Advisor Training and Development

To effectively support student growth, development and educational achievement, advisors need to develop a set of professional skills, knowledge and behaviors. Effective advising programs ensure that advisors are well trained and have access to a wide variety of continuous formal and informal professional development and learning opportunities.

Effective advising programs often have rich onboarding processes and use a formal training manual for unit/campus specific training purposes. They also offer oversight, mentoring and feedback as advisors begin to interact directly with students. Units may also supplement unit level training with peer-to-peer training activities such as “shadow” programs where new advisors and experienced advisors may observe one another as part of a formal training protocol. Regular changes to policy and procedure also necessitate on-going training for even the most experienced advisors.

In addition to unit specific training, advisors can also be encouraged to seek out other learning opportunities through professional associations, communities of practice, facilitated courses, degree programs, conferences, and special projects. Individual mentoring, coaching and reflective supervision can also support ongoing growth and development. Scenario based learning, case study analysis and project based assignments are often very effective for developing and expanding core advising competencies.

Training and development programs can expand core knowledge and skills, ensure exposure to current advising tends and topics, stimulate new thinking and approaches to advising, introduce new methods and tools, improve collaboration, and help advisors refine their advising values and philosophy. Ultimately, the task of any training or professional development program is to ensure that advisors have the information and support they need to effectively meet the needs of our diverse student populations.

UC Berkeley's Advising Practice Program 

Sponsored by the Advising Council, UC Berkeley offers a professional development program entitled Advancing Practice for all advisors and student service professionals. Following the Habley (1995) and McClellan (2007(link is external)) models, the program offers exposure to five foundational knowledge areas: Conceptual, Informational, Relational, Technological and Personal knowledge and skills. Workshops are facilitated by subject-matter experts from Berkeley’s advising community.

For more information on the Advancing Practice program, please visit:

Guiding Questions

  • How do you onboard/train and develop new advisors? 
  • Who takes responsibility for creating, overseeing and evaluating learning and development for advisors in your unit/program/department/campus? 
  • What tools and resources do you use for training? How are these refreshed? 
  • How do you evaluate whether learning has taken place? 
  • What resources do you have to support professional development? 
  • Can these be accessed by all advisors at every career stage? 
  • How do you promote an environment of continuous learning?

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations offer a variety of webinars, conferences, and resources. Seek more information below to stay current with the advising world.  

  • National Academic Advising Association is a professional organization for academic advisors, counselors, faculty administrators, and students working to enhance the educational development of students. Learn about the webinars, annual and regional conferences, emerging leaders program, summer institutes here: is external)


L&S Professional Development Website:

Berkeley's Best Advisor Forward: Finding and Developing Your Professional Strengths:

Habley, W. R. (1995). Advisor training in the context of a teaching enhancemnet center. In R. E. Glennen and F. N. Vowell (Eds.). Academic Advising as a Comprehensive Campus Process (National Academic Advising Association Monograph Series, no. 2), Manhattan, KS: National Academic Advising Association. 

McClellan, J. L. (1995). Content components for advisor training: Revisited. Retrieved from is external)

NACADA Training and Development Resource Links: