This article provides a review of the evolution of the developmental academic advising approach and a brief analysis of its relationship to the emergent contemporary approaches to academic advising.
Developmental academic advising continues to be one of the most fundamental and comprehensive approaches to academic advising. The first 30 volumes of the NACADA Journal contain 82 (out of a total of 449) articles that reference this approach (Leigh Shaffer, NACADA Journal Co-Editor, personal correspondence, January 22, 2013). This pervasive interest is not accidental; the concept provides a simple structure and an approach that enables academic advisors to accept each student on a three-dimensional continuum and assist each one in the coordination of a variety of experiences that results in the design of the most rewarding college experience.
How did the concept of developmental advising originate and how has it been sustained throughout NACADA's history? In this article, I supplement a forthcoming review of the early historical contributions that led to the developmental academic-advising approach and describe the sustained relevance of the concept in many of the emergent approaches to academic advising.
A Synopsis of Early Historical Contributions
Initial Definitions of Developmental Advising
For a more detailed description of the early foundations of the developmental academic- advising concept, I refer readers to my chapter in Academic Advising Approaches: Strategies That Teach Students to Make the Most of College (Drake, Jordan, & Miller, forthcoming). I offer a brief synopsis of the chapter here.
Although the specific term developmental academic advising was not the widely adopted standard for the academic advising process until 1984, the concept was certainly on the minds of several authors prior to that time. Although rarely receiving credit in the advising literature for her work, Melvene D. Hardee (1970) provided the earliest comprehensive set of observations about the importance of student–faculty interactions potentially facilitated through the academic advising process. The original student personnel point of view, which advocated the education of the whole student intellectually, emotionally, physically, socially, vocationally, morally, economically, and aesthetically, provided the context for her observations (Boyle, Lowery, & Mueller, 2012). The application of this philosophy of higher education manifested itself in her experience as a student affairs administrator and professor of Higher Education and Specialist in Student Personnel Administration at Florida State University. A special feature of ACPA Developments (Click & Coomes, 2012) provides a tribute to Hardee's conceptualization of this holistic viewpoint and influence on the entire field of student affairs.
As they related to academic advising, her ideas appeared in the monograph Faculty Advising in Colleges and Universities (Hardee, 1970). Her observations, suggestions, and chosen language, which inspired much of the initial thinking supporting the developmental approach, remain essential components of the current academic-advising framework. The important terms she introduced include the teacher-learner environment as well as student's educational, vocational, and personal concerns.
The two most frequently cited articles about academic advising formed the cornerstone of a special edition of the NACADA Journal in 1994. Both originally published in 1972 and each advocating a student development approach in a faculty-based academic advising environment, the authors conceived their treatises from slightly different perspectives than were proffered by Hardee. Burns Crookston, a professor of Higher Education at the University of Connecticut, penned “A Developmental View of Academic Advising as Teaching,” and Terry O'Banion, who wrote from the community college perspective, offered “An Academic Advising Model,” providing two frameworks that anchored the concept of developmental academic advising.
In perhaps the most pragmatic aspect of his classic article, Crookston (1972/1994/2009) articulated the contrast between his proposed developmental view of academic advising and a model he saw as prescriptive. Most see the contrast between these two approaches by visualizing the academic advising interaction on a continuum that features simple course scheduling on one end and long-range life and career planning at the other pole.
In “An Academic Advising Model,” O'Banion (1972/1994/2009) described a five-step process that extended well beyond the college experience into the life and vocational (career) goals that make the rest of the academic advising process more meaningful. His logical sequence and description of the requisite skills, knowledge, and attitudes also provided a perspective that hinted at the concept of developmental academic advising.
In Developmental Approaches to Academic Advising (1982), editors Roger Winston, Stephen Ender, and Theodore Miller first articulated the concept and used the specific term developmental academic advising as they observed the growing emphasis to educate the whole student, especially in light of the growing and increasingly diverse college-student population. They also offered a comprehensive operational definition of it:
Developmental advising both stimulates and supports students in their quest for an enriched quality of life; it is a systematic process based on a close student-advisor relationship intended to aid students in achieving educational and personal goals through the utilization of the full range of institutional and community resources. (p. 8)
This definition evolved as part of the rapidly growing focus on academic advising, which had seen five national conferences, a new professional association (NACADA), a new professional journal (NACADA Journal), and flourishing regional conferences.
