by Laura Hutt | August 8, 2008
I attended a private brick and mortar university for my Doctorate in Educational Leadership. The school was small compared to Capella: Capella confers more doctorates in one year than my alma mater will confer in the next 50 years. When I first entered the EdD program, I was assigned a faculty advisor; however, I never thought to schedule an academic advising conversation with my assigned advisor. If I needed advice on an available course or the correct form to file to meet a deadline, I went to the department administrative assistant who knew everything. That is, she knew every course that was offered, not necessarily the best courses for my academic degree. I still cringe when I think about the course on Spirituality at Work that I took one semester, solely because it was offered at half-price.
I was not aware of the value of academic advising until I had completed my required coursework and my newly chosen dissertation chair grimaced as she looked at my course room transcript (even though I had a 4.00 point GPA). Thankfully, she encouraged me to take a couple of independent study courses that would help me to prepare for my dissertation research. Of course, my dissertation chair did not always know which form to file or all the deadlines to meet, and the administrative assistant was not versed in the components of the dissertation, but between the two, I finally received good, solid, academic advice.
NACADA, the National Academic Advising Association supports research of practice and scholarship in academic advising in higher education. At Capella, we have the opportunity to explore best practice in the field of academic advising. Advisors at Capella are not administrative assistants, although we certainly know the myriad of forms that each learner needs to complete to make academic progress. On the other hand, we certainly are not faculty or mentors, although we do understand the details of the doctoral process. I would like to open a discussion on advising at Capella. Tell us about your academic advising experiences, at Capella or elsewhere. What role would you like advising to play in your doctoral journey?