Monday, September 26, 2011

Best of Region 4 Conversations, Clarification and Collages: Innovative Workshops for Undecided Students

Greetings, all!

Former CUES Chair Kathleen Smith and a team of advisors from Florida State University won the Best of region with this great CUES topic this spring. have a look at what they plan to do in Denver:

The Advising First Center for Exploratory Students at Florida State University is ready to present an encore session of Conversations, Clarification, and Collages: Innovative Workshops for Undecided Students.   This session was first presented in March at the NACADA Region 4 conference in Birmingham, Alabama, where we were thrilled to learn that our team had earned the Best in Region Award for this program!

The Exploratory major at Florida State is the largest major for freshman students and we encourage our advisees to place passion and purpose at the center of their major selection process.  In addition, we emphasize a third p, planning, where we coach our students to take active steps towards self, major, and career exploration, and informed decision-making.   As a team, we work best when fresh ideas are flowing and new techniques are tried.   A few years ago we experimented with our programming to include time with our students outside of the office.  We held lunch and learn workshops in the student cafeteria, visited residence halls in the evening, and even held advising sessions from a canoe on a hot summer day in the middle of the campus lake!   We have come up with several engaging and interesting workshops designed to showcase major selection strategies and encourage our students to reflect, interact and collaborate with us, but more importantly, with one another.

If you are looking to advise ‘outside the box’, join us on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 in Room 605.   We promise this session will be like none other you’ve experienced!
What a great session this looks like--don't overlook it in your planning

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Wonder What The Commission is Doing in Denver

Greetings, Commissioneers!

I wanted to make this next blog post about the Commission events that will be happening at the Conference in Denver. You’ve already read about the Pre-conference workshop Kathleen and I will be delivering, but there are the Commission Meeting, the Commission and Interest Group Fair (CIGF), and the Hot Topic session still to Discuss

The Fair happens every year at the conference—it’s essentially a great big poster session in which all Commissions and Interest Groups let you know what they’ve been up to and what they’re planning. This year, it's happening during breakfast on Monday, and the CUES table will be all about this blog. I’ll have my lap top at the session and will be talking about the easiest ways to subscribe and talking about all the functionality we’ve tried to load into the space.  Stop by to chat about stuff, sign up to volunteer, or to simply say, “hi!”

Commission Meeting
The Commission Meeting is happening Tuesday, October 4, at 11:15 in room 707. We’ll again be talking about the blog, as I’m actively seeking guest bloggers and contributors to our content pages. I’d also like to have a meaningful conversation about the ways we stay connected throughout the year. Given the rich communication tools the World Wide Web has to offer, I’m interested to identify how enthusiastic you may all be about periodically hosting our own web seminars. Finally, a conversation about off-line social networking seems in order as well—given that undeclared and exploratory students represent a significant number of the student population at most universities, I can’t imagine it being difficult to locate and connect with others, on our own campus or in our region, who advise the same population as we do ourselves.

Hot Topics Session
On Wednesday, at 10:30 in room 710, I’ll be leading a Panel/Round Table Discussion focused on facilitating a conversation about program building. The panel will be comprised of those who have successfully built or invigorated their CUES programs. Our desire is to help you think about doing on your campus what we’ve done on ours. Given this audience-centered approach, a significant amount of time will be dedicated to hear your concerns and answering your questions.

We hope you’ll consider joining us for one or more of the events above and are excited about seeing you all in Denver.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Know What I Want: Academic Advising and Foreclosed Identity

On Monday at 3:15, Marion Schartz will present what looks like a really compelling presentation on an intriguing theory with very real implications for our day-to-day advising...especially when working with exploratory students. Here's the run down in Marion's words:

James Marcia described foreclosed identity as making premature life commitments without adequate exploration. Advisors recognize foreclosure in students who refuse alternatives to unrealistic goals, ignore general education, or insist they don't need a career because their sport is their future. Such narrowness is risky.

But foreclosure is complicated--conditioned by cultural background and family relationships; manifest in one area of development, such as academics, but not in another, such as sexual orientation or cultural identity. In a life full of uncertainty, foreclosure can actually support academic success, giving students the discipline and motivation to persist. 

This session will review some of the literature on foreclosure, explore its relation to student-centered advising, then apply it to case studies. Attendees will learn to approach students in foreclosure positively, building on strengths while helping them achieve reach informed decisions about their academic choices.  

So, don't overlook this session in your personal planning for the conference!

Marion Schwartz, PhD, is an academic advisor int he Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State. She's also terrifically active in presentation and leadership within NACADA 

Friday, September 16, 2011


I’m excited to announce a series of blog posts we’ll be featuring leading up to the conference in Denver. We’ll be soliciting posts from all our CUES presenters to highlight the topics that will be covered by our commission members and and posting them here. As a sort of “kick off” of this series, My co-presenter Kathleen Shea Smith from FSU will begin by discussing the pre-conference workshop she and I will be presenting on Sunday, October 2. And for those of you who won't be attending the conference, fear not! We're also going to encourage our presenters and posters to include contact information so you can reach out to discuss their topics with them personally.

