Advising Dispositions: Habits, Attitudes, Behaviors

As mentioned previously, advising is supported by critical “dispositions”, a blend of habits, attitudes and behaviors that help to shape and support practice. Among the core dispositions identified as critical to advising at Berkeley are empathy, openness, curiosity, creativity, inclusivity, flexibility, and interconnectedness. For more on the important values expressed by our advising community and to get a better sense of learning-centered advising in practice, see below and read more in Great Advisors Talk About Great Advising.

Great advising facilitates the learning process. Through self-reflection and synthesis the advisor is connecting the student’s thoughts and words to broader ideas, possibilities and options.

-Omar Ramirez, Undergraduate Advisor, Landscape Architecture & Urban Studies

Great advising is part of a discovery process; over time students get a better sense of who they are, how they learn, where they fit in, who they are going to be, and how to do their best.

-Leah Flanagan, Advisor, History

I try to balance the need to talk with the need to listen and resist the urge to fill up silences and help with answers to challenging questions. This practice helps students realize their own personal power and capacity for decision making.

-Jane Paris, Academic Advisor, Engineering Student Services

Great advising is a process of asking open-ended questions that lead to life changing aha moments.

-Patrick Allen, Director of Student Services, Economics

Great advising can disrupt negative narratives about ability and identity and reframe these by helping students identify and acknowledge previously unrecognized strengths. Students come away with a new sense of agency, confidence and ability to self-advocate.

-Carolyn Swalina, M.A., College Advisor, Letters & Science Undergraduate Advising

Great advisors have the capacity to employ “compassionate candor”.  I define that as being honest, authentic, and transparent in your care for the student, while still asking the tough questions or challenging the student’s perceptions. When the advisor and student connect as unique individuals, great, constructive things can happen.

-Christopher Hunn, Associate Director of UG Matters &Letters & Science CS Advisor

Great advisors are able to connect students with small, unique, out of the way opportunities that are the perfect fit for each student. They expand choices and options.

-Bridgette Lehrer, M.A., College Advisor, Letters & Science Undergraduate Advising

Great advisors see things from the student’s perspective. They understand how intimidating Berkeley can be and they help students interpret, navigate and understand our complex systems and hierarchies. They break down that myth that you can’t visit a noble laureate during office hours.

-Claudia Trujillo, Student Services Manager, Physics

Great advisors love students and they work to help every student succeed. They meet students where they’re at by understanding and responding to their unique needs. They think outside the box in suggesting options, opportunities, and resources.

-Dolann M. Adams, Admissions Outreach Coordinator, Haas School of Business UG Program

Every day, each student, and every advising interaction is unique. A great advisor responds by adapting their style, technique and strategies to meet individual needs and situations. They see every interaction as an opportunity to get better.

-Elizabeth Storer, M.A., Academic Advisor, Molecular Environmental Biology

Great advisors know how to ask the right questions, in the right way, at the right time.

-Heather Peng, M.A., College Advisor, Letters & Science Undergraduate Advising

Great advisors recognize the uniqueness of each student in terms of background, interests, pressures and goals and deliver resources that suit the individual.

-Jessica Clarkson, Student Services Advisor, African Student Center

Great advisors know that the advisor advisee relationship is reciprocal and that we teach and learn new things from each other.

-Khia Serneo, Lead Undergraduate Advisor, Economics

Great advisors ask the simple but totally illuminating question that no one has asked before. A mindful and intentional approach can create opportunities for students to open up and trust us with truly sensitive matters. In return we provide undoubted and genuine support.

-Laura Jimenez-Olvera, M.S., Adviser/Academic Counselor, Ethnic Studies