In 1984, Developmental Academic Advising (Winston, Miller, Ender, & Grites) became the hallmark resource that established developmental academic advising as a mainstay term among advising practitioners and in the advising literature. The contributors provided a comprehensive review of the growing body of literature related to academic advising, a set of theoretical perspectives that established the foundation for the concept of developmental advising, and a wide range of practical examples, guidelines, and applications for its implementation.
The authors also refined and expanded the earlier operational definition from Winston et al. (1982) as follows:
Developmental Academic Advising is defined as a systematic process based on a close student-advisor relationship intended to aid students in achieving educational, career, and personal goals through the utilization of the full range of institutional and community resources. It both stimulates and supports students in their quest for an enriched quality of life. Developmental advising relationships focus on identifying and accomplishing life goals, acquiring skills and attitudes that promote intellectual and personal growth, and sharing concerns for each other and for the academic community. Developmental academic advising reflects the institution's mission of total student development and is most likely to be realized when the academic affairs and student affairs divisions collaborate in its implementation. (Winston, et al., 1984, pp. 18–19)
Additional Early Resources
The publications described herein also reflect the developmental academic advising approach, but were not included in the aforementioned publications. For example, another source rarely cited in the advising literature, Howard Kramer and Robert Gardner's Advising by Faculty (1977), provided the student affairs perspective. Published by the National Education Association, a source more widely read by public school personnel than by higher education professionals, the monograph provided thinking about academic advising concurrent with those working in student affairs. The authors described academic advising as a means of “clearing up confusion” (p. 9).
the most helpful things you can do beyond the technical, informational aspects of advising are to try to understand his or her college experience, to clarify what is being experienced, to illuminate more fully the problem and the ideas or feelings that surround it—and to do this in a manner that exhibits a high degree of respect for the advisee. (p. 15)
Later, others captured and advanced the essence of this suggestion in the developmental concept. However, Kramer and Gardner (1977) deserve credit for using the term developmental to describe the second level of their model of advising (after informational), through which the advisor provides the rationale, importance, and consequences of the information provided in the first level. Kramer and Gardner (1977) argued:
Whether the problem is course planning, career exploration, or concerns about appropriate role behavior for the developing person, in most instances the advising interaction concerns itself with the advisee dealing with questions about responsibility, goals, alternatives, decision making, or authority exercised by others. (p. 26)
Their relevant resource remained untapped at its time of publication, but certainly contained elements of developmental academic advising.
Like other authors of the time, my own thinking in the late 1970s did not include the term developmental academic advising, but my current reflections on the works that informed my evolving perspective confirm that my thinking was along this line. In “Student Development Through Academic Advising: A 4 × 4 Model” (Grites, 1977), I argued that the holistic approach to student development needed to be a part of the role of academic faculty and staff, not only of student affairs personnel, and that academic advising provided the vehicle to achieve such integration.
Based partly on O'Banion's (1972/1994/2009) framework, the 4 × 4 model that I described (Grites, 1977) features four advising processes arranged vertically: the primary role of providing information (O'Banion's course choice and scheduling); the professional role of career and graduate school planning (O'Banion's choice of major and career goals); the personal role, which should be reserved for professional therapists; and the programmatic role, called engagement today.
I also drew upon Crookston's work and added four dimensions that formed the horizontal component of the 4 × 4 matrix. These dimensions represented a chronological application of the academic advising process from a preview stage—recruitment; a planning stage for freshman orientation seminars and all subsequent advising sessions; a process stage for the review of student progress and all other activities related to “the central mission of the institution—instruction” (p. 36). The final dimension featured a postview stage for the assessment of both satisfaction and student learning.
