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Sign Out of Facebook and Get Yourself to Office Hours: Encouraging Student Self-Advocacy Skills


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Tonja Brown and Laura Hauck

Tonja Brown and Laura Hauck

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  • Welcome to the session. We are excited to spend this hour with you
  • Laura: IntroductionsGraduates of SU’s Master’s in Student Development Admin Advisors in AASC at SUClassmates to Colleagues
  • LauraSU: Jesuit-Catholic liberal arts college in the heart of the city.Emphasize small classes with many of our frosh/soph living on campus. Large transfer and international student population.
  • Tonja: Who are you?4-yr vs 2 yrPublic vs PrivateSeasoned vs NewFaculty vs AdvisorsRepresent a wide array of institutional types and studentsLessons today apply to all students at all institutionsBecause we are talking about life skill development
  • Tonja: Summary of the presentation in a glance
  • Laura: So…what do we mean by self-advocacy? Words like self-efficacy and empowerment are often used. This term is often attributed to the civil rights disability movement where those with developmental and learning disabilities were empowered to take control of their own lives and take charge of their own care. We’d like to hear from you: (NEXT SLIDE)
  • LauraLet’s start to define this….Ask questions
  • Laura:We now have definitions of the word, but why is this important for us as advisors? Why important: self-advocacy helps students develop life skills and prepares them for college life and beyond. These skills include those listed above.This concept is particularly important given trend of helicopter and over-involved parents and our desire to help students take ownership of their lives and develop their own voiceRealize none is rocket science; encourage you to think intentionally about your work and your role in helping students to develop self-advocacy skills for a successful future.
  • Tonja:Theory helps us as Advisors evaluate each student where they are at that moment of timeWhere students are at will influence what aspect and to what degree we as advisors encourage the development of self-advocacy skills.Frosh VS seniorAdult learner VS traditional aged oneStudent in crisis
  • Tonja:Sanford (1962) found that college students go through significant personal growth and development, much of which is influenced by the college environment. For growth and personal development to occur, each student need to be challenged (and supported) appropriately through a variety of experiences, both inside and out of the classroom. Some of these experiences may be unpleasant, like a failing grade in a class. Challenge and support does not imply that the student will never experience failure or negative consequences, but what it does imply is that when those consequences take place, there will be individuals and processes in place to support the student as they learn from the experience. Support comes from a lot of places, including faculty, advisors, peers, and parents & families. A major component of that support comes from the encouragement we give to the student is the message of “keep trying and ask for help”.
  • Tonja:We all know our pal Chickering and his vectors. Vectors are major highways for journeying towards individuation. Faculty and advisor-student relationships help to facilitate student development along these vectors.I want to highlight two of them that are of particular importance. Developing Competence Achieving confidence to accomplish goals successfully Having interpersonal competenceMoving Through Autonomy Toward InterdependencePossessing self-direction, problem solving abilitiesInterconnectedness: realizing how one’s actions affect others
  • Laura:In our work with individuals, it is important to keep in mind the worldview that they bring to the table and think more holistically about their experience. In my role, I advise international exchange students and have learned that listening to their experiences has been very helpful for me. See students as individuals whose views, ideas about cultural norms, and educational experiences may differ from ours. Stay clear of assumptions and try not to assume a one size fits all advising style.Things to keep in mind:Does the student come from a culture where individualism or group decision making is favored?Student may not be as willing to speak up for themselves in some culturesClash of values if we push a student too hard to be an independent thinker when this is contrary to cultural norms. Challenge at times of decision making.Example: selecting a major where we see this as an individual decision yet they may strongly consider what is best for their family or defer to parental decisions.Make efforts to move beyond the transactional/prescriptive approach.Research was conducted out of Indiana University Bloomington by Zhao, Kuh and Carini which suggests that international students, particularly in their first year, are more engaged in some aspects of educational activities such as academic challenge and student-faculty interaction, but tend to be less satisfied compared to American students reporting. Students may leave your office with a face of satisfaction yet in reality feel frustration regarding the lack of deep connections
  • Tonja:Now that you have a theoretical basis for thinking about student development in college, let’s talk about things we as advisors can intentionally be doing in our daily interactions to encourage this development.
