Student Advising - A Radical Approach?

David Grey (UKAT)
Oscar O. van den Wijngaard (Maastricht University)

Monday, April 3, 2023 12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

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Session Outline

Many educators believe that the learning which occurs in higher education is transformative (Meyer and Land, 2003), changing the way that students know, think, and do. But for whose benefit do we educate and transform students? For the economy? For wider society? For the sake of the student? Are the transformations that occur simply a by-product of the higher education experience? Or are they intentionally chosen transformations that we want all students to experience? If they are intentional, what drives the choice of these transformations? Regulatory objectives and institutional metrics? The perspectives of disciplinary educators? Or the values and desires of students? And what role does personal tutoring and student advising play in affecting transformation?

Personal Tutoring provides a spectrum of support to students, from addressing barriers that restrict their participation in learning, to future focused developmental guidance which help students to consider their values, identify their academic and career goals, and to make and enact plans to achieve these.

But should advising be more radical and go beyond an academic and career focus and encourage a broader future focus? Many students are passionate about the bigger issues that society faces (e.g. climate change, social justice) and are frustrated by the (perceived) inability of current leaders to address these. How do we equip our students to achieve these, and future, challenges? Could, and should, advising have a role to play in helping students to deliberately personalise their higher education to transform them in the ways which they want, ways which will enable them to address the issues which matter to them for the benefit of wider society. Such an approach would be truly student-centred. But is it something that all students would want and what tensions would it generate between advising and the current focus on completion and employability.

Many educators also believe that our modularised and metrics-driven mass higher education systems have lost some of the purpose, benefits, and freedoms that they valued in higher education. Perhaps a radical approach to advising could enable us to reclaim some of that original purpose of HE and the intangible benefits (Robertson, Cleaver and Smart, 2019) of the HE experience, whilst working within the constraints of regulatory frameworks and modularised systems. In this session, we consider the spectrum of advising and invite the audience to engage in blue-sky thinking with us about a putative concept of radical advising, what this might entail, and whether it is desirable or valuable. The session will begin with an exposition of the key provocations before breaking out into group discussions on the issues raised. Through group discussion, we hope to take the first steps towards outlining a manifesto for radical advising.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C3 - Academic advising and tutoring approaches and strategies
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
P1 - Create and support environments that consider the needs and perspectives of students, and respect individual learners
P2 - Appreciate students’ views and cultures, maintain a student-centred approach and mindset, and treat students with sensitivity and fairness