Improving Advising Effectiveness Through Interpersonal and Digital Communications

Improving Advising Effectiveness Through Interpersonal and Digital Communications

January 28 - 30, 2019 | San Antonio, TX


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Learn to better use social media, text messaging, and email to effectively connect with students.

Frontline advisors are among the most important resources for students both in terms of academic planning and for social and emotional support, yet advisors often express a need for training in how they can more effectively communicate with students. In this three-day workshop, you will learn techniques for building interpersonal relationships, having difficult conversations with students, and using digital communications most effectively to connect with students in a meaningful way.

This event is a unique blend of learning and doing - come ready to practice what you’ll learn in this highly interactive program. Because this conference will address both face-to-face and digital communications, we ask that you bring a laptop or other digital device that we will use for practice.


Pre-Conference Workshop: Developing a Training Program for Your Frontline Advisors

For those who train frontline advisors, join us for this optional pre-conference workshop and learn how to develop and set timelines, benchmarks, and metrics of success when training your staff. You’ll walk away with a framework and starting plan to create or adapt your own advisor training program. We then invite you to stay for the main conference to get ideas to inform the content and activities for your training program.


Who Should Attend

Frontline advisors and those who train frontline advisors will walk away with the skills and knowledge to improve your communications, both in-person and digitally, with the students they serve.

We encourage you to attend in teams! Tiered pricing is available for teams - see the registration row below for more details.

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Pre-conference Workshop: Developing a Training Program for Your Frontline Advisors
January 28, 2019 | 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Your registration for the pre-conference workshop includes breakfast and lunch on Monday, as well as access to the session and materials below.


Pre-conference Workshop: Developing a Training Program for Your Frontline Advisors              

During the workshop, we will cover timelines, benchmarks, and developing indicators of success. We then invite you to stay for the main conference to get ideas for the content and activities for your training program.



Main Conference Day 1: Engaging and Connecting
January 28, 2019 | 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Your registration for the main conference includes access access to the sessions below and materials, access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, and breakfast on Wednesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.


Registration, Welcome & Introductions, and Opening Activity

In this opening activity, you will engage in a discussion identifying your three biggest challenges in communicating with students.  



Being Approachable and Relatable to Students

You’ll learn how your method of communication can impact how well you relate to students. You will learn tactics for building rapport and how to reframe questions in order to have a productive conversation.



Activity: Email Workshop

In this working session, you will use what you learned in the previous session to workshop an email for outreach to students.



Day 1 Wrap Up & Networking Reception


Day 2: Maintaining Open Communication
January 29, 2019 | 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Utilizing Social Media for Outreach and Engagement

We’ll use this time to demonstrate how institutions have effectively used social media to engage students early and often with their advisors. From reminders about upcoming deadlines to fun gatherings and events, social media can help you stay connected with students in ways that are accessible, fun, and most importantly, effective.



Activity: Engaging Students Through Social Media

You’ll have the opportunity to participate in several activities where you can practice or refine your use of social media. This will be an engaging, interactive session where you learn with your peers.



Career Construction

In this hour, you will learn how to use Life Design Theory to help students to construct their personal narratives so they know where they have been, where they are, and where they want to be. This process helps you take advising from a transactional relationship to one of support and guidance.



Activity: Role-Playing a Life Design Meeting

In this working session, you will have an opportunity to role-play a Life Design meeting with peers at your tables. Facilitators will be on hand to answer questions and offer guidance.



Automating Digital Communications

The more you automate your regular, transactional communications, the more time and effort you can put towards meaningful, relational communications. Our experts will give you an overview of tools and tricks available to help you automate your regular advising communications.



Activity: Exploring Tools and Resources for Automating Your Outreach

In this working session, you will have an opportunity to explore some of the tools covered in the previous hour and see how you might adopt or adapt similar measures on your campus.



Creating an Effective Timeline/Calendar for Outreach

Building meaningful relationships with students depends on using strategic timing for your outreach efforts so that they are most effective. We will build upon the previous session to help you see how timing plays an integral role in engaging students.



Activity: Creating an Outreach Timeline/Calendar

In this final activity of the day, you will have an opportunity to use a template to create or modify your own outreach calendar. Facilitators will be on hand to answer questions and provide guidance.



Day 3: Addressing the Needs of At-Risk Students
January 30, 2019 | 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Utilizing Data to Prioritize Your Communication and Outreach

One of the keys to providing the most effective service to your students is being able to prioritize those who are struggling or have indicators that a challenge may be on the horizon. In this session, you will have an opportunity to hear how other institutions have used a wide variety of data to create early alerts in order to prioritize their outreach to students.



Activity: Create/Refine Protocols Once an At-Risk Student is Identified

In this working session, you will have an opportunity to create or refine your protocols for outreach once a student has been identified as at-risk.



Facilitating Difficult Conversations

As a frontline advisor, you will be among the first people with whom students will connect when they are experiencing frustrations. Being skilled in having difficult conversations, de-escalating emotional reactions, and providing feedback from a place of caring is paramount to your success as an advisor. In this session, you will learn how others have handled difficult situations and acquire techniques you can use when faced with similar challenges.



Activity: Role Playing Difficult Conversations

In this final working session, you will have an opportunity to practice your responses and outreach, in both face-to-face and digital environments, when faced with an emotionally charged situation. You will have an opportunity to get feedback from peers and facilitators.



Conference Wrap Up

January 28 - 30, 2019
San Antonio, TX

Conference Hotel Information:

Westin San Antonio Riverwalk
420 W Market Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

Room Rate: $189
Room Block Dates: The nights of January 27, 28, and 29, 2019.
Rate Available Until: January 10, 2019.

Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.

Reserve Your Room: Please call 210.224.6500 and indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate.


Steven Antalvari

Steven Antalvari

Director, Academic Engagement and Degree Completion
Kent State University

Steven provides centralized oversight to the advising offices within the Kent State University system. During his time here, he has focused on training advisors and University community in embracing Career Construction and related narrative driving techniques into student interactions.

Read Steven's full bio here.


Joe Connell

Assistant Vice President of Student Success
Ramapo College

Joe leads academic advising, career development, early alert, new student experience, opportunity programs, and placement testing. Joe has presented, served, and received awards for his work in several national higher education organizations.

Read Joe's full bio here.

ben forche square

Ben Forche

Director of Student Affairs
Ohio University

Ben is very passionate about the role Appreciative Advising plays in the relationship between a student and advisor and incorporates the use of technology in his academic advising relationships with students through virtual advising, mass communication, and automated systems. Combining these two practices has enabled Ben to connect with his students in a deeper, more meaningful and impactful method that students are seeking and prefer.

Read Ben's full bio here.


Cecilia Olivares

Senior Student Services Coordinator in Academic Exploration & Advising Services
University of Missouri

Cecilia's responsibilities include advising undeclared transfer students in the College of Arts & Sciences and for the MizzouMACC program for students dually enrolled between Mizzou and Moberly Area Community College. She also leads first generation and transfer student initiatives and is currently leading the development of a brand new transfer student center at Mizzou.

Read Cecilia's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?


Elizabeth Ross Hubbell
Senior Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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