Thank you for taking a moment to visit this section of the Undergraduate Academic Advising website dedicated to making YOU a better academic advisor. The following page is devoted to helping you hone your academic advising craft by analyzing your current practices and beliefs about the profession.
The purpose of this page is to help you create or refine your advising philosophy. The website can be used in multiple ways. If you are new to the profession, or without an advising philosophy, you might consider using the activities and information within the page to create an outline of your first draft. Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and have been working at Purdue for a few years. The same activities can be used as prompts to revisit your academic advising philosophy to see what, if any, updates you might consider making.
What is an advising philosophy?
A quick Internet search of "advising philosophy" reveals a lot of helpful information, but the vast quantity can be overwhelming. In order to create a foundation to undergird this discussion, you must first consider how you define an advising philosophy. Please take a moment to write down your response to the following prompt.
Reflection Prompt: What is your personal definition of an advising philosophy?
We will now expand on your personal definition of an advising philosophy. An advising philosophy must be a written document. Creating and typing your advising philosophy formalizes the process. Crafting a coherent essay about your philosophy helps clarify aspects of your work regarding interactions with students.
An advising philosophy is a critical reflection of your practices and assumptions. Each advisor has assumptions and practices that shape each student interaction. To some degree, you already have a "philosophy" guiding your work. It is important to take the time and critically analyze the beliefs and assumptions you carry into advising. Being intentional about creating or modifying your advising philosophy allows you to reflect on how you interact with students, permitting space for improvement if necessary.
An advising philosophy also allows you to understand how personal objectives guide advising interactions. Put simply, an advising philosophy allows you to articulate what you hope students gain from working with you. How do you want them to develop? What should a student learn by the time they graduate or transition to a new advisor? Questions along these lines help determine goals for your advising interactions.
An effective advising philosophy is also a living document, something that is revisited and modified as necessary. Just as students are expected to continue developing and gaining knowledge, advisors should bring the same approach to their work. As you gain experience and knowledge through practice and time in the profession, consider revisiting your advising philosophy. You can include new information gained from conferences or from an interesting scholarly article or book. Continuously revisiting and editing your advising philosophy ensures your professional practice continues to follow trends within the field.
Building to (or revising) an advising philosophy
Building on the important components of an advising philosophy, we will now work through five steps that will lead to creating, or modifying, your advising philosophy. During each step, please consider documenting your responses to the various questions.
Step One: Brainstorm
The first step to creating an advising philosophy involves brainstorming the purpose of your work. What brings you to work each day? What led you to the academic advising profession? Take a moment to consider your responses to the following prompts. Remember this is not an exhaustive list; rather, it provides a few prompts to consider your reasoning and hopes for your work as an academic advisor.
Why am I an academic advisor?
How do I want to impact students in my role?
What advising approaches do I use with students?
What else might I include in my philosophy?
What makes me unique as an advisor?
What do I hope students gain from interacting with me?
Step Two: Incorporate Resources
A major step in composing or updating your advising philosophy includes incorporating resources into your philosophy. Currently there are many different advising frameworks and theories within the field: Appreciative Advising, Developmental Advising and Coaching as Advising being just a few. You might also consider grounding your work in organizational theories, psychological theories or other literature-based research.
The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) has three documents — the Concept of Academic Advising, Core Values of Academic Advising,CAS Standards for Academic Advising — that comprise the Pillars of Academic Advising. Each document contains guidelines for the academic advising profession, which provide information to consider including in your advising philosophy. Consider looking over the links to the NACADA Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse contains a lot of information and resources to help shape your work as an academic advisor. If you already have an advising philosophy, review additional resources to determine if new literature or frameworks might enhance your current work and philosophy.
Step Three: Write a draft
Combining the information gained from researching and brainstorming is the next step. Compiling this information into a rough draft of your advising philosophy can be done in a few ways. Consider simply typing for fifteen minutes, without emphasizing grammar and structure, focusing on adding content to a page. You could also be more intentional and begin writing the draft. Regardless of the method you select, beginning to write a draft starts the consolidation and clarification stage of developing your advising philosophy.
Step Four: Discuss with colleagues
Colleagues present a unique opportunity to enhance your advising philosophy. Each advisor possesses a unique perspective on the profession. Consider asking colleagues in your department or office about their advising philosophy, and reciprocate by sharing yours with them. Begin a dialogue on how to refine and improve your work to enhance each interaction with students.
Step Five: Finalize and modify as necessary
The last step is consolidating the information. Review your draft and supplement it with ideas gained from discussions with colleagues. Spend time creating a final version of your advising philosophy. Consider sharing it with students by displaying it on your desk or sending it to them so they know what to expect from your interactions. Most important, periodically revisit this philosophy. As you continue to gain knowledge and experience from working in the profession, enhance your advising philosophy as you deem appropriate. This is an important step in continuing to grow professionally as an academic advisor.