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General Information

Who Should Attend

Professional advisors, counselors, faculty, and administrators working to enhance the educational development of students are encouraged to attend the Advising Matters Conference.

Concurrent Workshops

Presenter & Co-Presenters Presentation Room

Andrew Dolbin-MacNab

Matt Ebert

Dr. Janet Hilder

Dr. James Bridgeforth

ExperienceVT as a Tool for Developmental Advising
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Handout (PDF)
ExperienceVT is a Virginia Tech Student Affairs initiative to help students discover their strengths, clarify their goals, plan meaningful campus experiences, and take action toward their goals. ExperienceVT provides students with resources and coaching to help them create a personalized plan and engage in ongoing conversations that enable them to intentionally experience Virginia Tech. Academic advisors can play a central role in these conversations to encourage student engagement, promote self-actualization, and improve student well-being. This interactive presentation will give an overview of ExperienceVT, and explore how academic advisors can use this, and similar initiatives, to engage in developmental advising.  
Anya Work

Supporting Students on Academic Probation: Advisor Praxis
Academic probation can be a challenging and complex experience for students, however the support students on probation receive from their academic advisors is crucial to their success. Drawing from an extensive review of previous research and past experiences, session participants will increase their awareness of student perceptions of being on probation, effective strategies for student support, and how to cultivate an inclusive environment for students on academic probation. This discussion will serve as an opportunity for participants to practice collective self-reflection and reframe how they view students on academic probation with a focus on an asset-based view of student success.

Annie Laib Jenkins

Ms. Carol Robinson

Thriving through changes on the pre-health journey: How advisors can support pre-health students as they navigate around roadblocks
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Student Dream: “Graduate high school. Get into college. Get into medical school. Become a doctor. Save lives.”  Many students come to college with a dream of becoming a healthcare provider one day and a broad list of goals, but lacking the resources to capably navigate this pre-health journey and readjust when inevitable road bumps arise.  In this session, Health Professions Advising will discuss some common avenues for pre-health students to adjust through academic and experiential roadblocks and will engage advisors in interactive conversation surrounding navigating difficult conversations without feeling like a “dream crusher.”
Duck Pond

Vivek Shastry

Melanie Sontheimer

Sarah Bechtel

Change for the Better: Embedding Centrally Trained Advisors into Departments
Presentation Slides (PDF)
The College of Science (COS) experienced turmoil during Summer 2021 with a transition of academic advisors in one of their largest departments. To alleviate the hardship and stress of advising on the remaining two advisors (1 professional; 1 faculty), the College of Science leadership stepped in to mitigate the crisis. Through strategic planning, teamwork, and collaboration, a plan was devised to take on the challenge ensuring no student was left behind. Unanticipated problems arose during this transition which led to reevaluating our academic advising onboarding and orientation process. During this presentation, we will provide anecdotes and have a group discussion.
Karen Watson

A Triple Perspective on Transitioning to a Centralized Advising Center
Presentation Slides (PPTX)
The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) is re-envisioning undergraduate academic advising. A CLAHS Academic Advising Redesign Action Team participated in the NACADA Administrators Institute in February 2021 to develop our multi-phase plan that was kicked off in May during Global Advising Week. Phase 1 included the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding of three new professional academic advisors and the transition of one advisor from a departmental position to a full-time advising position for the CLAHS Academic Advising Center. This presentation explores the benefits of centralized advising and showcases the collaboration of advisors and faculty to reinvigorate academic advising in CLAHS.

Presenter & Co-Presenters Presentation Room

Teresa Wilson

Staying Where We Belong: Building resilience and sense of belonging by creating inclusive environments through informed advising
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Research into first-generation students reveals a positive correlation between their sense of belonging and retention and persistence to graduation rates. Quality advising and mentors create a student's bond to the institution and develop a strong sense of belonging. Being inclusive in our advising practice helps to build/enhance students' resilience and agency to achieve their goals. This presentation shares inclusive practice points and explains the theory that informs these practices.

Christina Fabrey

Amber Smith

Reframing Struggle: Advising First-Year Students through a College-Readiness Approach
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Handout (PDF)
Students transitioning from high school often struggle in the less structured college environment. Even selective college admissions offices that measure academic eligibility well can be less adept at measuring non-cognitive skills. In this session, we will discuss executive functions, college and career readiness skills, and how to apply developmental advising techniques to support first-year students in improving their academic performance and college experience. Participants will leave the workshop with practical strategies to use with students to identify college readiness concerns, support common first-year student transitional issues, and reframe academic challenges toward post-secondary success.

Christina Minford

Courtney Glass

Reading Your Email Could be a Full Time Job: Communicating Efficiently with a Large Advising Caseload
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Brainstorming Handout (PDF)
In the age of social media, we’re connected all the time, overwhelmed, inboxes are unmanageable, and it’s easy to tune out communications. Students are no different than advisors. How do you ensure students are getting the information to succeed in college? With a focus on first-generation students and incoming first-year and transfer students, we’ve devised a communication plan to highlight essential information to promote student success, retention, and engagement. Participants will learn about our communication plan for a large advising caseload. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas and brainstorm communication plans to bring back to their departments.
Duck Pond

Kayla Goodwin

Abbey Rowe Erwin

Dr. Shannon Shastry

Chelsea J. Cleary

David Andrews

Mitigating Campus Violence: An Academic Advisor's Role in Preventing Sexual Violence and Hazing at Virginia Tech
Presentation Slides (PDF)
Sexual violence and hazing are pervasive on college campuses across the United States, and a recent study has identified potential overlaps of these two forms of interpersonal violence. Extensive literature supports the need for collaborative efforts amongst campus professionals, including academic advisors, to effectively eradicate campus violence. As trusted mentors to college students, academic advisors are in a unique position to identify risk, intervene accordingly, and support prevention efforts regarding sexual violence and hazing. This session will examine how academic advisors can support the collective efforts of creating a safer environment for students at Virginia Tech.

Maureen Deisinger

Marielle Wijnands

So you want to study what?
This session is a re-vamped edition of our 2021 presentation, perfect for a seasoned advisor wanting a refresher or someone new to VT wanting to learn the basics. Has a student ever told you they're interested in studying abroad, but you weren't quite sure how to best support them? In this session, presenters from the Global Education Office will introduce the basics of study abroad at VT, discuss how academic advisors complement the GEO, and share updates to GEO advising resources including new credit transfer database collaborations with the Registrar's office. We will also address important COVID-19 safety approval process updates. Attendees will discuss good practices for initial study abroad advising through scenarios. This session is useful for advisors who are new to international education as well as those who already have a strong understanding.

Conference Overview

The Advising Matters Conference will kick off at 8:30 AM on Friday, March 4, 2022, and conclude by 4:30 PM. The 2022 conference will provide you with the following opportunities:

  • Formal and informal networking with faculty and professional advisors committed to facilitating student academic success
  • An interactive workshop and concurrent sessions focusing on advising tools, collaboration across the university and professional development for academic advisors
  • Opportunities for professional development for all advisors
  • Discussions on critical issues in academic advising
  • A range of theoretical, practical, and interactive presentations

Conference Registration

On-line registration is provided for conference participants. The registration fee is $100. The registration deadline is January 28, 2022.

For more information about the Advising Matters Conference please email Chenayé Blankenship, Project Coordinator for Student Success Initiatives.