This article provides a historical perspective on the development of scholarly writing in academic advising beginning in 1972 with some of the first journal articles solely devoted to advising and continuing through the initial 20 years of the NACADA Journal—the premier advising publication venue during the period. An important part of the evolution of advising's scholarly writing was the vision and perspective of each NACADA Journal editor. Each brought a distinct set of academic experiences to the job, each defined scholarship, and especially research, differently. Early (1972–2001) scholarly articles and the editors who published them shaped academic advising's literature base. This article analyzes the contributions made by these early articles and editors.

Academic advising's literature base began taking shape in the 1970s, keeping pace with the evolution of the practice itself. As the seventies dawned, Kenworthy (1970) found that some colleges offered their “students few services beyond advising them in course selection and warning them of their academic failures” (p. 22). By the close of that decade, Grites (1979) painted a more optimistic picture of academic advising, noting that it had “evolved from a routine, isolated, single-purpose, faculty activity to a comprehensive process of academic, career, and personal development performed by personnel from most elements of the campus community” (p. 1). Forty years after Grites, Troxel (2019) argued that academic advising was not just a practice but rather an area ready for systematic inquiry with “documentable theory-based strategies to improve student learning” (p. 52).

Like the practice itself, scholarly writing about advising evolved in the 50 years between Kenworthy and Troxel. That evolution is best understood by considering those who crafted and edited the scholarly writings that established and expanded advising's literature base. This article focuses on the work of individuals whose scholarly efforts established and grew academic advising's literature base during the 30 years between 1972 and 2001 through writing or editing journal articles focused on academic advising.

The authors provide historical perspective to better understand the social, cultural, and intellectual factors that shaped the establishment and growth of academic advising's literature base (The Historical Thinking Project). Historical perspective “demands comprehension of the vast differences between us in the present and those in the past,” helping readers understand and analyze relevant issues (The Historical Thinking Project, para. 3).

Although scholarly writing dates back to 1810 in German universities, the publication of scholarly articles focused on the practice of academic advising is a newer phenomenon. In fact, foundational articles were not published until the early 1970s (Kruse, 2006). However, this expansion came with growing pains.

In the early years of advising scholarship, even practitioners expressed doubts that the field would grow and find acceptance within the academy. One individual attending the 1978 conference that gave rise to the NACADA Journal expressed concern that the Journal would not last five years (E. Danis, personal communication, April 11, 2021). More than 40 years later, both the Journal and advising's literature base have grown well beyond founders' expectations. This growth was in large part due to the efforts of those who established the NACADA Journal and to the editors who guided the Journal from its infancy into the current century.

To understand and analyze the contributions made by these early authors and editors, the first section provides definitions and then chronicles the evolution of journal articles within advising's scholarly literature base. The second section illustrates how the impact of three 1970s articles paved the way for the 1981 founding of the NACADA Journal. Section three covers the establishment of the Journal as the first scholarly publication dedicated to academic advising and how its initial editors laid the foundation for the continued expansion of the field's literature base in the 21st century. Finally, section four provides perspective on the 1990s and an editorial shift that emphasized empirical research within the Journal.

Questions and Answers That Set the Stage

How do practitioners become scholar-practitioners? For the purposes of this article, every individual tasked with advising students is defined as an advising practitioner, whether advising is their primary role or one of many institutional duties. By definition, a practitioner is “a person engaged in an art, discipline, or profession” (Oxford English and Spanish Dictionary, n.d.b). Kidder (2014) observed that a scholar-practitioner engages in scholarly endeavors while continuing in their professional role. While many advising practitioners present at conferences, comparatively few conduct research to ground their presentations, and even fewer write based upon the results of their scholarly work. Scholarly writings promote discourse that advances a field (Shannon, 2011) and turns its practitioners into scholar-practitioners.

Is advising a field of study or a discipline? A field is “a particular branch of study or area of sphere of activity or interest” (Oxford English and Spanish Dictionary, n.d.a., definition 2), while a discipline develops research methods and specific theories to ground its practice (Krishnan, 2009). Although establishment of theory unique to academic advising is a goal (Lowenstein, 2014; McGill, 2019), a review of advising literature reveals that researchers routinely borrow methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods) developed for the Social Sciences, Education, and Humanities disciplines.

Thus, academic advising likely meets the definition of a field of study seeking to emerge as a discipline and profession. Shaffer et al. (2010) supported this view, postulating that neither designation, profession nor discipline, will apply to academic advising until advising develops a written knowledge base that is widely used in established educational programs. Although a handful of graduate certificate programs in academic advising exist (e.g., Kansas State University, South Dakota State University, Kent State University), and although Kansas State offers a masters and doctoral program in academic advising, more programs must be developed before advising meets Shaffer et al.'s (2010) criteria for a profession or discipline.

Until now, the evolution of scholarly writing in academic advising has been an untapped topic in advising literature. As such, this historical perspective on 30 years of academic advising-focused journal articles does not delve into the much-debated question of whether academic advising is a profession (Grites et al., 2016; McGill, 2019). The authors leave those discussions to scholar-practitioners who provide in-depth analysis of professionalization of the field (e.g., McGill, 2018 & 2019; Shaffer et al., 2010; White, 2020).

