According to NACADA's Core Competencies Model (2017), one of the essential Relational competencies all academic advisors must develop is their ability to "articulate a personal philosophy of academic advising." Since all advisors bring their personal assumptions, values and beliefs about students, higher education, and student success with them when meeting with students (Beres et al, 2013), it is important to go through the process of reflecting on and elucidating these beliefs and values and to recognize the role they play in one's advising practice.
Writing a statement of advising philosophy is an important professional development experience and can be a source of inspiration, consistency, and clarity for one's practice. And, since our personal philosophies, beliefs and values change as we grow personally and professionally, it is a process that can (and should!) be renewed regularly.
The Advisor Training Academy encourages all WSU advisors to create a written statement of their personal philosophy of academic advising and has created a five step process for preparing, writing, reviewing, and maintaining this living document.
Step 1: Review resources
Start by reviewing the resources and documents that ground and inform your thinking such as the following:
- NACADA Pillars of Academic Advising
- Advising theories and advising approaches
- Other advising literature, articles, and websites and NACADA resources
- ATA Canvas Module
- WSU Academic Advising Vision & Mission Statement
- NACADA examples of personal advising philosophies
Step 2: Brainstorm & reflect
After reviewing resources and examples, it's time to collect your thoughts on your own values, beliefs and philosophy. Write out answers to the following prompts or dig deeper with the prompts in the documents below to get started:
Why am I an academic advisor?
How do I make a difference for students?
What is the role and value of higher education in a student's life?
What advising topics interest me?
What advising approaches do I use?
What role models have shaped my advising and why?
What makes me unique as an advisor?
Statement of Advising Philosophy Prompts (PDF)
NACADA: Personal Philosophy of Academic Advising
Step 3: Write a draft
Use the ideas generated above to create a draft. Here are some suggestions on the writing process:
- Start with content you are sure about
- Worry about grammar, etc. later
- Work for at least 15 minutes per day
- Remember that writing can be a circular process. If you get stuck, move on and return
Step 4: Review & discuss
The rewriting process should begin by making sure your draft says what you want it to say. Read your draft aloud for clarity, word choice and flow.
Next, solicit feedback from a trusted and valued colleague or supervisor. Ask them to review the draft and provide feedback. Ask the reader if they understand the ideas and if they are well organized.
Step 5: Modify & finalize
Rework and refine your writing based on the feedback from your colleague. Create your final version and consider how you can incorporate it into your practice or professional accomplishments:
- Display your personal philosophy in your office for students to see. Consider printing or sending a copies to your students
- Submit your statement along with your professional record during your annual review, promotion or Employment Security Status (ESS) process
Don't forget to revisit the process and revise your personal philosophy periodically as you gain experience and grow professionally.