Category Archives: Advisors are People too

The Intercultural Development Inventory: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Beth Jones was a recipient of a PACADA Professional Development Grant for the 2017 year. Beth is an academic advisor in Exploratory Studies and used her funds to attend the NACADA regional conference!

Article by: Beth Jones

We’ve all had those experiences—the ones where it feels like you are having one conversation and your student is having an entirely different conversation. Something just isn’t clicking. You feel like your message is clear, but how is it being received? And, are you accurately interpreting the message you are receiving?

For anyone who has worked with students or has had a conversation with anyone EVER (so all of us!), these aren’t uncommon experiences, but they are more common when two people come from different cultures. Did you pick the right word? Did you read their body language correctly? Did you use an obscure idiomatic expression like when pigs fly that made no sense to the other person? Intercultural conversation is a minefield of potential misinterpretation. In his book The Art of Crossing Cultures, intercultural communications consultant Craig Storti defines an unsuccessful “cross-cultural encounter” as “whenever one or more of the parties is confused, offended, frustrated, or otherwise put off by the behavior of any of the other parties” (26). Sound familiar?

This is exactly why intercultural competence is such an important skill to cultivate. But, what is it exactly? Intercultural Development Inventory, LLC defines intercultural competence as “the capability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities.” Study after study has clearly proven the importance of developing intercultural competence for learning, working, and beyond. According to research by IDI, LLC founder Dr. Mitchell R. Hammer, students who study abroad gain many benefits from greater intercultural competence including an increased interest in other cultures, more intercultural friendships, less anxiety about other cultures, and higher overall satisfaction with their study abroad experience. In fact, many Purdue courses and programs use the IDI as their primary assessment tool to measure intercultural competence among their students. Some programs even require students to complete the assessment to participate in study abroad programs. But, the assessment is not just for students. The IDI is available to all faculty, staff, and students through Purdue’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR).

Purdue’s academic advising web page on advising competencies lists cultural competency as one of the core skills advisors need to master to have successful interactions with students. This particular competency, as explained on the Purdue web page, suggests that advisors should “engage in self-reflection, be aware that cultural identities influence thinking and behavior,” and “exhibit the relational skills to advise effectively across differences.” It is important to note that these skills do not just extend to interactions with international students, however, but to any interaction where there is difference.

There are, of course, many ways to improve your intercultural competence skills such as through traveling abroad and getting to know people from other cultures, but there is a catch when we attempt to freestyle how we gain these skills. Human nature means we are pretty terrible at actually assessing just how refined our intercultural competence skills are—a notion the IDI supports. In other words, we most likely have a mindset that doesn’t align with our actual skillset—a gap, if you will. We may see ourselves one way but interact with the world differently. According to IDI, LLC, it is a myth that we can gain deep intercultural competence through experience alone—as if it is as easy as getting a tan while soaking up the sun’s rays. The truth is we often enter those experiences from our own cultural perspective thus limiting what we may actually gain in intercultural awareness. In the words of CILMAR Intercultural Learning Specialist (and my husband) Dr. Daniel Jones, the formula for intercultural development is “intentional interactions + time + reflection.”

So how can you lessen or close the mindset/skillset gap so that your heart and mind are more in sync? This is where the Intercultural Development Inventory assessment comes in. According to the IDI, LLC web article “Why Should You Consider Using the Intercultural Development Inventory?”, the IDI is the “only theory-based assessment of intercultural competence [that] allows you to see an individual’s or group’s progression along a continuum of cross-cultural competence.” It is a highly researched instrument that can help individuals and groups “make sense of cultural differences and also how they respond to cultural differences.”

Once you have taken the 50-question assessment, an Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrator (just over 100 at Purdue including me) holds a debriefing session with you to review your results and make a plan for further development along the IDI continuum. You receive an individualized developmental plan that “guides the person through a series of activities and self-reflections” to help you intentionally move forward on the IDI continuum and to better understand and notice “patterns of difference” (“The Individual Development Plan”). These activities can include brief writing exercises and suggestions for continued learning and reflection such as attending training programs, traveling, and reading journals and books. The goal is that you complete these activities using the intentional skills that make them meaningful intercultural development opportunities rather than passive experiences informed by the limited worldview we all start out with.

Before becoming an administrator, I had to take the assessment and be debriefed. The experience was deeply meaningful—almost therapeutic. It forced me to reflect on aspects of my past and how they inform my outlook and actions and how to grow beyond my limitations. The entire experience is designed to be objective and developmental.

Taking the IDI and being debriefed can help those of us who work in higher education become better at what we do most—serve students. I have found that my experience with the IDI has not just broadly improved my intercultural competence but has also given me better language for how to engage with others wherever there is difference.

If you would like to learn more about the IDI, visit where you can read more about the assessment as well as view some short introductory videos. Additionally, you can contact an intercultural learning specialist with CILMAR by emailing The assessment is $15 for staff/faculty and $11 for students. CILMAR also offers training to become a qualified administrator of the IDI as well as ideas about mitigating costs of the assessment.

If we are going to talk to students about the importance of study abroad and developing skills for an increasingly global workplace, we have to do our part by seeking out opportunities to develop these skills for ourselves. Knowing where we are on the IDI continuum and how we can grow can help us all better navigate the often tricky, culturally ambiguous situations we sometimes find ourselves in and that can only make us better advisors, instructors, or whatever it is we may be to our students and each other.

Suggested readings and resources:

  1. The Art of Crossing Cultures, Craig Storti
  2. Cross-Cultural Dialogues: 74 Brief Encounters with Cultural Difference, Craig Storti
  3. Students Learning Abroad: What Our Students Are Learning, What They’re Not, and What We Can Do About It, Michael Vande Berg, R. Michael Paige, Kris Hemming Lou

NACADA Region V Conference- Holly Englert

Holly Englert was a recipient of a PACADA Professional Development Grant for the 2016 year.  She used her funds to attend the NACADA Region V Conference in Chicago, IL. See below for more information about her experience!

