Part II:

Editor's note: This is the second installment of this article. Part I appeared earlier.

2.  What is the linguistic relationship between the words teaching and advising?

As I was preparing this paper, I decided to augment my review of the professional literature by investigating the linguistic connections between the words teaching and advising. When I consulted Roget's Thesaurus (1994), I discovered the following: The word teacher is synonymous with the words mentor, guide, confidant, consultant, and adviser. The word adviser is synonymous with the words mentor, guide, confidant, consultant, and teacher. Other words that share synonymous relationships with teacher and adviser are scholar, instructor, authority, expert, inspirer, persuader, advocate, planner, strategist, mediator, ombudsman, agent, and negotiator.

It appears that, at least within a lexical context, teaching and advising are words with very similar meanings. But are they as closely related in the way they are perceived in higher education? Reflecting upon his experiences during hundreds of developmental advising workshops, Grites (1994) reported his disappointment at having asked thousands of faculty to “Write down your synonym(s) for academic advising ... and never (not once!) receiving teaching as a response” (p. 82). Let me now address this puzzling situation by answering the question: Do effective teachers and effective advisers do the same things?

3.  Do effective teachers and effective advisers do the same things?

In her presidential address to the National Academic Advising Association entitled “Advising as Teaching,” Ryan (1992) explored the parallels between teaching and advising and encouraged faculty to regard advising as an integral part of their teaching role. She began her address by citing three experts. The first two are known for their advising expertise, and the third for his teaching expertise.

After introducing the teaching-advising connection in this manner, Ryan reported the results of a comprehensive search of the ERIC database she undertook to identify the characteristics of effective teachers and advisers. She then synthesized these teaching and advising characteristics in such a way that it became clear there is a great deal of overlap between these two activities. Table 1 presents the results of Ryan's synthesis, plus seven additional characteristics I gleaned from a review of the recent teaching and advising literature.

Table 1

A Comparison of the Knowledge, Skills, and Characteristics of Effective Teachers and Advisers
Effective Teachers Effective Advisers
Master their subject matter Possess accurate information about the policies, procedures, resources, and programs of their departments and institutions
Plan, organize, and prepare materials for classroom presentation Are well prepared for advising sessions
Engage students actively in the learning process Enable advisees to actively participate in the advising process by challenging them with new, more demanding learning tasks involving alternative ideas or choices and encouraging them to ask questions to clarify these ideas and explore these choices
Provide regular feedback, reinforcement, and encouragement to students Provide timely feedback, reinforce learning that has taken place, and applaud student successes
Create an environment conducive to learning Create a good learning climate within advising sessions
Stimulate student interest in their subject by teaching it enthusiastically Project enthusiasm for their area of academic expertise and their advisory duties
Help students learn independently Encourage advisees to become self-directed learners
Teach students how to evaluate information Help advisees evaluate and re-evaluate their progress toward personal, educational, and career goals
Act as co-learners during the learning process Set performance goals for themselves and their advisees
Serve as a resource to students Provide materials to advisees and refer them to others when referral is an appropriate response
Relate course content to students' experiences Assist students in the consideration of their life goals by helping them relate their experiences, interests, skills, and values to career paths and the nature and purpose of higher education
Provide problem-solving tasks to students Provide tasks to be completed before the next advising meeting that will require the advisee to use information-gathering, decision-making, and problem-solving skills
Personalize the learning process Help students gain self-understanding and self-acceptance
Deliver information clearly and understandably Communicate in a clear and unambiguous manner with advisees
Exhibit good questioning skills Serve as catalysts by asking questions and initiating discussions
Exhibit good listening skills Listen carefully and constructively to advisees' messages
Exhibit positive regard, concern, and respect for students Provide a caring and personal relationship by exhibiting a positive attitude toward students, their goals, and their ability to learn
Are approachable outside the classroom Provide accessible and responsive advising services
Present themselves to students in an open and genuine manner Provide a climate of trust in which advisees feel free to ask questions, express concerns, revise ideas, make decisions, and share personal experiences and knowledge
Serve as role models who can help students understand the mission, values, and expectations of the institution Model the tenets of the university, and demonstrate enthusiasm and knowledge about the goals and purposes of higher education
“Promote effective learning climates that are supportive of diversity” (Puente, 1993, p. 82) Respect diverse points of view by demonstrating sensitivity to differences in culture and gender
Use outcomes assessment to “make data-based suggestions for improving teaching and learning” (Halpern, 1993, p. 44) Make changes or add to advising knowledge and skills by assessing the advising process
“Stimulate learning at higher cognitive levels” (Mathie, 1993, p. 185) Help students move beyond rote memorization or recall (Grites, 1994), help advisees test the validity of their ideas (Hagen, 1994), and “challenge students to confront their attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions” (Laff, 1994, p. 47)
Help students “choose careers that best suit their aptitudes and interests” (Brewer, 1993, p. 171) Help students explore career goals and choose programs, courses, and co-curricular activities that support these goals
Utilize interactive computer software that promotes active learning (Mathie, 1993) Utilize institutional technology (e.g., degree audit reports) to augment advising, recommend interactive software (e.g., SIGI PLUS) that can help advisees clarify goals and identify career options (Rooney, 1994), and communicate with advisees via e-mail

All the information in this table has been summarized from Ryan (1992) unless otherwise specified.

When I constructed Table 1, it caused me to come to the same conclusion that Ryan had come to six years ago: The knowledge, skills, and characteristics displayed by effective teachers are essentially the same as those exhibited by effective advisers. Once teachers become aware of this similarity, they may begin, as Ryan said, to “perceive their role as advisers differently” (Ryan, 1992, p.7). Once their perceptions begin to change, they may become more interested in the advising process as a legitimate component of their teaching role. As their interest in advising increases, they may begin to

If these practices can be linked to positive outcomes in their advisees, perhaps teachers will no longer share the opinion of Crookston (1972) who stated that most faculty do not view advising as teaching, but rather as an extracurricular, nonteaching burden.

After establishing the semantic and pragmatic relationships between teaching and advising, it is now time to explore the concept of advising more analytically. My next section will address the question: Is there more than one type of academic advising?

Editor's note: The next section of this article was published on March 19, 2001.