From the President

Isaiah Vance, President of TEXAAN

As we approach the start of a new school year and the many preparations necessitated by the upcoming fall, I’d like to begin by saying how much I appreciate the work that each of you do. The longer I work in higher education, the more I see just how critical it is to have excellent academic advisors. In fact, it was seeing the value and impact of academic advising which led me to leave a faculty position to advise full-time. No matter how our field is shaped or re-defined moving forward, advising will always be one of the most important services we offer students.

I have worked in higher education for over a decade now, beginning my career immediately after graduate school, so I’ve stopped counting the new years by January arriving. I now count the passage of time according to the school calendar. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I’m always excited and anxious as we enter August, because this time of year offers a new beginning in many ways.

For those of us at public institutions, this time also marks the start of the new fiscal year, and the State’s appropriations for higher education in the new budget have significantly limited financial resources for many of us. I recently read a book by Ryan Holiday titled The Obstacle is the Way, and this work provides great insights that are useful to us in this tumultuous time. The primary theme in the book focuses on our perspective and how we react when challenges arise. In the face of adversity we have a choice to either take on a defeated mindset or to see the problems on the horizon as an opportunity to thrive. I personally choose the latter.

In thinking about how we, as advisors, can tackle the challenges laid before us, I believe there are two great opportunities for us.

First, when faced with limited resources, we must rely on one another to help us improve the delivery of academic advising on our campuses. We have the opportunity and the rationale to focus in, even more than at other times, on developing a strong network of advisors throughout Texas. I’ve personally profited in tremendous ways through the friendships that I have formed with many of you.

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Are Academic Advisors Legally Liable for Advice Given?

L. Kristen Schneider, San Jacinto College – Central Campus

**This is the first of an ongoing series of member contributions written by TEXAAN members for TEXAAN members. Schneider also addressed advisor liability in a session at the 2017 TEXAAN Annual Conference.**

Show of hands, how many of us entered the academic advising field in order to trick and deceive students, resulting in extra time to graduate, increased student debt, or even lost scholarships? Hopefully no one answered yes to that! But when our actions and the advice we provide lead to these very results, then we, as well the institutions we represent, may face a lawsuit by a disgruntled student.

For over 45 years, various courts in the United States have been considering the claim of educational malpractice in public school systems and higher education. For many policy reasons, perhaps most of all the difficulty of defining what amounts to a “good education,” the courts have been reluctant to hold institutions or their representatives (such as faculty, staff, and administration) liable for this claim.

In more recent years, there has appeared a trend of new claims that the courts are willing to consider. For advisors, the most notable claims include negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. It is in these areas of the law that advisors may find themselves held accountable for wrong advice, even when given to a student in good faith.

To understand advisors’ legal exposure and develop effective ways to minimize it, a quick review of the case law in this area helps. The claim of educational malpractice was first famously recognized in the California case of Peter W. v. San Francisco Unified School District.[i] In this case, the plaintiff graduated high school but had only a fifth grade reading ability. He claimed that the school and its teachers were negligent in teaching him, and in passing him to the next grade level with such deficient skills. This resulted in his being unable to find employment upon graduation.

To establish a claim in any malpractice suit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that the defendant failed to satisfy that duty, and that the failure caused injury to the plaintiff physically, emotionally, and/or financially. The court in this case found that the school district did not owe a duty of care in educating the student, other than not physically harming him. The court reasoned that defining a workable standard of duty was too difficult given all of the variables involved that can affect education, such as student motivation, home life, teaching style, etc.

While Peter W. involved a secondary school, a seminal case for higher education is Ross v. Creighton University.[ii] In this case, Continue reading

A Q&A With the 2017 Best in TEXAAN Winners

Vincent Bosquez and Flor Arambula, Palo Alto College. Bosquez and Arambula were recipients of the 2017 Best in TEXAAN award at the 2017 Annual TEXAAN Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

At the closing of the annual TEXAAN Conference one concurrent session is named Best in TEXAAN based upon evaluation of the sessions by TEXAAN members in attendance. TEXAAN caught up with this year’s winners to get their thoughts and reflections on being named Best in TEXAAN.

Name of presenters, job title, & institution

  • Vincent Bosquez, Coordinator of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto College
  • Flor Arambula, VA Certified Advisor, Palo Alto College

What is the name of your presentation?

  • Veterans 101: VA Educational Benefits and the Texas Hazlewood Exemption

How did you select the topic?

