2015 Conference Session Information

The presenters for the 2015 Academic Advising Association Conference will be providing their materials to the association and that information will be located below. Please do not reproduce the materials without giving proper credit to the authors of this work.


 Keynote Speaker- Advising Greatly: Shame, Vulnerability, and the 'Hidden Student'

  • Kathleen Shea Smith-Florida State University
The theme for this year’s conference, ‘the hidden student’, recognizes that for many of our advisees, private struggles with identity, suboptimal performance, and the absence of meaningful social connections pose serious threats to college success.  Research in higher education reveals that it may not be these experiences in and of themselves, rather it’s the manner in which students perceive themselves in light of these challenges that may be of greater concern. Studies exploring shame among college students identify a set of specific behaviors that serve as an emotional early alert system and signal to advisors a call for sensitivity and additional support.   This keynote address will explore shame and its antidotes, vulnerability, hope, and resilience.  It is the presenter’s hope to inspire attendees to dare greatly in their work with advisees and in their own life journeys. Presentation Materials will be posted here

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Session 1
Retention in Action: Reaching the ‘Hidden Student’ Utilizing Coaching Techniques

  • Kathleen Shea Smith-Florida State University
As contemporary college students navigate an accelerated world and strive to find their place in it, the role of advisor remains critical by providing a personal link between the student and institution.  Advising First at Florida State University offers an emerging retention-based model that meets the needs of the ‘hidden student’ by providing in-depth and effective collaboration between the advisor and student. This session will include a review of the literature on retention issues in higher education and an introduction to developmental advising as an optimal theoretical approach.  Coaching concepts will be explored through formal instruction balanced with interactive exercises.  Participants will gain working knowledge of this model and will leave the session with tools and resources for incorporating coaching techniques into their advising practice. Presentation Materials will be posted here

Session 2
 Supporting International Students and Scholars Dealing with Home Country Crisis

  • Caitlin McVary
  • Haley French-Sloan
  • Alexandra Jones

Academic advisors may be the first point of contact for international students and scholars dealing with crises and as such have a responsibility to help maintain their psychological and academic well-being. When a crisis occurs in our international students’ and scholars’ home countries, how do we respond to their psychological and academic support needs? This session will define home country crisis and address why it is important for faculty and staff to support students and scholars. We will present the current research on psychological impact and needs, support structures already in place, and factors influencing how an institution responds.

Presentation Materials will be posted here
Session 3
Developing a “Plan A” for the Mid-Range GPA Pre-Health Student
  • Vicki Fisher
  • Jaci Gustafson
  • Becky Faber

Many college students who hover between the 2.5-3.0 gpa range have a primary goal of going on to professional school. These students are indeed “hidden” in many ways because they are not on our radar for low performance, but they are not achieving in the classroom in a way that will enable them to be competitive for their primary goal. Instead of coaching them to find a “Plan B,” this session will focus on how we can help these students find a more suitable “Plan A” so that they leave their college experience feeling that they have achieved their goals and not settled for less. Session participants will interact with advising scenarios and leave with resources and talking points to help them in their advising practice.

Presentation Materials will be posted here
Session 4

Radical Openness in Faculty Advising: Case Studies

  • Kelly Payne
  • Ann Tschetter

This presentation draws on the educator bell hooks' theory of "radical openness" as a tool for advising and teaching students in crisis. Presenters will offer case studies of student-advisees who have experienced significant loss and/or trauma and facilitate a discussion of how hooks’ theory can be used in daily advising practices to empower both the student and advisor. Session participants will come away with a better idea of their own advising identity as well as best practices for sensitive situations.


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Session 5
Creating Self-Authorship in Advising Interactions with Drifting Students

  • Megan Schaefer

We often encounter “drifting” students who seem unsure why they are in college, what they are trying to accomplish, and how they can improve their situation. One way for advisors to create opportunities for increased success and development is through the use of Marcia Baxter Magolda’s theory of Self-Authorship and accompanying Learning Partnerships Models. After a brief overview of the Self -Authorship theory, Learning Partnerships, and research incorporating these into advising relationships, we will share ways to incorporate this approach as well as opportunities and ideas of how we could increase student development centered in Self Authorship and Learning Partnerships.