Creating Knowledge in the Field

In NACADA Journal's inaugural issue, Borgard (1981) reflected that knowledge changes as advisors research issues, challenge assumptions, and render new solutions. MacDonald (1994), while agreeing that research is key, argued it does not create knowledge, insisting that “scholarly writing is the common denominator through which knowledge is constructed” (p. 3). Hyland (2004) crucially observed “it is how [authors] write rather than simply what they write” that defines a field (p. 3). Thus, advising, as a field of study, grows when its literature base draws on a diversity of thought, theories, and research methodologies from a wide variety of disciplines.

Many practitioners present at professional conferences, but scholar-practitioners write based upon their work. Material shared in a conference session impacts the attendees, but when the presenter writes, the material lives beyond that finite session. Likewise, while creation of original research advances any educational field (Towne et al., 2005), its results live beyond the dissertation or grant report only when the findings are shared within the field's literature base. As Shaffer observed, advising grows when scholar-practitioners create a strong, broad, and deep literature base that expands on the handful of articles published in the 1970s (L. Shaffer, personal communication, October 12, 2009).

While the occasional article addressing advising issues was published in previous decades (Ashby et al., 1966; Robertson, 1958), the importance of peer-reviewed journal articles to establish a strong literature base came into focus in the 1970s. Introducing the inaugural issue of the NACADA Journal, Toni Trombley (1981) noted that a 1970 Carnegie Commission on Higher Education report, for the first time, focused attention on academic advising as “an increasingly important aspect of higher education” (p. ii). That focus arguably led to the publication of two 1972 articles considered classics in the advising field (Kuhn & Padak, 2009; Schein, 1994;) and a subsequent publication (Glennen, 1976) that served as a template for future articles describing innovative advising practices.

Publication of the first article, Burns Crookston's (1972) “A Developmental View of Academic Advising as Teaching,” eventually “proved to be a watershed moment” in academic advising (White, 2020 p. 5). Crookston used student developmental theories from counseling psychology as the foundation for what is now known as developmental academic advising (Crookston, 2009). Based on his presentation at a conference at Temple Buell College, Crookston, then an Education professor at the University of Connecticut, encouraged advising practitioners and students to become “partners in the academic advising enterprise” (Schein, 1994, p. 4).

The second classic article, “An Academic Advising Model” by Terry O'Banion (1972), appeared later the same year. O'Banion, an innovative community college leader, noted that he first presented his model at “the 1964 Chicago conference that launched the Carnegie study” (O'Banion, 1972, p. 62). However, he took eight years to write about his five steps (exploration of life goals, vocational goals, program choice, course choice, and scheduling courses) aimed at helping a student choose a program of study to develop one's “total potential” (O'Banion, p. 62).

While O'Banion's (1972) article cited no theories, research, or practice as foundation, his model, along with Crookston's developmental advising paradigm are among the most cited models in advising literature (Grites, 2013). These two 1972 articles served as the foundation for future publications, including Winston et al.'s (1984),Developmental Academic Advising. Over the next three decades, developmental advising became the implicit standard of the field (Schein, 1994), opening the door for application of similar identity, intellectual, and ethical development theories to advising, including but not limited to, Chickering and Reisser's (1993) seven vectors of student growth and Perry's (1970) nine positions of student intellectual and ethical development (Drake, 2013).

A third, noteworthy classic was Robert Glennen's (1976) “Intrusive College Counseling,” in which he introduced the approach now known as proactive advising (Varney, 2013). The article used what MacDonald (1994) termed “ephemerality of individual instances” (p. 9) to describe a freshmen retention program Glennen spearheaded at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He drew on intrusive counseling theories to select and train faculty in the relational and informational needs of students. For two years, he followed students in the program, documenting a reduction of freshmen attrition rates and an increased number of students on the dean's list, which resulted from his novel advising approach (Glennen, 1976).

Glennen's publication was significant because it set the standard for program-specific articles that followed. He connected advising practice to previous research and grounded practice in theories, building the foundation for change at his institution. Further, Glennen (1976) went beyond describing how advising occurred when he tracked results of the program change over a two-year period, analyzed data, and reported results. Although the 1976 article did not include recommendations for adapting the program to other institutions, Glennen, who had since become president at Emporia State University, detailed the replication of the UNLV program at his new institution in a follow-up article (Glennen et al., 1989). Glennen's 1976 and 1989 articles are examples for scholar-practitioners seeking to describe their local practice, connect that practice to research and theory, and help readers apply new ideas to their local practice.

Each article in this classic trio was penned by authors who looked at academic advising through the lens of their individual backgrounds and experiences. Still, each of the three articles, all published as “outsider articles” by organizations peripherally related to advising, served as the foundation for the eventual establishment of the first journal devoted solely to academic advising.

Establishing the First Scholarly Publication Dedicated to Academic Advising

While some in the late 1970s questioned whether a scholarly journal solely devoted to academic advising would last even five years (E. Danis, personal communication, April 11, 2021), the success of the three classic articles was used as an impetus for establishing the NACADA Journal (E. Jones, personal communication, July 2002; E. Danis, personal communication March 31, 2021). Plans to establish a scholarly journal were under way at the 1978 “Impact: Advising Makes the Difference” conference in Memphis, Tennessee (E. Danis, personal communication, March 31, 2021). The founders envisioned that the new journal would publish peer-reviewed articles promoting an understanding of academic advising (Trombley, 1981).

An initial charge for new journals is ensuring editorial independence. Associations sponsoring scholarly journals entrust the journal's editor(s), and not the association, with “total responsibility, authority, and accountability” for the journal's content (Council of Science Editors, 2018, para. 2). This independence allows editors to base decisions on the validity and importance of a work without undue pressure from outside forces (Fletcher, 2006, as cited in Hoey, 2008). Thus, selection of the NACADA Journal's first editor was key.