Although not directly related to the developmental advising concept, “Academic Advising: Getting Us Through the Eighties” (Grites, 1979) was perhaps the most significant publication about academic advising (after Hardee) available at the time. In this AAHE Research Report, I was charged to consolidate all the research and writing about academic advising that had been published up to that time. The focus was to articulate the potential impact of academic advising as a process in higher education.
Although I cited 168 sources (including Hardee , Crookston , and O'Banion ), I mined many citations from within other publications (e.g., monographs, NACADA Conference Proceedings, etc). I intended to bring academic advising to the forefront of recognition as a process essential to the goals and success of students, and indeed higher education itself, as concerns about student retention burgeoned and gained momentum. I believe the recommendations I made in the 1970s still apply: the use of 5-year reviews and assessment of advising programs; the need to select, train, evaluate, and reward academic advisors, especially faculty members; and a plea to conduct more research to improve the process.
Despite four national conferences held on academic advising and NACADA initiated as a chartered, national, higher education professional association by the early 1980s, most of the attention given to advising focused on the traditional course-based approach to the process. In “Academic Advising: An Atlas for Liberal Education” (Grites, 1981), I tried to persuade readers that one of the primary purposes of the academy—liberal education—was enhanced through an approach to academic advising that included a clear understanding of the purpose and value of the general education component of every curriculum, the refinement of study habits and skills, engagement in the cocurriculum, and referrals to other campus and community resources. Certain primary elements of developmental academic advising were clearly evident in this publication.
Wes Habley also recognized the importance of the relationship between effective academic advising and the concerted efforts to increase student retention—a connection seen as even more salient today. In “Academic Advisement: The Critical Link in Student Retention,” Habley (1981) defined academic advising as “providing assistance in the mediation of dissonance between student expectations and the actualities of the educational environment” (p. 46). He also cited Crookston's (1972) work and asserted a basic assumption that “in order for academic advising to affect retention positively, it must be a developmental activity” (Habley, 1981, p. 46). In his advisement-retention model, Habley identified five dimensions within the educational environment along a continuum that provides reasons that students leave the institution (attrition) and for students remaining at the institution (retention). He further asserted that the environment could be changed along these dimensions to effect positive change in retention. He argued for advising as the critical element for improved retention because students gain the ability to clarify their educational goals and relate them to their educational experiences through the advising process.
These forerunners of the developmental academic-advising concept consistently reflected the movement in higher education toward the holistic development of the student. Everyone who espoused them recognized academic advising as the most logically positioned and frequently accessed means of helping students develop academically and personally. Although probably not specifically intended for the purpose of promoting holistic student growth, newly emerging academic advising centers and full-time professional staff advisors engendered significant collaboration between academic and student affairs personnel, leading to programs specific to the advancement of the developmental aspects of the student experience. These collaborations continue to grow and improve.
Post-1984: Supports and Challenges
The emergence of academic advising as a recognized aspect of higher education with strong potential to enhance both the quality of a student's college experience and institutional retention rates stimulated more writing on the topic. Beyond the increase in professional journals and articles that contained academic advising as a subject of importance, a number of new and significant publications reflected the concept of developmental academic advising.
In the mid-1980s, developmental academic advising dominated much of the growing body of literature on academic advising and the content of many of the NACADA national and regional conference programs. With this extensive visibility also came new questions, strategies, advising practices, and challenges to this seemingly pervasive application of developmental advising principles.
Susan Frost (1991) endorsed the developmental academic-advising approach in Academic Advising for Student Success: A System of Shared Responsibility. She briefly reviewed the history of academic advising in higher education, including the literature described herein, namely the works of Crookston (1972/1994/2009) and O'Banion (1972/1994/2009), and cited others who had also used these two major resources to argue for improved academic advising. Throughout her report, Frost emphasized the shared responsibility in the advising relationship between the student and the advisor, and she reinforced Crookston's notion of developmental academic advising as a teaching process. She also recognized the growing body of knowledge that supported the contention that student success and retention often resulted from frequent contacts with faculty members in and out of the classroom.
