Transportation in Atlanta

Here are some options to make getting around Atlanta just a bit easier!

Did you know that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has been named the world’s busiest airport every year in a row since 1998?  It accommodates more than 260,000 passengers daily (that’s almost 100 million passengers per year!) and the airport itself has 207 gates.  It is the largest structure owned by the City of Atlanta!  80% of U.S. consumers (that’s more than 200 million people!) are within a two hours’ flight time to Atlanta.Hartsfield-Jackson

Many of you will venture by plane to Atlanta and pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and we hope to give you some suggestions on arriving to and navigating ground transportation at the 2016 NACADA conference with ease.

An option for traveling to and from the airport is SuperShuttle.  You can use the code 8H7HT to save 10% on booking, but does not include gratuity.

If you’d like to travel like a local, you might want to try MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), which is the underground subway system.  Peachtree Center MARTA Station is the closest station to the hotels, which would be about a block or so away.  Both the Red and Yellow lines will take you from the airport to Peachtree Center.  A single trip will cost $2.50, and a roundtrip will cost $5.00.  If you choose, you may purchase a Breeze Card, which is a durable, long-term use card that allows you to load and reload fares to the card.  If you’re planning on doing a lot of MARTA travel while in town, you may want to consider purchasing a Breeze Card rather than single-fare tickets for all travel to each of your destinations.  The MARTA is a safe way of travel, but many locals choose not to take MARTA after 9 or 10 pm.  MARTA stops travel at 1 am, so make sure you’ve arrived back to the hotel by then or you may be calling an Uber or taxi!Subway

While renting a car might be on your mind, Atlanta is a very sprawling city, and if you have never been to Atlanta or are not familiar with the area, renting a car may prove to be more stressful than you think.  Among such stressors include: finding parking, a trip only a few Street Signmiles away ends up turning out to be a 30- to 40-minute travel experience, 71 streets in the City of Atlanta with variances of “Peachtree” in their names, and the infamous Atlanta rush hour.  Atlanta morning rush hour times tend to begin about 7 am and don’t end until 10 am, and evening rush hour begins around 3:30 pm and usually lasts until 7:30 pm or so.  If you plan on renting a car and driving on your own, plan for PLENTY of travel time!  Information is listed on NACADA’s website if you choose to rent a car!Highway

Around town, taking an Uber or calling a taxi may be a better bet, both for your nerves and your sanity!  You can download the Uber app on your smartphone, or use the taxi information on NACADA’s website.  Of course, you can always talk to the hotel’s concierge desk for local taxi numbers as well.

We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!


2016 Conference Planning Committee

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Hotels in Atlanta

Getting ready for a great conference in Atlanta? Below is information to help you decide where to stay.

The conference is being held at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta with the possibility of a couple of breakouts in the Hilton.  NACADA has secured blocks of rooms at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, the Marriot Marquis, and the Hilton Atlanta.  If you haven’t booked your room, you may do so by booking through the NACADA Room Block.

If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games series, you might recognize some scenery while at the conference.  If you stay in the upper levels of the Marriott Marquis and ride the elevator to the top, you might recognize the interior of the hotel in this clip of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Even more, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 used the interior of the hotel to depict scenes of the Capitol.

Marriott Marquis

The Hyatt Regency Atlanta is known for its signature blue dome, and is one of the most recognized buildings in Atlanta.  Beneath the blue dome is a revolving restaurant called Polaris, which might be a fun option for dinner one night!  The Hyatt Regency is connected by skywalk to the Marriott Marquis and is a brief three-minute walk to the conference venue.

Hyatt Regency

The Hilton Atlanta is also a part of NACADA’s Room Block, and is a great option for staying.  The Hilton is connected to the Marriott Marquis by skywalk and will take just about a minute to arrive to the conference.

Hilton Atlanta

We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!


2016 Conference Planning Committee

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When the Path Is Not Clear: An Advisor’s Response to Students’ Academic Detours

Student retention is a hot topic in most advising offices.  Sometimes students’ paths through college are clear—like following the proverbial yellow brick road.  While they may encounter flying monkeys, they do not stray from the path and successfully complete their degrees.academicdetours

For others, though, the path is veiled as in fog.  For these students, we must encourage them to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  While the fog may eventually dissipate and the path may become clear, this is not true for everyone.  How do we encourage students whose paths through college are foggy and full of detours?  We must respond with empathy, refer appropriate resources, and stick with them to graduation.

