Theories & Approaches
All advisors have an approach to advising students. The question is if the approach they use is intentional, or not. Thinking about and writing down the advising theories and approaches you use when meeting with students will improve your advising practice. A statement of the theories and approaches you use in your advising practice can be a one-sentence statement, or it can be a three-page essay — it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. The important thing is that the content and length of a statement of Theories and Approaches is not as important as the work and thought that has gone into writing the statement.
Below is a statement of the theories and approaches I use in my academic advising practice.
Although there are no recognized unifying theories of academic advising, knowledge of theories relevant to academic advising are still useful because they reduce a complicated interpersonal situation to an understandable number of elements (Creamer, 2000, p. 20).
In my advising practice I intend to focus on several theories and use a combination of approaches. I will develop a foundation for my advising practice through an understanding of Chickering and Reisser’s Identity Development theory, Kolb’s Theory of Learning, and Holland’s typological theory. Through the use of Developmental Advising, Prescriptive Advising, O’Banion’s Academic Advising Model, Learning-centered Advising, Strengths-based advising, and Appreciative Inquiry, I will provide a positive and constructive approach towards advising my students as they navigate through their academic careers. While theories are useful in describing reality, they all have their limitations – reality is more complex than any theory can fully describe.
As an academic advisor I will be aware of the limitations of theory and ready to modify my approach based upon the student in front of me by not making assumptions based upon the student’s age, race, gender, economic class, sexual orientation, or nationality.
Hendey, in Developmental Advising: A Practical View(1999), wrote, “Understanding – of anything – always requires a field, a gestalt, of background knowledge which provides analogues, taxonomies, definitions, and precursor concepts.” A knowledge of theories about student and career development, and approaches to academic advising, will provide a foundation for my advising sessions.
By choosing the theories and approaches I have mentioned above, I will take a positive and constructive approach with my students in our advising sessions. Through appreciating their strengths, understanding their personality type and learning style, and by helping them work through their developmental stages, I intend to provide welcome encouragement as they navigate through their academic careers.
Creamer, D. (2000). Use of theory in academic advising. In V. N. Gordon,& W. R. Habley (Eds.), Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook(pp. 18-34). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hendey, W. G. (1999). Developmental advising: A practical view. retrieved 25 Jan 2008 from the mentor: An academic journal: http://www.psu.edu/dus/mentor/990115wh.htm.