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K-State Today

March 10, 2016

K-Staters' session wins Best of Region at NACADA conference

Submitted by Patrice Scott

An international academic advising association hosted a conference Feb. 29-March 2 in Manhattan where a College of Education faculty member was the lead presenter for the session voted Best of Region.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising held its Region 7 annual conference, "ALLIES for Advising: Advisors Learning, Leading, Integrating & Educating Students" Feb. 29-March 2 in Manhattan. More than 400 participants from across the country, and one from the Middle East, attended the three-day conference at the Hilton Garden Inn. Region 7 includes Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and Arkansas.

Christy Craft, associate professor of special education, counseling and student affairs, presented the region's winning session with colleagues Savannah Nulton, academic advisor in K-State's College of Arts & Sciences, and Joanna Seley, academic advisor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The title of their presentation was "Responding and Revealing: Addressing Challenges Related to Expressions of Religion and Spirituality in Academic Advising."

As Best of Region winners, Craft, Nulton and Seley are invited to present their session at NACADA's national conference in Atlanta this fall. The national conference typically draws nearly 4,000 delegates from NACADA's 10 North American regions and around the world, and includes more than 300 preconference and concurrent sessions in addition to the 10 Best of Regions.

Craft has long maintained students bring everything with them to advising sessions including their experiences, cultural attributes, economic status and their faith.

"Research suggests religion and spirituality are salient dimensions of identity for many college students and that many students refer to their religious or spiritual beliefs when speaking with their academic advisors about academic and career plans," Craft said. "For instance, some express the desire 'to do the will of God' or another higher power. Others state that they seek religious or spiritual confirmation about their decisions. The purpose of our session was to help academic advisors know how to appropriately respond when students bring up issues of faith regarding their academic careers. We are thrilled that the session was well-received at the conference."

The region's conference included 76 presenters and those who presented at the 36 concurrent sessions and the five preconference sessions.