August 8, 2018
Excellence in academic advising is a hallmark of a successful Honors education and illustrates how Honors adheres to a student-focused approach. Staying current and engaging in continuous improvement for our academic advising is a value of the John V. Roach Honors College at TCU. A strong focus on superb academic advising uniquely situates the College to achieve the goal of elevating the academic profile of TCU.
As a prime example of how Honors Academic Advisors have always gone above and beyond, Lindsey Tardif and Donna Schonerstedt used their experience at work to add to the global understanding of academic advising. The two adapted their own version of a method of proactive advising, called Solution-Focused Advising, which builds upon and advances conventions that emphasize a student’s strengths, rather than weaknesses. They presented the groundwork of their model in July at the 2018 National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) International Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
Tardif and Schonerstedt adapted their advising approach from Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), an approach that is marked by its focus on solutions rather than the problems that bring clients to therapy. The idea originated from a realization that several of the techniques both advisors used in their daily advising sessions lined up with SFBT techniques they were familiar with from their counseling backgrounds. Together, Tardif and Schonerstedt adapted the principles of SFBT to create guidelines of advising-appropriate adaptations of solution-focused techniques. They summarized this work into a presentation with an accompanying booklet called “Solution-Focused Advising: Pathways to Success.”
The 2018 NACADA International Conference was the first peer evaluation opportunity for which Tardif and Schonerstedt applied. They received a full one-hour timeslot to present their work and distribute their booklet to a global academic audience. After their initial success, Tardif and Schonerstedt would like to introduce Solution-Based Advising to other departments on campus and publish an article in an academic journal. Their hope is that eventually these guidelines will be incorporated as best practices at institutions around the world.