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Theories That Connect Academic Advising, Academic Underpreparedness, and Student Development

Tomorrow's Academy

Message Number: 
1793

Academic advisors know that underprepared students who participate in high-impact practices—learning communities, service-learning, research with faculty, internships or field experience, study abroad, and capstone experiences—demonstrate a greater likelihood of completing a degree.

Folks:

The posting below describes factors that impact the college success of under-prepared students.  It is from Chapter 5: Advising Academically Underprepared Students, by Marsha A. Miller and Carita Harrell in the book, Academic Advising and the First College Year, edited by Jennifer R. Fox and Holly E. Martin. Copyright © 2017 University of South Carolina and NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Regards,

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

UP NEXT: Exposure to Research in Science and Engineering Undergraduate Studies 

 

Tomorrow’s Academy

---------- 887 words ----------

Theories That Connect Academic Advising, Academic Underpreparedness, and Student Development

         

Academic advisors should draw from a number of theories when advising underprepared students. For instance, underprepared students from low-income households often function at the lower levels of Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy of needs (e.g., physiological or safety levels). These students may shoulder family and employment obligations that make full-time participation in the college experience unrealistic (Engle & Tinto, 2008).

In his description of challenges experienced by students on college campuses, Tinto (1993) noted two specific obstacles: isolation and incongruence. Isolation, or feeling disconnected from daily academic life, often results from students failing to integrate fully into the institution. According to research supported by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, student interaction with collegiate peers, including active and collaborative learning, predicts college completion (Price & Tovar, 2014). 

Student engagement indicators include history of undertaking academic challenges, learning alongside peers, gaining experiences with family members, and interacting in campus environments (National Survey of Student Engagement [NSSE], 2015). Academic advisors know that underprepared students who participate in high-impact practices—learning communities, service-learning, research with faculty, internships or field experience, study abroad, and capstone experiences—demonstrate a greater likelihood of completing a degree (NSSE, 2015, p. 1). Therefore, advisors should query students concerning engagement indicators (e.g., ask them to summarize learning in a class) to determine the level of their engagement (NSSE, 2015). Despite the value of this information in assessing student risk, the engagement indicators offer no guidance for advising students with academic and social skills incongruent with those needed in a specific academic program or for life on campus.

Incongruence characterizes the student “at odds with the institution in terms of academic expectations, social norms, or financial costs” (Tinto, 1993, p. 186). Conley (2008) delineated four facets of college readiness that affect student success: academic content knowledge and skills, key cognitive strategies, academic behaviors, and contextual skills and awareness levels. In an explanation of the readiness lessons offered to improve content knowledge and skills, Conley pointed to practices in developmental courses that teach reasoning, problem-solving, and self-management skills.      

By asking them to explain issues, defend a point of view, or critique a learning experience, advisors encourage students to exercise their reasoning abilities (Conley, 2008). Advisors can introduce problem-solving strategies, such as identifying key elements of an issue, and suggest strategies that help students address each element separately, and in this way, assist students in understanding and analyzing complicated situations (Malouff, n.d.). Self-management skills include proficiency to assess, monitor, and evaluate abilities to manage time, curb procrastination, use confidence strategies, handle distractions, and cope with stress (Trinity College Dublin, 2015). Academic advisors who prompt students to consider ways of thinking or teach stress management compel students to take charge of their academic experiences and increase resilience.

Astin’s (1984/1999) theory of student involvement focuses on the importance of students’ interaction with their environment. He outlined five factors of college student involvement: investment in physical and psychological energy, involvement along a continuum, measurable participation, learning and personal involvement proportional to the quantity and quality of student investment, and effective campus practices to increase engagement (p. 519). Advisors know the indicators of underpreparedness and determine whether students experience isolation on campus or engagement with others. More recently in a published interview, Astin (“Q & A with Alexander Astin,” 2012) urged the academy to provide opportunity and support for students to reflect on their situations and goals. As a reflection strategy, journaling benefits advisees, as can job shadowing or visiting with individuals working in a field of interest. Through observation of the world of work, students connect classroom learning with their goals, which may confer particular advantage to students as they interact with persons in their social or family circles. To motivate them to acquire or improve proficiencies, advisors can share with students the skills employers want (Adams, 2014) and prompt advisees to build their career potential by creating a working portfolio of curricular and cocurricular experiences that illustrate mastery of these skills (Shaffer & Zalewski, 2011) (see chapters 8 and 9).       

Many first-year college student programs offer the appropriate balance of challenge and support for students as first explained by Sanford (1962). The advisor uses Sanford’s idea of balance to assist students deemed underprepared for one major but who demonstrate the academic skills needed for another, related major. For instance, a pre-med student with a keen desire to help children but who struggles in science classes may benefit from exploring majors that require fewer science courses or less stringent grade requirements and that lead to careers working with children.         

