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Beering Hall

PACADA

Fall Retreat 2010 - An Advising Odyssey

by T.R. Oneal

Ed Evans presentation

Please turn ON your Cell Phones. That is how the 2010 PACADA retreat started as Ed Evans, IT Teaching & Learning Technologies, gave advisors an insight into the Class of 2014. Technology is all around us. It’s with us all the time. As much as we don’t like our mobile devices, we somehow cannot live without them. Purdue students are no different. Though their major access is for academic work or play, rarely do they use their campus e-mail accounts – the ultimate advisor nightmare. So how do we communicate with them and get in touch with them?

Social media is the fastest growing area on the internet: digital video, blogging, podcasts, news, gossip, research and wikis. Facebook is the largest social networking site, and the fastest-growing demographic is 35-44 year olds!

The class of 2014 has many tools at their disposal for information gathering, but they are not necessarily digitally literate. They know Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but they don’t understand why. They have a false sense of security with the absence of physical interaction; they are sharing information tailored to their friends, but they forget that others may see it as well. They don’t realize that whatever they post on the internet is like posting it on their own front doors.

Students, alumni and advisors can stay safe by maintaining a professional electronic relationship, rather than personal. Instead of being “friends” on Facebook, consider connecting through LinkedIn. Monitoring one’s own reputation is vital for current employment status or future employers.

Karen Thurmond presentation

After Ed’s informative session, lunch was served by Qdoba Mexican Grill in a buffet style setting. Advisors had the chance to interact, play games, or walk the Ag Center grounds.

Karen Thurmond, Director of Academic Advising and Degree Planning Resources from the University of Memphis, was our afternoon keynote speaker. “I hear, I see, I read, I do” focused on how advisor learning styles impact how we reach out to our students. Face-to-face contact has been the traditional approach to advising, but with today’s technological advances and the style of the Class of 2014, there needs to be a conglomeration of the two for us to continue to reach our students.

Two methods for self-assessment learning style inventories were discussed. VARK (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are simple approaches to better understand where you are coming from, and how this can improve communication with students on a daily basis.

Picture book page ordering activity

After taking the VARK, advisors were then divided into 4 random groups. Karen provided each group with a page from a picture book, with no words. The object of the task was to put the story in chronological order, without showing the pictures to the other group members. After some time, a group member was given the original picture book and then guided the group to complete their story. This example demonstrated how our different learning styles can affect our communication. Understanding the differences can make your interactions with students much more enjoyable and productive.

Overall, the day was very informative and captured the dynamics of the Class of 2014. Yes, advisors need to adjust their style to meet the needs of today’s evolving students, but students need to travel a similar journey so we can cooperatively meet somewhere in the middle.

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