Academic journal article College Student Affairs Journal

Traditional Age Students: Worldviews and Satisfaction with Advising; a Homogeneous Study of Student and Advisors

Academic journal article College Student Affairs Journal

Traditional Age Students: Worldviews and Satisfaction with Advising; a Homogeneous Study of Student and Advisors

Article excerpt

This study sought to determine what student characteristic best predicts advising satisfaction. Outcomes of this study suggest that faculty behaviors such as discussing personal values, majors/ academic concentrations, and financial aid account for significant variance in the prediction of student advising satisfaction. This would suggest those faculties who provide developmental advising are more likely to receive positive advising outcomes.

Since the 1980s, colleges and universities have become a much more diverse environment as ethnic minority and other groups continue to increase in proportion (Priest & McPhee, 2000). Many institutions have been forced to reexamine their retention strategies in response to cohorts of incoming students who are increasingly diverse in gender, ethnicity, race, age, and socioeconomic status. This reexamination often has focused on the role of the academic advisor in the institution, as well as certain student characteristics like worldviews (Coll, in press; Coll & Zalaquett, in press). Worldview has been variously defined as equivalent to a person's perception of the world and philosophy of life (Ivey, Ivey, & Simek-Downing, 1997; Naugle, 2002). Ibrahim (1985) emphasizes that knowledge of a person's worldview helps others to understand an individual's life experiences, culture, and interaction within the environment. Sue (1978) defined worldview as relating to the individual's perception of and relationship with the world, and emphasized its importance in development of a person's identity. The notion that an individual's worldview is important to his or her life was reinforced by Koltko-Rivera (2004), who stated that individuals are actively engaged with their surroundings through the process of specifically constructed worldviews in order to gain a self-defined individualistic purpose.

Traditional retention strategies focused upon student ability and motivation; the changes in student population have encouraged a change in the focus of retention strategies. Educational institutions historically have used advising as a primary means to increase retention, and many researchers (Carstensen & Silberhorn, 1979; Glennen, 1976; NoeL 1976; Tinto, 2006) have supported the link between academic advising and student retention. The main thrust of these studies is that regular contact between advisors and students is an essential element in retaining students.

Researchers have also found that student satisfaction with advising plays an important role in students' commitment to their academic institution (Bailey, Bauman, & Lata, 1998; Brown & Rivas, 1995), which subsequently influences student retention. Academic advising often is the only academic service that guarantees prolonged interaction between students and faculty, and it is precisely this guaranteed interaction that makes the advisor critical in the development of positive attitudes, relationships, and experience for students (King, 1993). Noel-Levitz's (2007) National Student Satisfaction Report, based on responses from 796 higher education institutions, indicated that academic advising is a key variable in student satisfaction. Students ranked the importance of academic advising second only to instructional effectiveness in four-year private colleges/universities.

Another main focus of retention studies has been students' perceptions of and their relationships with their academic institutions (Coll, in press; Reinarz, 2000). The development of attitudes and opinions about their institution is a process often influenced by the students' worldviews (Sue, 1978). The importance of understanding worldviews is imperative to the development of relationships between advisor and advisee (Coll & Zalaquett, in press).

Statement of the Problem

Retention and academic advising satisfaction is, perhaps, the modern academic advisor's greatest challenge (Coll & Zalaquett, in press; Upcraft, et al. …

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