1981–1986: Edward L. Jones

Association leaders sought an editor who had experience writing and publishing scholarly work but who also understood the legal issues surrounding establishing a journal. Ed Jones met all criteria (Grites & Gordon, 2009). Jones, who held a juris doctorate from Gonzaga University, was an African American studies professor, student advisor, and assistant dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington (University of Washington, 2010). Having published several scholarly works, he knew the legal protocols necessary for establishing the Journal (Grites & Gordon, 2009). The University of Washington awarded Jones a start-up grant providing the Journal's sole financial support for the six years of Jones' editorship, including the cost of printing and mailing the Journal (Kuhn, 2007). C. B. Darrell, of Kentucky Wesleyan College, served as managing editor. While Jones worked with authors and did most of the copyediting, Darrell assisted with copyediting and publication details (Kuhn, 2007).

A 10-member planning committee, appointed by the association's Board of Directors, served as the first NACADA Journal editorial board and developed the Journal's statement of purpose and its editorial policies and procedures (Grites & Gordon, 2009). Gordon and Grites (1998) observed that faculty were more apt to perform research; unsurprisingly almost two-thirds of the first Journal Editorial Board were faculty. Editorial Board members represented a variety of institutional types, including small, private colleges, a historically black college, comprehensive public colleges, and a Research I university. A noteworthy procedure developed was the use of double-blind peer review, a protocol used in the social sciences and humanities (Wiley, 2021) and considered the fairest and most objective academic journal review process (Kmietowicz, 2008).

The NACADA Journal Debuts

In 1981, the inaugural issue of the NACADA Journal was mailed to 438 NACADA members (NACADA, 2004). Jones (2002, personal correspondence) remarked that he supported Polson and Cashin's (1981) call to “advance the field of advising with sound principles of research design and with appropriate inference from research findings, ultimately increasing the level of knowledge and understanding of the field” (p. 43). Although Jones (2007) hoped the Journal would “inform members about good advising practice,” “give credibility and stature to a fledgling organization,” and finally place an “emphasis on the process of advising rather than on advisors in an effort to affect the view of advising as a professional discipline,” first and foremost, Jones saw the NACADA Journal as a research journal (Kuhn, 2007, pp. 48–49).

The first article based on original research published in the NACADA Journal was Schubert and Moredock's (1981) “Relationship of Time of Registration and Academic Achievement of University Freshmen.” However, the remaining research-based submissions in the 1980s better fit McLaughlin et al.'s (1982) description of research as “surveys,” and “studies focus[ing] on the relationship of programs and techniques to various student outcomes” (p. 15). During this decade, more than 30 articles published in the Journal reported the results of surveys establishing baseline data, member needs, or member opinions. These surveys were exemplified by Polson and Cashin's (1981) “Research Priorities for Academic Advising,” and a survey sponsored by the Advising as a Profession Task Force (Gordon et al., 1988).

The NACADA Board of Directors created additional financial support for original advising research publishable in the Journal. They established an annual award for outstanding researcher in 1982 (Connell, 1984) and created research grants open to all NACADA members in 1988 (Gordon & Grites, 1998). However, until 2002, there was no requirement for recipients to submit manuscripts based upon their research. Although 46 research grants were awarded between 1988 and 2002 (NACADA, 2021), only 19% of recipients published articles based on their findings in the NACADA Journal (percentage garnered through searching the Journal's website).

The Challenge of Low Submissions.

While the purpose of the Journal was to publish original research in academic advising, turning those intentions into reality was often difficult. From the outset, Jones was surprised by what he considered a low number of submissions which left him hunting for viable manuscripts for his desired eight to 10 articles in each issue (E. Jones, personal communication, July 2002). He attributed the low submission numbers to two factors: 1) few practitioners believed they had something of value to contribute to scholarly discourse, and 2) many who thought they had something to share lacked confidence in their ability to write for a scholarly publication (E. Jones, personal communication, July 2002). Jones recruited potential authors at conferences. After insightful presentations, he and the presenter discussed the foundational materials used in the session and the implications their presentation might have for advisors at other institutions. As they talked, Jones sketched an outline for the presenter, encouraging them to write (E. Jones, personal communication, July 2002). However, despite his efforts to encourage potential authors, manuscripts failed to materialize and many of those that were submitted needed significant edits, sometimes bordering on rewriting (E. Jones, personal communication, July 2002).

To make up for this lack of manuscripts, Jones added other features to the Journal. The first NACADA Journal book reviews appeared in 1982 with five of the issue's 62 pages devoted to reviews and one page listing review copies received by the editor from publishing houses. Members could request a book, write a review, and submit it. Once a review was accepted, the member kept the book. Additionally, NACADA conference keynote speeches, beginning with Habley's (1986) “Show Us the Future: The Challenges Facing Academic Advising” became a regular Journal feature.