  • Tonja:Advisors spend a lot of time in 1:1 meetings w students: We can be intentional in our language selection to help emphasize students taking control of their actions.This means we ask probing questions such as:Why are you interestedWhy do you want to do thisWhy graduate school planning Why did you choose this major? Why are you interested in this career?Rather than taking student’s decisions at face valueOur Actions in apts also makes an impact:Show Vs. TellAdvising NotesRegistration MechanicsInformed decision making in courses selections and educational planningRate My Professor VSFriends are taking this VSEmailing faculty for syllabus and teaching style ANDDeciding if this class be a good fit for me?Encouraging student to find the answer on their own, rather than us just telling them this is the way the world works/isAsking questions opens doorsEncourage use of office hours and developing relationships (More on this later)Probation meetings: advocate for their own success in the classroom: ask for what they need to be more successful
  • Laura:So far we’ve focused on why this topic is important and provided you with some suggestions on how we can help further our student’s development of self-advocacy skills. Now, let’s put our heads together and learn from each other. You’re all doing some really cool things related to our topic and we want to know about them. Our goal is to compile this information into a word doc that we can post on the website after the conference.Move into groups of 2-3. Take about 5 min, jot down some ideas on paper to turn into us. We’ll reconvene and we will have a few minutes for a few people to share their great ideas to the group.Two questions to consider
  • Laura: Good conversations happening. Other opportunities that we as advisors have to make a difference and encourage deeper student learning and development. We’ll go through these pretty quickly; some of them may be redundant but we wanted to highlight them. Student Groups – Helping them find their voice to advocate for their needs on campus and in the community.
  • Laura:Working with other departments to have a continuous exposure for students to opportunities that help them build these skills.Orientations for new students: Transfer, Freshmen and GraduateDual AdvisingAim is to provide students with access to faculty and professional staff for mentorship and guidanceMentorship access in early stage of college careerAccess to faculty and professionals in fieldHelping foster new programs that connect those who have not yet taken major classes to upper division students for lunch and conversation Living Learning Community connections, partnering with Career ServicesBeing in a setting with faculty and student leaders creates development opportunity for students to build relationships with mentors and peersCareer Services: recommended action steps for first few years in college, discernment and inventories to help identify skills/strengthsRegistration tools and tips
  • Tonja:One particular unique idea that our office developed was a workshop focusing specifically on one aspect of self-advocacy, namely developing relationships with faculty and advisors during office hours. We titled it: ____We’d like to share with you more about that process today as an idea that you may want implement on your campus.Laura will be circulating a handout. The front side contains an outline of our key pts during the workshop; the backside was a handout that we provided to students with take-away strategies for them. The front side actually was included in our presentation to students as a note-taking tool, but we’ve added our outline for your use.
  • TonjaWorkshop was a very collaborative process. Thanks to our two graduate students, who you will see at this conference. Say “nice job” to them when you see themAlso involved faculty in the planning by soliciting quotes regarding OH. Used these quotes in the presentation and found them to help ease student anxiety around going to OH. Asked them “what can a student do to be best prepared for your OH.” “What would an ideal office hours visit look like with a student?” “What do you think students get most out of office hour visits?”
  • Tonja: sample quote
  • TonjaWe built the case for why attending OH is important:Individual access to faculty proactive behavior leads to greater success down the road get feedback on their class progress earlier in the quarter and more frequently great networking opportunity opens doors for letters of rec and future opportunities such as jobs, internships, research, etc
  • Tonja: Sample quote
  • Laura:Next, we fully explained the process from start to finish, using the “Who, what, where, when, why and how framework”how to make those first introductions outside of class time how to address the faculty member and advisor prepping for office hours: gathering materials, finding their offices, scheduling a time if necessary what types of questions students can ask to build depth of conversations as the relationship growsWe used slides such as the next one to illustrate our points
  • Laura: Sample slide from our presentation: demystifying faculty—they are not such scary people, who believe it or not, enjoy doing the same things students do. We then offered some of our faculty members more unusual hobbies for student to ponder: garage rock bands, skiers, budding chefs, etc…
  • Laura:Finally, we gave them a lot of strategies and tips to help them feel more confident and prepared for office hours and advising Sample questions – see handout How to make efficient use of time Writing down questions in advance
  • LauraWe made sure to involve audience members into the conversation. Found some of the most positive learning in the workshop came from the peer to peer sharing and discussion. Students shared their positive experiences with OH, which was motivating for others to hear. Students also formulated an action plan for how they planned to implement the lessons they learned in the workshop to the quarter. We had advantage of presenting early in the quarter when students were just ramping up.Feedback was very positive and we plan to offer this again!
  • TonjaWe hope our presentation has caused you to think about ways in which your professional actions can help push your students and advisees to grow into mature, self-advocating, individuals, prepared for not only their college careers but also life after college.Walking away with a better understanding of self-advocacy and using theory to inform our work. Lots of suggestions on other ideas to implement in your work, on top of what you are already doing. Thank you for being a great audience! Any questions?Out contact information and references follow.
