Advising Philosophy I advise…you decide!
Although new to the field of Academic Affairs and Academic Advising, I have worked in Higher Education, professionally, for three and a half years, and my educational philosophy remains student-‐centered. As all students have different needs, interests, abilities, and experiences, I find Progressivism the best way to describe my philosophy. Progressivists believe individuals learn best from what they consider most relevant to their lives. Whether it is a little extra attention for many questions or just a list of classes with not much explanation, I’m always willing to give a student what they need; however, I do find a huge difference between “coddling” and assisting, and I often find myself stopping to make sure I use the latter in my advising sessions. Burns Crookston (1972), compared descriptive advising to a doctor/patient relationship in which the advisor “diagnoses” a problem and “prescribes” advice on how the issue should be solved. Contrary to what most higher education researchers and professionals believe, I still find prescriptive advising beneficial and necessary at times. When looking at our traditional millennial students, coming in with 60+ hours of college credit and an Associate’s degree, it is natural to come in contact with students who do not feel they need “extra attention”, as they call it these days. Experienced students may know the drill with registration, campus resources, and possibly already have a schedule mapped out and just need classes confirmed. If this is the case, students may classify our services as unnecessary and “extra”. My philosophy is that an advisors’ “extra” attention is developmental advising. Crookston (1972), goes on to describe developmental advising being focused on student skills, growth, and a relationship of a shared and collaborative
responsibility with interactive dialogue (National Academic Advising Association, P. 4-‐5). Since I work with only freshman, students with 60+ hours or not, I find myself using develomental advising because students are still discovering who they are and their purpose on campus. Previously, I advised transfer students who had college credit, but also college experience and at times, a more prescriptive style was necessary and in their mind, needed. I’d like to say my advising style depends on my target audience. Prescriptive and developmental advising are both important and necessary in today’s academic advising world; when to use each one is the challenging part. Realizing when the student has moved through Chickering’s first three vectors, autonomy towards interdependence, understand how to manage emotions, and developed interpersonal competence (Chickering & Reisser, 1993) has a lot to do with which approach I take. A first year, first-‐generation student and the typical millennial, first-‐year student who is a junior by hours are going to be advised two completely different ways in my office; but with my true freshman, it will more thank likely be developmental. Both will get the advice and attention needed, but my deliverance will be the biggest difference. In the end, regardless of my advising style, a student’s journey should be and will be their choice because I just advise…they decide. Chickering, A.W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and Identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-‐Bass. Crookston, Burns. (1972). A Developmental View of Advising as Teaching. Journal of College Student Personnel, 13, 12-‐17. National Academic Advising Association, What is Academic Advising. Pocket Guide Series, PG01, 4-‐5.