1987–1989: Edward J. Danis

Drawing on his doctoral work in comparative literature, the Journal's second editor, Edward Danis of the Pennsylvania State University, sought to showcase the diversity of backgrounds within NACADA:

When I took over the journal, NACADA was a mix of humanists, social scientists, with a dash of pure scientists, mainly biology or physics. I wanted to ensure that the educational approaches were co-equals. If one were to gain hegemony, then the others would be discouraged. We needed unity at that time, not intellectual in-fighting. (E. Danis, personal communication, March 31, 2021)

Supporting the Journal's mission “to enrich the knowledge, skills, and professional development” of all in academic advising (Danis, 1987, p. 5), Danis aimed to “give academic advising recognition as a distinctive part of the teaching function within the academy” [emphasis added by Danis] (E. Danis, personal communication, March 31, 2021). He hoped the Journal would contribute to advising's evolution through a variety of research methodologies (Danis, 1987).

In this endeavor, Danis was successful. Of the 45 articles published in his second and third years as editor (1988–89), 32 (71%) articles were based on concepts, theories, programs, personal perspectives, or literature reviews (nacadajournal.org search). Twelve articles (27%) were based on original research; four utilized qualitative methodologies, two quantitative methodologies, and six relied on survey results. Danis encouraged more research-based submissions by moving the Journal from the MLA Style Guide to APA, the guide utilized by many social science journals (UC Davis Library, n.d.) to help readers discover authors' sources, a necessary component for literature reviews (University of Nebraska Kearney, n.d.).

Still, Danis (1987) set forth his editorial vision, saying the Journal “adheres to the value system of the academy, which includes broader and more philosophical thinking, research, and publication” (p. 3). This vision extended acceptable “ways of knowing” beyond classic social science research methodologies. Articles accepted by Danis provided a template for 21st Century Journal authors (Champlin-Scharff, 2010; Hagen, 2005; Hagen, 2008). One such article, the most accessed NACADA Journal article from the 1980s (NACADA Journal Google Analytics, August 13, 2021), was David Brookman's (1989) “Maslow's Hierarchy and Student Retention.” Brookman drew on theory to discuss academic advising's role in creating the supporting, caring environment necessary for the “transformative process in which students are both collaborators and beneficiaries” (p. 70). The second most accessed article from the 1980s, Walter Earl's “Intrusive Advising of Freshmen in Academic Difficulty,” drew on Glennen's (1976) work. Earl (1988) suggested a theoretical model of intrusive advising based on academic and social integration that was different from developmental and prescriptive advising stating “motivation is not the cause but the results of intrusive intervention activities” (p. 30).

While this welcoming approach helped double submissions during Danis' three-year tenure as editor, (1987–1989) the number and quality of submissions received continued to cause concern. As Danis expressed, “NACADA and its publications were in their infancy. We were always begging for manuscripts, so our standards [for acceptance] probably were not as high as they are today” (personal communication, April 26, 2021). Danis later estimated about 70% of total submissions were published; if a manuscript was deemed to be of assistance to the readers, it was likely published (E. Danis, personal communication, April 26, 2021).

When a manuscript was received, Danis sent a copy to three Editorial Board members. If two out of the three reviewers approved the manuscript, then associate editor Judy Kelly, also of the Pennsylvania State University, “worked her editorial magic to make them good for the publication” (E. Danis, personal communication, April 26, 2021). However, if two of the three reviewers disapproved, he returned reviewer comments to the author. If the author made the necessary corrections and/or improvements, Kelly polished it for the next edition. Unfortunately, many authors failed to revise because they disagreed with the reviewers or did not have the time (E. Danis, personal communication, April 26, 2021).

Building on the groundwork of Jones and Danis, association leaders sought to strengthen the Journal. Gary Kramer, NACADA president from 1988 to 1989, remembered “trying to get the word out through the Journal so that NACADA would become a legitimate credible organization in the eyes of the key leaders across the country” (Padak & Kuhn, 2009, p. 61). In an effort to publish more advising-related research in the Journal, in 1988 Kramer and the NACADA Board of Directors established research grants open to all NACADA members (Gordon & Grites, 1998). The following year, the NACADA Board agreed to cost share with University College at Ohio State University and create the Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources under the direction of Virginia Gordon.

George Steele remarked that this action formalized what Gordon had been doing—collecting, categorizing, and distributing curated artifacts related to academic advising to NACADA members. Gordon and Steele modified distribution of these artifacts from reliance on the postal services to the use of the Internet, simplifying and providing greater access to those NACADA members engaged in conducting research (G. Steele, personal communication, March 24, 2021). Thus, the Clearinghouse became a lifeline for scholar-practitioners with little time and few of the resources needed to craft the in-depth literature reviews required for publication.

1990–1995: Howard K. Schein

The NACADA Journal of the 1990s looked much different than the Journal in the 1980s. Gone were the short personal and professional perspectives on advising published by both Jones and Danis (note: beginning in the early 2000s, articles like these found a home in Academic Advising Today). In his first “From the Editor” column, Howard K. Schein, University of Illinois, aligned the vision of the Journal with his background in Zoology, thereby “encourag[ing] the publication of quantitative studies; we, as a profession, cannot afford to rely on personal insight and intuition to form a credible structure for our knowledge base” (Schein & Bowers, 1990, p. 3). Schein's sought to “increase the quality of manuscripts” (Kuhn, 2007, p. 48).

Similar to the 1981 editorial board, two-thirds of the 1994 Journal editorial board was faculty. However, while the 1994 editorial board represented five institutional types, 88% hailed from Research I universities where production of empirical research is key to promotion and tenure (Editorial Board, 1994). Additionally, in 1991, Schein appointed Thomas J. Grites and Virginia N. Gordon as the Journal's Senior Editors for advice and counsel as well as occasional in-depth looks at topics germane to the Journal (T. Grites, personal communication, May 12, 2021).

