Academic Affairs

Academic & Career Advising Task Force

Advisor Competencies

Career Advising Knowledge and Skills

Brief description of competency: Understand career development theory, the decision-making process, and the relationship between academic offerings and occupational options/the world of work.

Summary of Competency's Main Points

  1. Knowledge of how majors relate to occupational fields.
  2. Knowledge of trends that effect careers and the career decision making process.
  3. Knowledge of graduate and professional school programs.
  4. Knowledge and skill in the use of referral.
  5. Knowledge of the various resources available for students on the campus, on the web, in the community and elsewhere.
  6. Knowledge, skill, patience and sensitivity in interacting with individuals as they navigate the process of deciding upon/committing to a field of study.

Those who develop training programs for academic advisors should include ways in which those they are training develop an understanding for the Conceptual, Relational, and Informational elements of academic advising.

The following questions are just a few that may help guide you in the development of your training program.

CR I Does your training program for professional and faculty advisors include:
XX X 1.  The campus academic offerings including majors, minors, certifications, concentrations, emphases, graduate/professional programs - and how they might fit together to meet individual student's needs?
X  X 2.  Explanation/discussion of general education requirements including rationale for having them and their usefulness?
 X X 3.  Up-to-date sources of occupational information?
 X X 4.  Electronic resources available, accessible, and relatively easy to utilize?
XX X 5.  Overview of campus services and resource people with backgrounds in such areas as career development, career services, vocational testing/career assessment, tutoring, disability services, counseling, leadership development/civic engagement, etc.?
XX X 6.  Information on the decision-making process as well as generational issues and values?
XX X 7.  Explanations of and examples of various ways advisors can support and challenge students as they proceed along their academic journey?

The following questions/activities may help guide your training sessions.

CR I Sample questions to include in training:
X  X 1.  Is college an opportunity to learn for the sake of learning or an opportunity to train for an occupation?
 X X 2.  Do academic departments/faculty have information on what kinds of jobs their alumni obtain? What other sources on campus have this type of information?
 X X 3.  How essential is a graduate degree in particular fields? How would a student learn of graduate school opportunities, reputations, and such?
 X X 4.  What traits do employers seek in college graduates?
 X X 5.  Do employers look for or require specific majors when they advertise their positions?
 X X 6.  Where would one find information on career trends? Salaries? Graduate school requirements?
 X X 7.  Are there academic minors that strongly complement particular majors?
 X X 8.  Must one have teacher certification to teach?

Case Study or Training Activity One:

Steven Pointer is in his last student teaching assignment, weeks away from graduation. Both of his parents are teachers. They have encouraged him to become a teacher and are immensely proud that he is graduating with a teaching degree. Steven comes to his advisor and confides that he is not enjoying his teaching experience and does not want to be a teacher. He has stayed in his teaching major thinking maybe it would get better, maybe he'd enjoy it once he spent more time in the classroom. This is not happening. He does not want to disappoint his parents who have paid for his education and are buying him a car as a graduation present. He has no idea what else he could do besides teach at this point. His parents continually ask him how the job search is going and where he is applying for positions. They have asked an administrator in their home district to interview Steven. They have called the Career Services Office asking why the university does not require all the Education graduates to attend teacher fairs, asking how many seniors have jobs, asking in what districts these graduates have accepted positions.

How would you approach this situation with Steven and with his parents?

Questions for Case Study One:

  1. How would you get Steven to talk about reasons behind his decision to continue/not to continue in the teaching field?
  2. What are some questions you might ask to get this information?
  3. What experiences might Steven have had that discouraged him from the teaching field? How would you approach/discuss the validity of these reasons?
  4. What other options might Steven have?
  5. How would you deal with Steven's parents if they contacted you and wanted more information about your conversations with Steven and/or about the employment details of other teaching graduates?
  6. In what other fields might you see similar outside pressure? From what other sources (than parents) might students experience this pressure?

Case Study or Training Activity Two:

Peppermint Patty came to college to obtain a Business degree and then a good, high paying job in business after graduation. At the end of her second year of college, she visits her advisor in a very agitated state. She has just learned that she has not been accepted into the School of Business. While her GPA is fairly good, her grades in math and accounting fell significantly below the accepted grades of the Business School. She is determined to work in the business world after graduation so asks for advice on what she should do to achieve this goal. She is considering quitting school or transferring to another school in the hope of getting into a different Business School. She asks if she has any other options.

What is the first step you would take with Peppermint?

Questions for Case Study Two:

  1. What is the first step you would take with Peppermint?
  2. From the case study, what priorities might you assume Peppermint has in terms of her major and career choice?
  3. What are some specific tools and resources you might use with Peppermint?
  4. What options does she have now?
  5. How would you handle the discussion if Peppermint decided that leaving your institution would be her best option?