Best Practices from Faculty & Staff
“I am not a professionally trained advisor (obviously), so it's taken me 10 years to create an advising system and philosophy that work for me. I don't know if I'd call this a best practice, but I go to a doctor who asks "What haven't we talked about?" at the end of my appointments. I now ask this before my advising appointments with students conclude. It's a helpful way to guide the conversation and make sure the student gets the information that they need before they leave my office. It allows a student to guide me to a certain topic when they are too confused to formulate a question. I've learned to coax information out of my advisees by asking questions like "Tell me about your business classes," rather than "Is there something wrong in your business classes?" when I sense there's an issue.”
Dr. Elaine Eshbaugh, Department of Gerontology
Advisor Development eLearning Course
The advisor development eLearning course exists as a resource for new and seasoned UNI undergraduate advisors to develop in their ability to provide excellent academic advising to students at UNI.
We encourage everybody to complete the 5 core knowledge areas prior to the end of August as a first step in preparing for advising this semester. If you have completed them in the past, we recommend reviewing the modules to refresh yourself in each area. Additionally, now is a great time to review the Advisor Development Certificate requirements.
If you have any questions regarding your progress toward a certificate, please e-mail David Marchesani for an update.
What to do with "Major Changers"
According to the EAB Student Success Collaborative report, 75-85% of students will declare an initial major, then switch majors before they graduate. It is a myth that students who settle on a major early are better off—in fact, students who make their only major decision in their first term actually graduate at lower rates than their peers. We should encourage students to explore their interests, those that pursue careers closely aligned with personal interests tend to enjoy better professional outcomes.
These are students that the Office of Academic Advising is prepared to work with. We can help deciding students explore interests, career options, and make decisions. Students can call 319-273-3406 to set up an appointment with one of our advisors.
NACADA Core Competencies
NACADA – The Global Community for Academic Advising developed a Core Competencies model to outline the components of advisor training, based on Habley’s Framework (1987). This model has a purpose of identifying the understanding, knowledge, and skills that support academic advising.
The conceptual content area involves the ideas and theories that successful advisors use. Examples include student development theories and best practices. We plan to include these in the Advising Express and in programming and workshops.
The informational component includes the knowledge advisors must be able to share with their students, such as LAC requirements, or major requirements. We plan to include this information in “Notes for Advisors” and “Notes for Students” communications.
The relational component of advising allows academic advisors to convey concepts and information to their advisees. The relational component is built throughout the entire advising relationship.
You can find components from each of the Core Competencies in the Advisor Development eLearning Course. You can also learn more about the Core Competencies framework in the NACADA Clearinghouse, a source of articles about advising.
Introducing “Notes for Students”
Starting in the next few weeks, we plan to introduce a “Notes for Students” communication intended to be student-facing, and containing at-a-glance information coming at important times in the school year for students. The content is intended to both be copied and pasted into your current emails to students, or forwarded as a stand-alone email. You’ll see these emails with the following header:
Our three communications are developed based on the NACADA Core Competencies model. Notes for Students and Notes for Advisors are intended to communicate the informational component, and our monthly newsletter, Advising Express, deals more with the Conceptual and Relational components of advising.
Save the date!
Advising Network meetings:
- Wednesday, September 13, 8:30 – 10:00 AM, Curris Business Building 319
- Thursday, October 19th, 8:30 – 10:00 AM, TBA
- Wednesday, December 6th, 8:30 – 10:00 AM, TBA
Fall New & Returning Academic Advisor Inservice
- October 19th, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, ITT 136