NACADA Region V Conference – Chicago, IL – March 15-17, 2017

I was able to attend the NACADA Region V Conference in Chicago, IL in March (my very first NACADA conference) thanks to a grant received from the PACADA Professional Development Committee. I was very much looking forward to attending this conference to learn best practices in advising and to perhaps learn some new and creative strategies when working with various student populations.

I attended a session titled, “Got Grit? A New Advising Method.” The presenters discussed the differences between grit and resiliency and how to advisors can work to instill grit in students. The presenter’s defined grit using phrases like; “perseverance and passion for long term goals,” and “living life like a marathon not a sprint,” and that “grit is the stamina not the intensity” or the “consistency of effort over time.” The presenters stated that resiliency is the ability to bounce back after adversity and that resiliency is a pre-cursor to grit. A surprising fact they shared was grit is more predictive to a student’s success than IQ and/or test scores. Students who display grit often will have lower test scores but a higher GPA, these students work harder to keep up with their peers. Often times, the high achieving students (those with high test scores, high GPA, high IQ) display low levels of grit. So how can we as advisors instill grit in students? First, the presenters shared we need to work with students on how they respond to new challenges. We can do this by helping them to examine their perceptions, assist them in developing a plan, and being a member of their support network. Second, advisors should ask directed questions such as; what did you learn this semester? What mistake did you make that taught you something? What did you try hard at this semester? Third, it is all about goal setting. Advisors should work with students to set long term goals and revisit and revise those goals in each meeting. Fourth advisors should work to foster a culture where a growth mindset is developed. Advisors should be supportive but demanding, discuss self-motivation, and do goal setting when working with students who need to develop grit. The presenters stated that students should be praised for their effort and not their intelligence.

Another session I attended was titled “Reasons for their Departure: A Look at Undergraduate Women who Abandon STEM Majors.” I was particularly interested in the session since I advise in a STEM major. The presenter did a small qualitative study at the mid-size state school where she advises. While interviewing female students who left STEM majors for a non-STEM major she shared that five themes developed. The first theme was lack of preparation. The students shared that they had never had to study or didn’t learn how to properly study. They shared they had little to no exposure in STEM classes prior to enrolling in college and that they lack experience in these settings. They also shared this was their first time failing and they didn’t know what to do. The second theme that emerged was failure to access resources. The students shared they knew about the resources available but they were afraid to go. The third theme was regarding the method of instruction of their courses. Most of their courses were in large lecture settings where exams made up most of the grade. The students found that when they had interaction with the faculty they seemed uninterested, stale, and not friendly. There was no community and little interaction in the courses and it was all independent work. The fourth theme that emerged was there was no sense of belonging in the students STEM majors. They discussed issues of alienation that while not obvious, was easy to notice. The students talked about feeling like outsiders. The students stated that their peers seemed more prepared and that they felt intimidated asking male faculty and students for help because they didn’t want to perpetuate the stereotype of women not being capable of the work in a STEM field. The last theme to emerge was about career expectations. Many of the students shared that they didn’t know what a career in a STEM field would actually be like and once they got internships or worked in labs they found they didn’t enjoy the field. Lastly, the presenter discussed what advisors in STEM fields can do moving forward to assist female students. Advisors should review the major and encourage early career exploration. Advisors should normalize the use of academic support resources. Advisors should encourage participation in women in STEM initiatives. And the advisor should always validate the student’s experiences.

In addition to being an attendee at the conference, I presented a poster presentation alongside my colleague Ashley Maloff. Our poster centered on global opportunities for students in STEM majors. We shared some best practices for advising students in STEM fields who would like to study abroad, timelines to consider, and some facts about our program.

Poster Presentation at NACADA Region V Conference by Holly Englert and Ashley Maloff

Overall, my first experience attending a regional NACADA conference was successful. Thank you PACADA for the opportunity to attend!

Intuitively Strong: A Study of Strengths Implementation at Purdue University

Article By: Jessica Knerr, Veronica Rahim, & Chrystal Randler

You’ve taken the StrengthsFinder, right? Did you know there is a 1 in 33 million chance to find someone who has the exact same talent themes in the exact same order as you? Holly Englert, Associate Director of Advising in Mechanical Engineering, shared this interesting fact during an interview about Strengths Finder. In addition, both Cher Yazvac, Associate Director for Career Development in the CCO, and Matt Davenport, Assistant Director of Residential Life for Legacy Lane & Engagement, were interviewed about their insights regarding this topic. All three of these Purdue professionals are Certified Strengths Coaches!

Among the many ways in which this university is staying on the cutting edge of innovation, Purdue recently became a Strengths Campus and is working cross-departmentally to develop this novel model! Considering the national popularity and credibility of this tool, three members of the Communications and Connections Committee (C3) investigated trends, interactions, and resources by interviewing a variety of campus professionals who would know best!

Being a newly established Strengths Campus has several implications across the University, and each of the Coaches were able to touch upon what this means. In Residence Life, Matt Davenport shared that they “are implementing the philosophy of the Strengths into the curriculum.” Cher Yazvac highlighted that there isn’t just “one way for it to be integrated” and “the focus of what Purdue will look like could be different than other campuses.” It seems that there is an opportunity for campus branding so our institution can have a unique feel in how we create our identity as a Strengths Campus. Holly Englert also noted that this allows us to “go deeper with students and help them discover what their Strengths are and help them apply that in a way that can help them be successful in the classroom and in their career development.”
While some may think the assessment points people in a certain career direction, the truth is that it is designed to help you figure out how you do something, rather than what you should do. Instead of adopting this tool as a diagnostic for career paths, users should be aware the assessment is going to focus on helping them understand which approach they typically take in a given situation. These approaches (or Strengths) are not good or bad – they are neutral until a person puts an intention behind it.

