Category Archives: Advisement

Coming Soon…New Academic Advising Model

Exciting developments continue in Student Affairs…this time in Academic Advising.  If you have ever visited the Enrollment Center during peak registration times, you’ll agree that the place is jumping with activity…sometimes too much activity.  With a constant eye on improving processes we knew we had to find a better way to serve students.  Gaucho 101 serves as First Semester Advisors with the goal to serve new-to-college, degree-seeking students, this allows only continuing students to be served by Academic Advisors in the Enrollment Center.  At the same time, thanks to SPA, we have data that shows students will see multiple Academic Advisors in a very short time, sometimes as many as six advisors!  All of this adding to the number of students waiting in the Enrollment Center.

Other than adding to the volume of students in the Enrollment Center, seeing multiple advisors means that students have to introduce themselves multiple times, explain their goals multiple times, and possibly, receive multiple answers to their questions…all of this causing frustration for everyone.

So…the Academic Advisors have taken on this challenge and will be revamping their advisement model to include assigned-advisors for students!  I am very excited about their process and the enthusiasm with which they have accepted the challenge.  Special thanks to Melissa Turnbull, Interim Advisement Coordinator, for leading this challenge and guiding the Academic Advisors through program development.  We will all be excited about the final outcome.

Remember…Student Affairs is focused on helping students develop relationships and connections with staff, helping to ease the path through their college experience, leading to a walk across the stage at commencement.

 

Life is Not a Multiple Choice Test

… well I suppose it can be, if you know what the choices are. In many cases, however, the available choices are not fed to you. There is no bubble sheet to fill in. It’s up to you to figure it out with no hints from a prompt.

Many of our younger students have been tested to death. One thing is for certain, they are comfortable with multiple choice options.

Last semester, I told my students that I was assigning a final project instead of a final exam. They begged me for a multiple choice test instead. To their credit, I had assigned a large number of projects throughout the semester, so I caved and wrote a final exam for them.

I do believe, however, that a degree means more than regurgitating facts. There are a number of other skills employers expect when they hire someone with a degree. I think these skills are learned through the college experience as a whole.

I came across this list of traits that we really cannot measure with tests today:

Whether or not we use multiple choice tests for factual knowledge, I believe the experience of going to college and completing practical application projects helps develop these characteristics.

Next time I work with a student who is frustrated, doesn’t like group projects, writing assignments,  or has roadblocks and other issues in the way – I will come back to this list, for no matter what a student’s major is, these skills come along with it. And we all get to contribute to that!

 

 

I’ll miss you when you’re gone

Most of us who work as teachers find that working with students is the most important reward of the job. I believe it is beneficial to build some kind of relationship with each student in the class to help determine how to best to meet individual learning needs. These relationships are build over the course of the semeseter – and all to often, they end after final exams.

On the first day of a new semester, I often wonder how I will make the class have a cohesive camaraderie, and if it will live up to the one I taught the previous semester, or in previous years. People are often quiet and shy, and are not showing their true colors yet.

I spend a bit of time getting to know them by hanging out before and after class, providing comments on work turned in, walking around and interacting with small group discussions, sending emails regarding missed assignments, and offering help whenever its appropriate. In some cases, students will offer information about themselves – like work scheduling, family obligations, and outside activities. This gives me the opening to talk with them individually about more personal things.

Right around mid-semester, things start gelling, and people are talking and interacting. I know all the names in the class, and I generally know a little bit about each student other than just their student life. They also seem to be more comfortable with each other, and are more willing to contribute in class. The begin forming community.

By the end of the semester, the students genuinely enjoy being with each other. I have bonded with them, and we have a thriving community atmosphere. Often, as we are wrapping up for the semester, I might mention that we only have 2 or 3 class sessions left, and some students are visibly disappointed – and I am too.

Once the class is over, I miss the students. It seems like I only have them for a short time, and I want to know how they’re doing, and what they’re up to.

I am always so happy to run into former students at the college, or in the community. I saw one student in the enrollment center one day, and she emailed me later expressing her difficulty scholarship funding. I was able to share her story with the right people, and she was able to get what she was promised – and it made it possible for to continue going to school. Another group of my former students coordinated their schedules, and are purposefully taking classes together this semester.

Our time in class is short, and I have memories of many students long after the semester is over. I often wonder if our impact on students is limited to the time we have them in class. I know they have impacted me. I would love to see some comments on how others have retained contact with former students.

 

Educating the Whole Person

Educating the Whole Person

Depending on what brings you to work every day, this may mean something different to each of us. Counseling, Advising, Teaching, Coaching…..  What does this mean to you, and how do you help to make this happen? This post is less of a one-sided submittal, and intended to be more of a two-way exchange (or larger conversation).

Do you feel our job as community college educators, coaches,  and leaders is to ‘educate the whole person’?  Or, should we stick to the traditional ‘Three R’s’ mindset? And, why do you feel the way you do?

According to our last CCSSE & SENSE surveys (2011), over 76% of our students report never working with instructors or faculty outside of class assignments, 33% report never discussing career plans with their advisor or instructors, and only 50% of students reported discussing ideas from readings or class with others outside of class often.

Faculty & staff interactions provide an opportunity to educate the whole person, but my question is: if we buy-in to that premise, what can each of us do better every day to make that be a true statement?

I’m hoping we hold this discussion as a daily reminder of the importance of EVERY.SINGLE.INTERACTION. with our students and the impact we can make in educating the whole person.

Your turn………

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Coke and a Smile

I’m a bit of a Coke-Cola nut and one of my favorite ads of all time is begins with, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”.   As a kid listening to that song I couldn’t think of anything nicer than to share my favorite beverage, sing, and do kind things for other people.  Yes, yes as a child you can see that I had some “coke bottle” thick, rose colored glasses, but really what would our campus look like if each of us were intentionally more kind?  If we started going above and beyond to spend our days showing kindness to each student, staff, faculty, and administrator we come into contact with, what would the possibilities be?  Would we see more smiles, more openness, and even more successes!721382f18bc997290421999a15d6cdfd

If you’ve taken time to read this post I challenge you (as I’ve challenged myself) to focus each day to be kind to those you encounter.  I’d enjoy hearing about your experiences over a Coke…on me.