Initiative Seeks to Overhaul Academic Advising

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising and the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education this week announced a new national effort to help colleges and universities redesign academic advising. The two-year Excellence in Academic Advising program is a comprehensive strategic planning process. An initial cohort of institutions will be guided through an evidence-based decision-making, planning and adoption process, based on NACADA and the Gardner Institute’s nine Conditions of Excellence in Academic Advising.

“NACADA and the Gardner Institute, along with the initial group of institutions, will refine, validate and establish the aspirational standards for colleges and universities to evaluate and improve academic advising,” the groups said in a statement. “The process draws on NACADA's academic advising audit experience and is enriched by the Gardner Institute's success in guiding institutions toward systemic change and improvement in student success. Formal consultants' reviews and guidance will support the development of a set of evidence-based institutional recommendations for change, as well as provide support for plan implementation.” NACADA will host a series of free information sessions about the project this fall.

Drew Koch, president and chief operating officer of the Gardner Institute, said via email Tuesday that there “are scores of vendors who sell technology solutions for academic advising.” And while these tools are often useful, he said, “they do very little to change the actual processes, practices and culture associated with academic advising at a college or university -- at least not in any intentional way.” The new initiative, by contrast, is “something completely missing on the higher education landscape today -- and the absence of a process like this may shed light on why many advising ‘solutions’ do not quite yield their desired results.”

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University System of Maryland standardizes data collection to improve retention and graduation rates

The University System of Maryland’s campuses boast diverse student bodies in terms of race, income and college preparedness. Officials believe new data collection standards will improve retention and graduation rates.

Teaching about inequality and oppression in online courses

One of the most useful practices is to establish netiquette guidelines, which are indispensable for teaching about inequality and oppression, writes Abby L. Ferber.

Creating effective instructional videos for online courses

Salena Rabidoux and Amy Rottmann provide instructors easy-to-follow tips and techniques for developing evergreen videos that engage students.

Inside Digital Learning -- Implementing Data Standards to Boost Retention, Graduation Rates

In today's "Inside Digital Learning":

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Campus IT leaders survey reveals low usage of teaching and learning technologies

 National Survey of Computing, eLearning and Information Technology.


The survey of IT leaders, conducted by the Campus Computing Project, found that many see only modest benefits from IT investments, and generally low satisfaction with many IT services on campus.

The survey, with responses from 199 public and private institutions across the U.S., asked chief information officers to reflect on computing efforts on their campus.

Debate on Climate for Conservatives at Nebraska

Three Republican state lawmakers who say the University of Nebraska at Lincoln is hostile to political conservatives will share their expectations for improvement with the campus this week, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “We’re going to give them some time to implement what we are requesting they do,” one of the senators, Steve Halloran, told the newspaper. “Actions speak louder than words.” The expectations, not yet public, won’t be Legislative mandates but will include some level of “accountability” and “transparency,” he said. 

The political climate at Lincoln become a point of concern in August, after an incident involving two students who set up a table on campus to recruit for Turning Point USA, the conservative student organization behind Professor Watchlist. In a video of the incident that has since been circulated online, Courtney Lawton, a lecturer in English, flips off one of the students and calls her a “neo-fascist Becky” who “wants to destroy public schools, public universities, hates DACA kids.” Lawton has since been removed from the classroom over safety concerns for both her and students, due to online threats against her. The Republican lawmakers said they were disappointed with Lincoln’s response, since it’s wasn’t a disciplinary action against Lawton. Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, reportedly said university leaders would be right to "step up their efforts to make sure conservatives feel welcome on campus.”

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Indiana appeals court sides with Purdue Calumet in professor's free speech case

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Indiana Appeals Court sides with Purdue Calumet in professor's free speech lawsuit.

How two institutions are trying to strengthen shared governance

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Neither Penn State nor Johns Hopkins’s Peabody Institute enjoyed particularly strong shared governance within the last decade. Recent reform efforts hold promise.

Experts discuss residence-life best practices after U of Hartford harassment charges surface

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A student was expelled for allegedly harassing her roommate at the University of Hartford. How can other colleges prevent a similar situation from occurring?


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