There is a paucity of books that have comprehensively covered the concept of advising in the academic sector. The second edition of Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook is relevant in educational organizations. The book has more than thirty authors, and the editors include Virginia Gordon, Wesley Habley, Thomas Grites, and associates. All contributors work within the academic sector and have reputable credentials. The book is sponsored by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), which believes that giving counsel is integral to fulfilling higher education’s mission of learning and teaching. Thus, the book is non-fiction and academic, focusing on many topics, including history, current college practices, and prospects.
For organization purposes, the book has six parts containing 29 chapters. The first section of is about the theoretical, ethical, and philosophical foundations of academic advising. In the middle, there are some specific considerations that different educational programs and organizations should consider in offering counsel to students, academic advisors, institution administrators, and other relevant stakeholders. The final succeeds in the examination and projection of future changes and advances in academic advising. Although the chapters are independent, the book covers relevant aspects of academic advisory from theory, critique, application, and prospects, making it the best resource to enable students to advance professionally and academically.
All the authors and editors who participated in writing the book are graduates and currently holding professional positions in the higher education sector. The principal claim of the authors is that exemplary academic advising in institutions of higher learning is relevant for the academic success of the students. The writers conclude that to achieve excellence, it is paramount to be intentional by basing the program on foundational theories and the vision of the institution. The authors use scholarly sources such as books and research papers as their primary sources of evidence. In addition, they use expert opinions, especially from professionals with experience advising students at institutions of higher learning. The book does not have any contradiction in its vast array of topics. However, it appears that information on the feelings and reactions of students was left out as the content is primarily about what the professionals and other researchers state.
Evaluation: Strengths and Drawbacks
The book draws knowledge from many authors, all of whom are experts in the advisory sector for higher education. Contribution by many experts is an advantage as it eliminates biases and allows different perspectives. The other merit is that the book covers many topics within the advisory field, making it comprehensive and valuable for many areas. It is also a pro that there is evidence supported by research and experts, which enhances the scholarly aspect, reliability, and credibility of the book. The other strength is in the ability of the book to provide real life practices which can serve as a benchmark tool for users. The authors give different advice perspectives from different authorities, including the president, chief academic officer, and administrators (Gordon et al., 2008). In addition, ways of addressing the issue of discipline while maintaining an advisory role are given through hypothetical situations. Therefore, the fact that the book is not only theoretical but also practical makes it outstanding.
The sectioning of the book into five parts and then 29 chapters is also an advantage as it makes it easy to identify the place to get specific information when there is a time constraint in reading the entire book. Furthermore, some of the topics included, such as professionalism of the advisory committee, training, evaluation, recognition, and compensation, are standard because they are influenced by NACADA (Gordon et al., 2008). The book is void of fallacies and exaggerations, thanks to the thorough editing and enhancement of the second edition. It uses academic language and an authoritative tone, which is good when giving factual and vital information.
However, handling many topics can be a drawback because of a lack of specificity. With so much information needing integration in one book, it is possible that the authors decided to be shallow rather than provide depth of knowledge. The other drawback is that the book is sponsored by NACADA, which is interested in the issue of higher education advisory. The implication is that there is a possibility of a conflict of interest. In addition, the book does not have primary data from students, yet they are the center of the advisory programs in the institutions of higher learning. Despite the few disadvantages, the book achieves its objectives of providing advisory professionals with a comprehensive guide for helping learners achieve their vision.
The book is useful for counselors, deans, mentors, and other staff who work in colleges, as it offers vital information on how to counsel students. For instance, books provide explanations on how to apply theories of moral development, psychosocial, and narratives in advising learners (Gordon et al., 2008). The book can be utilized by the administrators of institutions of higher learning as it contains information on some syllabus examples of advisory programs they can adopt. In addition, the information on recognition and rewards provides the management with essential information on compensating and promoting the staff based on their performance. Students can also benefit from the book as it offers knowledge on models and ideal practices, which helps them identify when they are not receiving quality services.
Administrators of institutions of higher learning can use the book to guide advisors, educators, and administrators in areas they can develop to best prepare for the future. For instance, part three urges that counselors need continuous development, given the prospects such as convergence of technology, multicultural students, and other learner-specific changes (Gordon et al., 2008). The book provides tips on properly utilizing digital technology in delivering advisory programs. Thus, institutions of higher education will benefit from the knowledge of using strategies such as online guidance and counseling to help the students.
College advisors who want to increase their cultural competencies when dealing with students from different backgrounds can increase their knowledge by reading the book. Particularly, the book addresses the unique needs of non-Caucasian and international students during and after college (Gordon et al., 2008). It shows the different need that local students have compared to foreigners and gives strategies for counselors to approach and personalize the advice. The book is also helpful in adopting standards for best practices and core values that govern the delivery of the program to maintain an exemplary performance amidst changes. The book offers suggestions for multicultural competencies to ensure uniformity in advisory programs across the institutions of higher learning in the United States.
The book chapters are independent and diverse, which enables the covering of relevant aspects of academic advisory, including theory, critique, application, and prospects. It is the best companion for college counselors with a vision of helping students advance professionally and academically. The authors highlight the historical development of advisory needs for students, followed by the applicable models. The ethics, legalities, morals, and religiosity of advice are highlighted in light of technological and immigration changes. The book then provides vital information on the application of the advisory program by utilizing the vision and mission statement as well as the theories. Issues of reward, recognition and exemplary performance are also provided. Overall, the book has many advantages and a few drawbacks, but it achieves its objective.
Gordon, V., N., Habley, W., R., Grites, T., J., & Associates (2008). Academic advising: A comprehensive handbook (2nd ed.). National Academic Advising Association.