Personal choices, including those related to institution and major, may contribute to the struggle of underprepared students. Without adequate support, underprepared and underinformed students may not consider all the facets of their decision and thus select institutions, programs, or courses that do not align with their interests or proficiency levels (Steele, 2013). Furthermore, ill-prepared students may lack the coping tools needed to overcome unintended setbacks. In fact, overly challenging environments “are toxic … and promote defensiveness and anxiety” (Northern Illinois University, n.d., p. 4). Academic advising offers “perhaps the only opportunity for all students to develop a personal, consistent relationship with someone in the institution who cares about them” (Drake, 2011, p. 10), and advisors provide both direct assistance and referrals to appropriate specialists. 

References

Adams, S. (2014, November 12). The 10 skills employers most want in 2015 graduates. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/12/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-2015-graduates/

Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518-529. (Reprinted from Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 1984, pp. 297-308)

Conley, D. T. (2008). Rethinking college readiness. New Directions for Higher Education, 2008(144), 3-13. Retrieved from http://www.csub.edu/eap-riap/day1/Rethinking%20College%20Readiness.pdf

Drake, J. K. (2011). The role of academic advising in student retention and persistence. About Campus, 16(3), 8-12. Retrieved from http://advising.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/jaynearticle%20(3).pdf

Engle, J., & Tinto, V. (2008). Moving beyond access: College success for low-income, first-generation students. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED504448.pdf

Malouff, J. (n.d.). Over fifty problem solving strategies explained. Retrieved from http://www.une.edu.au/about-une/academic-schools/bcss/news-and-events/psychology-community-activities/over-fifty-problem-solving-strategies-explained

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper.

National Survey of Student Engagement. (2015, July 23). Engagement indicators & high-impact practices. Retrieved from http://nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/EIs_and_HIPs_2015.pdf

Northern Illinois University. (n.d.). A brief introduction to student development theory. Retrieved from http://www.niu.edu/engagedlearning/themed_learning/A%20Brief%20Introduction%20to%20Student%20Development%20Theory.pdf

Price, D. V., & Tovar, E. (2014, May 8). Student engagement and institutional graduation rates: identifying high-impact educational practices for community colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 38, 766-782. doi: 10.1080/10668926.2012.719481

Sanford, N. (1962). The American college. New York, NY: Wiley.

Shaffer, L. S., & Zalewski, J. M. (2011). A human capital approach to career advising. NACADA Journal, 31(1), 75-87.

Steele, G. (2013). Decision making: Interest and effort. Retrieved fromhttps://nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Decision-Making-Interest-and-Effort.asFolks:

 

The posting below describes factors that impact the college success of under-prepared students.  It is from Chapter 5: Advising Academically Underprepared Students, by Marsha A. Miller and Carita Harrell in the book, Academic Advising and the First College Year, edited by Jennifer R. Fox and Holly E. Martin. Copyright © 2017 University of South Carolina and NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

 

Regards,

 

Rick Reis

reis@stanford.edu

UP NEXT: Exposure to Research in Science and Engineering Undergraduate Studies 

 

 

 

Tomorrow’s Academy

 

---------- 887 words ----------

 

Theories That Connect Academic Advising, Academic Underpreparedness, and Student Development

         

Academic advisors should draw from a number of theories when advising underprepared students. For instance, underprepared students from low-income households often function at the lower levels of Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy of needs (e.g., physiological or safety levels). These students may shoulder family and employment obligations that make full-time participation in the college experience unrealistic (Engle & Tinto, 2008).

         

In his description of challenges experienced by students on college campuses, Tinto (1993) noted two specific obstacles: isolation and incongruence. Isolation, or feeling disconnected from daily academic life, often results from students failing to integrate fully into the institution. According to research supported by the Center for Community College Student Engagement, student interaction with collegiate peers, including active and collaborative learning, predicts college completion (Price & Tovar, 2014).

         

Student engagement indicators include history of undertaking academic challenges, learning alongside peers, gaining experiences with family members, and interacting in campus environments (National Survey of Student Engagement [NSSE], 2015). Academic advisors know that underprepared students who participate in high-impact practices—learning communities, service-learning, research with faculty, internships or field experience, study abroad, and capstone experiences—demonstrate a greater likelihood of completing a degree (NSSE, 2015, p. 1). Therefore, advisors should query students concerning engagement indicators (e.g., ask them to summarize learning in a class) to determine the level of their engagement (NSSE, 2015). Despite the value of this information in assessing student risk, the engagement indicators offer no guidance for advising students with academic and social skills incongruent with those needed in a specific academic program or for life on campus.

 

Incongruence characterizes the student “at odds with the institution in terms of academic expectations, social norms, or financial costs” (Tinto, 1993, p. 186). Conley (2008) delineated four facets of college readiness that affect student success: academic content knowledge and skills, key cognitive strategies, academic behaviors, and contextual skills and awareness levels. In an explanation of the readiness lessons offered to improve content knowledge and skills, Conley pointed to practices in developmental courses that teach reasoning, problem-solving, and self-management skills. 

