Academic advisement should be a door of opportunity for all students. The college and the advisor should aim to provide for each student an inviting and comfortable physical environment to help foster a respectful, professional and effective interaction. As an architect in the dept of architectural technology, I am acutely aware of the significance, power and potential of our built environment. It can offer a foundation for establishing conducive conditions for all facets of human activity including academic advisement.
Once the optimal physical conditions are in place, the advisor should then aim to provide an atmosphere where students are able to freely express their concerns, interests, ambitions and dreams and be open and trusting to discuss any difficulties, fears or obstacles for their current role as students, and concerns or questions about their future role in the career-based working world.
The above is based on my experience in advising hundreds of students over the past 11 years. Since 2008, I’ve met with students from across the department who come from around the block or from around the world, each with a uniqueness all their own. In order to offer useful guidance and support for our students and their academic lives – which is inevitably linked to their personal, family or work situations – it is vital to approach advisement with a big picture/holistic view. We should aim to help our students find awareness of their own realistic potential, to impart the importance of honesty, to help develop, enhance and nurture the skillsets needed for success on their own path forward. Wayfinding in college, with clarity and practice of patience, helps prepare a student for wayfinding in the real working world ahead.