Welcome to your community

As an advising professional, no matter in what capacity you advise students, this community is for you.  There are great things happening in Canada with respect to post-secondary advising, but we don’t as yet have a means to promote this greatness widely. So welcome to your community.

Just like the elusive perfect model for academic advising, there is no such perfect approach to academic advising.  We wanted to create a digital space that can be both a resource and a forum, an opportunity for sharing and learning from one another.  We also wanted to be able to highlight activities, and relevant news from professional associations – primarily CACUSS and NACADA.  But we are not limited here either – NASPA, ACPA, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences – the avenues for resource sharing, research and professional development abound.  It’s difficult to keep track of them all and we don’t propose that we will be able to do that here, but we wanted to be able to have a space where membership is not a pre-requisite for access to information or discussion.  All that is required is an interest and willingness to get involved.

Who are we?  We are the co-chairs of the Community of Practice for Integrated Academic and Professional Advising through CACUSS and the co-chairs for the Canada Interest Group for NACADA and we have been working for the past couple of years to find out more about advising across this country.

Just over two years ago, the CACUSS Community of Practice for Integrated Professional and Integrated Academic Advising was launched just prior to the annual conference in Vancouver.  At the inaugural meeting of conference attendees who expressed interest in the community of practice, we asked the question “what do you want from this CoP and how can we, the co-chairs, best serve the interests of the community members”? As a result of that first conversation, we distributed a survey to find out more about what advising looks like across the country, we hosted a webinar to discuss the results of this survey and also published our survey results in an issue of Communique (CACUSS publication).

In April at the Region 5 NACADA conference in Toronto, Tim Fricker led a pre-conference workshop with advisors to delve into the ‘state of advising in Canada’ and determine what role CACUSS, NACADA and OAAP can play with respect to promoting the profession of advising across the country.  Advisors identified networking, communications, professional development, association partnerships and research as areas of growth that are needed in order to better brand advising  in Canada. You can read more about this session on the OAAP blog.

In May 2016 at the Annual CACUSS conference a group of conference attendees gathered very early on the last morning of the conference and talked about plans for the next year to help anchor a Canadian advising network and communication became a topic of conversation.  We asked “how can we best reach the advising community across the country?” And how can we be sure that this network of advising is inclusive and enables advisors to participate outside of a membership requirement?” And so, the idea of an independent blog/website was born.

We hope that you will share your best practices for advising on your campus.  How have you overcome the challenges of resources, advisor to student ratios, working with at-risk and special populations? This forum is an opportunity to share your successes and your challenges with your colleagues as a way of promoting advising in Canada.  We look forward to hearing from you.