Identifying high performing academic advisors

“People want to feel competent at their jobs; providing advisor training and professional development can improve job satisfaction. Rewarding advisors with professional development opportunities is a win-win situation for an institution. As advisors become better at their work with students, they are happier and more likely to remain on the job.” (Givans Voller, 2012)
Give academic advisors feedback that indicates the local impact of their work on institutional goals
People do want to feel competent at their jobs. But even the most competent academic advisor operates in isolation on a daily basis. It’s hard to see the impact of the work, and it’s difficult to understand if you are doing a good job.
It is logical to assume that the growth of the profession of academic advising has something to do with a need that has emerged in higher education. Changes in the faculty role over the last 25 years have led more and more institutions to “outsource” traditional faculty roles. Academic advising responsibilities have been “insourced” in some cases by converting all kinds of positions to full time academic advising roles. My own journey into professional academic advising began while I was employed as “graduation analyst” in a college dean’s office. But more and more higher education hopefuls are choosing to prepare for a career in academic advising. In this way, higher education is preparing professionals for the workforce it has created.
Higher education has a need for academic advisors. We have been asked, more than ever before, to help students set success goals and prove that they can be and are being met. Academic Advising professionals whose work day goals are aligned with institutional goals for student success should be constantly bombarded with real data concerning these successes. But too often advising goals are not aligned with institutional mission connected to teaching and learning. Even more often, no goals are set for academic advising. The cost of misalignment can be a perception that advising is a “service” that is for the “customer.”
Recently a survey was conducted at my institution having to do with service quality. I cringed out loud (as many will attest) when I heard that academic advising would be one of the “service areas” surveyed. The feedback from the survey was generally “good scores” for academic advising. The down side is that nothing surveyed was a part of the teaching and learning plan that has been developed for academic advising. Meaningful data responds to the mission that has been established, and tests the effectiveness of the teaching and learning that takes place when developing advisors, and when advising students. Of course we will incorporate this assessment into the future teaching and learning. Thank goodness the scores were good, huh?

Works Cited

Givans Voller, J. (2012). Advisor training and development: Why it matters and how to get started. Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site:

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