Schein sought to make advising research more accessible to potential authors. With only 10 articles published in the Journal during 1991, as compared to the 25 published in 1989 (nacadajournal.org search), Schein enlisted Gordon to help members identify research applicable to the field (Schein, 1995). In 1992, the first annotated bibliography of research was published in the Journal, which would remain a regular component of the Journal until 2012 when scholar-practitioners could access searchable databases through institutional libraries or free, online advanced search tools (e.g., Google Scholar; L. Shaffer, personal communication, May 23, 2012). Additionally, in 1995, Schein published Bergman's cumulative index to the first 15 volumes of the NACADA Journal. Encompassing 1981–95, this index enabled scholar-practitioners to locate earlier Journal articles by title, author, subject, or type of institution from which the research was undertaken (Bergman, 1995).

Publication of these resources helped advising scholar-practitioners navigate a previously laborious and prohibitive search process. Searches and literature reviews in the 1990s required substantially more time and patience than modern searches. For example, a 1990s search might have started with the library card catalog, usually with subject headings. Print indexes were massive volumes that often covered a single year of published literature, necessitating delving into multiple indices. Scholar-practitioners then tracked down a bound journal – or microfilm or fiche – in the library to find an article. References in those articles led to other articles or books, leading to more search and retrieval (C. Simser, personal communication, March 30, 2021). This literature review process could consume more time than advising scholar-practitioners could spare; thus, the annotated bibliographies and indexes published in the NACADA Journal were lifelines for those seeking to write about advising. Even so, Gordon and Grites (1998) stated that “pure research on the effectiveness of certain advising practices or the effects of advising on positive student outcomes has been sparsely reported in the Journal” (pp. 11–12).

Looking Beyond Research.

Although Schein maintained the Journal should “have a strong quantitative bent,” (Kuhn, 2007, p. 47) he created the Advisor Toolbox section “to address the eclectic nature of NACADA's membership” and “the broad concerns of advisors and their students” (Schein & Bowers, 1990, p. 3). The Toolbox became home for what he termed “thought papers” where “authors could describe conceptual structures for new, exciting programs with transferable components” (Schein, 1995, p. 3). Additionally, Schein encouraged NACADA Research Grant recipients to report their findings in the Toolbox section of the Journal. Schein's efforts increased the percentage of grant recipients who published their research to 25%, up from 14% prior to Schein's efforts (NACADA, 2021).

In response to the low number of publishable submissions, editors asked book authors to submit excerpts (e.g., Tobias, 1990) and increased the number of member reviews of recently published books. While a handful of academic reviews of recently published books appear in scholarly journals to “describe and critically evaluate the content, quality, meaning, and significance of a book” (Lee et al., 2010, p. 57), by 1997, 72% of the pages within the Journal were devoted to book reviews (Gordon & Grites, 1998).

Arguably, Schein's crowning achievement as editor was the 1994 issue 14(2) devoted not to empirical research, but to an advising approach drawn from theory. For this “Classics Revisited” issue, Schein (1994) recruited authors to review, reflect on, and respond to concepts of developmental academic advising introduced by Crookston (1972) that by 1994 had become “one of the few concepts held in common by most academic advisors” (p. 4). The impact of “Classics Revisited” originated from the diverse perspectives of its 28 authors, who ranged from the prolific (e.g., Arthur Chickering, Roger Winston, Virginia Gordon) to novice authors. The issue included authors from comprehensive, small private, and community colleges—institutional types seen infrequently in the Journal. Articles by this unprecedented diversity of authors and perspectives served as a foundation for future scholarship and still appears in the reference lists within recently published works. For example, in his article “Reconsidering the Developmental View of Advising: Have We Come a Long Way?” by Ned Laff (1994) questioned what advisors teach and learn from advising, a theme famously addressed in 2005 by Marc Lowenstein. Laff (1994) encouraged advisors to look beyond techniques based on “tried-and-true” developmental psychology and counseling theories and to challenge students (and themselves) to question their thinking and master the self-reflective skills needed to examine their assumptions. He was not the only scholar that decade to challenge long-held ideas.

Challenging the Definition of What Constitutes Research.

As the broader academy began to challenge these long-held assumptions regarding what constitutes research, such challenges would also impact the NACADA Journal. In 1990, the same year Schein became editor of the Journal, Ernest Boyer (1990) published his ground-breaking book Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate. Boyer, then president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, asserted the academy had a long, restricted, and linear view of research as the base upon which knowledge is built. He argued knowledge seldom develops linearly, and while scholarship certainly includes engaging in original research, scholars must also look for connections, build bridges between theory and practice, and effectively communicate their discoveries. Boyer (1990) proposed that scholarship is made up of four separate and overlapping functions: discovery, integration, application, and teaching. While upholding the importance of investigative work, he questioned whether quantitative methods are always best, welcoming other research methodologies. Other fields embraced these newly legitimized forms of research. Bailey (2014) observed that the 1995 and 1997 issues of The Psychologist, the monthly publication of the British Psychological Society, focused on qualitative research methods.

