Narrative-Based Research for Social Change
Edited By Ahmet Atay and Mary Z. Ashlock
Chapter Eleven: Zero Degrees of Separation: Managing the Advisor Role as Student Demands Increase
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Zero Degrees OF Separation
Managing the Advisor Role as Student Demands Increase
ADVISING AS A PART OF MY JOB
I didn’t realize that life as a college professor was as involved as it actually is. Based on the life I knew as a graduate student, I thought I would teach classes and conduct research projects, publish articles based on those findings, rinse and repeat. When I would hear people speaking about academic service and faculty advising, I thought that meant service to residents and organizations in the city where I would be teaching. I thought advising meant guiding students as they embarked upon independent studies, master’s projects, and assisting me in my research.
I also didn’t realize that more and more students were coming to college with underdeveloped skills, diagnosed and undiagnosed disabilities, emotional challenges, special needs, and anxieties that severely affected their ability to be successful. They needed advising in areas that I was neither prepared to handle nor professionally trained to address. I also had no idea of the prevalence of this phenomenon. In my idealistic mind, I thought that most college students were fully academically and emotionally prepared for the rigors of higher education and primarily needed advisors to guide them through the curriculum and connect them with professional opportunities. I did not know how complex today’s students were and I did not understand how those...
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