Frost (1991) also argued that the advisor–advisee relationship needed to focus on students' needs and their transitions within the higher education environment. She highlighted the needs of ethnic minority, academically underprepared, international, first-year, undecided, transfer, adult, and nontraditional college students as well as the unique issues of those with disabilities and others enrolled as student-athletes. She provided suggestions for a systematic plan of advising program management that included a clear mission statement; the selection, training, evaluation, and recognition of academic advisors; and a collaborative effort among all higher education constituencies to achieve excellence.
Frost (1991) derived all her observations, suggestions, and recommendations from the following attributes that affect both students and advisors: Developmental advising is a process; it is concerned with human growth across various learning dimensions; it is goal related; it requires the establishment of a caring interaction; it is a collaborative effort; and it uses all the resources of the academic community (pp. 17–18). These characteristics reflect the essential components of the developmental academic advising concept and approach. Frost later confirmed her propositions that “developmental advisors use the advising relationship to (a) involve students in their individual college experiences, including advising; (b) explore with students those factors contributing to student success; and (c) display interest in students' academic and extracurricular progress” (1993, pp. 18–19).
In an effort to review and assess both the theoretical and the practical applications of the concept, editor Howard Schein (1994) coordinated a special issue of the NACADA Journal to determine the status of developmental academic advising within the profession. The “Classics Revisited” issue contained 25 articles in which contributors reexamined the frameworks and perspectives that Crookston and O'Banion had provided in 1972.
The 1994 Journal authors carefully diagnosed both the Crookston and O'Banion classics, identified shortcomings and strengths in both, and provided new challenges to the profession. Discussion ranged from Ned Laff's rejection of Crookston's developmental view of advising as teaching to Marsha Miller and Bonnie Alberts's assertion that “the principle of developmental academic advising must be considered essential to all phases of the institution” (p. 43). Most authors acknowledged the groundbreaking work of Crookston and O'Banion and the acceptance of developmental academic advising as a desirable strategy, but did not see the infusion of the concept across the academy, and therefore, found that practical applications of it remained unrealized.
Winston (1994) concluded that the verdict was still pending on whether the rather idealistic outcomes of the developmental approach were possible, thus leaving open the question of whether (in the total institutional context) it makes a difference in students' lives. The conclusive answer to that question still eludes the profession today—not only in regard to developmental academic advising but also with respect to academic advising itself. However, increasingly sophisticated assessment strategies and tools should yield appropriate data to inform an answer in the near future.
Recognizing the growing number of advising units staffed by advising professionals and the emergence of academic advising as a new profession, Alice Reinarz and Eric White (1995) reasserted the importance and necessity of faculty advisors in the developmental advising process. In Teaching Through Academic Advising: A Faculty Perspective, these editors selected both teaching faculty members and faculty academic advisors as authors. The contributions mirrored many of Frost's (1991) themes, but from the faculty viewpoint. The authors emphasized educating the whole person through a mentoring relationship, using certain (teaching) techniques and strategies in various disciplines, and recognizing certain special populations of students. They also substantiated academic advising as a valid teaching-learning process and introduced the importance of assessment in academic advising.
In particular, Carol Ryan supported the developmental academic-advising approach as she described the professional development needed to insure that faculty advisors were prepared to implement this holistic advising effort in a teaching context. In her chapter, Ryan asserted that
we should advise students developmentally, or more holistically. We must take into account individual skills, abilities, and interests as we encourage advisees to set personal and career or vocational goals. We must continually collaborate with them as they develop educational plans to meet those goals. (1995, p. 35)
Ryan argued that faculty advisors need to increase their skills and knowledge in three aspects of the advising process: understanding of student development (the conceptual aspect); providing the rationale for the curriculum and academic policies (the informational aspect); and providing a “welcoming, nonjudgmental atmosphere” (the relational aspect) (p. 40).
Ryan concluded from the outcomes of such professional development that
we will be able to assist students as they move through stages of development. Our advisees will be more likely to persist and succeed at the school because, as institutional representatives, we have taken an interest in them and their progress and have helped them make important decisions about their lives and their educational goals. (p. 41)
Like most of the authors prior to 1984, Ryan did not use the term developmental academic advising, but she reflected its principles throughout the chapter, which was the first significant publication on academic advising written by faculty for faculty, not (as in most previous volumes) a treatise on the lack of faculty commitment to the process.
