Academic Advising for Social Justice: Theory, Reflection, and Practice
In April 2015, NACADA members were introduced to the topic of Academic Advising and Social Justice: Privilege, Diversity, and Student Success in the Web Event venue by a presentation team sponsored by the association’s Inclusion & Engagement (then Diversity) Committee. Knowing that academic advising personnel must understand social identities in order to identify the challenges students face when interacting with various campus systems—but are often untrained in dealing with issues of diversity and privilege—our presenters shared information and strategies that can help advisors form stronger relationships with students, identify specific challenges and roadblocks facing students, and create individualized solutions to increase student success and retention. At the 2018 NACADA Annual Conference in Phoenix, three presentation teams drew large audiences and rave reviews when they took this conversation to a deeper level. Members of those teams have combined to bring the conversation to our Web Event platform. In this 60-minute videocast presentation, Kyle Ross (Washington State University), Ariel Collatz (University of California-Davis), Jayne Sommers (University of St. Thomas), and Quinn Nelson (University of Minnesota) challenge viewers to engage in critical reflection about themselves and the profession to better understand how we can hear our students lived experiences and work towards being the best possible allies for them. Are there ways in which we unwittingly contribute to the maintenance of oppressive systems that do not serve all students equitably? How can we process our discomfort as a participant in oppressive systems? The presenters examine the role of emotionality for both advisors and students in this important dialogue, discuss contemporary advising approaches and explore the concept of counternarratives as a means to work towards social justice in advising. They offer frameworks in which advisors’ convictions and practices can align to disrupt oppressive systems and place social justice at the forefront of our work.