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I am delighted to share with you another issue of this monthly column, Trending Topics, that features highlights from my talks and other provocative points that come up while "on the road" or "in the air," so to speak. As a student success scholar and Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) at The Ohio State University, I often have the opportunity to speak across the nation sharing insights from our #goodwork on matters related to student success. Trending Topics was launched to expand the reach of such opportunities.

On Thursday, November 9th, I delivered the keynote address at this year's National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Conference, which was held in the Minneapolis Convention Center. With over 3,000 academic advisors, directors, and faculty in the audience, I framed my research insights around the conference theme: "Adventures in Advising: Explore, Discover, Collaborate, Transform." Here are a few highlights from my keynote:
 
  1. Academic advising is a critical functional area in higher education, having great influence on student success. This is especially true for historically underrepresented and otherwise vulnerable students. 
  2. Advisors play important professional roles in students' academic lives, sometimes unknowingly; thus, intrusive advising may be superior to more passive approaches. 
  3. Yet, intrusive advising need not be intrusive. The difference is in one's intent. Intrusive advising is born of a commitment to student success.
  4. College is a journey. It takes time. Students create or follow multiple pathways to and through it. Time in college is marked by personal growth and development. 
  5. Academic advisors know something about the journey. They know the paths, beaten and unworn. They know the directions, language, and rules. 
  6. As such, I challenged academic advisors to reimagine their role as "cultural navigators."
  7. As cultural navigators, academic advisors help students set reasonable goals. Translate and demystify college life. Decode higher education lingo and make rules and requirements plain. They help students find belonging by helping to direct the course until the path is familiar or clear. 
  8. Cultural navigators use intentional strategies to increase odds for student success such as access to accurate, timely feedback about students' progress to confidence-building exercises including verbal persuasion (i.e., "You can do it"), rewriting negative scripts (i.e., "Failure is one step from success"), and role modeling.
Recent Presentations
Inaugural Speaker at Indiana University's Trailblazers and Innovators Seminar Series

November 6:
Keynote  Speaker at the North Carolina Adult Education Association Conference

November 7:
Keynote Speaker and Presenter at the National Association for Campus Activities Mid-America Conference

November 14:
Session Presenter at the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Fall Conference

November 20:
Session presenter at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

(1) Weaving Intersectionality Research and Campus Non-Discrimination Policies to Address the Needs of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer Students of Color. 

(2) Relationship of Hardiness, Grit, & Belonging to College Success for African American Males: A Survey Analysis. 
Acknowledgments: This keynote address  was sponsored by NACADA's research committee. Special thanks to Wendy Troxel, Rhonda Baker, and NACADA Executive Leadership for extending the invitation for me to join this year's conference-by all accounts, it was hugely successful. For more about cultural navigators, see Prudence Carter's Keeping It Real.

To watch my 2014 NACADA keynote, go to: http://go.osu.edu/StrayhornNACADA
About the Director: Strayhorn is Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Studies within the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE). An international expert on student success, equity and diversity, Strayhorn has authored several books, more than 150 scholarly publications and is a highly sought speaker and public intellectual. Watch his TEDx talk here: http://go.osu.edu/StrayhornTEDx.
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