Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Far Too Long

I thought about several topics for this post. One was "Confessions of an Overwhelmed Job Changer." Another was "I Need a Third End for My Candle." But rather than make excuses for how quiet this blog has been, I'm trying to ramp up prior to the conference in Nashville, in preparation to hand the Commission off to your new chair, Donnie McGovern. I'll do so with the recommendation that a blog manager be identified from the Commission's volunteers ;)

Now, on to the business at hand--let's talk national conference. How many of you are attending? what sessions look the most interesting to you? We're a little less than a month away, so, let's look at what the list of U/E topics from which we'll choose. Here is the list from the conference home page:

Commission Meeting: Undecided & Exploratory Students
Esposito, Virginia Commonwealth University

Adding New Life to Your Grand Ole Course
Hurt, Wetzel, Purdue University

Are Students and Faculty Singing the Same Song?  Student Advising Priorities
Conlon, West Chester University

Coaching Students to Find their Path: A Collaborative Approach to Serving Undecided Students
Clark, Heineman, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Empowering Student Career Stories in Times of Change and Challenge
Wilcox, Kansas State University

Empowering Students to Make "Gourmet Goulash": Advising Interdisciplinary, General Studies, and Student-Designed Degrees
Coleman, Enriquez, Swackhamer, Western New Mexico University

Enhancing Advising Strategies by Instilling Pride, Identity, and Empowerment in Exploratory Students with Student Engagement
Self, Bruno, Aguayo, Arizona State University

Enhancing Career Adaptability and Decision Making to Prepare Students for the Future
Hughey, K., Hughey, J., Kansas State University

Explore, Inform, Assess: 3 Programs that Put Students on the Path to Success
Horn, Ferguson, Barleen, Northern Illinois University

Best of Region 5: Group Advising, With a Twist
McKamey, Venske, Jackman, Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs

I Declare! Strategies to Increase Timely Major Declarations
Ford, Artis, North Carolina A&T State University

Listen to Me: I'm Undecided
Ellis, University of Mississippi

Moving up the Charts, I'm No Longer Business Undecided!
Hahr, University of Central Florida

Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Utilizing the Advising ePortfolio and Self-Reflection for Undeclared & Exploratory Students
Payne, Anderson, Virginia Commonwealth University

Professional Advisor or Professional Dream Crusher? When a Student's Goals and Expectations Collide with Reality
Bigger, Brafford, Loe, Clifford Kelso, University of Memphis

Residents Engaged in Academic Living (REAL) and Exploring Majors
Fields, Curtis, University of North Texas

Stories in Academic Advising: In the words of an Exploratory Student
Himes, Gugino, Pennsylvania State University

Striking a Major Chord: Peer Mentoring to Maximize Success in Major Declaration
Axe, Atkinson, Clemson University

Striking the Right Chords in Career Research
Elliott, Sulzbach, Harford Community College

Three Assessment Methods to Improve Major Decision-Making
Rust, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Cartmell, North Carolina State University

Lots of goodies there--it's hard to know which ones to highlight. With everything from decision-making to the use of story in advising and rounding it off with the power of self-reflection, there simply appears to be a ton of really engaging topics. You have living/learning communities and peer mentoring to choose from, and even a best of region winner. Lot's of good stuff to look forward to... let's just hope we can all clone ourselves in case there are conflicts in the schedule.

OK, I'll wrap this one up here, but tell me what you think about the offerings above. Let me know if there's one you want to talk about, and if you're one of the presenters, how bout sending us a little preview?  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quantifying the Un-Quantified

Greetings Commissioneers!

As I struggle with the request for assessment data on my campus, I've found myself (yet again) in a very familiar place--wondering how to quantify qualitative results. When Associate/Assistant Provosts/Deans/Presidents ask "what students taking away from meetings with advisors," they are usually uninterested in anecdotal responses. So, we're left with the chore of producing some sort of quantitative data to show students are mastering concepts in our learning outcomes. This is an issue across the advising continuum and not just one for U/E advising units, but I thought we could benefit from a conversation here despite the universality of the issue.

So, what do some of you do? Do you have U/E-specific learning outcomes? If so, what methods do you have in place to deliver an advising curriculum in support of those outcomes? And how is the student's mastery of the outcomes measured--are there assignments they complete, how are they collected, what is done with the data, etc?

OK, dazzle me with your knowledge, Commissioneers!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Old Story About A Continuous Problem

The article below speaks of an experiment conducted a handful of years ago, but seeing it shared by a student on Facebook made me reconsider it in another light:

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to advise Undeclared/Exploratory Students (UES) in these uncertain economic times. Yes, I said it--curse me if you will for admitting that it's OK to think about an investment in one's (or one's children's) education as an actual investment, but it is legitimate to consider. You'll find no academic more convinced in the transformative power of a university education than I--I transformed my own life with my two degrees and believe everyone should have an equal opportunity to do so. But with the skyrocketing costs of university education, and the ever-growing disparity between rich and poor in this country, not only can many students not afford college, but many others are confusing it for job training and an opportunity to earn higher wages (that last statement is half true, after all).

So where does this leave us in a conversation about UES, you ask? simple, with this question. How to engage them in conversations about what really matters in college when the world around them is telling them everything from the truths like each additional degree you add typically increases your earning potential by $10k to $20k per year, to the inaccuracies that you need to go into a STEM field, Medicine, or Law to get a decent job (read Daniel Pink: "A Whole New Mind" to have this one debunked).

I'll be damned if I think I can tell you the answer to it, I wrote this blog post in order to spur conversation...

So, discuss.