2019 Academic Advising Conference

The Heart of Advising


The theme was chosen not only because the conference is being held on Valentine’s Day, but also because “the heart of advising” refers to the most vital aspect of advising, our students.  Our students are the heart of everything we do at Radford University.  This conference gives us all an opportunity to learn new approaches and strategies to make our student interactions more meaningful and impactful.

Event Details:

February 14, 2019

Heth Hall 



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Keynote Speaker

Joe Murray


Joe Murray, MSHR, is currently the Assistant Dean; Undergraduate Studies, University Advising Services at Florida Atlantic University.  Prior to joining the FAU team, Joe served as the Director for Academic Advising and Retention Services at Miami (OH) University’s Hamilton Campus for 22 years.   He earned both a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Science in Human Resource Management degrees from Purdue University.  He has helped to develop and refine the Appreciative Advising Inventory and has been part of a national task force aimed at advancing the concept of Appreciative Advising. In addition to teaching the Appreciative model to professional and faculty advisors, Joe has provided multiple training workshops and retreats to deliver the model from a customer service and employee management perspective.  Joe has adopted the framework to all offices across campus.   Examples include Financial Aid, Admissions, Registration, Student Recruitment, International Student Services, Residence Life including the student RA’s, Library support personnel, Disability Services, Student Ambassadors and other student groups, Testing, Career services, and Student Life.  Joe specializes in supporting and encouraging cultural change within higher education institutions.   Most recently, he served on the faculty for the 2011- 2018 Appreciative Advising Institutes.  He is a certified Appreciative Adviser. 

Joe works tirelessly to help students that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education. He has been a driving force behind Ohio Reach, a state and national effort to increase access and retention to higher education for Ohio’s Lower Income/Disadvantaged Youth and Foster Care Alumni.  He recently resigned from the Ohio Reach governing board to relocate to Florida to begin work to support foster youth in that state.  He is now a co-founder for Florida Reach.  He has served as the Co-Chair of the First-Generation College Student Interest Group for the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) from 2007 until 2012.

For more information on Appreciative Advising

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Conference Schedule

8:30-10:00 Check-In 

    *Particpants can check-in for the conference at any point throughout the day

    Heth Hall 014

    Continental breakfast provided.

10:00-10:50 Concurrent Sessions

Advantageous Advising Assets

Donna DeHaven, Allison McCoy & Dana Trask

Participants in this session will learn about the foundational purpose of advising and specific resources available at Radford to assist advisors.  The participants’ questions and needs will guide the conversation and information provided.  Some of the resources included are the advising website, advising handbook, degree audit, and progress sheets.  This session will be most helpful for Radford faculty and professional advisors. 

Session Track: Training and Development 

Bob Marley Was Right: Using Marketing Strategies to Get Students in the Door

Melanie Butler and Hillary Gaskins

“Everything little thing gonna be alright” when it comes to learning creative ways to bring students in to be advised and sharing important information. Traditional emails not working? No one is opening their emails? Learn marketing strategies that will grab attention and make students want to be advised. We will discuss best practices when it comes to fostering connections with students to make them feel welcome and informed.

Session Track: Training and Development

Mindfulness: Getting to the Heart of What Matters

Dr. Alan Forrest, Angela Cardenas and David Wooden

In order for mindfulness to arise in our lives, it needs to be infused with whole-heartedness – or “heartfulness.” The qualities that comprise heartfulness – like kindness, gratitude, and generosity lead to greater well-being and happiness. Mindfulness is embodied awareness and an integral part of this awareness is the affective center of human life – the heart-sense. To be heartful while being mindful means that our attention is not relegated to an impersonal, observing distance, but rather includes a warm, heartfelt relationship with whatever is happening in our experience, internal or external. It means that we are developing the capacity to regard life with a sense of empathy and kindness. In this interactive/experiential session, participants will learn practical strategies of how to integrate mindfulness/heartfulness into their student advising. Outline: Mindfulness research and applications will be described Mindfulness initiatives at RU – current and future possibilities Each presenter will present a specific aspect of mindfulness and advising Invitation to participants for discussion Learning objectives: • Understand the practice and research that supports mindfulness; • Cultivate a sense of personal and professional empathy and kindness; and • Learn how to skillfully integrate relational (heartfulness) aspects into working with students.

Session Track: Prospective Students and the First Year Experience

The Proactive Revolution in Retention

Joe Murray

The days of waiting for our students to come to us have ended.  Given the national trend toward performance based funding, result orientated retention outreach and the goal to increase graduation rates are now critical outcomes for today’s student success efforts.  How can offices think and act proactively to support our students, especially our “at-risk” student populations?  This session will be a dialog exploring proactive retention strategies, critical outreach points to build student relationships and best practices.   

Session Track: Student Persistence, Retention and Academic Skills

11:00-11:50 Concurrent Sessions

Challenges in Attracting, Recruiting and Retaining Transfer Students

Peggy Dunn, Susan Hudson, Opal Merchant, and Noelani Hall

During this session, panelist will examine factors that influence a student’s college path/decision, including, but not limited to the following:  why students chose 2 year, 4 year, or trade schools (cost, credentials needed, program requirements, transferability of credits, outside influences – family, work, financial situation; barriers to students completing associate and bachelor degrees – (e.g. maximum credits do not transfer, demands from job/family, financial); services needed to encourage students to complete associate and bachelor degrees.

Session Track: Student Persistence, Retention and Academic Skills

Faculty Perspectives on Advising: “Yes We Can!”