  • Empathy: As Jerry Ford states in “A Caring Attitude,” “Do unto your advisees as you would have had your advisor do unto you.”  Practicing empathy requires us to not simply acknowledge students’ situations but also to go beyond trying to walk in their shoes.  Personally, I think about how I would not only want an advisor to treat me but also my child or family member.  When a student encounters difficulty, be there and care.
  • Refer Appropriate Resources: As advisors, we must know when to refer students to academic resources as well as resources such as counseling. Knowledge of the warning signs of student distress is key as many students who experience detours on their paths through college may require assistance beyond their advisor and academic resource centers.  Find out about training sessions that may be offered by your campus counseling center so that you can effectively refer students.
  • Stick with Them: Even if students change academic programs and are no longer our advisees or switch to a faculty advisor, we must make an effort to follow-up with them so that they know we are still available. In “Academic Advising and Student Retention and Persistence,” Charlie Nutt asserts that “academic advisors offer students the personal connection to the institution that the research indicates is vital to student retention and student success.”  Sticking with them may be the key to helping them persist to graduation.

So, while we as advisors may not be the wizards of our academic Oz, we are most definitely able to encourage and empower students to persist by responding to them with empathy, referring them to appropriate resources, and sticking with them to graduation.

Janneal D. Gifford
Academic Advisor
Valparaiso University

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Admitted Students Day

The University Advising Center (UAC) at The University of Texas at Arlington serves first-time first year students. All of these students are with the UAC from Orientation through their first year before the students are transitioned to departmental advising. This model has served the university well, as it allows students a chance to receive more attention and services during their crucial first year.

Early admissions programs help attract both high achievers and help universities with enrollment management (Park & Eagan, 2011). To meet the need to work with these students, the UAC started a pilot program this year to have an Admitted Students Day in March exclusively for high-achieving students. This event allowed them to meet with the advisor liaison for their desired major, get early advising and registration for classes, and an early introduction to college life. Advisors in the UAC produced a short video featuring a student worker during an advising appointment with an advisor. The video showed students at the event how an advising appointment works, and what students can do to be prepared for a session.

Students reacted positively to Admitted Students Day, and especially noted that the video helped demonstrate how to ask questions during a session with an advisor. The attendees were given information on how to utilize campus resources for high-achieving students on campus such as the Honors College and McNair Scholars Program. Some of the students expressed that they appreciated the chance to find out about resources at the beginning of their college careers. “Maverick Jump Start was a great opportunity for us to both educate prospective students and allow them to secure their class schedule early. Students and parents alike seemed to find the event informative and exciting. They were happy to be able to register ahead of their peers giving them a greater sense of commitment to UTA and relieving some of the anxiety about transitioning to a university,” said Andrea Scott, M.Ed., Assistant Director of Recruitment.

Going forward, the UAC will be working with administrators on researching the effectiveness of the event, and the impact on student on retention. UAC staff will also work on additional video scenarios to help familiarize students with the resources provided to students in their first year.

Reference: Park, Julie J., and M. K. Eagan Jr. “Who goes early?: A multi-level analysis of enrolling via early action and early decision admissions.” Teachers College Record 113.11 (2011): 2345-2373.


Emmanuel Garcia
Academic Advisor
University of Texas-Arlington

Rebekah Chojnacki
Academic Advisor
University of Texas-Arlington

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Questioning #AcAdv Values: A Global Perspective at the Regional Level

At the welcome on April 7th, 2016 at the NACADA Region V Conference in Toronto, I had the good fortune to participate in the official opening.  As I told those who attended, it was indeed one of my favorite events given the intimacy of the conference as well as the cross-cultural perspective inherent in a region that transcends geographical boundaries. True to form, the dialogue overheard throughout the three days did not disappoint. Academic advisors, personal tutors, administrators and faculty alike reflected on NACADA’s core values, as well as theory and practice, really getting to the center of what it means to be an “academic advisor” regardless of historical or cultural context. Through these conversations, three major themes seemed to appear: inclusivity, integrity, and a deep passion to impact student success in a holistic way.

In relation to inclusivity, attendees wanted a place and a statement that encouraged all aspects of “advisor” identity to be considered in decisions we make as an organization from gender to race and ethnicity; language to vocabulary; and from one higher educational history and context to another. It became clear that those of us in the United States are the forebears to other countries and this may be a space where we take our own history with academic advising for granted at times when we discuss the field. What might looking at the stages of advising in other locations offer the field? How are these practices evolving differently? How might NACADA better address these needs? How are researchers examining these unique contexts?

