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K-State Today

September 10, 2014



College of Arts & Sciences faculty attend National Advising Institute

By Alison E. Wheatley

Hunt, Corbou, Wheatley, and Baltrip

A group of College of Arts & Sciences advisors and administrators participated in the National Academic Advising Association's 28th annual Summer Institute from July 27 to Aug. 1 in St. Petersburg, Florida. This team was the first to represent K-State in the history of the institute, which began in 1986.

"Part of what we brought back is the idea that advising is not tangential to but essential to the teaching and learning mission of the college," said Alison Wheatley, assistant dean of students in the college.

Wheatley was accompanied to the association's institute by Kimetris Baltrip, assistant professor and faculty advisor in journalism and mass communications; Angélique Courbou, department coordinator and lead advisor for undergraduate studies in modern languages; and Julie Hunt, advisor for open option and interdisciplinary social sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences' dean's office.

Faculty and full-time advisors were selected to represent different advising models, Wheatley said, so that various perspectives can be incorporated into developing an effective advising plan for the college.

The association's program was not a typical conference experience with only lectures and keynote speakers. Instead, representatives from more than 60 participating colleges and universities had to develop full or partial advising plans to take back to their institutions. Those plans were presented orally and critiqued after weeklong preparation.

Wheatley and her team sought to develop a comprehensive, sustainable plan to foster an understanding and an appreciation for advising as a core teaching and learning process that is central to sustaining K-State's identity as a family in the College of Arts & Sciences and the campus at large.

However, K-State's influence can be even broader, according to Nancy King, a National Academic Advising Association faculty member who also is the executive assistant for strategic initiatives in the president's office at Kennesaw State University.

"I am confident that with the commitment of employees like the team you sent to this year's Summer Institute, K-State will be a model for other national and international advising programs to follow," King wrote in a letter to K-State administrators. K-State's team presented its plan before a group that King facilitated.

The College of Arts & Sciences plan proposes to strengthen advising and foster a greater appreciation for its role in student success.

"We hope to affect a paradigm shift, where the advisor-advisee relationship becomes one of teaching and learning," Wheatley said. "We are confident this approach will improve retention and graduation rates for our students."

The College of Arts & Sciences team attended the institute with funding and support from the college course fee, and from Peter Dorhout, dean of the college, and Charlie L. Nutt, the executive director of National Academic Advising Association.

K-State houses the executive office of National Academic Advising Association, which is a global organization that seeks to advance academic advising through scholarship, professional development, networking and leadership.