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Bloomfield College to Host NACADA Advising Summit for Faculty, Staff

Paul Genea advising Bloomfield College student

By Alicia Cook

For most students, college is a time of major transition.  Having just left high school, or transitioning from a two-year institution, most college students are in need of good academic advising. In fact, research shows that academic advising is critical to a student’s success in college, in terms of retention, GPA, graduation rates and more.

Bloomfield College will host an Advising Summit for faculty and staff on September 23, 2016. Dr. Jeffrey L. McClellan, Assistant Professor at Frostburg State University, academic advisor, and representative of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), will run the workshop.

Since 1979, the NACADA has promoted and supported quality academic advising in institutions. The non-profit organization is an international, educational association of individuals engaged in the work of academic advising. Its membership of over 10,000 international individuals is reported to include representatives from more than 2,400 institutions and organizations related to higher education.

“Perhaps the most important need in academic advising today is effective training,” noted McClellan in a piece he authored entitled, Content Components for Advisor Training: Revisited. “While it is likely some advising professionals and researchers would argue this point, referencing the need for increased accountability, the importance of student retention, the call for effective assessment and evaluation processes, and other similar issues, underlying all of these imperatives is the need to develop and support effective advising.”

The two-hour long workshop will cover many topics related to college advising and the definitive connection between a solid advising program and student success.

McClellan will discuss why advising matters, the complexities and challenges of the student’s world, the need for promoting resilience among students, the power of relationships, and effective coaching and advising tips.

The Bloomfield College community embraces academic advising and recognizes advising as having an important impact on student persistence and retention. The College believes using academic advising services can be the difference between graduating or dropping out, as well as finding the right career.

“High-quality academic advising is one of the pillars of student success,” said Dr. Tresmaine Grimes, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. “Students who have strong relationships with academic and faculty advisors are more likely to persevere and complete graduation requirements on time.”

Academic advisors at Bloomfield College do not simply hand students their class schedules or alert them if their grades begin to drop.  The reach and influence of an advisor at Bloomfield College is much greater and much more important. 

Currently, the College’s advising framework includes assigning a “coach” to each undecided student as soon as they enroll. The coach assists in goal setting, time management, and problem solving. Additionally, the coach helps the student create study plans, identifies success barriers, and helps build self-discipline.

Once a student has declared a major, they are then assigned a faculty advisor who specializes in their major area of study.

This individualized model is successfully practiced at Bloomfield College due to the size of the student population. The small, intimate campus allows for long, one-on-one advising sessions, more frequent office hours, and easy, daily access to faculty and staff.

“This Advising Summit being presented by NACADA representative Dr. Jeffrey McClellan will provide our academic and faculty advisors with the tools they need to develop and maintain successful advising relationships with our students,” said Dr. Grimes.

The Advising Summit is funded through a grant from the Predominantly Black Institutions Competitive Grant Program and will run from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Van Fossan Theater.