Friday, February 11, 2011

Mathematical Community Building

Earlier this week, Nicolette and I chatted about her upcoming conference session The Calculus Community Program: Combining Academic Support and Community Building Strategies to Foster Student Success. Had there been a program like this when I was a student, I might have stayed in my first math class a little longer instead of withdrawing and saving it until senior year. Even with my rusty math skills, Nicolette was able to help me solve one simple equation:
academic advisor(engaged students + community building)=student success
If I tweeted you, “I see you’re doing a session at #nacadaR2. Cool! What’s it about?” how would you reply via Twitter? 
It’s a fun & interactive support program created for students who share a common acad risk factor. It was created by twisting together concepts of acad success & prof development.
Why did you decide to do a presentation on this topic?
I'm passionate about and interested in this topic, which I think is the first key to a successful presentation. I recently created and implemented this program. GPA data illustrated a need for this program, and evaluation data illustrates program successes and areas for improvement, giving me a data driven reason to share. All of this information is easily transferrable so advisors can apply it to their new or existing support programs.
Why do you think this is important for NACADA Region 2?
NACADA Region 2 is “looking back to move forward”, coming together for the Region 2 conference to ask: What will advising evolve into over the next 30-40 years? My presentation represents what I think the future of advising is, creating support for the whole student through an academic community focused on not only academic success, but personal and professional success.
What’s the most important idea you hope attendees leave your session with?
Sometimes, when you’re teaching students about academic success strategies, it can feel prescriptive and repetitive. I want advisors to feel refreshed and the students empowered by what they’re learning so I’ve changed the way I present this information and incorporated professional development strategies such as networking, relationship building and leadership development. This holistic and proactive approach builds confidence and community, keys to academic success.
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
Learning new advising strategies and networking with my Region 2 colleagues, giving my presentation and enjoying Charlottesville.

Session Title: The Calculus Community Program: Combining Academic Support and Community Building Strategies to Foster Student Success
Day & Time: Thursday, April 7 @ 9:45 AM
Abstract: The Calculus Community program strives to create community, foster academic success, and educate students about their academic risk factors. Presentation attendees will discover the successes and challenges of the program, and be encouraged to share personal insights on the creation and implementation of support programs. This session will review the Calculus Community learning outcomes and quantitative and qualitative data. The importance of interpersonal relationships and student leadership development in the context of academic success will also be discussed. Attend this session to discover how to add a new twist to current programs or identify and meet a need by creating a new program. This session is appropriate for individuals with a wide range of advising and programming experience.

Nicolette Hall is an Academic Advisor in Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. She’s been an active member of the advising community for almost 2 years. You can reach her at

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