Yazvac cautions people to remember that the bite-sized Top 5 Strengths are not the complete picture. Many people can operate out of their top 10 on a day-to-day basis. This is good news for those of us that feel as though we have a Strength that was not listed in the Top 5 of the StrengthsFinder assessment. It does not mean it is not used; it just means that some other Strengths may come even more naturally than the ones you previously thought.

Along similar lines, try not to think of your bottom Strengths as weaknesses. The 34 Strengths all have potential for you to use, but your bottom strengths may not come as naturally as other strengths do, and that is okay. This holds true even if you truly enjoy a Strength found at the bottom of your list. Davenport illustrates this occurrence by using singing as a supposed Strength: “Some people love to sing and even though they aren’t good at it, they do it anyway. Some people don’t particularly love singing but they are good at it. This is not too dissimilar to Strengths. Some things you may be good at but don’t love. Some things you may be bad at but love anyway. It’s tapping into an awareness of these personal tools and learning how to best harness them.”

The Strengths Coaches have utilized Strengths in a variety of ways. Conversations around Strengths are happening with students in groups, through classes and workshops, and in one-on-one settings, like career counseling. Englert has led Strengths workshops in ME 290. The CCO staff have gone into classrooms and residence halls, incorporating Strengths into career exploration workshops. Lessons on Strengths are also utilized in EDPS 105 and in workshops for fraternities, sororities, cooperative houses, and other student groups. In addition to using Strengths with students, staff in at the CCO, housing and dining, and other offices use Strengths for teambuilding and professional development. The opportunities abound to incorporate Strengths into work in student affairs.

A wide variety of resources exist for both advisors and students, which the three Coaches shared liberally! They include the following, many of which both advisors and students can use:

  • Strengths 2.0 Book (Downloadable e-Version access when Logged In on Gallup website)
  • Online Gallup Resources (Access when Logged In)
  • Purdue myStrengths Web Portal (4 Career Assessments under the “Resources” Folder and  within the “View Additional Resources” Tab among many additional links and resources)
  • Strengths Facebook Groups
  • Strengths YouTube Channel including Themed Thursday Podcasts
  • Access Purdue’s Certified Gallup Strengths Coaches for Individual or Group Interactions

We asked the interviewees what their Top 5 Strengths are and which ones resonated with them the most. Davenport said his are: Activator, Maximizer, Communication, Competition, and Positivity. Interestingly, he felt as though his 6th Strength, Woo, was the one that resonated the most with him. While Woo might be conceived as a manipulative or negative trait because it consists of “winning people over” (Gallup, 2017), it really comes back to the intention of the user. Provided the person employing Woo is operating from the “Balcony” and not the “Basement”, the Strength is a great asset to the person and employer.

Englert stated her Strengths are: Empathy, Developer, Positivity, Communication, and Input and that Empathy resonates most with her. She believes it drives who she is as an individual and is highly relatable to her other Strengths. The genuine connection she feels through Empathy gives her an edge within advising because she can understand when to push a student and when to back off.
For Yazvac, her Top 5 strengths are: Communication, Connectedness, Empathy, Strategic, and Maximizer. She feels as though all of these resonate with her. However, she has intentionally focused more of her attention to the Strategic strength. She believes by developing this strength, it will help her with her other strength, Maximizer.

We should remember that implementing StrengthsFinder is a learning process for the students, faculty, and staff at Purdue so there are going to be some questions along the way. Thankfully, Purdue has provided a solid foundation to our advising and student services community to help navigate this new tool. For those finding the process to be a bit overwhelming or a bit lost as to how to get started with Strengths, we recommend that you start with yourself. By learning your own strengths and how they affect your work, you can better help your students tap into their Strengths within their academics and future careers.

Keep in mind that Gallup and Purdue have additional tools for you to use that we previously mentioned in this article. Reach out to the Strengths coaches here on campus if you want to continue your education or have them assist in your curriculum. You can find them by visiting here:

We would love to hear how you are implementing Strengths in your work with students! Please feel free to reach out to the contacts listed below to let us know. We may contact you on future articles regarding Strengths methodology!

Jessica Knerr (
Veronica Rahim (
Chrystal Randler (

MBTI Certification Program- Molly Gilbert

MBTI Certification Program Participants
MBTI Certification Program Participants

Molly Gilbert was a recipient of a PACADA Professional Development Grant for the 2016 year.  She used her funds to attend the MBTI Certification Program by the Myers & Briggs Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana.  See below for more information about her experience!

Hi – my name is Molly Gilbert, and I am an ENTJ.

Chances are you have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), or will at some point.  It is the world’s most widely used personality assessment with approximately two million people taking it each year.  It has been used by over 2,500 colleges and universities and is popular in career counseling offices around the world.

Although I have taken the MBTI more than a few times – high school, college, a few times as an employee of various organizations – it has never made an impact.  I am notorious for giving the deer in headlights blank stare when asked my “type.”  That all changed in 2015 when I attended the First-Year Experience Annual Conference in Texas.  I attended a session that focused on combining the worlds of MBTI and advising and I was hooked!  In the past, the workshops I attended were the standard, and rather boring, “this is your type and this is what it means” session.  The conference I attended was the first time the MBTI principles were talked about without having to know your type or the type of everyone around you – and I wanted to know more!

I had the opportunity, with the help of the PACADA Professional Development Grant, to attend an intense 4-day MBTI Certification Program in Indianapolis.  I was filled with anticipation and excitement as the date approached.  That is, until a rather large, heavy box showed up full of my pre-work materials.  I very quickly learned why this was called an intense program.  Each of the four days consisted of eight hours of interactive learning followed by a couple of hours of homework each night.  This was no vacation!

