Advisor’s Lunch & Learn – Intrusive Advising and Student Success

As part of my final requirements for my M. Ed. in Post-secondary studies, I was required to create a dissemination plan for the results of my research and development paper on intrusive academic advising. To meet this requirement, I gave a lunch & learn presentation to academic advisors and student affairs professionals. The lunch & learn series was established by the University of Saskatchewan Advising Council.

The slides from the presentation are available for download.

Intrusive Academic Advising and Student Success


Advisor’s Day 2018 – The Pastoral Care Model of Academic Advising

Since presenting at the AASK Conference in 2015 about the pastoral ministry mindset and academic advising, I have continued to refine and develop the Pastoral Care Model of Academic Advising. I recently presented this topic at the University of Saskatchewan’s Advisor’s Day. I would like to acknowledge the contributions of my colleague Michael MacLean in the development of this theoretical model.

The model of academic advising used at St. Thomas More College combines elements of Student Development Theory,  the philosophy of academic advising as teaching, and comprehensive campus ministry model. Although developed in a Catholic context, the principles of the Pastoral Care Model are easily adapted to secular and multi-faith environments. These principles include pastoral care of students as people, hospitality, vocational discernment, holistic view of wellness, and responsibilities to community and the common good. These principles are also easily extrapolated beyond academic advising into allied forms of student support.

Advising Day 2018 – Pastoral Care Model of Advising



Intrusive Advising and Student Success

This research and development paper was written and submitted as part of the requirements for my final class in the M. Ed. (Post-secondary Studies) at Memorial University of Newfoundland.


Student success has important economic and social benefits, and is the central goal of post-secondary education. Academic achievement, student retention, and student satisfaction are essential components of student success. Utilizing campus support services is a recognized predictor of student success, so it is also a significant concern for colleges and universities. Academic advising is a ubiquitous service with the unique potential to help students connect the academic and non-academic elements of their post-secondary experience.  Many colleges and universities, however, rely on passive delivery of advising which may limit student success. Intrusive advising approaches can be used to increase student advising rates but require greater resources to implement. Before committing additional advising resources, post-secondary institutions need reasonable confidence that improved success outcomes can be achieved. This paper used a critical literature review method to examine how intrusive advising can be used to improve student success. The review found that most of the published studies support the use of intrusive advising to increase advising rates and promote student success, particularly with at-risk students. There remain, however, important questions about what types of advising intrusion work best, and which types of students respond best to specific types of advising. Additional large-scale, empirically robust, research is needed to improve generalizability of results. More advising research in the Canadian post-secondary context is also needed. Colleges and universities should proceed with caution when implementing intrusive advising to ensure resources are used efficiently and the desired objectives are achieved. Continue reading Intrusive Advising and Student Success

Identity – Advisors Day 2017

The second annual Advisors Day was put on by the Advising Council at the University of Saskatchewan on Friday April 4th. The theme for the day was identity, an interesting and important topic for the academic and student advising profession.

I was honoured to give the keynote presentation and have attached my slides below.

avoiding identity crisis in advising – advisors day 2017

I also gave a breakout session presentation about integrating learning styles and teaching styles theory into advising practice.

advising with style – advisors day 2017

I hope that my colleagues found the information interesting and useful. If you have any questions, write them in the comments section.

High Impact Practices for Student Success

In late August of 2016, my colleague Michael MacLean and I facilitated the annual faculty and staff retreat for St. Thomas More College.  The retreat was held at Wanuskewin Heritage Park and we were charged with leading an interactive learning experience that fit into the theme of Enhancing the Student Experience.  Each year the retreat theme corresponds to one of our five strategic priorities. pdficon_small

The slides give a sense of the path that our discussion took but are, of course, limited in their ability to capture all of the ideas and energy that were generated during the day.

High Impact Practices for Student Success – presentation slides pdficon_small

Advising Syllabus – round 2

After a decent initial reaction to the presentation I gave at Advising Day back in April, I was asked to facilitate a follow-up session to allow for deeper exploration of the topic. The updated slides are attached below.

The discussion during the seminar was very interesting and wide ranging. Some of the items that stand out in my mind are:

  • keeping notes on advising session – sharing notes with other advisors in your department/unit – privacy and access  to information rights of students
  • consider visual ways to present information in an advising syllabus to accommodate different learning styles/preferences
  • the advocacy role that advisors should or should not play for students should be stated in the syllabus
  • how to ensure that the students desired outcomes are included in the syllabus

If you have an advising syllabus that you would like me to review, you can reach me at St. Thomas More College, or feel free to use the comments section below.

Advising Syllabus – seminar June 2016 pdficon_small (presentation slides)

Medernach Yard Adventures 3: A new spring dawns

A lot has changed in the yard since The green evolution: Medernach yard adventures part 2. The constant battle against limited time and resources caries on. Through some research, plotting, and experimentation, we’ve made some progress. I’ll post more photos once everything is in peak season later this summer, but for now, here’s what we have been up too.


Front Yard Highlights:

  • Holmstrup cedar planted to replace dwarf Alberta spruce that died over winter a couple of years ago. It hides the rain barrel and provides some nice winter greenery. Will grow to about 2 metres tall.
  • One boxwood remains by the step while several others succumb to winter kill so we rely on several potted annual flowers and herbs, and some birch stumps for visual interest.
  • Pruning deadwood and overgrowth from driveway hedge.
We’ve aggressively pruned the chokecherry and Manitoba Maples along our driveway to make room for more lilac and hopefully Amur Maple. We even have a volunteer grapevine in there too.


We need to do some pruning on our lilac once the flowers are done for the year. It’s a little overgrown.

We would like to someday add an apple tree to the front yard and convert more of the lawn into mixed beds along the neighbour’s driveway and the front sidewalk. Lawn is overrated.

Back Yard Highlights

Raised garden beds are one of the easiest ways to deal with bad soil. In a couple months this will be a source of lettuce, spinach, carrots, beans, raspberries, rhubarb, and pride.
  • 3 raised garden beds for fruit and vegetable production
  • Romeo and Juliet dwarf sour cherry shrubs
  • 2 highbush cranberry shrubs
  • Saskatoon berry tree responded well to being pruned to the ground a few years ago
  • Expanded perennial beds along the fence seem to meet with approval from local bees
  • moved the fireplace farther back in the yeard
  • 10×10 shed painted to our liking in the back corner
Our Saskatoon Berry has produced well the last couple years and continues to grow nicely. With some selective pruning, I hope to keep it productive and shape it a bit more nicely.


Notice the kids bunker fort made from an old dresser. Next to that are the cherry and cranberry bushes. Rebecca has marked out a rock line behind which I am to remove the grass.



Personal and Professional Musings

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