IMG_0892Secondly, integrity was noted – not only in discussions around advisor responsibility and personal integrity, but the integrity of our institutions as well. As advisors, we walk a delicate line of doing what is right by the students and what is right by our institutions sometimes. What happens when what is best for our students conflicts with the interests of our organizations? How do we best balance these competing needs as advisors? Can we make a statement for our profession that helps us reinforce this is who we are and what we do when that integrity is called into question?

Finally, methods for working holistically with our students and colleagues in ways that attended to cultural difference and recognized that “success” may not be the same for every culture or every student emerged. For one student, success might mean completing their degree, but to another, it may mean gaining a particular skill in a course. How do we, as an advising community, prevent biased notions of “success” from clouding the student’s vision? How do we expand to other approaches and grab for a tool from our toolkit to best meet their needs? How can we lean on other disciplines to inform our own practice?

I do not pretend to have the answers to the questions I have just posed related to inclusivity, integrity or student success – yet. However, I do sincerely invite you to continue your engagement in the broader discussions of our field through the core values, as well as through conducting your own research, just as the Region V participants did in a global way. Engage in deep conversations on your campuses. Help to answer some of the big questions that surround our work and know that NACADA is sincere in it’s wanting to hear from membership. Truly, academic advising is expanding globally and as new voices become engaged in the conversation, I can only imagine and hope for what the future of the field may hold.
Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D.
Associate University Ombudsperson / Research Integrity Coordinator
Michigan State University

Shannon Lynn Burton, PhD, is the Associate University Ombudsperson at Michigan State University, as well as the Research Integrity Coordinator. In these roles she has sought out ways to build a culture of academic integrity by restructuring and institutionalizing the Academic Integrity Consortium, which she directs, as well as by engaging faculty, staff and students in other venues to address this issue at a grassroots level. Shannon seeks to give voice to issues on campus including those affecting student rights and responsibilities, as Shannon8979WEBwell as student success. Her accomplishment in these endeavors is evidenced by her receipt of a 2010 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award and 2011 Outstanding Dissertation Award by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA), as well as the 2013 Distinguished Civilian Michigan State University ROTC Service Award and MSU’s 2014 Student Veteran Supporter of the Year. Her research interests include ombuds practice, academic advising, academic integrity, ethics and legal issues, and organizational culture.

Shannon serves the broader professional community through her work on the International Ombudsman Association’s (IOA) Title IX Task Force, as one of the inaugural co-chairs for the Research and Assessment Committee for IOA and as Associate Editor for the Journal of the IOA. Additionally, Shannon is Michigan State University’s lead representative to the International Center for Academic Integrity. Finally, Shannon continues to serve in leadership roles for NACADA: the Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA) as she has since 2006. Currently, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors and as a reviewer for the NACADA Journal, as well as a consultant for NACADA’s Consultants and Speakers Bureau.

Shannon can be reached via or on Twitter @msuburton

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Supporting Students with Technology: Academic Advising Perceptions and Practices in Higher Ed

Whether it is campus change or technological necessity, we need a way to encourage advising programs to consider technology for both content and service delivery for learner-centered advising approaches. By researching technological trends and challenges, conducting campus-wide assessments, and establishing strategic plans, higher education stakeholders can integrate technology into student support practices.

To understand the impact technology has on student support and advising practice The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA) association, specifically the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission sponsors surveys for the NACADA membership (e.g. 2002, 2007, and 2011). In 2013 a survey was designed to understand the perspectives of how technology in being used in higher education advising practices. A total of 990 respondents completed the survey with 65% identified as an academic advisor/counselor, 22% as advising administrators, and 4% as faculty.

Key findings from this study:

  • Top 3 advising technologies: desktop computers, campus storage networks, & Wi-Fi
  • Technology tools/platforms the institution wants advisors to use: learning management systems (46%) and laptops (40%)
  • Technology tools/platforms utilized by advisors: 24% use scanners and 23% use social networks (e.g. Twitter and Facebook).
  • Advisors communicate with technology (daily) primarily with: other academic advisors/counselors (86.35%) and students (89.88%).
  • Advisors less frequently use technology to communicate with: academic administrators (58.08%), faculty (47.22%), & student affairs administrators (37%).
  • Daily advising practices include: e-mail (99%); face-to-face interactions (91%); locally installed word processor, spreadsheets, etc. (80%); phone (73%) and Facebook (30%).
  • Less frequently used advising technology (< 2%): licensed video-conferencing (e.g. Adobe Connect, Wimba, Zoom), retention software, photo-sharing websites, and podcasts.

