Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Hansman, Catherine

Subject Headings

Counseling in higher education -- United States, Urban universities and colleges -- United States, Organizational learning -- United States, Continuing education -- United States, adult learning, adult education, informal learning, higher education, training and development, continuing education, academic advising, student services personnel


Research suggests that high quality academic advising is central to student success. The quality of advising, however, is undoubtedly linked to the training and professional development received by advisors. Unfortunately, the current research related to advisor training and professional development is limited. In addition, while advising is provided by both faculty and professional staff, the perspectives of professional advisors is scarcely represented in the literature.The purpose of this study was to analyze the workplace learning experiences of professional advisors through the lens of adult learning. Specifically, this study sought to understand how advisors learn to perform their roles, both upon entering the profession and as they develop in their careers, by investigating the role of workplace learning as well as identifying the adult learning concepts evident in their workplace learning experiences. The basic qualitative methodology included interviews and critical incident analysis of six advisors at three Midwestern urban universities.Findings indicated that hands-on learning experiences have an impact on advisor training and professional development as do advisors' past workplace learning experiences. Conversely, conferences and workshops are not likely to affect advisor learning. Participants also discussed their perceptions of the inherent qualities possessed by good advisors, and the notion that these qualities cannot be learned through formal or informal means. Overall, the concepts of experiential learning, self-directed learning, and andragogy were evident in the advisors' learning experiences, including each of the six characteristics of adult learners outlined by andragogy. Results indicated that adult learning concepts are highly applicable to the workplace learning experiences of advisors.While advisor lack of participation in nonformal learning has been noted previously, reliance on informal learning has not. This revelation informs the literature regarding current practices, as well as d

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