible results, location, telephone, email


  • Referral Skills mission of the institution:

    • Assist student with making appointment by making phone call, walking student to referral source, etc.

    • ALWAYS set a time for a follow-up session on the outcome of the referral -- without this some students see no reason for following through on the referral as well as student believes referral was not important, unnecessary, or just a way to get him out of the advisor’s office


The questions we raise, the perceptions we share, the resources we suggest, the short-term decisions and long-range decisions we help them think through, all should aim to increase their capacity to take charge of their future.

--Arthur Chickering


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