Academic Advising Enrichment held the seventh annual UC Davis Academic Advising Conference May 11-13, 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the conference took place virtually. The conference focused on equity and inclusion related to advising.
Thank you to the 2021 UC Davis Academic Advising Conference facilitators for their leadership in planning and preparing for the conference, as well as guiding small group discussion sessions for participants.
- Ariel Collatz
- Daniela De La Cruz Telles
- Danielle Huddlestun
- Dionica Bell
- Erica Cefalo
- Geoff Murry
- Jennifer Doan
- Letia Graening
- Malina Gillies-Doherty
- Pamela Pretell
- Stacie Jenkins
Kayton Carter, the new Executive Director for Academic Advising Enrichment opened the conference with a number of acknowledgements to mark the importance of community. He held a moment of silence for our advising colleague and friend, Tanya Whitlow, who passed away on May 9, 2021. Tanya led the College of Engineering LEADR (Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention) program. Carter continued into a presentation on academic advising and student development within higher education, contextualizing key events that shaped the identity of many colleges today. The information and insights he shared laid the groundwork for the first guest speaker, Dr. Micere Keels, Associate Professor at the University of Chicago and author of Campus Counterspaces: Black and Latinx Students’ Search for Community at Historically White Universities.
Keels’ presentation for the UC Davis advising community, “Stepping Outside the Diversity Box: Considering Multiple Dimensions of Inclusion in Our Work with Students,” highlighted communication, policy & practice, academic, and social dimensions that institutions of higher education must address in order to move toward a fully inclusive experience for students. She affirmed that access to a degree must be coupled with the conditions and ability to persist. While Keels focused on many institutionally-driven challenges for minoritized students, she presented actionable opportunities for advisors. One question that advisors can integrate into their advising came from Keels’ research: “What is it that you are worried and concerned about that we have not discussed?” The first day of the conference concluded after Dr. Keels’ presentation. The second conference day provided a 90-minute opportunity for processing; advisor session facilitators led small groups through discussions based on the content from Keels’ presentation.
The third and final day of the conference centered upon self-reflection and tools for independent and collective growth aligned with equity. Equity specialist and consultant, Dr. Rachael Forester presented on “Transforming Advising through Equity Practices,” which addressed intent, impact, and accountability from the advising/advisor perspective. She discussed her definition of equity as both a process and a goal, the importance of critical consciousness, and our collective responsibility to do “mirror” work. In applying these things to advising, Forester provided a series of practical strategies to support minoritized students. Following the presentation, conference participants were led through a 75-minute small group discussion session, again facilitated by advisor colleagues.
The conference concluded with Executive Director Kayton Carter talking about “how we can be the change we want to see.” Opportunities for further engagement include participation in groups working to dismantle inequitable structures, policies, and practices, such as the newly approved Advising for Equity Administrative Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, the Critical Whiteness Collective (CWC), and the Social Justice and Advising Community (SJAC). Contact Nicole Wood to find out more about getting connected with these groups.