While the MBTI Certification Program is no walk in the park, it was completely worth it.  While I value the information I learned about all of the types, I learned more about myself than I ever anticipated.  One of the most dramatic results I see is the improvement in my communication style, especially in my work with students.  I am able to notice subtle clues from students and quickly tailor my style to fit their needs.  While I thought I had always done this, I am more confident in my ability to “read” students and react in a more appropriate way since completing this program.

Though the information I brought back from the MBTI Certification Program is not always as clearly applicable to the world of advising as attending a student services focused conference, I feel like my experience was just as valuable as any conference I have attended in the past.  As a newer advisor, I relished the opportunity to slow down and reflect on my role in the most basic aspect of our profession – our relationships with students.  Thank you PACADA for helping to make this experience possible!

2016 NACADA National Conference- Storie Pedley

Storie Pedley was a recipient of a PACADA professional development grant for the 2016 year. She used her funds to attend the 2016 NACADA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. See below for more information about her experiences!


2016 NACADA Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA

Presentation by:  Karen Hauschild, College of Charleston

Title:  Generation Z:  Advising Across the Generations

Experienced by:  Storie Pedley

I learned some interesting information from this presentation – a short summary is below.

  • Definition of Generation Z:

They were born after the millennials. There is no consensus for beginning and ending dates, but in general, it spans from 1992-2012, 1995-2012 or 1998-2015, depending on the research

General Characteristics of Generation Z:

  • They are accustomed to instant gratification
  • They are social – they like to share, just not really personal stuff
  • They often think in and talk about big ideas/aspirations
  • Very short attention span (on average: 8 seconds!)
  • Highly visual – prefer video over text
  • Entrepreneurial (DIY friendly)
  • They are the first generation to have grown up with social media – very tech savvy – it’s all they have ever known
  • Very diverse – LGBTQ and a black president is normal to them
  • They have witnessed an erosion of trust – today’s students have seen politicians, religious figures and sports icons fall from grace in a very public way
  • They tend to have a feeling of insecurity – they grew up in the wake of the great depression and full knowledge of terrorism
  • They want a college major that leads to a job that then leads to $
    • Yet they also want their work to have meaning – it’s not ALL about the $
  • Have a desire to design their own major – they want flexibility

A fun reference that is updated every year – to help keep things in perspective:            Beloit College Mindset List

Why is this information important?
Here are some of my own take-aways from this presentation:

  • Why is it important to understand this generation better? This group of young adults will be the next group to enter our offices, and ultimately the work force. Understanding what makes them tick could help us improve our advising, recruitment and retention strategies.
  • We (Professors, Advisors, Admissions, Employers, College Administrators, etc.) need to find other/new ways to communicate with these students besides the traditional email and newsletters. Perhaps embedded video messages, short video clips, better/more frequent use of our webpages and social media, etc. This affects teaching style as well.
  • Instead of getting frustrated with who they are/what they do – work to understand them and accept them, and ultimately learn from them, so they in turn can learn from you. Start the relationship knowing you won’t change them, so meet them where they are. We just may need to ask for their patience while we try to catch up!
  • Consider whether we can we give them any freedom within their own major – to pick courses that THEY find relevant – without having to get special permission or jump through a bunch of hoops?
  • Take advantage of their entrepreneurial spirit and use that to better teach practical problem solving and coping skills.
  • From a recruitment/admissions perspective – if we don’t adapt and adjust, colleges will end up targeting only those students who see the message the way that college is putting it out there. We could potentially miss a LOT.
  • Because they have grown up hearing about the dangers of global warming, seeing their parents struggle financially and being very cognizant of potential terrorist threats, they see themselves as the solutions to these problems. That may cause them to pursue careers that they think may help society.

2016 NACADA Regional Conference- Jacqueline Brown

Jacqueline Brown was a recipient of a PACADA professional development grant for the 2016 year. She used her funds to attend the 2016 NACADA Regional Conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. See below for more information about her experiences!


I had the pleasure of attending my first Region 5 NACADA Conference which was held in April in the beautiful city of Toronto Ontario Canada. It was a great opportunity to go with some of my advising colleagues in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. It started off as an adventure from the very beginning, when we decided to drive to the conference instead of flying. The morning that we were leaving, my colleagues and I decided to meet at the Transportation Service Center to pick up the car. I did not realize that the center had moved to a new location. I was franticly trying to find the place, and I eventually got directions and found my way. My colleagues did not leave without me.

One of the reasons that I wanted to attend the conference was to take away valuable information that I could use at my own institution. I am on a Purdue Polytechnic Transformation Team that was looking at mentoring. Mentoring is not a new concept in higher education and the research does show that mentoring enhances a student’s undergraduate experience. As a result, it fosters retention and a sense of belonging and validation as student’s transition to college. The Purdue Polytechnic has been focusing on transforming how undergraduates learn and the issues facing higher education for several years.

I had the opportunity to attend a presentation presented by advisors from The Ohio State University on how they created their Peer Mentoring Program for first year students in Engineering. The instructors used more knowledgeable undergraduate students in their course as teaching assistants. The students then served as peer mentors to the students enrolled in the course. The mentors were able to provide leadership, tutoring and other support services. They definitely had some positive results from their mentoring model. The mentors had taken the course before and they were well acclimated to campus and campus life. However, the teaching assistants were involved in grading and reporting grades of undergraduate students. They also reported that the roles that the teaching assistant played in the classroom had a negative effect on some of the mentees. Supervision collaboration and formal training are key to a successful peer mentoring program. I realized while listening to their presentation that our mentoring model is very different but I greatly appreciated their insight on mentoring.

The conference was a great opportunity to network and learn about best practices from across the country. I want to thank the PACADA Grant Sub Committee for the opportunity to attend such a diverse topic and I would encourage other advisors to consider applying for professional development opportunities to attend a national, regional or state conference.

2016 NACADA National Conference- Shavonne Holton

Shavonne Holton was a recipient of a PACADA professional development grant for the 2016 year. She used her funds to attend the 2016 NACADA National Conference in Atlanta, GA. See below for more information about her experiences!


