Area of Specialization: Advising the Holistic Student

I created my Area of Specialization to reflect my career goals in higher education. Currently, I am beginning the process of applying to professional positions, and I am most drawn to positions where much of my time will be spent advising students in some way, individually or in small groups. Advising appeals to me the most because of the relationships that I’m able to build with students and the creative work we get to do together to figure out how they can achieve their goals.

However, the Holistic Student reflects a developmental approach to learning that considers the student outside of the classroom or advising appointment, in a residence hall, a student organization, the gym, or in relationships with others. Therefore, although my internships were all advising internships or teaching a course that acts as small group advising, the coursework I took reflects the holistic nature of student experiences in higher education, which moves beyond the challenges they face in their school work. AHE 599, First Year Student Programs and Philosophies, focused on the transition issues for incoming first year students as an element of development. AHE 599, Disability Issues, concerned itself with students with disabilities, as well as law and resources that impact that student group and benefit all stakeholders using Universal Design principles. AHE 599, Academic Advising, examined the theoretical underpinnings of the work of advising in the academic realm, in addition to the strategies and competencies necessary to be a great advisor. WS 535, Feminist Teaching and Learning, looked at teaching through a feminist lens by considering the identities of the students and creating a community of learning where personal experience is valued and an essential aspect of coursework. Finally, AHE 599, Student Leadership and Organization Development focused on developing students as leaders and supporting student organizations as a way for them to practice different types of leadership.

Students aren’t just students, and this simple fact is what motivated me to focus my Area of Specialization on the Holistic Student. Students have many other roles and identities, on campus, in their communities, and in their personal lives and relationships. I hope to be cognizant of all of these aspects of students when I advise them in my future professional position.

For more specific reflections on several students I have advised holistically, please click on the links below:

Advising Holistic Students #1

Advising Holistic Students #2

Advising Holistic Students #3


AHE 599: First Year Student Programs and Philosophies, 2 Credits

AHE 599: Disability Issues, 2 Credits

AHE 599: Academic Advising, 3 Credits

WS 535: Feminist Teaching and Learning, 3 Credits

AHE 599: Student Leadership and Organization Development, 3 Credits


Advising for General Engineering, College of Engineering, 2 Credits

Advising for the University Exploratory Studies Program, 4 Credits

Teaching a Recitation Section of ALS 114, Career Decision Making, for 3 Terms, 6 Credits

Interning at Western Oregon University’s Student Enrichment (TRiO) Program, 4 Credits