  • We had attended the TEXAAN Annual Conference the previous year (in Austin, TX). After speaking with advisors from across the state, we noticed that there was a need for advisors to come aware of VA educational benefits and the Hazlewood Exemption.

How did it feel to win the 2017 Best in TEXAAN presentation award?

  • It was a tremendous honor to be selected for this award, and totally unexpected. We attended many of the sessions throughout the 2017 TEXAAN Annual Conference and we were thoroughly impressed with the hard work and innovations going on in advising centers throughout the state. We learned a lot from everyone else.

Any additional information you would like to provide?Continue reading

Want to Get Involved with TEXAAN? How About Being a 2018 Committee Chair

How can I get involved with academic advising? How can I engage in professional development in some way other than sitting through conference sessions? How do I get involved with TEXAAN?

Have you ever asked yourself any of those questions?

Taking the initial step to getting involved in an organization or in the field of academic advising can be unknown and perhaps a bit daunting. However, TEXAAN has a great opportunity for its members to get involved with the upcoming 2018 TEXAAN Annual Conference in Houston, TX. It’s a low risk/high reward experience that one should not pass up.

As TEXAAN celebrates its 25th year of holding its annual conference, the conference coordinators are looking for a group engaged committee chairs to help coordinate specific committees for the annual conference. All it takes to be eligible for a committee chair position is to be a TEXAAN member in good standing, have institutional support to participate with the conference planning committee, and a willingness to lend ideas and energy.Continue reading

TEXAAN Notes from NACADA 2016

Another annual NACADA conference came to a close in Atlanta this October, but things are just heating up for TEXAAN and it’s members. Here are the minutes from the Region 7 Texas State Meeting that was held during the NACADA Annual Conference.

  • Matthew Haynes, TEXAAN President, opened the meeting, introducing the present TEXAAN officers.
  • Betsy Haddad, TEXAAN NACADA State Liaison, spoke on the benefits of joining TEXAAN, using the TEXAAN website, the current TEXAAN Awards Application process, and open officer positions for election during the 2017 TEXAAN Conference.
  • Officer positions open for election:
    • President-Elect
    • Vice President of Programs
    • Vice President of Technology
    • Secretary
    • Read more about the different officer positions in the TEXAAN Constitution.
  • 2017 TEXAAN Advising Awards

TEXAAN Delivers

Welcome to the place to receive all your TEXAAN news and happenings. Quarterly newsletters, timely stories, member contributions, and much more will begin to show up here. This is in addition to TEXAAN's presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Have an article, some research, a best practice or tip for fellow TEXAAN advisors? Submit it to publications@texaan.org.

See you in February in Fort Worth for the annual TEXAAN conference.

A Q&A With the 2016 Best in TEXAAN Winners

 

2016 Best in TEXAAN Award Lauren A. Fairley- Academic Advisor I, Texas State University Terrance J. McClain- Academic Advisor I, Texas State University

Name of presenters, job title, & institution

  • Lauren A. Fairley- Academic Advisor I, Texas State University
  • Terrance J. McClain- Academic Advisor I, Texas State University

What is the name of your presentation?

  • Get Turnt! Advising Student Organizations

How did you select the topic?

  • This topic was chosen out of passion for student organizations. As academic advisors, we believe that it is important to involve ourselves with campus life. As such, we both have chosen to advise student organizations and have seen great benefits in our interaction and connection with students.

Why is it important for academic advisors to know about this topic?

  • It is important for academic advisors to know about this topic because it will enable advisors to gain a better understanding and connection to their students.  By being involved in the lives of students through campus organizations an advisor can have a greater understanding or how to serve their students.

How did it feel to win the 2016 Best in TEXAAN presentation award?Continue reading

Spring Update: TEXAAN 2016 – Facts & Figures

23rd Annual TEXAAN Conference

Dates
February 17-19, 2016

Location
Austin, Texas at the Holiday Inn Midtown

Theme
“Advising with a Capital A: Advanced Approaches to Academic Advising”


Number of Attendees

Final number pending

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Gary Hartman, Professor of History & Director of the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University

Number of Concurrent Sessions
32 concurrent sessions

Best in TEXAAN Award
Get Turnt: Advising Student Organizations presented by Lauren Fairley (Academic Advisor I, Texas State University); Terrance McClain (Academic Advisor I, Texas State University)

TEXAAN Award Winners

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