2016 NACADA Annual Conference – Advising To Learn in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, affectionately known as Hotlanta, was the host city for the 2016 NACADA Annual Conference. Not only were the themes and content of the sessions hot and trendy in advising, but the rooms were packed with eager practitioners! Many sessions were in demand requiring ad hoc accommodations and overflow sections for the participants who did not want to miss the valuable insights shared by the presenters.

I was fortunate to attend this conference with assistance from the PACADA grant. I enjoyed networking with advisors from every region and learning strategies that would take my practice to the next level. Three of the most impactful sessions are included below.


Student Stressors and Pressures: Navigating the Global Mental Health Epidemic on Campus

Shavonne Holton with Mental Health presenter- Susan Toler Carr
Shavonne Holton with Mental Health presenter- Susan Toler Carr

Susan Toler Carr is a professional engineer and founder of the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation. Carr became aware of the lack of attention given to mental health issues when she lost her son, Justin, due to an undetected medical condition at the age of seventeen. It was during this time that she inquired about some of Justin’s surviving friends only to find that some of them had a difficult time grieving his loss. Since then, Susan has made it her mission to spread awareness and advocate for the mental health of adolescents and young adults.

During her workshop, Carr elaborated on a plethora of conditions and circumstances that plague today’s pre-college and college-aged students. For instance, she redefined the non-traditional student to include students who grew up in adverse conditions, are a part of veteran/military families, and consider themselves socially isolated amongst other things. One recommendation she shared was to enhance student ID cards to include counseling and crisis hotline numbers on the back. She stated that some institutions have already implemented it and have found it to be successful.

What I appreciated most about her session was that it was a great reminder to look up from the demands of our work to be present with our students. It is only natural to be preoccupied by the countless emails we receive and our never-ending task lists. Sometimes the most effective strategy for student success is to be present, which demonstrates that we care for our student’s well-being.


#BlackGirlMagic : The Role of Advisors in Supporting the Successes of Black Women  

#BlackGirlMagic The Role of Advisors in Supporting the Success of Black Women

During this workshop, Dawn Matthews, Kelsie Patton, Ky’Eisha Penn, and Sabrina Smith of Florida State University used Critical Race Feminism and Womanist Identity Development theories to provide a framework for advising Black women in higher education. Critical Race Feminism acknowledges the various groups within a marginalized population. The Womanist Identity Development Model specifically illuminates the experiences of African American women to provide a more accurate perspective of their experiences.

During the session, the presenters shared various stereotypes that Black women at both Historically Black Colleges and Universities and predominately White institutions identify with including “being the only/tokenism”. By the end of the session, we learned more about the advising styles that work best for the success of Black Women including developmental advising which focuses on helping students define goals through collaboration with their advisor. Another recommended style was proactive advising. In it, the advisor initiates contact with the student during critical points or circumstances including if the student is high risk, on probation, high achieving, and other critical milestones throughout their academic career.

This particular workshop won Best of Region 4. With the number of practitioners that filled the large breakout room for this session at NACADA, it was clear the level of need and interest in this issue. Attendees from all ethnic and gender backgrounds were engaged in the critical conversations that took place. Even as a professional who identifies with #BlackGirlMagic, I found my biggest takeaway was to assess and approach each student according to her unique needs.

Shavonne Holton with BGM Presenters
Shavonne Holton with BGM Presenters

ATL: It’s HOTlanta: Don’t Burn Out

Presented by: Wiona Porath and Robert Detwiler (Siena Heights University), Jaimie Newby (University of Illinois – Springfield), Dana Hebreard (Calvin College)

With the many demands in our work, it is difficult to know when to turn down a project. It can feel as if everything is a priority even if it is a distraction. We all know that trying to manage a student load, committee work, participating in professional organizations, adjusting to curriculum changes, and other duties as assigned can lead to burn out. What is even more disheartening is that you can unknowingly lose the zest for the work you once found meaningful to you.

During this session, the presenters gave some of the signs of burn out including a change in sleeping and appetite, developing cynicism about your job, and finding it difficult to ease into the workday. Although I am in my second year as an academic advisor, I could see how our work could become less fulfilling as compared to the first day on campus or in a new role.

The presenters did well at reminding the attendees about the most powerful word ever: No. They stressed the importance of establishing boundaries with students, colleagues, and supervisors to prevent burnout. They also shared tips for incorporating relaxation into the workday and in life to create harmony. Some recommendations included taking your lunch outside of the office, going for walks, being present and more. Though the presentation covered signs you may have heard before, it definitely made me more aware of my own professional limitations and I can manage them when I returned to Purdue.

Overall, attending the NACADA annual conference gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing presenters, reinforce what I was doing well in my current role at Purdue, and introduced me to some new perspectives on advising. Thank you PACADA!


2017 PACADA Outstanding Advisor Award

Written & Presented by Erin Schultz, 2016 recipient of the PACADA Outstanding Advisor Award

Kristin Deckard Dawson (center), surrounded by family and colleagues
Kristin Deckard Dawson (center), surrounded by family and colleagues.

It is my complete honor to present the 2017 PACADA Outstanding Advisor award.  This recipient was nominated and given glowing reviews by his/her supervisor, colleagues, and by our Director of Undergraduate Advising, Sandy Monroe.

This advisor is known to be compassionate, extremely organized, someone who goes above and beyond, is a leader and mentor, always displays a professional attitude, has a philosophy of empowering students to take ownership of their academic goals, and values the importance of professional development.

This advisor has personally walked several students, who were in distress, to the Dean of Students as well as CAPS on several occasions.  This individual is known to develop creative approaches in advising, especially when the advising team has been understaffed.  Seeing a need in his/her advising department, this individual also collaborated with the Office of the Dean of Students for QPR suicide training for the advising team and arranged for team members to take the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment.  This advisor has been an active member of PACADA and has volunteered as a Co-Chair previously and is currently dedicating his/her time on the PACADA New Advisor Training Committee.

