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Appreciative advising: an alternative advising method at FAU

Its creators implemented this model at FAU and other colleges, and believe it will be beneficial for the success and wellbeing of FAU students.

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Appreciative advising: an alternative advising method at FAU

Dr. Jennifer Bloom, the founder of appreciative advising. Photo courtesy of FAU

Dr. Jennifer Bloom, the founder of appreciative advising. Photo courtesy of FAU

Dr. Jennifer Bloom, the founder of appreciative advising. Photo courtesy of FAU

Dr. Jennifer Bloom, the founder of appreciative advising. Photo courtesy of FAU

James Madera, Contributing Writer

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FAU students are keen on the standards associated with the current advising protocols like meeting with an adviser for 30 minutes or less to discuss classes. However, some advisers at FAU are taking a different approach with a new model: appreciative advising.

Appreciative advising is a six-step model that prides itself in making advising a process that closely caters to the goals, dreams, and future plans of students, in a more personal way than conventional advising. It’s a rising trend that originated at FAU.

Dr. Jennifer Bloom and Amanda Propst Cuevas are two advisers, among many others, that have helped spearhead this initiative at FAU and other universities across the U.S. The two met while working together at the University of Illinois, with Dr. Bloom having an extensive background in academic advising already.

While at the University of South Carolina, Bloom and others created an Appreciative Advising Institute based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, the institute holds annual sessions in Boca Raton.

“We were skeptical when this institute was created because we did not believe people would come and participate, but we were thrilled when they did,” Bloom said.

Here are the steps that appreciative advisers follow…

  • Phase 1: The “Disarm” phase emphasizes making a good first impression on the student and building a rapport with them.
  • Phase 2: The “Discover” phase involves advisers asking positive, open-ended questions to learn the strengths and skills of the students.
  • Phase 3: In the “Dream” phase, advisers seek to understand the hopes and dreams of the students.
  • Phase 4: The “Design” phase helps make those dreams a reality.
  • Phase 5: The “Deliver” phase relies on the effort of the student to deliver on the plans developed in the prior phase.
  • Phase 6: The “Don’t Settle” phase relies on advisers and students raising the bar, and defining their expectations.

Bloom co-wrote an article titled “Incorporating Appreciative Inquiry into Academic Advising.” Appreciative inquiry is an organizational development theory that looks at the best of the universities and how these organizations currently operate, and tries to build on that.

She believes that along with advisers, graduate students, teaching assistants, and professors can afford to learn these tactics as well.

Appreciative advising has left its imprint across different places in the U.S., not just FAU.

Both Bloom and Cuevas have maps in their office with pinned locations showcasing the different colleges across the globe that have implemented appreciative advising into their institutions.

Bloom and others acknowledged that not everyone would have the means to travel to Las Vegas for past institute sessions, so online appreciative advising was developed as an alternative.

“It’s one of those grassroots movements that has taken hold — not only in the advising world, but also for the lives of the students,” Bloom said.

But no matter how many universities join the trend, appreciative advertising’s inventors will never forget the one where the program began.

“With the students in the masters’ program, we have started an appreciative ambassador program, because we have these students who are serving our institution through internships and graduate assistantships,” Cuevas said.

Bloom and Cuevas are continually working on the promotion and growth of appreciative advising. They regularly attend conferences across the globe to educate others on the model.

“The Appreciative model is continuing to grow,” Bloom said. “It is now being employed for graduate students and future research projects.”

James Madera is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]

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