Monday, November 19, 2012

Dr. Faulkner: Advising


Forty years ago, Terry O’Banion proposed a model for academic advising.  It appeared in what was then known as the Junior College Journal (1972) and has since been adopted and adapted by multiple community colleges and universities.  In an article in the October / November issue of the Community College Journal, O’Banion offers an edited and updated version of the original. 

What follows is quoted from the article:

The process of academic advising is composed of five steps:

1.      Explore Life Goals.  A college education should ensure that every student has and opportunity to ask the questions; Who am I?  Where am I going? What difference does it make?

2.      Explore Vocational Goals.  Vocational goals are life goals extended into the world of work.

3.      Choose a Program.  Once the college has provided an opportunity for students to consider life and vocational goals . . . the student must choose a program.  At a community college with a diverse student body, the process of choosing a program staggers the imagination.

4.      Choose Courses.  Once a program is selected, students must choose courses for the immediate term and perhaps even for subsequent terms.

5.      Schedule Courses.  Deciding when to take courses is no simple task, either.

O’Banion goes on to propose that the best approach to advising is a team approach - one that involves the student, faculty, professional counselors, and special personnel including student assistants and community volunteers.

I admit that as a faculty advisor, I seldom achieved the higher levels of advising, spending most of my precious student interaction time concentrating on numbers 4 and 5.  This spring we are giving special emphasis to advising.  As I shared from this article in an e-mail a few days ago, “Academic Advising is the second-most important function in the community college.”

You can read the full article at

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