“Exploration at High Altitudes: Maximizing Resources to Create or Strengthen Programs for Your Undeclared/Exploratory Population”
As the calendar turns from August to September, for many advisors the change of season from Summer to Fall brings the anticipation of cooler temperatures, a new group of eager advisees and the promises a new college football season. For this advisor, as soon as September arrives, so does the official countdown to the NACADA national conference. This year is no different and each day includes focused time on preparations for upcoming sessions. Art Esposito, our fearless CUES leader, and I are launching the Denver experience with a two hour pre-conference session, Exploration at High Altitudes: Maximizing Resources to Create or Strengthen Programs for Your Undeclared/Exploratory Population.  It will combine meaningful dialogue with an overview of useful tools and resources, including dedicated time for the development of advisor action plans. Art and I have both developed programs with limited resources and we are excited about sharing our lessons learned and exchanging ideas that have been very successful in our work to support Exploratory students at our institutions. 

We hope you'll consider joining us for this session if you're going to be in Denver. We appreciate, however, that not everyone will be, so below the Abstract you'll find our contact information--feel free to reach out

Session Details:
Exploration at High Altitudes: Maximizing Resources to Create or Strengthen Programs for Your Undeclared/Exploratory Population. According to a 2004 ACT report on what works in student retention, developing advising interventions with selected student populations was identified as one of the top three initiatives to successfully address student persistence. All together, the study surveyed over 1000 institutions, citing eighty-two different initiatives, ranking special populations advising along-side freshman seminars and learning support. The current and past chair of the Commission for Undeclared and Exploratory Student (CUES) advising have both built their respective programs, “from the ground up” and with extremely limited resources, resulting in significant gains in persistence rates for first year undeclared/exploratory populations (boasting retention gains of! up to 9%!). In this session, the presenters will illustrate the programs they developed, identify the guiding principles and theories upon which they were developed, share lessons they learned along the journey and share resources collected by the CUES steering committee and housed on the newly developed CUES Blog. Attendees will be given a guided tour of the Blog and the resources housed therein (including examples of exploratory workbooks and annotated links to assessment tools for major/career exploration). Attendees will develop action plans for implementing undeclared/exploratory programming on their campus or strengthening that which already exists.

Kathleen Shea Smith Art Esposito
Associate Director Director of Discovery Advising
Advising First Virginia Commonwealth University
Florida State University

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Listserve Question From Sharon Mendes: Online Course For Exploratory Students

I believe this question has been asked before but I can’t find the information, so excuse the repeat. Our department is considering creating an online 1 credit course for our Exploratory students, so I was wondering what others have done and was it successful? Please feel free to respond to my individual email
Thanks in advance for your time. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blogging Our Way Around Limited Resources – Providing Guidance to Undecided Students Online

By: Guest Blogger Kyle Bures

Undecided students at many community colleges can be viewed as being dealt a stacked hand.  Without campus-wide career centers or advisors specifically trained to work with undecided students, many are allowed to fall through the cracks – often times leaving graduates without direction.

So, as the Transfer/Career Advisor for our Student Support Services program, I set out to develop an online major/career exploration resource geared specifically to our TRIO students.  Once launched however, it could then be utilized by any student interested in gaining access to resources valuable to career development.

The interface was Blogger (which is also the home to the NACADA CUES Blog), chosen for its user-friendliness.  It also allowed tabbing to create a network of pages containing different information.
Over the course of nearly two years, the site has grown to include sections on:
  •          What Can I Do With A Major In____? (featuring schools with major selection sites)
  •          Which Career Is Right For Me? (providing information on a variety of assessments)
  •          Do I Actually Need A Resume? (supplying resources on resume development/critique)
  •          How Can I Get Involved? (listing campus clubs/organizations and community service)
  •          What is a STEM Career? (linking to information on various STEM careers)
  •          Major & Career Exploration (gathering helpful links to guide students in exploration)
  •          Career Spotlights (highlighting individuals in a variety of occupations, with varying academic backgrounds)
  •          Workshop Schedule (showing a list of upcoming TRIO workshops)
  •          Advisor’s Corner (offering helpful resources to be used by advisors on campus)

A blog can be a creative solution for departments/units without the resources to provide a career center or ample time toward one-on-one career advising.  Although knowledge of webpage development could be helpful, blogger makes it simple for anyone to create content online.  Once created, the blog can serve not only as a resource for students, but advisors as well! 

*Kyle Bures is a Transfer/Career Advisor for the TRIO/Student Support Services project at Neosho County Community College. The blog Kyle created is now linked in our blog roll in the right hand bar of this blog.