Advising for a Decade: Celebrating 10 Years (or More) in the Field

Gavin J Farber (Temple University)
Wiona Altic Porath (Johns Hopkins University )
Bingham Ann (University of Southampton)
Niamh Nestor (UCD)
Susan Corner (University of Victoria )
Oscar van den Wijngaard (LVSA)
Iris Burke (Maastricht University )
Yves Houben (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Colleen Doyle (Maynooth University)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

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Session Outline

Academic advising is a rewarding profession. The decision to move into this area of higher education allows practitioners to develop strong connections with their students to help them navigate their academic journeys. Advisors and advising administrators, faculty advisors and tutors over time, develop strong connections with their peers to seek guidance and support. Longevity and excitement for the work is necessary to keep the profession growing and developing. Reaching ten years in the field allows advisors and administrators opportunities to reflect on how to forge rich, rewarding careers. Join the conversation and gain insights from experts about how they remained in the profession for over a decade (or longer).

A career in higher education prepares practitioners to play integral roles in students' lives. We serve unique institutional communities that engage pupils at different levels of engagement. Academic advisors play a role in the overall academic health and well-being of these individuals and they take pride in being involved at each stage of the cycle of development . Keeping professionals retained in the field is another important challenge that our industry needs to examine. Discovering new ways for celebrating and respecting the past, present and future of our profession will allow greater success and maintain the field as it continues to grow.

In 2016, a study by Marshall, Gardner, Hughes & Lowery surveyed current student affairs professionals on their intent to leave the profession. They found in their research that 41.7% of practitioners spent less than five years in the field and another 21.7% spent 8-10 years in the field before leaving (Marshall et al, 2016, p.152). The factors identified included (1) excessive hours and burnout, (2) non-competitive salaries, (3) attractive career alternatives, (4) work-life conflict, (5) limited opportunities, (6) roles of the supervisor and institutional fit and (7) lack of challenge and loss of passion.

Over the course of a ten-year career in academic advising practitioners have a plethora of experiences they can pull from when working their day-to-day duties. They have grown their advisor toolkits since their first day in their roles to best assist their caseloads. There is consistent growth especially in the first few years of an advisor’s career. However once professionals reach mid-level, challenges may arise for those seeking new growth opportunities. While the competition for promotions is active in the field, it is not always the path all advisors take. Some advisors are happy to remain advising practitioners at primary and principle level roles in the field. Redefining the career trajectory is key to embracing the next generation of academic advisors.