For Faculty & Staff
“Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience” Light, 2000, p. 91).
By extension, “…an effective advisor-training and development program may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college” (Nutt, 2003, p. 9).
A few special notes…
For new academic advisors: It takes time and effort to fully acquire the knowledge base needed to be an effective advisor. What might be less intuitive is the importance of developing good listening skills. Each student is unique in their needs; take the time to build a sense of trust with a student and learn how you can best serve him or her. Pick up the phone or send off an email to another advisor on campus to verify information. Your student would rather have accurate information later that day than an immediate answer that is incorrect.
For experienced academic advisors: Advising is like any other profession- staying current is critical. Technologies change, forms change, policies change, students change. Professional development deserves as much attention as informational updates. Assessment of advising in your unit can provide valuable feedback on what you are doing well and what could be done better or more efficiently. Serving as a mentor to a newer campus advisor helps avoid the burn-out and sense of professional isolation that sometimes develop.
For faculty advisors: The faculty advisor can have a profound influence on a student’s academic choices and decisions. Most students come in contact with few people better positioned to discuss the connection between their interests and professional/career goals. Think about the important mentors in your own experience- what did you hear from them that influenced your path?