Radford advisors travel to Phoenix for NACADA conference

Rachel Hall presenting at the national NACADA conference.
Rachel Hall presenting at the national NACADA conference.

In early October, six Radford University advisors attended the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) conference to share Radford’s advances in advising and bring back new advising concepts.

NACADA is a national organization that promotes student success by advancing the field of academic advising.

Three Radford advisors presented at the conference, two of which did so on a panel with George Steel, an adjunct professor at Ohio State University. Rachel Hall, senior assistant director in the Pre-major Advising Center, presented her own session in which she discussed self-disclosed mental health issues in advising appointments.

Hall conducted the research for her presentation in fall 2017 and worked alongside Thomas Pierce in the Department of Psychology on the project. Hall wanted to know if faculty and professional advisors were experiencing mental health disclosures in appointments, if they were comfortable about the steps to take following a disclosure, if they were familiar with campus resources and if they had any training related to mental health services.

Hall wanted to take the research a step further, too, to provide solutions.

“An academic advisor is not supposed to counsel the student, but they are supposed to recognize the signs of mental health distress and know how to refer them appropriately,” Hall said. “We are seeing more of these as advisors because students are required to meet with their advisors. For us, and pre-major advisors, we see them twice. Because we talk with them about their transition to college, students will sometimes disclose mental health related issues.”

These are trends being seen around the country, Hall added.

Patti Williamson, director of Advising, and Dana Trask, assistant director of Advising in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, presented on the panel with Steel about using flipped advising models, where Radford was highlighted for its Orientation to Advising Module and Pre-major for its New Freshman Intake and Major Exploration modules on D2L.

Their panel covered how advisors can have basic and/or repetitive topics among advisees covered prior to meetings, such as online modules or questionnaires through D2L. Hall said this allows advisors to improve the quality and the content covered during advising appointments.

On Oct. 19, advisors from Radford University attended the NACADA Region II state conference in Blacksburg, where Radford’s new advising handbook was discussed, including how it is linked to the 2018-2023 strategic plan.

The third annual Radford University Academic Advising Conference is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2019.

Nov 7, 2018
Max Esterhuizen