Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Committee Member

David Deggs

Second Committee Member

Michael T. Miller

Keywords

Education; Academic advising; Academic counseling; Advising models; Transition

Abstract

Shared models of academic advising that involve the use of both professional and faculty advisors represent the most widely used type of advising structure. Many of these models require students to change advisors once they have satisfied certain criteria, such as earning specific number of credits or declaring a major. Thus, college students across the United States are forming connections with academic advisors during their first few years on campus only to have to repeat the process again with a new advisor. Despite its routine occurrence on college and university campuses across the United States, the issue of mandated advisor transitions within shared advising models has mostly been ignored in higher education literature.

To address this gap in the existing research, this study used a phenomenological design to explore how students experienced the transition from centralized, professional advising to decentralized, faculty-based advising within a shared advising model at a public research university in the Mid-South. Participants of this study included 17 students in their senior year in the arts and sciences college who have experienced the advising transition. Data were collected via focus groups and in-depth personal interviews. Peer debriefing, member checks, triangulation analysts, thick descriptions, and reflexive journaling were used to ensure trustworthiness. The analysis of data revealed four common themes experienced by participants in the process of advising transition: 1) an evaluation of advisor trustworthiness based on perceived professional responsibilities, followed by appropriate coping mechanisms, 2) a preference for a personalized advising relationship, 3) an apprehensiveness towards the unknown, and 4) reliance on previously developed advising expectations. The findings of this study inform academic advisors, faculty members, and administrators on how to effectively manage the advising transition to ensure students' positive advising experiences and their continued sense of connectedness.

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