June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Women in Engineering
13.402.1 - 13.402.9
Developmental Advising – Exploring the Boundaries What are appropriate, caring limits?
It is generally recognized that developmental advising is a key component for student retention and academic success. Yet faculty advisors may feel inadequately prepared to do such advising for what they think are very good reasons. Academic advisors in engineering have backgrounds in technology, industry, and curriculum but may forget that they have developed life skills from which students can benefit. Student needs can readily extend beyond academic topics and provide a considerable challenge to effective advising. This paper explores the territory between student personal issues that faculty worry about having to address and curriculum matters dealing with course selections and prerequisites. Effective student advising demands that the entire range of issues be addressed, yet faculty are hesitant. Faculty can and should shoulder only a part of the burden but could benefit from viewing the advisor-student relationship as an opportunity to help the student acquire life skills.
What the authors have found to be true to a great extent is that a major need of students is to simply talk, to talk to someone who cares. Engaging students in conversation and taking them seriously is essential. Frankly, students seldom have an expectation that someone will “make everything better.” They are not that unrealistic. Students do, however, benefit from talking to someone who has been where they are in the academic process and navigated it successfully as well as someone who can teach them critical thinking skills to address problems, be they academic or personal. Faculty need to be able to differentiate what students are communicating into two broad categories, academic and nonacademic. Issues dealing with the nonacademic, “stuff of life,” category may need to be referred to those with greater expertise but the faculty member may be able to help the student critically think through their issues by focusing on their goals. Hence, the effectiveness of the faculty component of advising can be vastly improved by the processes of listening, helping, and, when appropriate, referring students to the proper resources on campus.
Several actual case studies are presented that faculty have encountered during student advising. The paper will present different potential outcomes to the cases and suggest the suitability of faculty advising approaches. An analysis of the ramifications of these approaches will be given. It is expected that a faculty who has studied these cases before encountering them will be better prepared as an academic advisor.
Why bother? Why not just settle for an advising focus on what courses to take? Students come to college not just for knowledge in their chosen major. The purpose of college is growth, both professionally and personally. One without the other is a defeat for the entire educational process.
Waterfall, E., & Albrecht, E., & Williams, S., & Petersen, O. (2008, June), Development Advising – Exploring The Boundaries; What Are Appropriate, Caring Limits? Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4126
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