Advisor Orientation, Training and Development

Objective

To develop a new advisor training schedule and enhance the model for campus advisors (complimentary to college/departmental training)

Members

  • Donna Burton – Chair
  • Arnold Bell
  • Tremaine Brittian
  • Alina Duca
  • Brad Wingo

Report

Background – current advisor orientation, training, and development

The Advisor Development Institute (ADI), coordinated by Academic Advising Services in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, provides advisor orientation, training, and development for primary role and faculty advisors, as well as advising administrators. The activities are centered around the three aspects of effective advising as defined by NACADA (National Academic Advising Association): conceptual, informational, and relational.

The ADI Certificate program gives individuals the opportunity to learn about these key components of effective advising. The certificate candidates are then assessed through simulations with experienced advisors. Certificate recipients are recognized at the annual University Advising Awards ceremony each January.

There are three types of programs within the ADI:

Core workshops are primarily for newer advisors. All four of the following must be completed for the ADI Certificate:

    • Introduction to Technology and Policy
    • Communicating with Advisees and Developmental Advising
    • Career Readiness
    • Advising a Diverse Student Population

Advisors Roundtables are sessions focused on emerging issues, changes in regulations, and new or changed campus programs and policies.

Topic Sessions are focused on aspects of advising at NC State that contribute to student success. Recent programs include “Pre-Professional Advising,” “Is My Message Being Received? Techniques for Advising International Students” and “Math and Chemistry Placement Exams.”

To earn the ADI certificate, an individual must complete two sessions in addition to the core workshops.

One way to participate in all the core workshops is the Advisor Academy, a two-day intensive workshop for a cohort of 10-12 advisors and advising administrators. The Academy is held three times a year (August, February, and June). Since its inception in June, 2013, 130 individuals have completed the Academy.

Needs Assessment

While AAS has established a program supporting the training and development of numerous advisors and advising administrators, there are many individuals at the University who participate in academic advising yet are not been involved in many of the opportunities described above. To ensure that students and advisors are engaged in a quality advising experience across the University, training and development need to be more broadly developed and delivered.

The Working Group on Advisor Orientation, Training, and Development has first sought to understand (1) the prior training and development experiences of those on campus in advising roles, (2) what training and development they desire and in what form, and (3) the current level of knowledge about specific resources. To that end, a needs assessment survey has been developed and distributed to all Coordinators of Advising for undergraduate majors and to all those on campus with at least one advisee of record. These individuals have been urged to provide the survey link to any others in their unit who provide academic advising assistance of some kind.  More than 280 individuals completed the survey.

Desirable picture of advisor orientation, training, and development – preliminary discussions

Our group has discussed what advisor orientation, training, and development would look like in “a perfect world.” Our preliminary discussions have centered on how these functions can contribute to a common advising experience at the University, one that supports both student learning and the development of advisors.

Ideas that have been considered so far include:

  • Monthly new advisor orientation (day or half-day)
  • Monthly advisor newsletter to support all advisors
  • Each new advisor being matched with an experienced advisor — a mentor — for one year
  • Having a dedicated group of individuals in key positions who agree to serve as reference points for new advisors
  • Online tutorials that are dynamic and allow the advisor to test his or her knowledge
  • Once-a-semester networking opportunities (for example, a “best practices” session followed by a reception)
  • Once-a-semester visit of a professional advisor to various departments to connect/offer support to faculty advisors; the session could be co-led with the Coordinator of advising in the respective department
  • “Welcome package” to new advisors with resources… something similar to the binder provided at the Advisor Academy.
  • Observation of more experienced advisors

Obstacles to the “perfect world” scenario

  • Orientation, training, and development of advisors have varied by college and unit. Some areas have created clear-cut expectations for training, while others do not. Without overarching University expectations in place, participation by many advisors has been limited or nonexistent.
  • Currently there is only one AAS staff member dedicated to the development and coordination of advisor training and development, and that individual also has teaching and advising responsibilities. The budget is small ($1500 per year for Advisor Academy expenses), and there is no administrative support. To provide training and development at an enhanced level will require appropriate resourcing.
  • Many advisors, especially faculty, have very limited time available to participate in training and development activities.

Moving Forward

The Advisor Orientation, Training, and Development working group will be collaborating with two other groups moving forward: the Career Ladder group and the Assessment of Advising group.

With respect to career ladders, the discussion will be about what training should be required of new advisors and what development is appropriate for advisors who want to be promoted. With the Assessment of Advising group, there will be a consideration of how orientation, training, and development can ensure focus on outcomes for both students and advisors.

The group will continue to review the results of the needs assessment and bring to the full UAAC recommendations that require broader development and consensus.