I recently had the opportunity to attend two professional conferences related to Academic Advising thanks to a professional development grant from OSU’s Ecampus. The first conference was the Student Success and Retention Conference which was hosted by the Oregon Council of Student Services Administrators. This annual conference was held Feb 2-3 in Portland and centered on the theme of “Uniting Oregon Education: Unifying Systems for Oregon Students’ Success”. The second conference was for the NACADA Region 8 members and was held in Portland on March 17-20 with a theme of “Student Success Across Cultures”. These were my first official conferences since taking my position advising Ecampus students in the Natural Resources program in the College of Forestry. As always I was impressed by the deep commitment to students by student services professionals. You can’t find a more caring, creative, organized group of people. I saw many familiar OSU faces and managed to make a few new connections with colleagues at other institutions.
As an advisor for online students I was hoping to see resources for working with this unique student population. While there were many workshops on using technology to advise students, very little emphasis was directed toward advising the fully online student. In the future I hope to see (or perhaps present!) more workshops and resources for advisors of online students. If you are interested in information about advising distance learners I suggest you checkout the links below.
NACADA Advising Distance Learners
One workshop that really impacted me was “Combat to College” presented by Christopher Petrone, LCSW. As an Ecampus advisor I work with a fairly large percentage of both veterans and active duty military students. This presentation gave me a new perspective and some great tools for working with these students. You can see the Powerpoint slides at the link below.
One of the things that Mr. Petrone emphasized is that it is important to acknowledge and thank these students for their service to our country. One quote that really stuck with me was that students don’t come home from war, they come home with war. Mr. Petrone addressed the unique needs of veterans and included a powerful film which gives a glimpse of what it’s like to be a student with PTSD. The autobiographical film “Now, After” was created by Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, a student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and a former US Army Staff Sargent who served 5 years in the Army’s Airborne Infantry and as a Squad Leader/Convoy Commander in Iraq.
WARNING: Extremely Graphic Authentic Images and Footage from Iraq.
“Now, After” a film by Kyle Hausmann-Stokes
I learned a great deal from my conference experiences and hope to apply this knowledge to the work I do every day. Thanks to all those at OSU who helped to bring these conferences to life!