Drs. Dayna Hayes & Stirling Barfield

Do you ever feel challenged, ill equipped, or even just baffled by your role as a faculty advisor? Have you ever wondered if there is a secret to advising success? Do you recognize the importance of this role but feel alone in pursing excellence in this arena? If so, come and chat with two of your faculty advisor colleagues who have embraced the challenge and maybe even tallied a few wins in this process. We know that advising is a unique way to make a difference in the lives of our students and we want to share what we’ve learned. We will reveal tips and pointers, strategies and tools to support you in making efficient and effective decisions on the way toward advising success. Be prepared for a relaxed environment with open dialogues, Q&A, and lots of fun. 

Session Track: Training and Development

Working with Students Who Self-Disclose Mental Health Issues

Dr. Nadine Hartig & Rachel Hall

A research project completed last fall indicated that eighty-one percent of faculty and professional advisors have experienced a student self-disclose mental health issues in an academic advising appointment.  The research also indicated that over half of faculty and professional advisors were not sure to handle these disclosures.  Join Dr. Nadine Hartig, LPC, LCSW and Rachel Hall, Senior Assistant Director of the Pre-major Advising Center to discuss your role as an advisor when a student discloses an issue and the appropriate next steps.  This will be an interactive session that incudes lecture and open dialogue with attendees.

Session Track: Training and Development

Utilizing Institutional Information to Develop Effective Academic Advising Assessment Measures and Outcomes

Ellen Bielema and Eric Lovik


Session Track: Assessment and Evaluation


            Keynote by Joe Murray Supporting Student Success Across Campus

            Bonnie Auditorium; open to everyone

1:00-1:50 Lunch and Advising Awards

        Heth 014; Invitation Only

2:00-2:50 Concurrent Sessions

Bob Marley Was Right: Using Marketing Strategies to Get Students in the Door

Melanie Butler and Hillary Gaskins

“Everything little thing gonna be alright” when it comes to learning creative ways to bring students in to be advised and sharing important information. Traditional emails not working? No one is opening their emails? Learn marketing strategies that will grab attention and make students want to be advised. We will discuss best practices when it comes to fostering connections with students to make them feel welcome and informed.

Session Track: Training and Development

EZPZ: Using Qualtrics for Proactive Retention Interventions

Rachel Hall and Allison McCoy

The Pre-major Advising Center works with twenty to twenty-five percent of the new freshman population.  Often in the first semester, freshman deal with challenges such as homesickness, a lack of cultural capital, and lack of preparedness for college level work. Join our session to learn how we used Qualtrics to develop proactive interventions to help our new students get the resources they need to prevent their challenges from becoming obstacles.


From Admissions to Quest

Allison Pratt and Mallory Griffith

From the time a student is admitted until they attend orientation can be a matter of weeks or a matter of months. This presentation will discuss what the Office of Admissions calls yield. It will include information on all of the steps a student should take as well as opportunities a student can take after they have been admitted and before they attend orientation. We will discuss materials that we send to students, events that are hosted for students, and the outreach strategy we use to engage students throughout the decision making process. We will save time at the end of the presentation to request feedback from the campus community about how they see themselves involved in the yield process.

Session Track: Prospective Students and the First Year Experience

The Truth About Micro Aggression

Buffy Ruffin

Join us as we explore root causes for micro aggression in hopes of better understanding ourselves and better service to our students. Students will: Gain an awareness of biases and attitudes related diversity concepts (intentional/unintentional) Understand the disconnect between values/beliefs about equality and actions Explore the effects of microaggression on self and others

Session Track: Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice

3:00-3:50 Concurrent Sessions

Family Involvement & How It Relates to Student Persistence and Motivation

Cammie Sgarella and Joel Hanlon

Parent and family involvement is crucial to student success. Learn more about how incorporating families can help your students!

Session Track: Student Persistence, Retention and Academic Skills

Got Grit?

Amber Fizzano



History 111 and Core 101: Connecting to Increase Student Success

Dr. Michele Ren

For the past two years, there has been a section of a 100 level history class connected to (one or two sections) of Core 101 in order to increase students' reading ability and overall academic success.  Both classes use the history textbook and history content in order to identify students with learning issues, help with reading college-level texts, and hopefully, in the long term, increase retention and college success.  While the history class asks students to identify and explain historical content, the CORE 101 class asks students to engage the history textbook in writing, and to reflect on their own learning in both written and oral formats. This presentation will focus on the ways the two classes have operated, and an evaluation of what has worked and what remains challenging. 

Session Track: Student Persistence, Retention and Academic Skills

Strengths, Interests & Achievement: Integrating a flourishing model for positive career outcomes

Dr. Angela Joyner, Ellen Taylor and company

The PERMA-V or “flourishing model” (Seligman, 2012) is an inclusive framework for supporting well-being at work.  The model includes six elements that can promote happiness and well-being in the workplace and have proven to have a positive impact on performance/productivity, satisfaction and engagement:

·        Positive Emotions (happiness, satisfaction)  

·        Engagement (character strengths)

·        Relationships

·        Meaning (purpose, passion)

·        Achievement (goal setting, academic achievement)

·        Vitality (stress management, sleep, nutrition)

In this workshop you will learn what benefits employee happiness and well bringing bring to the workplace, how we are integrating the flourishing model into our career development programming with our students, and how you can immediately integrate the tools/assessments available into your work with students.

Session Track: Student Development, Theory and Research


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