Colleagues have shared:  “This outstanding advisor has been an invaluable resource and mentor and demonstrates his/her commitment to students, commitment to advising, commitment to professional development, and overall drive to provide each student with a successful advising experience while at Purdue.  This individual deserves the recognition for the tireless hard work and passion he/she displays on a daily basis.”  Others say, “Whether interacting with a student, serving on a committee with fellow academic advisors or other university colleagues, this advisor is respectful of others, willingly listens to opinions and ideas that may be contrary to his/her own but remains diplomatic and articulate in sharing his/her perspective.  This advisor is an excellent listener, communicator, and an exceptional role model for the academic advising community.”

And so, with all of this being said, it is my privilege to present to you the 2017 PACADA Outstanding Advisor, Kristin Deckard Dawson, from Mechanical Engineering!  



2017 PACADA Outstanding New Professional Award

Written By: Christine J. Hofmeyer

Elizabeth Byers-Doten (Center) surrounded by her supportive supervisor and family members

The criteria for the PACADA Outstanding New Professional Award includes effective interpersonal skills, availability to advisees, demonstration of a professional attitude toward advisees, evidence of active involvement in helping students achieve career and academic goals, use of information resources and referral agencies, and evidence of professional development.  This year’s recipient has exceeded all of these criteria.

She joined her department in June 2015, hitting the ground running during the first week of STAR, and due to the need to learn Purdue advising procedures and work to establish new relationships with her advisees; she broke the sound barrier with her speed of action and this rate of speed continues. 

What does movement at the speed of sound look like?

In addition to serving as an exceptional academic advisor and viewed by her department as one of the most “approachable” Purdue advisors, our award recipient has led the development of a formal professional communication internship to help students achieve their career goals.  The focus of the program is to help document the learning and growth of student interns for the development of stronger professional relationships in the agricultural communication industry, which will help assist in academic preparation and employment placement. As a point of success, the academic program enjoys nearly 100 percent job placement “in the field” within three months of graduation.  Our recipient is actively involved in multiple initiatives, some of which she has helped to create in her short time in the department.  She manages multiple social media accounts that enhance departmental communication efforts, writes a monthly department newsletter and biannual alumni newsletter, and authors three different monthly features for the website.  She serves as a leadership coach for the College of Agriculture Leadership Development Certificate Program, advisor and mentor for student Ambassadors, the Agricultural Communication Program’s student organization, and the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). She co-advises the Purdue Dairy Club, and extends her advising and disciplinary expertise throughout the College of Agriculture.

Ongoing professional development is a key component of her professional life.  She is an active member of the Purdue Career Advising Council and PACADA.  She is a member of two PACADA subcommittees: Communications and Connections Committee and Professional Development Committee — having served as the secretary for the Professional Development Committee.  She is a member of the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA).  Earlier this year, she attended the Agricultural Careers Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

She will increase her momentum by serving as chaperone for the upcoming Haiti Study Abroad course offered through YDAE.  Whoosh!  She is truly an amazing and accomplished person!   BREATHE!

2017 PACADA Outstanding New Professional Award recipient is Elizabeth Byers-Doten, Youth Development and Agricultural Education (YDAE) Student Services Specialist.  Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved award! 

Learning Community Instructor Awards

PACADA members were once again well-represented at the Learning Community Instructor luncheon where awardees for the 2016-2017 academic year were recognized. The list of award winners can be found below with PACADA members identified in bold text. Congratulations all of the award winners, especially our outstanding PACADA members!


Advocate Award – Awarded to Learning Community Instructors who have been nominated by their students for displaying a commitment to learning, exceptional involvement within the Learning Community, and providing opportunities for connection outside of the classroom.

  • Katherine Chartier
  • Michelle Mullen
  • Bill Oakes

Exceptional Event Planner – Awarded to those LCIs who plan events that are engaging, exciting, and integral to student learning and development during their first semester here at Purdue.

  • Aviation – Todd Brewer, Brian Stirm
  • Global Science Partnerships – Laura Starr, Terry Ham
  • Environmental Sciences – Michael Mashtare

Academic Connection – Awarded to LCIs who plan events and activities that directly connect classroom learning with hands-on experiences.

  • The Nature of Wild Things – Julie Pluimer, Robert K. Swihart, Linda Prokopy, Jeff Dukes, Reuben Goforth
  • EPICS – Bill Oakes, Sarah El-Azab, Beth Wilson, Priya Sirohi, Elizabeth Boyle, Carla Zoltowski

Student Impact – Awarded to LCIs who have demonstrated exceptional success in connecting students to peers, faculty and professional staff, campus resources, and the community at large.

  • Explorers – Jennifer McDonald, Mandy Chalk, Margaret Sheble, McKinley Murphy, Danielle Corple, Beth Jones
  • Exploratory Studies Purdue Promise – Rachel Ravellette, Cara Wetzel, Jessica Ramsey
  • Exploring Business Majors – Scott Vana
  • Exploratory Scholars – Kylie Geiman, Colleen Brown
  • Exploratory Studies Honors – Mary Beth Lencke
  • Agriculture Technology and Innovation – Dennis Buckmaster, Amy Jones
  • Nursing Nexus – Sandra Kuebler, Laura Curry

Real-World Experience – Awarded to LCIs who plan events and activities that offer introductions to various opportunities within their respective academic fields.

  • Engineering for the Planet – Inez Hua
  • Dietetics – Rachel Clark, Dinah Dalder, Mridul Datta, Lisa Graves, Donna Zoss, Kathleen Hill Gallant

Introducing the PACADA PIN Pushers

By Danielle Gilbert

Images by Kendra Larimer, CGT student

The PACADA PIN Pushers just finished week 19 of their bowling season and are currently placed seventh out of eighteen Purdue teams. The team came about after captains Ashley Maloff and Holly Englert bowled in separate leagues the year prior. They thought it would be a fun way to get advisors together for networking and comradery outside of work.

