Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jill Channing

Committee Members

Don Good, Amy Moreland


The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenographic study was to understand the experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives of new, primary role academic advisors at four-year public institutions in the United States. Research on advising has provided insight into advising best practices and the student perceptions of academic advising; however, there is little research illustrating current primary role academic advisors and their experience, or perhaps lack thereof.

To receive highly coveted federal and state funding, higher education institutions must show growth in student success. Academic advisors are on the front lines of student success because they are tasked with the responsibility of retaining students at the respective institution through graduation. Research has indicated the importance of effective advising as it directly relates to student success metrics.

Only recently have a small number of post-secondary graduate programs in the United States established certificate or degree programs specific to academic advising. Also, there are no required training standards for the profession. Because of this, advisors arrive on campus with diverse educational and occupational backgrounds and experiences that may or may not be related to their work with students that directly impacts student success.

This research involved interviews with 17 new, primary role academic advisors at four-year public institutions in the United States. Participants discussed their educational and occupational backgrounds and experiences prior to entering the advising profession, their training and development experiences, and their knowledge and perceptions of NACADA’s Core Competency Model and student development theory as it applies to advising. This study added to the gaps in literature by providing specific examples of experience and knowledge of academic advisors currently working with students in the United States. Additionally, there are vast differences in advisor knowledge and understanding of NACADA’s Conceptual Core Competency and student development theories. Many advisors are aware of ideas related to professional best practices whereas others understand specific concepts related to best practices in academic advising. The findings may be used to address the necessity of implementing a university-wide, standard training and development program using NACADA’s Core Competency model as a guide for effective advising practice.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright 2022 by Alicia N. Abney