This issue offered us, as coeditors of the NACADA Journal, an opportunity to further advance the current conversation regarding equity and social justice. In his 2018 Annual Conference keynote address, Tyrone Howard explicated the important distinction between equality and equity, suggesting that the former harbors a false narrative constructed in the absence of contextual and sociocultural differences and experiences. Equity, on the other hand, takes these elements into consideration by challenging often unquestioned assumptions about how students experience college and by encouraging reflection and dialogue about ways to better support student learning success. During the 2020 NACADA Annual Conference, Laura Rendón expanded the conversation. Her remarks, reprinted in this issue, speak to structural inequities that perpetuate the false narrative noted by Howard, a narrative that is based on the experiences of the privileged, and often White, to the exclusion of others. Rendón's remarks were all the more powerful because of the authenticity of her narrative. They were grounded in the research about the experiences of minoritized students and in her personal story.
In addition to Rendón's presentation, we add to the conversation a reprint of a 2010 NACADA Journal article by Museus and Ravello. Their study sought to understand how academic advisors contributed to the success of racial and ethnic minority students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). The institutions they studied reported graduation rates for minority students that were higher than the national average. The emergent themes discussed in this article have practical implications for the field. An added bonus is the update provided by Museus, which is a reflection on the 10 intervening years since the previous article's publication.
The complexity of the concept of equity is further advanced in the next three articles that focus on the student experience. McPherson and Marrero explored the experiences of nine Latinx students who successfully transitioned from probationary to good academic standing at a community college. Conceptually guided by Schlossberg's transition theory and Tinto's departure theory, McPherson and Marrero employed a qualitative case study design to capture how students managed probationary status. The study utilized students' self-reflections to better understand how they developed strategies that helped them transition to good academic standing. McPherson and Marrero offer insights and preemptive strategies for advisors and institutions to support Latinx students.
Highlighting NCAA data that indicated that Division I schools graduate student-athletes in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) majors at lower rates than nonathletes, Grafnetterova et al. used Terenzini and Reason's model of influences on student learning and persistence to explore the experiences of student-athletes completing STEM degrees in a dual-advising structure (i.e., an advising structure in which each student is assigned both an academic advisor and an athletic advisor). This exploratory study, which was set in a single institution, employed a case study design and was guided by two research questions that explored the advising needs of student-athletes in STEM majors and the ways in which academic and athletic advisors collaborate with each other to support student-athletes. The findings stress the importance of student-athletes' maintaining relationships with both types of advisors as well as the importance of communication and collaboration between academic and athletic advisors, particularly when working with student-athletes in STEM.
Young-Jones et al. used self-determination theory to explore the phenomenon of “senioritis” on the college level. This quantitative, multivariate study used multiple instruments to measure “self-determined motivation, objective and subjective stress, social support, academic advisor support, and demographic characteristics as possible predictors of senioritis perceptions” (p. 68). Developing and maintaining an autonomy-supportive relationship between advisors and students emerged as important to students' continued motivation. In this relationship, advisors help students make important connections between what they are presently studying and their future goals. The preliminary results from Young-Jones et al. point to the relevance of continuing to research this topic.
In his study, Kapinos shifted our attention to academic advising coordinators. This qualitative, exploratory study used purposeful sampling within a single community college setting. The research question sought to understand advising coordinators' perceptions of their role within the context of their institutions' academic advising organizational models. The study's findings illuminate the role-constraints and limitations academic advising coordinators experience in ensuring consistency of advising across divisional and departmental boundaries in a decentralized coordination structure.
Rounding out this issue, the purpose of McGill's study was to “articulate what occurs during the academic advising process” and how academic advising contributes to the development of students' academic identities (p. 95). McGill's model of Student Academic Identity Development identifies four stages (connecting; synthesizing and growing; acting; and experiencing), which are repeatable and cyclical. Through the academic advising process, students engage with their advisors to synthesize their experiences, both curricular and cocurricular, in a process that leads toward decision making and engagement in more experiences and, thus, additional synthesizing. This article offers much food for thought, opening the door for further scholarship and research in this important area.
We hope you will enjoy the articles in this issue of the NACADA Journal and will be motivated to contribute to the research and scholarship advancing the field of academic advising. In addition, as Susan's term as one of the Journal's coeditors comes to a close, she would like to share her gratitude for having had the opportunity to work with a group of colleagues like no other: Ashley Thomas, Lisa Rubin, and Marsha Miller. She must include Sharon Aiken-Wisniewski to this list as well. These talented women are the heart and soul of the Journal—and they are really neat people! The editorial team would also like to welcome Karen Mottarella to this illustrious group. The future of the Journal is in great hands. Thank you.