Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Counseling and Educational Leadership

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Larry Burlew

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Matthew Shurts

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Kim O'Halloran

Subject(s)

Counseling in higher education, Faculty advisors, College freshmen

Abstract

Academic advising is becoming an increasingly important resource on college campuses for purposes of retention, persistence, and student satisfaction. Researchers have found that an academic advisor can play a key role in the academic and personal lives of undergraduate students. If engagement with students matters for learning and persisting towards graduation, then there is a need to identify and evaluate quality academic services, including academic advising, and what are effective methods to enhance student learning and acclimating to a university. In this study, I focused on academic advising using the learning centered approach to advising, which was implemented through a freshmen seminar. Academic advisors taught their own advisees during the fall semester in the freshmen seminar course which met weekly. This qualitative action research study was designed to learn about freshmen students’ perception on the overall experience with their academic advisor both teaching and advising them during their fall term and if this had an impact on their advisor/advisee relationship as well as helped them navigate their college experience. Through both quick-writes and focus groups, students described how comfortable they felt with their academic advisor, and that the adjustment to college created some angst throughout the semester for most. Students explained this angst through their adjustment and realization that college was nothing like their high school experience. They were beginning to establish their college identity through this process of adjusting and acclimating to a new way of learning and processing information. Students also expressed what they thought was helpful and beneficial in freshmen seminar and changes they would recommend for further consideration. Practical implications for academic advisors, student affairs professionals, and counselor educators are provided as well as future research to consider.

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