LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 31, 2017) — More than 60 academic advisors from the University of Kentucky met May 19 to enhance their skills and give back to the community at an annual day of professional development and service. Later in the day, 16 attendees volunteered to spruce up the Kentucky Horse Park for the High Hope Steeplechase on May 21.
All the attendees were aligned with the UK Advising Network, an affiliate of the National Academic Advising Association, sponsored by the Division of Student and Academic Life. Membership in the Advising Network is open to all UK employees including, but not limited to, academic advisors, faculty members, administrators, counselors, and others whose interests and work are related to academic advising. It was created as a place for advisors to hone their craft and develop professionally. Summer Eglinski currently chairs the group.
Because there have been several new hires in recent months due to the reorganization of the UK provost’s divisions to enhance the academic success of UK students, the network leaders began advisors’ day with “speed networking” to meet and learn about the new members of the team. Just to get conversations started, everyone was assigned a question they had to ask a new hire or even a colleague from across campus they did not know.
Once everyone was more familiar with their advising colleagues, old and new, Associate Professor John Nash from the UK Department of Educational Leadership Studies conducted a workshop in design thinking, which promotes the application of human centered design to create new solutions to challenges. Participants worked in pairs to create a solution for their partner’s morning routine. By asking thorough and detailed questions, each participant was expected to have enough information to create an object to improve his or her partner’s morning. Solutions included an automatic cat feeder, a personalized yoga routine and more.
This year’s service event took place at Lexington’s Kentucky Horse Park, the leading equestrian facility of its kind in the world. Sixteen advisors tidied landscaping, assembling fences and arranging tables for the High Hope Steeplechase that took place over the weekend. This year, the annual High Hope Steeplechase benefited the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and Central Kentucky Riding for Hope.
The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation supports the 1,200-acre park, known throughout the horse industry as a competition facility and working horse farm and, to nearly one million annual visitors, as a beautiful and serene tourist destination.
Central Kentucky Riding for Hope is a Kentucky Horse Park riding program for individuals with physical disabilities. Through therapeutic activities with horses, the multifaceted program is dedicated to improving the quality of life and health of children and adults with special physical, cognitive, emotional and social needs. Equine assisted activities and therapies provide independence, achievement and community to the individuals that Riding for Hope serves.
Assistant Provost Adrienne McMahan said professional development is important for staying on top of current issues in the advising field, and community service helps staff members get to know each other in a more personal way.
"The building of those work relationships through this event will facilitate the kinds of collaboration this group needs as it works to develop consistent processes and procedures for our students," McMahan said. "The advisors will be recommending to students the importance of participating in FUSION, co-ops, internships etc. This experience helps them to facilitate those recommendations. I think this is a win-win experience all the way around for our employees, our city and our students."
Any UK employee can receive a weekly digest of campus announcements, alerts regarding changes in academic advising, Advising Network events and other news. To be added to the Advising Network listserv, email Nina Marijanovic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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