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  • Transcript

    • 1. Sign out of and get yourself to office hours Encouraging Student Self-Advocacy Skills Tonja Brown and Laura Hauck Academic Advising Support Center Seattle University
    • 2. IntroductionsTonja Brown Laura Hauck
    • 3. Definition and why this topic? A review of theory Supporting self-advocacy skill developmentOverview Take-away ideas Questions and wrap-up
    • 4. Defining Student Self-Advocacy Self-Efficacy Empowerment Taking control of one’s life
    • 5. Defining Student Self-Advocacy What is self-advocacy in your opinion? How do you define this in your role?
    • 6. What Does It Look Like? Self-Advocacy Self-reliance Take ownership of decisions Proactive behavior Understand policies/procedures Career development and networking skills
    • 7. Theory
    • 8. Nevitt Sanford Challenge and Support
    • 9. Vectors of Identity Developing Competence Development Moving through Autonomy toward Interdependence Arthur Chickering
    • 10. Cross-Cultural Differences Meet the student where they are at: worldview Cultural lenses affect experience: holistic approach Moving beyond transactional
    • 11. What we do…Student Self-Advocacy
    • 12. Probing questionsFace to Face Show vs. Tell Informed decision making Asking may open seemingly closed doors
    • 13. What do you do? What are you currently doing to encourage self-advocacy skill building with your students? What might you implement/do in the future to promote student development?
    • 14. Student Groups Mentorship Club Advising Student Group Advocacy
    • 15. Campus Collaboration New student orientations Collaborative advising w. faculty Residence life Career services
    • 16. taking AWKWARD out of office hours connecting with faculty and advisors
    • 17. Team effortCollaborative Process Kathleen Horenstein Kelli Muilenburg Faculty involvement
    • 18. Faculty Quotes “Students are missing out on an extraordinary amount of benefits by not attending office hours.” Seattle University Faculty Member
    • 19. Importance of building relationshipsKey Learning Points
    • 20. Faculty Quotes “Unintended consequences are often a part of office hours visits. These consequences are usually very positive. Stopping by office hours allows the professor to get to know the student better and provides an opportunity for him or her to better understand the needs of that student and how best to address them.” Seattle University Faculty Member
    • 21. Importance of building relationshipsKey Learning Points Describe the process from start to finish
    • 22. Who?
    • 23. Importance of building relationshipsKey Learning Points Describe the process from start to finish Make the most of office hours: strategies and tips
    • 24. Student Involvement Peer to peer sharing and discussion Action plan for implementation Feedback received
    • 25. Thank you! Questions?Closing
    • 26. Tonja BrownContact Information Laura Hauck
    • 27. Bee, H. L., & Bjorklund, B. R. (Eds.). (2004). The journey of adulthood (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Boehman, R. (2011, April 28). Sanford’s Challenge & Support Theory. [Web blog]. Retrieved from Dalton, J., & Crosby, P. (2008). Challenging college students to learn in campus cultures of comfort, convenience and complacency. Journal of College and Character, 9 (3), 1-4.References Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., & Guido-DiBrito, F. (Eds.) (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research and practice (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Lamont, Barbara J. (2005). East meets west - Bridging the academic advising divide. Retrieved March 12, 2012 from NACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources Web site: Meets-West.htm Zhao, C. M., Kuh, G. D., & Carini, R. M. (2005). A comparison of international student and American student engagement in effective educational practices. The Journal of Higher Education, 76 (2), 209-231. Retrieved from
    • 28. Day: Peer Sharing • General Suggestions – Don’t give students all of the answers. Have them do the work! – Challenge them to come to advising prepared. – Make them aware of what they have in their own corner and how they can use it. – Turn cultural differences into assets. – Treat each student as students who can reach their full potential. – In crisis, ask probing questions but still leave decision to the student. Calm them and get them to laugh. – Refer students to speak with instructors; other departments (i.e. financial aid, admissions, Presentation etc). • Having students learn to do things for themselves, even though it takes more time – Some of this comes with experience and comfort level in one’s own position. • Group Advising: – Orientation: DARS (Degree Audit) Training – Major Planning Workshop for various concentrations – Graduation Workshop (Last two quarters + grad app) • One-on-one advising: – Show resources online; have them do research; have them do their own DARS; have them update their own requirement sheet. – Walk them through finding academic regulations. Introduce them to tools such as online catalogs and Registrar’s published policies. – Teach them how to write a good email • Academic Orientation: – Be your own advocate and locate resources. • New student sessions – Do your best – Show up! – Seek help • Leveraging Technology – Send weekly advising emails with tips on resources, events, etc. – Use websites and blogs, post tips on Facebook