         

By asking them to explain issues, defend a point of view, or critique a learning experience, advisors encourage students to exercise their reasoning abilities (Conley, 2008). Advisors can introduce problem-solving strategies, such as identifying key elements of an issue, and suggest strategies that help students address each element separately, and in this way, assist students in understanding and analyzing complicated situations (Malouff, n.d.). Self-management skills include proficiency to assess, monitor, and evaluate abilities to manage time, curb procrastination, use confidence strategies, handle distractions, and cope with stress (Trinity College Dublin, 2015). Academic advisors who prompt students to consider ways of thinking or teach stress management compel students to take charge of their academic experiences and increase resilience. 

 

Astin’s (1984/1999) theory of student involvement focuses on the importance of students’ interaction with their environment. He outlined five factors of college student involvement: investment in physical and psychological energy, involvement along a continuum, measurable participation, learning and personal involvement proportional to the quantity and quality of student investment, and effective campus practices to increase engagement (p. 519). Advisors know the indicators of underpreparedness and determine whether students experience isolation on campus or engagement with others. More recently in a published interview, Astin (“Q & A with Alexander Astin,” 2012) urged the academy to provide opportunity and support for students to reflect on their situations and goals. As a reflection strategy, journaling benefits advisees, as can job shadowing or visiting with individuals working in a field of interest. Through observation of the world of work, students connect classroom learning with their goals, which may confer particular advantage to students as they interact with persons in their social or family circles. To motivate them to acquire or improve proficiencies, advisors can share with students the skills employers want (Adams, 2014) and prompt advisees to build their career potential by creating a working portfolio of curricular and cocurricular experiences that illustrate mastery of these skills (Shaffer & Zalewski, 2011) (see chapters 8 and 9). 

         

Many first-year college student programs offer the appropriate balance of challenge and support for students as first explained by Sanford (1962). The advisor uses Sanford’s idea of balance to assist students deemed underprepared for one major but who demonstrate the academic skills needed for another, related major. For instance, a pre-med student with a keen desire to help children but who struggles in science classes may benefit from exploring majors that require fewer science courses or less stringent grade requirements and that lead to careers working with children. 

         

Personal choices, including those related to institution and major, may contribute to the struggle of underprepared students. Without adequate support, underprepared and underinformed students may not consider all the facets of their decision and thus select institutions, programs, or courses that do not align with their interests or proficiency levels (Steele, 2013). Furthermore, ill-prepared students may lack the coping tools needed to overcome unintended setbacks. In fact, overly challenging environments “are toxic … and promote defensiveness and anxiety” (Northern Illinois University, n.d., p. 4). Academic advising offers “perhaps the only opportunity for all students to develop a personal, consistent relationship with someone in the institution who cares about them” (Drake, 2011, p. 10), and advisors provide both direct assistance and referrals to appropriate specialists. 

 

References

Adams, S. (2014, November 12). The 10 skills employers most want in 2015 graduates. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/11/12/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-2015-graduates/

Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518-529. (Reprinted from Journal of College Student Personnel, 25, 1984, pp. 297-308)

Conley, D. T. (2008). Rethinking college readiness. New Directions for Higher Education, 2008(144), 3-13. Retrieved from http://www.csub.edu/eap-riap/day1/Rethinking%20College%20Readiness.pdf[E1]

Drake, J. K. (2011). The role of academic advising in student retention and persistence. About Campus, 16(3), 8-12. Retrieved from http://advising.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/jaynearticle%20(3).pdf

Engle, J., & Tinto, V. (2008). Moving beyond access: College success for low-income, first-generation students. Washington, DC: The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED504448.pdf

Malouff, J. (n.d.). Over fifty problem solving strategies explained. Retrieved from http://www.une.edu.au/about-une/academic-schools/bcss/news-and-events/psychology-community-activities/over-fifty-problem-solving-strategies-explained

Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York, NY: Harper.

National Survey of Student Engagement. (2015, July 23). Engagement indicators & high-impact practices. Retrieved from http://nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/EIs_and_HIPs_2015.pdf

Northern Illinois University. (n.d.). A brief introduction to student development theory. Retrieved from http://www.niu.edu/engagedlearning/themed_learning/A%20Brief%20Introduction%20to%20Student%20Development%20Theory.pdf[E2]

Price, D. V., & Tovar, E. (2014, May 8). Student engagement and institutional graduation rates: identifying high-impact educational practices for community colleges. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 38, 766-782. doi: 10.1080/10668926.2012.719481

Sanford, N. (1962). The American college. New York, NY: Wiley.

Shaffer, L. S., & Zalewski, J. M. (2011). A human capital approach to career advising. NACADA Journal, 31(1), 75-87.

Steele, G. (2013). Decision making: Interest and effort. Retrieved fromhttps://nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Decision-Making-Interest-and-Effort.aspx

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Trinity College Dublin. (2015). Self-management. Retrieved from 

https://www.tcd.ie/Student_Counselling/student-learning/learning-resources/self-management/