A similar change was underway in the advising community. Unlike Schein's preferred quantitative research, which emphasized objective measures and statistical analysis to determine the relationship between two or more variables, (LeTourneau University, 2020), some advising scholar-practitioners looked to qualitative research to “explore the richness of the human experience, find meaning in people's lived experiences, and help understand the depth of different phenomena” (C. McGill, personal communication, April 5, 2021). Even though Schein (1995) believed that academic advising needed “conceptual bases and subsequent quantitative verification” (p. 3), views regarding acceptable methodologies were evolving within NACADA's scholar-practitioner community. NACADA past-president Eric White exemplified this evolution:

I was educated, for better or worse, in the old research school that could never prove the effectiveness of anything without randomly assigned participants into controlled studies. But I came to accept that other research paradigms and ways of understanding human interaction have a place in the advising field. To me academic advising is ultimately a human interaction and human interactions are very hard to study and understand. No one field has even come close to cornering the market. (E. White, personal communication, March 31, 2021)

More than three decades after Boyer (1990), the “quantitative vs. qualitative” debate continues among social science researchers while authors schooled in the humanities suggest additional ways of knowing (Hagen, 2005).

1996–1998: Michael L. Lynch

Acceptable research methodology was debated in 1996 when Kansas State University's Michael L. Lynch became the Journal's fourth editor. Lynch believed in publishing quality articles regardless of methodology (Kuhn, 2007). Lynch, whose doctoral work in counseling psychology focused on quantitative research design, acknowledged that when he became Journal editor, he was skeptical about qualitative research. However, over the course of his editorship, Lynch determined that when done well, both qualitative and quantitative research had a legitimate and welcomed place in advising's literature (M. Lynch, personal communication, April 10, 2021). Lynch was also open to articles applying theory to advising and updating previous advising literature.

Twenty-five years later, Karl Kelley's (1996) “Causes, Reactions, and Consequences of Academic Probation: A Theoretical Model” had the most views of any original Journal article published in the 1990s (NACADA Journal analytics, August 13, 2021). Another article published during Lynch's editorship, Leigh Shaffer's (1997) “A Human Capital Approach to Academic Advising” applied an economic concept to career advising and was the first of many Shaffer contributions to advising's literature base. Lynch also enlisted authors of previously published articles to update their work (e.g., Wes Habley, author of the 1983 Journal of College Student Personnel article “Organizational Structures for Academic Advising: Models and Implications”). Habley contributed two articles (1997 & 1998) analyzing data gathered in the ACT Fifth National Academic Advising Survey, applying it to his original organizational models.

It Takes a Village to Produce a Journal.

By the time Lynch became editor, it was clear that the Journal needed more than just an editor and authors to be successful. In his final issue as Journal editor, Schein (1995) thanked five individuals who made producing the NACADA Journal possible, listing the variety of supports provided: journal design, tracking of book reviews, processing received manuscripts, manuscript evaluation, review coordination, reference checking, statistical analysis, post-acceptance copyediting, production, and mailing of issues to 4,000 members. With Lynch poised to become editor, NACADA's 1996 Board of Directors authorized then NACADA Executive Director Roberta “Bobbie” Flaherty to hire a copy and production editor to ensure the Journal met the same rigorous standards used by other research journals (R. Flaherty, personal communication, April 10, 2021). Flaherty hired Nancy Vesta, a freelance editor specializing in biological science articles, and charged her with completing source checks, copyediting, proofing, and working with the production house (R. Flaherty, personal communication, April 10, 2021). With Vesta on board, Lynch coordinated reviews of submitted manuscripts and worked with authors.

While Lynch's inclusion of varied methodologies encouraged additional members to consider writing, he found that getting a rough draft ready for source checks and copyediting meant multiple “back and forth” exchanges with authors (Michael Lynch, personal communication, April 10, 2021). Lynch realized that while scholar-practitioners had print-worthy ideas, many were unfamiliar with the publication process. While professors may mentor full-time graduate students as they write, practicing advisors often are not enrolled in graduate programs; thus, their research, and the scholarly writing based upon that research, may not be mentored (L. Shaffer, personal communication, October 12, 2009). To educate potential authors, Lynch (1996) published the submission, review, and selection processes used by the Journal in his first “From the Editor” column. Despite Lynch's efforts to support authors, there were few quality submissions and publication of the Journal remained a year behind the date on its cover when Lynch handed the editorship to Joel S. Freund in 1999 (M. Lynch, personal communication, April 20, 2021).

1999–2000: Joel S. Freund

Publication of quantitative research was the primary goal during Joel S. Freund's three-issue tenure as Journal editor. Freund, a professor of Psychological Science at the University of Arkansas, was charged with making the Journal “more of a research journal” (Kuhn, 2007, p. 51) and “felt that quantitative studies designed to answer questions that probed at professional assumptions should be published” (Kuhn, 2007, p. 47). Unfortunately, Freund's focus on quantitative research discouraged some prospective authors from submitting their qualitative or mixed methods studies to the Journal (personal communication, May 17, 2000). Freund encountered difficulty securing the quantitative scholarship he desired, as only three of the 20 articles published during his editorship were based on quantitative methodology (nacadajournal.org search).

Freund (1999a) encouraged readers to engage in research and submit thought provoking manuscripts “to help close the publication gap” (p. 4). The Journal issue 20(1), while dated Spring 2000, was sent to the printer in August 2001 and mailed to members late in December 2001 (Kerr, 2001). Closing this publication gap was important in establishing NACADA as “a legitimate credible organization in the eyes of the key leaders across the country” (Padak & Kuhn, 2009, p. 61). The large time gaps between issues prompted concerns as multiple subscribers and academic libraries inquired about the viability of the Journal (e.g., Baton Rouge Community College, personal communication, April 24, 2002) and the impact on students' ability to reference research that appeared more than two years out-of-date at the time of publication (C. Simser, personal communication, May 17, 2021).