In the first NACADA monograph, published in 1995, editor and past NACADA President Gary Kramer reminded all types of practitioners that “faculty are an integral part of the advising process” (p. 1) and in some cases the only source for this critically important activity. He reviewed the importance, rationale, and major goals of developmental academic advising as essential to advising. He summarized the reaffirmation by noting that because it is based on student growth and success, effective developmental academic advising, which includes a full range of strategies and outcomes embedded within it, relies on the integral role offered by the faculty.
In her chapter of Kramer's (1995) monograph, Frost reported that early researchers on advising employed the developmental advising concept. She cited results indicating that students preferred a shared advising relationship with an academic (not personal) focus, scored higher on a test of critical thinking when developmentally advised, and rated advisors highly when they addressed areas outside of course planning and scheduling. This contribution first offered research that validated the successful use of the developmental advising approach.
Although a variety of alternative advising strategies have emerged since 1984, in addition to the Laff (1944) article, only one other contribution to the advising literature specifically criticized the developmental academic-advising concept. Martha Hemwall and Kent Trachte (1999) argued that the term developmental academic advising was simply the “jargon of the advising profession” and that it “should be abandoned and replaced by alternative theoretical positions” (p. 5). They cited fears that the developmental approach did not support academic learning and most likely contributed to strained relationships between faculty and professional advisors. They proposed a new direction—an alternative conceptual position—called praxis, which involves an advisor–advisee dialogue that results in critical self-reflection vis-à-vis the mission of the institution, especially that part advocating the preparation of students as global citizens.
A year later Virginia Gordon and I (Grites & Gordon, 2000) wrote a rebuttal to Hemwall and Trachte's (1999) article in which we attempted to clarify some points on which they made their interpretations and assumptions. We argued that developmental academic advising does not separate the advising process from the institutional mission or intellectual life; rather, it integrates them into a holistic approach to academic advising and student learning. We emphatically pointed out that the proponents of developmental academic advising never intended, nor even implied, that faculty advisors were inadequate because they lacked knowledge of student development theory. We also provided examples of the ways developmental academic advisors employed a variety of teaching techniques and strategies in their practice. Today's developmental academic advisors, whether designated as faculty or professional, employ many of these same practices.
More recently, Eric White and Janet Schulenberg (2012) resurrected Hemwall and Trachte's (1999) critique of developmental academic advising, advocating for a greater focus on learning. While they accurately document that the original works establishing the developmental advising concept did not explicate the assessment of student learning outcomes, they inaccurately suggested that developmental academic advising does not focus on learning. The developmental approach acknowledges that learning occurs in a variety of settings, contexts, and environments, all of which students must negotiate and manage to achieve their goals. No one clearly viewing advising from a developmental perspective questions the essential value of student learning outcomes or neglects the importance of assessing academic-advising processes through a variety of tools and strategies, not simply those predicated on student satisfaction surveys.
At the turn of the century, the second landmark publication, Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (Gordon & Habley, 2000), provided the higher education community with a comprehensive resource for the growing professional field of advising. The contributions included the historical and conceptual foundations of academic advising, strategies for advising increasingly diverse cohorts of college students, organizational models and support mechanisms to deliver this educational process more effectively, and a thorough description of the training, assessment, and reward elements necessary to design and maintain a successful advising program.
In this volume, Frost (2000) reviewed the historical and philosophical foundations of academic advising. In agreeing with O'Banion (1972/1994/2009), she noted that developmental academic advising had sustained its conceptual influence in the field, but that its implementation still lagged behind the more recent theoretical approaches and the research developed since 1984.