When asked what their “ideal technology in advising practice” to support students and advising functions, respondents wanted advising technology to:

  • Be integrated into current systems and existing campus technologies.
  • Create opportunity and access for student support and advising regardless of physical location, time, etc.
  • Help build an advising rapport, make connections, and support communication.
  • Support transparent knowledge sharing and degree completion information.
  • Scaffold effective online and blended models of academic advising.
  • Address the needs and challenges related to advisor and learner preferences and/or practices for student support/services.
  • Capture the holistic view of the student learning experience, which is essential to enhance academic advising practices and institutional outcomes.

Campus decisions about learning technologies need to include delivery that is inclusive of advising and not just the classroom. From this research, it there is both a need and desire to improve front-line advising and student support practices in higher education. In the efforts to expand upon this research and distribute this knowledge the survey instrument, data, and white paper (also shared on the NACADA #AdvTech Commission Resource Page as a PDF) from this study are shared by the researchers with a Creative Commons license.


Pasquini, Laura A.; Steele, George (2016): Technology in academic advising: Perceptions and practices in higher education. figshare. Retrieved from


Laura Pasquini, Ph.D.
University of North Texas






George Steele, Ph.D.
Ohio State University


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The Beauty of Reno and the Benefits of a Summer Institute

Welcome to the most mountainous state in the Union!  My name is Blane Harding and I am the Director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity at the University of Nevada Reno and I am also a faculty member for the NACADA Summer Institute held at Reno’s Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in June 2016.  I started my position at the University in June 2015 and it was one of the best professional and personal decisions I have made.  Prior to applying at the University of Nevada Reno I had never envisioned myself living in Nevada let alone Reno!  Boy things have changed since then.  Reno is a city that has a plethora of arts, culture, museums, casinos, walking trails, tourist activities, and the Truckee River runs down the center of town and offers a variety of river activities and exceptional Reno Blog 1outdoor restaurants to enjoy the beautiful weather and downtown nightlife.

When I began everyone told me that all the activities were only a fifteen minute drive away and after being here for a year they were not lying.  The Atlantis where the NACADA 2016 Summer Institute is being held has 8 magnificent restaurants, an award winning spa, a children’s center, and is only a five minute walk from the Reno Town Mall and rooms in the NACADA Room block start at $79 plus resort fee! There is also a free shuttle service for the 10 minute drive from the airport to the Atlantis!  You would never have to leave the Atlantis to enjoy the pleasures and relaxing environment of Reno but given the other exceptional activities you just might want to venture out and experience all Reno has to offer.  One of my favorites is the National Automobile Museum located in the Harrah Hotel.  Even if you are not a car enthusiast this is an exceptional collection of automobile history, complete with some of the finest cars in the world and period items and clothing.  Automobiles owned Reno Blog 2and driven by Elvis Presley, James Dean, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as vintage race cars and fire engines.

For the sports enthusiasts the Reno Aces are a AAA team that plays in one of the finest AAA ballparks in the country and Lake Tahoe is only a short 45 minute drive up Mt. Rose and a must see for anyone visiting the area.  The Nevada Museum of Art is a short cab ride from the Atlantis and displays the history of this beautiful state as well as offering various tours.

If all of this does not entice you to visit Reno the benefits of being a participant in the Summer Institute should.  This will be my 13th time having the honor to serve as a faculty member for the Institute and each time I do I walk away with increased knowledge concerning my profession, a greater appreciation for my colleagues across the country, and energy to know what we do can and does make a difference.  As a participant you will have access to the best faculty NACADA can provide which includes former NACADA Presidents, former Chairs of the Summer Institute, Directors of very successful advising centers, as well as the unlimited experience of the other participants.  You will hear about what works and has been effective on other campuses that you can bring to your own campus, build lasting relationships with those in attendance and particularly Reno Blog 3with those in your Work groups that meet on a daily basis throughout the experience. You will have the opportunity to work on and gain feedback on an Action Plan that you can bring back to your campus to make changes and improve the services you provide your students.  I am still in contact with and continue to learn from the individuals I met at my first Summer Institute in 2006!

I strongly encourage you as an individual to attend the absolute best training an advisor can receive or bring a team from your institution to work on a plan to help reach our ultimate goal of graduating students!


Blane A. Harding
Summer Institute Planning Committee

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