Session 6
“BACK FROM ABROAD”: Assisting Students in the Transition Back to Campus after an Experience Abroad

  • Marnie Nelson
  • Allison Hinesley

Students go abroad for a summer, semester, or an academic year and often have life changing experiences! They meet new people, work with peers from other U.S. higher education institutions, develop new professional networks, take courses outside of their major or minor, participate in professional internships, live in a new culture, and travel throughout the region of their “new home.” After such an amazing experience, the transition back to the home college can be difficult for some students. As a result, this session will focus on some of the personal and academic needs of student returnees and how academic advisors and the greater advising community can best support students during this transition.

Presentation Materials will be posted here

Session 7
Raising Awareness: College Students Experiencing Homelessness

  • Quint Geis

Often we do not consider the invisible populations that are around us each day. When a student experiences homelessness, one most likely will not be able to see it on them, yet this does not diminish the importance of having awareness about their situation. In this presentation, we will bring to light the experiences of those students facing homelessness. We will discuss what homelessness can be, what collegiate homelessness might look like and offer practical concepts to consider when working with students who are experiencing homelessness.

Presentation Materials will be posted here

Session 8
Illuminating Students’ Needs: An Exploration of Student- Parent and the Impact of Parental Illness on the College Student Experience

  • Molly Wilensky
  • Paula Caldwell

This presentation explores two hidden student populations: students who are parents and students who have a parent develop a significant illness while the student is in college. These students have unique challenges that are not typically encompassed in the traditional collegiate experience. Often, these situations can affect academic success, although these experiences and the challenges associated with them are not often acknowledged or anticipated by student affairs professionals, faculty, and other university counterparts. Two master’s students in the Educational Administration program will share the insights they have gained through their theses regarding these student populations, including the challenges they face and the best way for university faculty and staff to support them during their collegiate experience. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to share best practices and discuss their experiences working with these populations.

Presentation Materials will be posted here

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Session 9
Noisy Busy Minds: Working with the ADHD Student

  • Wendy L. O' Connor

College is a time of transition for all students. However, compared with the overall population of college students, studies have found that college students with ADHD are at greater risk for academic and psychological difficulties. ADHD affects an estimated 10 percent of young adults and at least 25 percent of college students with disabilities are diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD is a “hidden disability”; the ADHD student is a “hidden student”. Given the prevalence of ADHD among college students, it would be helpful to have both an understanding of this disability and strategies for working with students with ADHD. This session will define ADHD from a personal and professional perspective and provide helpful strategies for working with students (ADHD or not) who struggle with time management, focus, procrastination and more.




Session 10
Supporting Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming Students on College Campuses

  • Engrique Tejada III

Transgender (Trans*) and Gender Non-Conforming students comprise a population that is quickly moving from the shadows to the spotlight because of more inclusion in entertainment and news media. As Trans* individuals are being featured more prominently, students and people at large are finding it more comfortable to navigate the aspect of their identities around gender identity and expression. Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming students face uniquely difficult challenges, not only within a multitude of aspects of their personal life, but also in classrooms and on college campuses. Professionals, then, should seek to educate themselves and provide inclusive spaces for these students. It is a hope that this presentation will be used to begin discussion around this topic and to allow professionals to create a space in their offices and classrooms where these students can feel supported and respected.

Presentation Materials will be posted here

Session 11
Using Technology to Support the Hidden Student

  • Ann Callies

A background on the changing nature of technology and today’s students will be discussed, followed by a description of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how it seeks to help all students (including those who might be hidden). Our fast-paced, ever-changing society may leave the educational professional wondering how one can help students in this atmosphere. This presentation will show websites that can help advisors stay on top of what is new in the tech world as well as demonstrate various apps/websites that can be shared with students. Many students are fairly tech-savvy when it comes to their social media, but they may not know that their phones, tablets, and computers provide access to tools that can help them be more effective, efficient, and successful.


Session 12
Building Bridges Across Oceans

  • Carmen Varejckia-McGee
  • Ann Bouma
Participants will learn about the educational systems that many of our international students come from and how this affects their expectations of higher education. Topic covered will include key differences in classroom behavior, the international students’ understanding of “good” performance, and misunderstandings about instructor/student interaction. We will explore some of the core differences between these alternative education systems and the US system of higher education. Discussion will include advising and teaching tips. Finally we will give suggestions for working successfully with international students as an advisor and an instructor. Presentation Materials will be posted here