Don Creamer reviewed and reemphasized the notion that the fundamental foundations of academic advising were rooted in student and career development theories. He elaborated on a variety of aspects involved in the advising process and described the theoretical approaches that supported them, including those related to psychosocial and cognitive development, decision making, and minority career development. He concluded that “no theories of academic advising are currently available” (Creamer, 2000, p. 31), and he challenged academic advising practitioners and researchers to build these theories to connect the conceptual and practical links that Frost and O'Banion first observed.
Steven Ender and Carolyn Wilkie (2000) explained and expanded the developmental academic advising concept and relationship, noting its applicability in the contexts of an advising curriculum and process. The introduction of an advising curriculum further enhanced Crookston's (1972/1994/2009) notion of developmental advising as a teaching process. Ender and Wilkie specified the themes of academic competence, involvement (engagement) on campus, and developing a life purpose as the essential outcomes of the curriculum for developmental academic advising. They defined elements of the developmental advising process as purposeful, interpersonal, and goal oriented as they described the application of their overall model to five specific student populations: student-athletes, students with disabilities, and gay, lesbian, and bisexual as well as honors and underprepared students.
The thorough presentation of all components of the academic advising process in Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (Gordon & Habley, 2000) validated the efficacy and sustainability of the developmental academic advising concept and approach. It showed developmental advising as integral to the fundamental rationale, structure, and delivery of academic advising programs and the development of academic advisors.
In the fifth major publication that focused on faculty members as advisors, Kramer (2003) reaffirmed Crookston's (1972/1994/2009) principles of advising as teaching and the result of students assuming more responsibility for their educational planning as a result of the advising process; that is, he showed developmental academic advising in action. In this work, Frost partnered with Karen Brown-Wheeler to reexamine Frost's 1993 work in describing advising alliances (collaborations) in the university, viewed as a global city, that worked toward specific planning for academic advising strategies. They reiterated her previous endorsement of developmental academic advising, indicating that the concept is “essential to any notion of advising alliances” (p. 234) that emphasize shared responsibility in the advising process. They delved further into the importance of helping students make connections between their academic work and their outside interests, the need for interdisciplinarity in advising, and the benefit of encouraging student participation in extracurricular activities. When faculty members engage with activities outside the classroom, and through a developmental advising approach, advocate that students also get involved in their campus community, the university emerges as a global city.
Despite the rich descriptions and suggestions to improve the application of it, NACADA has struggled with providing a universal definition of academic advising. Many authors mentioned herein provided numerous variations of a definition, but none seemed to capture the complete meaning of the term as perceived by the diverse membership. In 2002 NACADA President Betsy McCalla-Wriggins appointed a task force to resolve this issue. After several rotations of task force personnel, the group realized that the complexity of the term academic advising could best be communicated as a concept statement rather than a definition. Four years after the task force initiated the effort, in October 2006, the NACADA Board of Directors adopted the Concept of Academic Advising (National Academic Advising Association, 2006) as its official and standard description of academic advising.
As the definition emerged from NACADA in 2006, developmental academic advising was still prevalent in the advising milieu, but advisors also advocated for a growing number of alternative approaches. The authors of the Concept of Academic Advising were careful to avoid endorsing any particular advising approach, but many elements of developmental academic advising are evident in the Concept, as seen by the obvious reference to the “advising as teaching” simile. Crookston (1972/1994/2009) had clearly introduced this way of thinking about advising. The Preamble to the Concept includes the dynamic and all-inclusive nature of the advising process and its ongoing effects throughout the student's career at an institution. Also as advocated by Crookston, O'Banion (1972/1994/2009), Winston et al. (1984), and nearly every author cited herein, the Curriculum also extends academic advising well beyond the traditional scheduling function. The Pedagogy section reiterates the teaching-learning component required in the advising process and explains that advisors and advisees share the relationship as proffered by most of the early authors on academic advising. Finally, the expectation that student learning outcomes will result from the advising experience reflects the contemporary demands for assessment and accountability; the examples of student learning outcomes provided in the Concept statement, reflect the intended outcomes of the above authors as well.
As the recognition of the importance of academic advising flourished, new demands, expectations, and approaches emerged. The response came from Gordon, Habley, and Grites in the second edition of Academic Advising: A Comprehensive Handbook (2008), which the editors organized similarly to the first edition but with the provision of new perspectives on the conceptual, organizational, and practical components of academic advising.