While Freund's stringent view of what constituted a print-worthy submission likely was part of the reason the Journal fell further behind, it was not the only reason. Previous editors had university support for administrative tasks (e.g., processing paper submissions, completing technical APA reviews, assigning and mailing manuscripts to reviewers, and processing reviews). Freund (2000) tackled those tasks alone while teaching a full class load and researching. He requested a stipend to hire editorial assistance at his institution (Freund, 2000). Although this request was denied, these experiences would serve as the impetus for the 2004 development of an electronic manuscript submission and review process (Kuhn, 2007).

Freund (2000), like Lynch before him, underestimated the time needed to read and evaluate manuscripts and craft constructive responses (M. Lynch, personal communication, April 10, 2021). Freund (2000) noted that manuscripts falling into the “probably publishable with extensive revisions” category required multiple reviews and detailed responses over the life of the review process (pp. 3–4). In response, Freund (1999b) streamlined the process so reviews could be completed within four weeks, setting a standard for the Journal's editorial practices that remains the benchmark more than 20 years later.

Crookston's (1972), O'Banion's (1972), and Glennen's (1976) articles were watershed moments for the advising field's literature base, offering advising scholar-practitioners valuable lessons for building practices based on research and theory. The impact of these articles inspired the establishment in 1981 of a scholarly journal solely devoted to academic advising.

Each NACADA Journal editor during those first 20 years was devoted to advancing academic advising as a viable field. Sometimes, their efforts paid dividends; other times those efforts did not turn out as imagined. However, during this time, the number of journal articles focused solely on academic advising increased from three to almost 400 (nacadajournal.org, 2021). That is a huge accomplishment. The NACADA Journal readership grew fifteen-fold from 1981–2001, and the focus of articles published within the Journal evolved. Research methodologies featured within the Journal matured from sharing of member responses to baseline surveys of advising practice to IRB-approved original research grounded in advising practice.

However, the NACADA Journal closed out its first 20 years almost two years behind in publication. While some association leaders thought the Journal was in jeopardy, in actuality, scholarly writing in the advising field was poised for an unimagined expansion. By 2004, Journal issues were published on time (NACADA, 2004, May 13) with coeditor Gary Padak later remarking that, “The NACADA Journal has been, is, and will continue to be an essential element in academic advising as it becomes more accepted as an area of study in higher education” (Kuhn, 2007, p. 55).

Themes Emerge

Several recurring themes connect each editor when looking at the history of those initial 20 years of the NACADA Journal. First, all Journal editors agreed that publishing articles from original research was essential to establishing academic advising as a viable field. However, even as the term evolved in the academy, editors differed in their definitions of what constituted “research.” This difference in definition is illustrated by how each editor interpreted the Journal's mission to “publish peer-reviewed articles promoting an understanding of academic advising” (Trombley, 1981, p. iii). Some editors saw that mission as a part of what Boyer included in the teaching function of the academy, while others envisioned enrichment of knowledge as a function best left to quantitative research.

There was a stark transformation in the Journal between 1987, with its “broader and more philosophical thinking, research, and publication” (Danis, 1988, p. 3) and the 1990s when the Journal took on “a strong quantitative bent” (Kuhn, 2007, p. 47). As illustrated in Figure 1, during 1987–88, 32% of articles published in the Journal were based on original research with only 8% of those studies using quantitative methodology. When contrasting the 1987–88 numbers with the number of articles published in 1991–92, 42% fewer articles were published in 1991–92 than were published in 1987–88. Furthermore, 43% of the total number of articles in 1991–1992 were based on original research with all but one using quantitative methodology.

Figure 1.

Comparison of number of articles published and research methodology used in NACADA Journal Articles During Two-Year Periods, 1987-88 and 1991-92

Figure 1.

Comparison of number of articles published and research methodology used in NACADA Journal Articles During Two-Year Periods, 1987-88 and 1991-92

Close modal

By 1992, Schein's goal to include more research-based articles solidified the Journal's new trajectory by following the specifications of scientific journals of the time. While each research article published under Danis' editorship included a literature review, methodology, and discussion, no set protocol was followed for the writing of articles. With one exception, all 1991–92 research articles followed writing protocols used in scientific journals: abstract, keywords, introduction, literature review, research question(s), methodology, procedures, figures and tables, results, discussion, and conclusion (Hoogenboom & Manske, 2012). While differences between editors' views of the Journal's mission shaped its trajectory, they also impacted the evolution and expansion of advising's literature base by utilizing structures embraced by scientific journals.

The second theme woven throughout the Journal's first 20 years was that, despite each editor's best efforts to increase the quality of manuscripts, none published as many submissions as he thought probable when assuming the editorship. NACADA Journal Senior Editors Gordon and Grites (1998) postulated that while the first theme found here (i.e., defining research) may have influenced the latter theme (i.e., lower than expected submissions), in the research arena, “the Journal can be only as good as the submissions from the clientele it serves” (pp. 11–12). In 2001, they examined who was published in the Journal during its first 20 years, finding that only 26% of articles were written by academic advisors and advising directors (Gordon & Grites, 2001, p. 71). That statistic confirmed their suspicions that “advisors do not write about what they are doing” (p. 74) leading the Journal's senior editors to call for solutions to this longstanding dilemma.

