DEVELOPMENTAL ADVISING FOR MARGINALIZED COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS: AN ACTION RESEARCH STUDY
Jones, Terrica Susan
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The purpose of this action research study was to understand, evaluate, and improve the developmental advising practices used at a Washington State community college. This action research study endeavored to strengthen the developmental advising model originally designed to support the college's marginalized students. Guiding questions for the study included: (a) What are the advising philosophies and the practices of the advisors? (b) In what ways do advisors' philosophies and practices reflect developmental and/or prescriptive advising models? (c) How can advisors' developmental advising practices be enhanced? To collect data, the study relied on qualitative methods including observations and interviews of the advisors who advise a large population of marginalized students. An action research team collaborated in the study to evaluate the research findings and recommendations for improvements. The study was guided by Stringer's model of the "Look, Think, and Act" phases of the action research cycle.The major findings of the study were: (a) The developmental advising approach in this setting needs to be better sustained to be successfully implemented, (b) Organizational and technological constraints in this setting impact the developmental advising model and need to be addressed, and (c) Part of addressing these constraints is related to sustaining developmental advising practices through professional development and training. Using these findings, the action research team formulated a set of recommendations to improve developmental advising. These included: (a) teaching the developmental advising philosophy to advisors, faculty advisors and newly hired advising staff, (b) examining New Student Orientation programs, the 3 quarter educational plan requirement, and Early Alert processes, and (c) professional development for advisors and faculty advisors, trainings on advising technologies, and interdepartmental cross training.