Along with Ashley and Holly, the roster includes PACADA members Sarah Allard, Mandy Chalk, Emily Del Real, Danielle Gilbert, Melissa Law-Penrose, Brandi Moorman, Cynthia Quillen, and Elizabeth Watts. They are also joined by guests Jeff Englert and Nick Gonzalez, as partners and spouses are also welcome. The PIN Pushers bowl against such teams as Spoiler Makers, The PurDudes, Split Happens, The Bowlermakers, Wish I Cud Bowl, and more. The PIN Pushers’ name is more of an inside joke amongst the advising/student services community, as the pun is lost on most others. The bowlers rotate, some bowling every other week, others once a month. They are having a great season so far. Gotta love that handicap! If you’re interested in being a sub, please contact Holly or Ashley.

Here’s what the PIN Pushers have to say about their experience so far:

Stay tuned for a possible PACADA summer softball league.

How To: Survive the 2016 Countdown & Thrive in the 2017 Upswing

Creative Directors: Taylor Weast, Veronica Rahim, & Mia Giron

We have made it to the end of another semester! Hopefully, work is slowing down for many of us and we are finding some time to relax. Still, there are some stressors that are associated with the end of the semester. Therefore, we put together an end of the semester survival guide plus some tips for thriving in the new year – Enjoy!

Share the Love!


listenWe have tough conversations with students at this point in the semester but remember, there’s always room to grow and improve! For example, you may find yourself having the following conversation: “Linda, honey, listen unfortunately, your current GPA isn’t meeting this program’s requirement. Let’s discuss options in moving forward…”


class-fullRegistration started in October. We’ve reached December. This phrase becomes your mantra…maybe the class has a waitlist??


takenRemember, no matter how thankless your role may seem at times, many students are apt to share their gratitude with you. Don’t forget to share your gratitude with those in your life that you are thankful for, too!


treatyoself1Now you can really start taking some time for yourself.


leslieknopesleep1Plus, you might even get some sleep over winter break!


mary_poppins_tidy_upSo let’s talk about thriving in the new year. Take some of that free time and get organized! No one wants to come back to a desk full of papers and folders and an inbox full of email from last year. As Mary Poppins says, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP – the job’s a game!”


brainNew year’s resolutions…they always sound so great at the beginning of the year. Never mind that life got busy and exercise took a backseat. Join a walking group, visit the gym, do a Zumba class with friends. The possibilities are endless!


mentor-catAnother great way to start the New Year off right is by joining the PACADA Professional Mentoring Program (shameless plug, we know). Seriously, how great would it be to make a new connection on campus?! More information and the sign up links can be found here:


google-birdWhile we’re shamelessly plugging PACADA activities, have you considered joining a committee? Join this duck on the Research Committee (help them with the IRB approved research project they are working on)! Or perhaps the Communications and Connections Committee (C3) is more your thing? We also have a great Membership Committee (responsible for those cool gifts you get every year), the Campus Affairs Committee (who organized the outstanding Student Affairs update last week!) and last, but certainly not least, the Professional Development Committee (who sponsors the annual PACADA Retreat every year). Are you convinced yet?


conferenceSpeaking of retreats…have you considered professional development? Conferences can be a great way to rejuvenate yourself and advance your knowledge in your specific functional area, plus they are fun! Consider attending the Regional and National NACADA Conference (or a conference specific to your functional area), on-campus professional development opportunities (such as the Webinar sponsored by Sandy and the folks at Undergraduate Academic Advising on Dec. 14th), or off-campus professional development opportunities.

We wish you all the best through the end of the semester and we hope you thrive in the new year!

*Note: All memes, gifs, and images in this article were captured from Google images searches and These are not our original creations nor do we take credit for their creation.

Veronica Rahim in Purdue Today


Veronica Rahim, Purdue United Way Campaign spokesperson, delivers the keynote speech at the Victory Celebration on Wednesday (Nov. 16). (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox)

Purdue faculty, staff, retirees and students accepted the challenge of meeting the 2016 Purdue United Way goal by raising more than $778,647 for the campaign.

Purdue volunteers and community leaders of the local United Way campaign gathered Wednesday (Nov. 16) at Purdue Memorial Union to celebrate raising $778,647, or 101.11 percent of the $770,134 goal.

Pam Horne, Purdue United Way Campaign chair and vice provost for enrollment management, and Becky Hershey, director of Purdue United Way, made Purdue’s presentation.

They thanked Purdue volunteers for their dedication and highlighted special events held on campus to promote awareness and raise funds for the campaign.

“I appreciate the opportunity to lead the Purdue United Way Campaign through a significant change with ePledge and other initiatives this year,” Horne says. “I’m so proud to work with so many wonderful volunteers and community leaders. Purdue University once again has demonstrated its commitment to our community.”

Though the campaign tally is complete, contributions to the United Way are welcome at any time. Donations may be made by visiting

Order your PACADA T-Shirt NOW!

If you would like to order a PACADA shirt, follow the simple instructions below by FRIDAY OCTOBER 2nd:

  1. Go to and click on view catalog (SM2015). In search type in one of these item #s to see the styles available:

K500, Men’s Polo for $18.35 XS-XL**

L500, Women’s Polo for $18.35 XS-XL**

K500LS, Men’s Long-Sleeved Polo for $23.35 XS-XL**

L500LS, Women’s Long-Sleeved Polo for $23.35 XS-XL**

**Add additional $2.00 per X for the larger sizes

2.  You can choose any color except red tones. Wonder why? Hail Purdue!

3.  Call 765-449-8463 and ask for Marti indicating that you would like to order a PACADA shirt

4.  Give her design #9568, the number of the shirt style, size, and color of the shirt you would like

5.  You may choose white, Vegas gold, or black embroidery

6.  Provide her with your Credit Card number

There is a two-week turn-around time. I will pick up all of the shirts and get them to their new owners.

