The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) provides a Statement of Core Values which is illustrates the importance of advising across the campus. Information regarding these core values is excerpted with permission (copyright 2012 by NACADA). Within this statement, the core values are viewed as the following:
Core Value 1: Advisors are responsible to the individuals they advise.
- Academic advising is an integral part of the educational process and affects students in numerous ways. As advisors enhance student learning and development, advisees have the opportunity to become participants in and contributors to their own education. In one of the most important potential outcomes of this process, academic advising fosters individual potential.
- Regular student contact through in-person appointments, mail, telephone, E-mail, or other computer-mediated systems helps advisors gain meaningful insights into students’ diverse academic, social, and personal experiences and needs. Advisors use these insights to assist students as they transition to new academic and social communities, develop sound academic and career goals, and ultimately, become successful learners.
- Advisors recognize and respect that students’ diverse backgrounds are comprised of their ethnic and racial heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, and religion, as well as their physical, learning, and psychological abilities. Advisors help students develop and reinforce realistic self-perceptions and help them use this information in mapping out their futures.
- Advisors introduce and assist students with their transitions to the academic world by helping them see value in the learning process, gain perspective on the college experience, become more responsible and accountable, set priorities and evaluate their progress, and uphold honesty with themselves and others about their successes and limitations.
- Advisors encourage self-reliance and support students as they strive to make informed and responsible decisions, set realistic goals, and develop lifelong learning and self-management skills.
- Advisors respect students’ rights to their individual beliefs and opinions.
- Advisors guide and teach students to understand and apply classroom concepts to everyday life.
- Advisors help students establish realistic goals and objectives and encourage them to be responsible for their own progress and success.
- Advisors seek to understand and modify barriers to student progress, identify ineffective and inefficient policies and procedures, and work to effect change. When the needs of students and the institution are in conflict, advisors seek a resolution that is in the best interest of both parties. In cases where the student finds the resolution unsatisfactory, they inform students regarding appropriate grievance procedures.
- Advisors recognize the changing nature of the college and university environment and diversity within the student body. They acknowledge the changing communication technologies used by students and the resulting new learning environments. They are sensitive to the responsibilities and pressures placed on students to balance course loads, financial and family issues, and interpersonal demands.
- Advisors are knowledgeable and sensitive regarding national, regional, local, and institutional policies and procedures, particularly those governing matters that address harassment, use of technology, personal relationships with students, privacy of student information, and equal opportunity.
- Advisors are encouraged to investigate all available avenues to help students explore academic opportunities.
- Advisors respect student confidentiality rights regarding personal information. Advisors practice with an understanding of the institution’s interpretation of applicable laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Advisors seek access to and use student information only when the information is relevant to the advising process. Advisors enter or change information on students’ records only with appropriate institutional authorization to do so.
- Advisors document advising contacts adequately to meet institutional disclosure guidelines and aid in subsequent advising interactions.
Core Value 2: Advisors are responsible for involving others, when appropriate, in the advising process.
- Academic advisors must develop relationships with personnel critical to student success including those in such diverse areas as admissions, orientation, instruction, financial aid, housing, health services, athletics, academic departments, and the registrar’s office. They also must establish relationships with those who can attend to specific physical and educational needs of students, such as personnel in disability services, tutoring, counseling, international study, and career development. Advisors must also direct students, as needed, to experts who specialize in credit transfers, co-curricular programs, and graduation clearance.
- Because of the nature of academic advising, advisors often develop a broad understanding of an institution and a detailed understanding of student needs and the resources available to help students meet those needs. Based upon this understanding:
- advisors can have an interpretative role with students regarding their interactions with faculty, staff, administrators, and fellow students, and
- advisors can help the institution’s administrators gain a greater understanding of students’ needs.
- Students involved in the advising process (such as peer advisors or graduate assistants) must be adequately trained and supervised for adherence to the same policies and practices required of the professional and faculty advisors and other specially trained staff advising in the unit/institution.
Core Value 3: Advisors are responsible to their institutions.
- Advisors work in many types of higher education institutions and abide by the specific policies, procedures, and values of the department and institution in which they work. When circumstances interfere with students’ learning and development, advisors advocate for change on the advisees’ behalf with the institution’s administration, faculty, and staff.
- Advisors keep those not directly involved in the advising process informed and aware of the importance of academic advising in students’ lives. They articulate the need for administrative support of advising and related activities.
- Advisors increase their collective professional strength by constructively and respectfully sharing their advising philosophies and techniques with colleagues.
- Advisors respect the opinions of their colleagues; remain neutral when students make comments or express opinions about other faculty or staff; are nonjudgmental about academic programs; and do not impose their personal agendas on students.
- Advisors recognize their individual roles in the success of their institutions and accept and participate in institutional commitments that can include, but are not limited to, administrative and committee service, teaching, research, and writing.
Core Value 4: Advisors are responsible to higher education in general.
- Advisors accept that one goal of education is to introduce students to the world of ideas in an environment of academic freedom. Advisors demonstrate appreciation for academic freedom.
- One goal of advising is to establish, between students and advisors, a partnership that will guide students through their academic programs. Advisors help students understand that learning can be used in day-to-day application through exploration, trial and error, challenge, and decision making.
- Advisors advocate for student educational achievement to the highest attainable standards and support student goals as they uphold the educational mission of the institution.
- Advisors advocate for the creation, enhancement, and strengthening of programs and services that recognize and meet student academic needs.
Core Value 5: Advisors are responsible to their educational community.
- Many institutions recognize the importance of integrating classroom learning with community experience, study abroad, and programs that bridge the gap between the academic and off-campus environments. Where such programs exist, advisors help students understand the relationship between the institution and local, regional, national, and international communities.
- Advisors advocate for students who desire to include study abroad or community service learning into their co-curricular college experience, and they make appropriate referrals to enable students to achieve these goals.
Core Value 6: Advisors are responsible for their professional practices and for themselves personally.
- Advisors seek opportunities to grow professionally. They identify appropriate workshops, classes, literature, research publications, and groups, both inside and outside the institution that can keep their interest high, hone professional skills, and advance expertise within specific areas of interest.
- Advisors seek cross cultural opportunities to interact with and learn more about ethnic communities, racial groups, religions, sexual preferences, genders, and age levels, as well as physical, learning, and psychological abilities and disabilities found among the general student population.
- Advisors recognize that research topics are embedded in academic advising practice and theory. Advisors engage in research and publication related to advising as well as in areas allied with their training and disciplinary backgrounds. Advisors’ research agendas safeguard privacy and provide for the humane treatment of subjects.
- Advisors are alert to the demands surrounding their work with students and the necessity of taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually to best respond to high level demands. They learn how to maintain a ‘listening ear’ and provide sensitive, timely responses that teach students to accept their responsibilities. Advisors establish and maintain appropriate boundaries, nurture others when necessary, and seek support for themselves both within and outside the institution.