Proactive Advising and Common Readings make a difference. Blog posting for Throw Back Thursday.

So this post provided me a nice little lift towards the end of my day. It embraced a healthy level of irrevernce by tossing a little #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) reference in there, it links to an article on a type of advising I’ve embraced for the entire decade I’ve spent doing this work, it talks about a “common reading” program like the one I want to start at my new institution, and it ties in nicely with what, I think, higher education now needs to embrace.

Rightly so, institutions are focusing on access, enrollment management, and getting students in the door and on their way to embracing the life-changing power of a college degree. I think that will get Enrollment-Management-Minded insitutions half-way to their ultimate goal. The other 50% of a 100% Enrollment Management Solution needs to focus on retention. Now that you have them on campus, you have to look at what happens to students once they get started. What does their engagement with learning look like? Are they making a healthy academic transition to a new learning style or are they struglling? If they are struggling, are we finding out why or are we building programs we think will help but are, sadly, missing the mark? Have we taken the time to look at data to identify how many of our attritted students were also experiencing academic struggles?

OK, enough questions. with all of that having been said, I’ll let you enjoy the linked blog post, the article it shares, and the observations made within it. If anyone from my own institution feels appropriately inspired to come chat with me, or with a group of people on campus, let me know–I’ll organize a space for us to get together and start discussions.


Lately proactive advising (formerly known as Intrusive Advising) has been featured in media articles, Completion Agenda press releases, and campus discussions. The concept isn’t new. Coined by Robert Glennen in 1975, the idea of proactively reaching out to students was integral to discussions in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s concerning how advisors could help increase student retention and persistence. Today’s completion discussions build upon these previous efforts.

For TBT I draw your attention to an article by Walter R. Earl in a 1988 NACADA Journal issue The NACADA Journal issue was delivered to my mailbox shortly after I was named chair of the faculty committee charged with restructuring academic support services (including academic advising) at our institution. Our committee’s charge was simple: improve student retention so more students would achieve their educational goals. Sound familiar?

Earl (1988) elaborated on four distinct actions institutions should take to increase student…

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About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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