Last week I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Credo Advising Institute. While my position does not fit specifically within either academic or career advising, a colleague invited me to go, and the institute proved quite useful. The thoughts, information, and justification provided at this institute is too good to not share.
For those who are not familiar, Credo is a private consulting firm that works with small, private institutions on enhancing academic advising services. Their staff is largely comprised of former higher education administrators/faculty – and they are brilliant. Each year, Credo hosts an institute on academic advising. This year’s focus was on the potential partnership between academic and career advising, facilitated by the wonderful Dr. Wes Habley.
Regardless of position, many student affairs professionals can speak to times when advice was provided to a student on what classes to take and/or what to do with their life. Often times these questions come hand-in-hand, showing the perfect reason for a strong partnership between academic and career advising. As one colleague noted, even on small campuses where human and other resources can be limited, we still love to stay within our cylinders of excellence – a very kind term for silos. However, when you look at all the students academic and career advising reach, you’re basically encompassing the entire campus. You get first year students who are in a freshmen seminar wondering how it connects to their future. You get sophomores who are choosing which major to pursue. You get juniors thinking about internships. You get seniors who may or may not be prepared for graduation. This awesome cross-section gives academic advisors a perfect opportunity to make that 30-minute advising appointment more than an approval to register for classes; it gives career counselors a great set up to talk about choosing courses, especially electives, that provide real-world experiences and perspectives that could round out a student’s portfolio.
Some majors, such as nursing and education, are built for a perfect overlap of academic and career advising and support. Some programs take a bit more creativity. But regardless of grade level or program, all students can benefit from a healthy marriage between academic and career advising. Some practical ways to capitalize on this partnership are:
- Invite career services to every first year seminar course to talk about how college prepares you for your career
- Co-host a workshop about articulating academic experience on a résumé or in an interview
- Plan a networking event with young alumni from a certain program to talk with current students about how their education prepared them for their job
- Share information about students – within confidentiality expectations per your campus – in regards to what questions they are asking, what interests they have, and what programs or services could benefit them.
Even though it might be difficult to admit, we in higher education are good at staying in our lane. We might dream about a world of collaboration, but we might not always initiate or follow through with those dreams. If you are like me and do not fit neatly into one of these functional areas, think critically about if and how your campus can benefit from an academic and career advising marriage. Your outside perspective just might be the thing that gets a true and successful collaboration moving. If you are within one of those areas, take a look at your services and information. Is there space to double-dip? Your insider information might be what your colleagues need to hear in order to do some silo-busting. We are in the business of serving students – let’s serve up a new way of thinking and preparing them for life after campus.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Darcy Kemp on Advising Student Groups