However, Gordon and Grites, like the Journal editors themselves, seemingly overlooked that the number of submissions by advisors may have been because “a bachelor's degree nonetheless remain[ed] the minimum and a common credential on many campuses” (Taylor, 2011, para. 8), instead of a graduate degree that required a thesis or dissertation. The result was that NACADA Journal editors spent a great deal of time and energy in what Lynch noted as multiple “back and forth” exchanges with authors (Michael Lynch, personal communication, April 10, 2021) to work “editorial magic” (Danis, personal communication, April 26, 2021). The Journal's editors often faced what Rupp (2011) called “performing major reconstructive surgery” on poorly written manuscripts to fill an issue, an act that goes beyond what is contractually or ethically expected (para. 26).

It was apparent that burgeoning and diverse scholar-practitioners were more comfortable writing when they had completed previous research and/or experienced support for their scholarly writings. At the conclusion of the initial 30 years of advising's literature base, there were no formal programs teaching advising's scholar-practitioners how to research and write for the field.

In an issue dated 2000, his last as editor, Joel Freund educated the Journal's readers regarding the support editors needed during all phases of the publishing process. Freund reiterated his predecessors' thoughts expressing his underestimation of the time and resources needed to produce a journal that would broaden and deepen advising's literature base. Freund further illuminated the disconnect between what Journal editors expected and what advising's scholar-practitioners delivered (2000).

The insights shared in the Journal by Freund and Gordon and Grites led to several initiatives that impacted the evolution of scholarly writing in academic advising. First, the NACADA Board of Directors approved a position at the NACADA Executive Office that included tracking the progress of research projects within the advising community and managing the review and production processes of NACADA's scholarly publications (Nutt, 2002; NACADA, 2002, December 13). While process management helped the Journal publish on time by the end of 2004 (NACADA, 2004, May 13), publishable submissions remained lower than hoped (Kuhn, 2006, September 20).

In 2007, Journal co-editors Kuhn and Padak, along with then NACADA Research Committee chair Joshua Smith, presented the session “From Inquiry to Publication: Conducting Research and Writing for the NACADA Journal” at regional conferences (Kuhn, 2006, September 20). Also in 2007, Jennifer Bloom, then NACADA President, appointed a task force to infuse research throughout the association (Smith, 2008, September 6). This group laid the foundation for the “how to” support advising's scholar-practitioners needed to research and write. Their recommendations initiated the 2009 NACADA Research Symposium (NACADA, 2022c), publication of the first edition of the book Scholarly Inquiry in Academic Advising (Hagen et al., 2010), the 2018 opening the NACADA Center for Research at Kansas State University (NACADA, 2022a) and its sponsorship of the “Writer's Support Initiative” (NACADA, 2022b). These efforts helped double Journal submissions between 2007–18 (Campbell & Aiken-Wisniewski, 2018).

Efforts to support scholarly writing in the early 2000s encouraged much needed contributions from new and diverse voices within the advising community. The assistance these burgeoning scholar-practitioners received helped them face down Hemmingway's “White Bull that is a blank sheet of paper” and contribute to “the medium created for [their] professional productivity” (i.e., the NACADA Journal; Danis, 1989, p. 1). Success of these introductory support efforts expanded advising's literature base and begs the question: would scholarly writing in academic advising have evolved more rapidly had support programs been available between 1972 and 2001?

Moving Forward

Academic advising's literature base began to take shape in the 1970s with three foundational journal articles and a concern that any journal solely focused on the field of academic advising would not last five years. In the 30 years covered in this article, advising's literature grew to almost 400 articles published within a journal solely devoted to academic advising. Viewing these initial years from a historical perspective illustrates how early scholar-practitioners moved academic advising from a sometimes-disjointed practice to an emerging field of study. As the new Millennium dawned, support expanded for advising's scholar-practitioners' efforts to create a strong, diverse, and deep literature base. That evolution of scholarly writing continues.

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Author notes

This article would be but a litany of events without the perspective and perceptions offered by individuals who were key in establishing academic advising's literature base. We offer personal thanks to all who shared their experiences via personal communication. We are particularly grateful to the late Edward L. Jones and Edward J. Danis, who painted a picture of the joys and challenges associated with editing a new journal.

Insights shared by each correspondent are priceless since archived materials from the era are undergoing restoration after receiving smoke damage in a 2018 fire at Kansas State University's Hale Library. The authors trust these shared memories add perspective to the establishment of scholarly writing in academic advising and the individuals who influenced its evolution.

With degrees in History (Humanities), Political Science (Social Science), and Education Marsha A. Miller often studied the same event from different perspectives. Likewise, her professional experiences with scholarly writing in academic advising vary from the use of journal articles to guide the restructure of campus advising practice, writing for peer reviewed venues, and managing the publication of NACADA's journals and books. In the latter position she corresponded with each editor and numerous authors. Before retiring in 2019, Miller was NACADA's Assistant Director for Resources and the association's archivist; she worked closely with the Kansas State University Archives staff to collect, curate, and preserve association materials. Marsha holds emerita status at K-State; reach her at miller@ksu.edu.

Douglas N. Miller is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Kansas. He holds degrees in History and Political Science from Iowa State University and earned a juris doctorate from Washburn University School of Law. Miller taught high school debate, speech, and history where part of his duties included serving as an academic advisor for high school and middle school students. His research interests include long-term funding implications of state constitutional education provisions and the legal obligations and duties of academic advisors. Reach him at miller.douglas.n@gmail.com.