The first four articles in this NACADA Journal issue share the common theme of career advising. The lead piece, written by Aaron Carlstrom and Kenneth Hughey, builds on a previous Journal article by Carlstrom (2011), who used constructs from personality and social psychology to help academic advisors understand students' work values. In their current contribution, Carlstrom and Hughey apply their perspective on work values to develop a career advising approach based on helping students discovering and using their work values to prepare for future careers. They organize their discussion of value-based career advising around four questions: At what point should students explore work values during the career advising process? What student learning outcomes can they achieve through exploration of work values? What advising settings and formats are most conducive to exploring work values? What advising activities help students identify their work values? They conclude by discussing ways advisors can judge a student's readiness to make important academic and career decisions and the timing and circumstances for appropriate referrals of advisees to career counseling.
In the second article, Karen Cunningham and Anthony Smothers report the results of a quasi-experimental study on the use of the self-assessment instrument Career Cruising (Career Cruising, n.d.) combined with academic advising. Specifically, they looked at the self-efficacy of students making choices about academic majors by administering an instrument called The Career Self-Efficacy–Short Form (Betz, Klein, & Taylor, 1996) both before and after career advising sessions that included administering, scoring, and interpreting students' scores on Career Cruising. Compared to a control group, students who received personal feedback based on their scores on Career Cruising along with academic advising showed a slight increase in career self-efficacy. Cunningham and Smothers conclude their article by discussing the implications of promoting increased student self-efficacy on decision making and career counseling.
In the third article, Rich Robbins explores the continuing relevance of liberal education for career-seeking college students in the 21st century. According to Robbins, integrative liberal learning, explained by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) as a new approach to providing students with a holistic educational experience by integrating vocational or professional education with the liberal arts curriculum, gives students opportunities to acquire the transferable skills that employers want from college graduates. After reviewing the goals of integrative liberal learning, the LEAP initiative (AAC&U, 2011), and the CAS Standards for Advising (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education [CAS], 2013, 2014), Robbins argues that academic advisors are uniquely positioned to construct integrative learning experiences for their advisees by leveraging the learning opportunities associated with co- and extra-curricular activities along with the traditional skills and special knowledge provided in liberal education. By combining career advising with academic advising through integrative learning experiences, advisors gain a valuable perspective for assessing and improving practice.
Leigh Shaffer offers the fourth article focusing on career advising. He introduces a newly recognized group of students with special needs: financially at risk (FAR), who jeopardize their chances of completing a college education, and put their economic futures at risk, by accruing burdensome debt. Students may use their federal student loans and credit cards to pay for the necessities of a college education, but they also accumulate debt financing an affluent lifestyle they assumed before and while attending college. Shaffer argues that many college students develop premature affluence, the economists' term for developing an expensive lifestyle that cannot be sustained when students leave college and try to live independently. He traces the history of premature affluence, points to the borrowing practices that make FAR students susceptible to dropping out of college, and describes the boomerang generation to caution against the long-term consequences of uncontrolled debt. Shaffer concludes his article with a discussion of ways advisors can detect FAR students and help all students make responsible financial decisions.
All college students are unique, but advisors who know the special characteristics of specific cohorts can better understand students' needs and avoid known pitfalls in working with special groups. In the fifth article, Kyle Ellis performed a qualitative study of the experiences of first-year, undecided students with the process of academic advising throughout the freshman year. Ellis reports that students' experiences with academic advisors in college are affected by their high school advising experience. In an interesting finding, all of the students who completed the study reported positive attitudes toward academic advising by the end of their first year. In addition, although these undecided students shared an awareness of the need to choose a major, Ellis found a wide latitude of feelings about the importance, as well as the urgency, of selecting a degree program. Ellis's findings reinforce the value of academic advisors' ability to recognize the developmental processes that underlay students' experiences and meet students' changing expectations of the academic advising process itself.
In the sixth article, Krista Soria and Mark Bultmann examine the campus climate for working-class students based upon an analysis of the data set from the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey conducted by the Center for Studies of Higher Education in Berkeley, California. Soria and Bultmann analyzed respondents' answers to survey questions concerning the degree to which working-class students feel a sense of belonging on campus, perceive a welcoming campus climate, and report on-campus social involvement. Soria and Bultmann found that working-class students generally report a lower sense of belonging, perceive their campus's climate to be less welcoming, and experience a lower level of social involvement than their middle- and upper-class peers. Based on their research, Soria and Bultmann discuss ways that academic advisors can help promote working-class students' success.
We conclude this second issue with an article by Jeanette Muehleck, Cathleen Smith, and Janine Allen, who provide valuable insights concerning the nature of the student learning that transpires during the academic advising process. These authors sought to advance the learning-centered paradigm of academic advising (Hagen, 2005) by applying Anderson et al.'s (2001) revision of Bloom's (1956) taxonomy of student learning outcomes to the eight student learning outcomes of academic advising identified by Smith and Allen (2014). Consistent with Anderson et al.'s taxonomy, student learning during academic advising can be described by five cognitive and three affective outcomes. In the cognitive domain, the outcomes of successful student advising include student knows the institution's requirements to complete a degree and where to go at the institution for help as well as understands the deadlines, policies, and procedures of the university. Students also come to understand the way academic choices affect attainment of career and life goals and ultimately develop a personal plan to achieve educational goals. In the affective domain, the outcomes of successful student advising include student development of a productive advisor–advisee relationship, support for mandatory academic advising on campus, and identification of at least one relationship with a faculty or a staff member who makes a significant, positive impact on the student's academic career. Muehleck et al. conclude by discussing how academic advisors can use this taxonomy to examine their own academic advising practice.