Hope this works out well for everyone. You will have your outfit ready for every PACADA event!

Gratefully yours in PACADA,

Rita Baker — Membership Committee

Please email or call Rita with questions as needed at or Phone: 765-496-7912Hail Purdue!

PS:  Many thanks to our contact who has been the longtime keeper of our logo:  Marti Decker from Freckles Graphics, Inc., 3835 Fortune Drive, Lafayette, IN 47905 —, 765-449-8463





A New Textbook on Higher Education and a Published Author in Our Midst

A new textbook titled Student Involvement and Academic Outcomes: Implications for Diverse College Student Populations provides insight into what faculty and staff can do to help students from many backgrounds be successful in higher education. The textbook was edited by Donald Mitchell Jr., Krista M. Soria, Elizabeth A. Daniele, and Purdue’s own John A. Gipson. John is the Recruitment Specialist in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

After doing some research in graduate school, John and his team saw a need for new literature focusing on outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds, particularly as these populations grow on college campuses. Well-known researchers in the field of higher education and student affairs contributed chapters on topics such as working students, first-generation students, and undocumented students. Links between student involvement and various outcomes are highlighted, noting particularly the importance of GPA to student success. The book can be a great resource for faculty, staff, and graduate students in academic and student affairs.

The book was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Selected New Books on Higher Education last month!

The book can be purchased on Amazon.

Educational Children’s Book Features Purdue – and Brooke Linn’s Talents

Brooke linn

BoilerMAKER: Discovering Purdue University is a children’s picture book three years in the making. The main character, Maddie, visits campus for the first time with her mother and while she is here, she discovers all the great things she can do with a Purdue degree.

The author, Brooke Linn, is an Assistant Director in the College of Pharmacy who assists students with academic advising and career planning. Through this story, Brooke was able to combine her love of writing with her passion for helping students find their way in the world. To learn more about Brooke as an author, visit her website at Brooke worked collaboratively with her two sisters to complete the book. All three girls hold degrees from Purdue and are proud to give back to the university through this project.

Brooke’s main objective when writing this story was to get children excited about higher education. In the story, Maddie visits every college and several Purdue monuments as she travels around campus. The book comes complete with a curriculum guide for teachers as well as family activity ideas. At the Boilermaker Maddie website (, Maddie’s personality and passion for Purdue will continue to grow over time, providing readers new opportunities for connecting with Maddie and introducing higher education to their children. You can sign up to join Maddie’s mailing list on the website.

BoilerMAKER: Discovering Purdue University will be available at University Bookstore, University Spirit, and Follett’s. Copies can also be ordered online through the website at

Several local bookstores will be hosting a book signing with Brooke Linn as well – let’s show our support for one of our own by purchasing the book and have it signed at one of these dates/locations:

  • University Bookstore – Saturday, November 22nd, 9:30am – 12:00pm, Northwestern Ave store (by the stadium)
  • Follett’s Purdue West – Wednesday, December 3rd, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, and this is Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day (discounts on everything in the store!)
  • University Spirit – TBD (but coming!)

In Recognition of Excellence….2013-2014 Advisor Awards

Awards Excellence

PACADA presents two advisors with distinguished awards recognizing excellent work each year – one award for Outstanding Advisor and another for Outstanding New Professional in Advising. Candidates are chosen through a peer nomination process and winners consistently demonstrate excellence in advising as experienced by students, colleagues, and faculty alike.

Additionally and perhaps less well known by PACADA members at Purdue, some Purdue advisors are also recognized by their own College or Department or are honored with awards from organizations outside Purdue like NACADA – PACADA’s national organization.

In order to spread the word on campus and beyond, it is critical to honor these individuals for a job well done.

Please congratulate the following Purdue Academic Advisors for the excellent work they do each day to help Purdue students reach their academic, personal, and professional goals:

PACADA Outstanding Advisor 2013-2014: Anneliese Kay, Assistant Director, College of Agriculture

PACADA Outstanding New Professional 2013-2014: Peter Vasher, (former) Advisor, Exploratory Studies

NACADA Outstanding Advising Award Certificate of Merit Recipient, Primary Advising category 2014: Anneliese Kay

NACADA Outstanding Advising Administrator Award Certificate of Merit Recipient, Advising Administrator category 2014:                   Dr. Mark Diekman, Faculty/Advisor, Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture

Richard W. McDowell Best Advisor Award for 2014: Jeffrey Myers, Advisor, First-Year Engineering

Outstanding Service to Students Recipient for the College of Agriculture, 2013-14: Andrew Oppy, Advisor, College of Agriculture

Outstanding Management Advisor Award for 2013-14: Jennifer Walters, Senior Academic Advisor, Krannert School of Management

NACADA Student Research Award Winner (Master’s category): John Gipson, Advisor/Student Program Specialist, College of Health and Human Sciences

Dr. Earl P. Notestine Award for Excellence in Academic Services, College of Liberal Arts, 2013-2014: Angie Palikaris, Advisor, College of Liberal Arts

Again, we offer a heartfelt thanks and congratulations for your hard work and dedication.

*If an award was missed, please email the author Colleen Brown at to have the award/recipient added to this list.

Energize & Focus

Posted by Erin Schultz

Given the time of year, with the end of STAR and a new term just around the corner, it seems very appropriate to take time to energize & focus!!!

Check out the Energy & Focus power point, which was presented at a previous PACADA Retreat by Amber Simons, former WorkLife Wellness Specialist.  Topics which may be most applicable to this time of year include:

  •  Sources of Energy—“Energy Boosters” vs. “Energy Bandits”
  • Ways to Boost Your Energy
  • Ways to Stay Focused
  • Ways to Stay Stressed—“Top 12”

If these topics interest you, please check out the Energy & Focus Tips – Power Point