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Name: Joshua Ford

Class: Advising Student Groups


Product: Advising Philosophy
Primary Competencies Addressed:
Knowledge Competency:

A. individual, group, and organizational and leadership theories and their relevance to

student affairs practice.


F. how student development and learning theory and research is relevant to student learning
and personal development

Professional Competency:

I A: perform adminstrative functions and services in selected student affairs functional areas

(at least 2 distinct areas)


I D: formulate goals; implement strategies for achieving goals through efficient and

effective use of resources and evaluation of goal attainment


IV D: advise student groups and organizations
IV E: apply student learning and developmental theory to student affairs practice in a
specific context
Advising Philosophy Reflection
This reflection is based on a paper written about my advising philosophy from the Advising
Student Groups Workshop, as well as my experiences advising the Department of Newsom
Affairs (DNA) and the Laurel Village Hall Council (LVHC). At the time of taking this
course and writing this philosophy I was very conscious of the responsibility that comes
with being an adviser to a group of students. Deciding to be an adviser was, for me, a
commitment to a group of students not to be taken lightly. I now reflect on this and wish
that I would have thought more about where an adviser spends their time rather than the
amount of time. During my first year as the adviser of DNA I spent portions of my time

helping them come up with program ideas and planning and executing those ideas. My
approach now looks very differently. I now look to my Events Planning Chair of hall
council and have trainings and conversations around skill building. By helping my students
develop skills, opposed to completing tasks, I can establish confidence and a sense of selfauthorship that is much more important.
In my philosophy I also focused on using Tuckmans model for group development. I am
enjoying using this philosophy to guide my work still, however this year I find myself
coaching the President of the organization to focus on these steps rather than completing
them all myself. This also leaves me space to conduct additional recognition for the
amazing work that my students have been able to complete. By coaching the president of
the organization, she has been able to create some of the visioning for the group as well as
facilitate dialogue with the executive board to decide how we reach our goals and vision. I
am then able to meet with the president and provide feedback. I have witnessed how much
my voice already shows up in a room by hearing students repeat verbatim what I say one on
one to the entire group. If this is happening, I need to avoid taking up additional space in
meetings by offering my ideas for programs or other items of business.
My advising philosophy continues to grow. I believe I can now articulate the difference
between advising and supervising and see my skills in both growing as my second year of
SAHE begins.
Advising Philosophy
Joshua A. Ford
Colorado State University

Advising Philosophy
Introduction
Over the course of this semester I have been able to develop my advising philosophy
through course work, readings, and discussion as well as my experiences advising the Newsom
Hall Council. I have realized through my experiences how much of a time commitment advising
a student group can be. Through attending meetings, executive board meetings, events,
trainings/retreats, and other responsibilities as they arise the time commitment can accumulate
quickly. Because of the large responsibility that advising entails, choosing to decide whether or
not to advise or not is a part of the philosophy I have created. I have also considered group
dynamics and functional practices involved in student organizing.
Deciding to Advise
There are many times in a student affairs career where I may be asked to advise a student
organization. Some circumstances may appear as part of a job description, such as my current
role as the Hall Council advisor of the residence hall I co-direct. Other times, a student may
know of a common interest I share in their organizations mission. Or, finally, I may be asked
out of association or availability; not based on shared interests. There are several questions any
prospective advisor should ask an organizations leadership before agreeing to be their advisor
out of interest for ones self and for the students. I will fully investigate the organizations
mission and history to understand the role of this group on campus. I will also seek to
understand what the students in this organization desire from a potential advisor. There will be
certain aspects of my advising style that would not be flexible, such as values of social justice
and inclusion, and other traits that may be more flexible if the organization requires a different
approach. I will be upfront with my students about my advising style before allowing myself or

the organization to accept an advisor offer. Lindsay Sell (2013) said in our class panel that over
time her value of attending all organizations meetings and events have changed, but currently if
an organization she advised asked her to attend every meeting, she might inquire about what role
the students are looking for an advisor to fill. Having these conversations with students about
their expectations is crucial to the success of an advisor.
Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution
As an advisor I will make tracking group dynamics and cohesion a priority. By utilizing
Tuckmans model of group development an advisor will be able to better present activities to aid
in the groups progress (Dunkel & Schuh, 1998). As a student group is forming I have the tools
to lead icebreakers, retreats and various team-builders to begin group development. In storming
I will be able to facilitate mediation and conduct discussions or rebuilding activities to move into
the norming stage. Once in norming I will be able to support students as they create traditions
and establish group pride through t-shirts or pins. When groups are performing my job will be
recognition and providing constructive feedback to encourage future growth. And lastly
adjourning, I will commit myself to helping my students translate their experiences in order to
apply what they have gained or learned in an interview or a new job setting.
Functional Pieces of Student Organizing
Event Planning
Programming and event planning are large responsibilities for many student
organizations. As an advisor I will assist my students with safety and liability concerns with
events. Helping students to navigate insurance and avoiding unnecessary risk will be a major
factor of programming that I will assist with. I will attend my students events as often as
possible out of solidarity but also to be available to address unethical behavior or in case of an

emergency. Attention to the organizations funds and bank account will be observed to assist with
accountability of managing funds.
Challenge and Support
As an advisor it will not be my goal to ever dictate or direct what the organization does.
To all possible means I hope to never tell my students, no, but rather challenge problematic
ideas by asking questions that allow students to process making their own meaning. By utilizing
challenge and support models I can support students making their own choices and challenge
choices that may entail repercussions that may not be immediately foreseeable.
Conclusion
My course experiences and guest advisor panel have shaped my advising philosophy.
Some of the ethical principles I will practice I am basing off of the panel. One guest speaker on
the panel (2013) said that before staying at a students home during a conference they would ask
the organization to pay for a hotel room. This ethical dilemma arises out of use of student funds
versus relationship boundaries. I plan to always challenge and support my students while letting
them make their own decisions.

References
Dunkel, N.W., and Schuh, J.H., (1998). Advising Student Groups and Organizations. San
Francisco, CA. Jossey Bass
Oldham, K., Diaz, H., Bowen, A., Sell, L. (2013). Advisor Guest Panel.