Academic advising has emerged as a distinct interdisciplinary field and profession, but the description of its role has recently relied on analogies and metaphors. While helpful in clarifying practice, their continual use obscures the uniqueness of academic advising and masks the importance of the scholarship that underlies its practice. We use the development of archaeology as a distinct profession and scholarly field to highlight critical developments in academic advising and draw examples of key aspects in the professionalization of academic advising from The Pennsylvania State University. The scholar-practitioner model must be nurtured for all who engage in academic advising and for a distinct scholarly identity to be established within higher education. Efforts must proceed at national and local levels.

Relative Emphasis: theory, practice, research

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Author notes

Janet K. Schulenberg, PhD, is a senior undergraduate studies adviser in Penn State DUS and can be contacted at

Marie J. Lindhorst, PhD, is the Associate Director of Penn State DUS and can be contacted at

We thank Eric White for providing details of the history of academic advising in DUS, for our engaging discussions about academic advising, and for fostering the scholarly environment that supports this work. We thank the Theory and Philosophy of Advising Commission for sponsoring the version of this paper presented at the 2007 NACADA annual conference. We also thank Linda Higginson, Kathleen Landy, Maren Larson, Josh Smith, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper as well as George Milner and Jaimin Weets for helpful discussions about archaeology.