Other than Terry Kuhn's (2008) historical presentation of academic advising and the analysis by Peter Hagen and Peggy Jordan (2008) of the variety of theoretical foundations that support academic advising, no chapter in the new edition featured a discussion of developmental advising. In fact, several of the traditional theories previously used to validate academic advising, including the developmental concept, received review, but most authors argued that multiple theories, originating from many perspectives and academic disciplines, support academic advising. Hagen and Jordan (2008) acknowledged that “theory-building based on advising-as-teaching has not yet reached its peak” (p. 32), and that new theories, grown out of a myriad of various disciplines represented in higher education, would inform the future of academic advising.
Developmental Academic Advising Today
In the first decade of the new Millennium, scholars bore new theories, approaches, styles, types, strategies, and models. See Drake et al. (forthcoming) for more complete descriptions of these various methods intended to provide successful academic advising experiences for students as well as advisors. Whether practicing the intentionality of proactive (formerly intrusive) advising (Varney) or appreciative advising (Bloom, Hutson, & He) advising, employing the rigors of advising as coaching (McClellan), or shifting the emphasis from students' deficiencies to their strengths (Schreiner), the advisor of today integrates the common thread of the developmental approach to assist students in achieving their goals and maximizing their opportunities for success.
Even as portrayed in recent literature, whether as full range advisors (Barbuto, Story, Fritz, & Schinstock, 2011), interaction designers (Shockley-Zalabak, 2012), or servant-leaders (Paul, Smith, & Dochney, 2012), those practicing academic advising implement the characteristics of a developmental academic advisor. If academic advising is synonymous with teaching, and if faculty need mentoring along the various dimensions of their professional work (teaching, research, publishing, grant writing, offering service, and academic advising), then students surely need assistance with the educational, career, and personal dimensions of their lives (Bissonette, 2011).
With a relatively long history, a few challenges, and a recent flurry of different approaches described and advocated, developmental academic advising remains the fundamental approach for practitioners of all types. To recognize this assertion one must fully understand the essence of the approach. I recently (Grites, forthcoming) provided the following summary:
Developmental academic advising is not a theory. It is based on developmental theories and perspectives, but the practice is an advising strategy, a method, a technique, an approach, a way of doing advising.
Developmental academic advising is holistic. The approach includes the education and the development of the whole student (educational, career, and personal) and acknowledges that these dimensions cannot be treated independently, as events in one dimension will often affect another dimension or both of them.
Developmental academic advising is based on student growth (success). The developmental approach attempts to take students from their point of entry, along each dimension, and facilitate growth. Whether the student is underprepared or an honors student (educational dimension), undecided or 100% committed to a major (career dimension), first-generation or Ivy League legacy student (personal dimension), the developmental approach uses the student's current characteristics to assist him or her in moving positively along the continuum of each dimension.
Development academic advising is a shared activity. Both students and advisors contribute to this effort. Students must learn to be honest and forthcoming; advisors need to be tolerant and provocative; both must be trustworthy.
In summary, the developmental academic advisor gathers information to recognize where the student stands along the educational, career, and personal dimensions of her or his life, discusses where the student plans to be, and assists the student in getting to that point as readily as possible. This simple approach remains at the core of every theoretical and practical approach to academic advising.
Thomas J. Grites is Assistant Provost at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey where he has served in a number of capacities in his 35 years there.
He was one of the founding members of the National Academic Advising Association and served as its President for two terms. He serves as a Senior Editor of the NACADA Journal and regularly provides other services to NACADA.
Dr. Grites has written over 60 journal articles, book chapters, and professional reports; he has delivered more than 120 conference presentations; and he has conducted academic advising workshops and program reviews on over 100 campuses.
Dr. Grites earned his BS and MS degrees from Illinois State University and his PhD from the University of Maryland. Both institutions have awarded him distinguished Alumni Awards, and he was inducted into the College of Education Hall of Fame at Illinois State.