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Terrence McDonald Academic Advising Academy

The Advising Academy fosters excellence in advising programs within all departments in the College by providing a solid practical and theoretical approach to advising in LSA.  The Academy also offers a wonderful opportunity to share best practices.  One of our primary goals is to enjoin all departments in a discussion of how we might build stronger intellectual communities within our respective areas.

The Advising Academy is named in honor of former Dean Terrence McDonald, who has been an extraordinary friend to and leader for advisors on this campus.


2019-2020 Terrence J. McDonald LSA Academic Advising Academy

Thursday, October 24, 8:00 a.m. -11:15 a.m.

Palmer Commons (Great Lakes Central and North)

The 2019-2020 Terrence J. McDonald LSA Academic Advising Academy will be held on Thursday, October 24th in the Great Lakes Central and North Room of the Palmer Commons. Funded by the generous support of former LSA Dean Terrence J. McDonald, the annual Advising Academy serves as a basis for exploring and advancing advising practice across the college’s academic disciplines and departments.

This year’s Academy will focus on putting various advising theories into practice during advising conversations with students. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss various advising theories and will leave with a better understanding of various advising theories, as well as viable practices they might use to apply or adapt these theories to their own work with students.

Space is limited so please register early!


Past Academic Advising Academies


The 2018 Academy focused on students in crisis and how departments and individual advisors could best support these students. After introductory remarks by Dean RaShonda Flint, participants discussed several case studies with advising colleagues. After each round of table discussions, participants heard from a panel of experts from various LSA and U-M units dedicated to helping students. These experts commented on the case studies and shared information about strategies and resources to help students in crisis. By the end of the Academy, participants gained a better sense of the college and university resources available for students in crisis and engaged with viable practices they could apply or adapt to their own work with these students.


The 2017 Academy began with opening remarks from Dr. Fiona Lee, LSA Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Professional Development, who addressed the College’s effort to implement and revise its DEI Strategic Plan. Following Dr. Lee’s comments, participants discussed how the College could better incorporate advising, and the role of advisors, in the DEI plan. They also considered five scenarios depicting potential interactions they might have with students. Using these scenarios as a guide, participants discussed viable practices and skills individual advisors might adapt to their own work with students that help advance the DEI plan’s goals.The highlight of the Academy, however, came near its conclusion when a panel of current LSA students and recent graduates discussed their experiences at UM and the specific scenarios provided to advisors. Students on the panel expressed a desire for advisors to use their knowledge and skills to be powerful advocates for them, especially when they are facing pressures and challenges related to one or more of their identities.


This year’s Advising Academy focused on transfer students and how the College receives and educates them. It began with LSA Dean Andrew D. Martin addressing the College's emphasis on creating a transfer friendly environment and reviewing the initiatives currently being undertaken to welcome the 1000 or more transfer students being admitted to LSA in 2017-2018 (and those who will attend in the near future). Guided discussion in small and large groups explored the wealth of experiences and interests transfer students bring to the College, as well as the potential challenges they face in the form of shortened time frames and (perhaps) financial limitations. Participants considered how advisors and faculty from different departments can employ viable practices to address transfer students’ immediate needs, such as making sure they satisfy the requirements of their target programs, while helping them develop as scholars and connect to the campus and its opportunities as fully as possible.

2015-2016: Helping Students Create Meaningful Narratives

The 2015 Terrence J. McDonald LSA Academic Advising Academy focused on the perspectives of the “consumers” of student narratives: employers, scholarship programs, internships, and professional school admissions. The program addressed the role academic advising can play in helping students develop a coherent, meaningful understanding of their own experiences as they engage with the range of opportunities, decisions, and obstacles to and through which their education may lead them. Guided discussion touched on (among other things) student identities, engaged-learning opportunities, the roles academic disciplines might play and, of course, what advisors can do to shape students’ reflective practices. The goal of the discussion was to provide all attendees with a set of viable practices that they might then apply or adapt to their own advising work in departmental settings. The program began with a set of facilitated table-based conversations to generate key ideas and concerns, which was followed by a moderated plenary discussion.

2014-2015: What Do Students Need to Tell Their Stories

The 2014 Academy began with a panel composed of members of the University community who work directly with, evaluate, and in certain cases judge the manner in which LSA undergraduates present themselves and their body of work to others. Panelists included Henry Dyson (LSA Honors/Scholarships), Edie Goldenberg (Ford School, Michigan in Washington), Amy Longhi (UM Career Center), and Sarah Zearfoss (UM Law School). Panelists discussed what they look for when evaluating students, trends they have noticed in our UM cohorts, and suggested ways advisors might be able to help students develop greater competence and confidence in “telling their stories.” Table-based discussions of key themes followed the panel.

2012-2013: Advising and Engagement (this program included a co-curricular fair)

In 2012 the Academy was named for outgoing LSA Dean Terrence J. McDonald in recognition of his consistent, thoughtful support and leadership for academic advisors across the College. This Academy picked up the concept of engagement from the 2010 Academy, but moved the focus to work LSA departments can do to help students make meaningful connections between the ideas they encounter in their courses and the work they do in co-curricular and extra-curricular domains. The Academy began with a panel that included Charlie Bright (a lead planner for the Center for Engaged Academic Learning), Paula Wishart (Rackham), Phil Deloria (LSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education), and Noam Kimelman (LSA Alumnus and CEO of Fresh Corner Cafe). Following the panel discussion, academy participants were invited to attend the Cool Opportunities Fair, comprised of 17 co-curricular programs based in the University, to help departmental advisors learn more about existing options for connecting academic experiences with community involvement.

2011-2012: Visions of Community

The 2011 program expanded on the concept of academic departments as intellectual communities established in the first Academy. It began with a panel discussion including different versions of departments (History, Mathematics, Organizational Studies, the Program in the Environment) as intellectual communities. The panel was followed by an afternoon of breakout sessions, in which more departments were able to present on the work they do with undergraduate students. Each breakout session had a separate focus:

  • Student Voice: Student participation in departmental processes, such as curriculum committees and outreach to students
  • Curricular/Co-curricular: Undergraduate programs that connect specific departments/disciplines with study abroad, service learning, etc. (e.g. NELP, Biostation, Camp Davis) and other curriculum-based models (e.g. using gateway courses to introduce students to the departmental community, capstone projects)
  • Faculty-Student Interaction: Programs and events outside of regular classroom settings (e.g. Pizza with Profs, brown-bag discussions) that provide undergraduates with opportunities to meet and interact with faculty from their majors
  • Milestones: Programming and events built around the decisive transitions that structure the undergraduate experience (e.g. major orientations, departmental commencement programs, etc.)

2010-2011: Student Engagement and the Community in LSA Departments

This program focused on the mechanisms and processes LSA departments might use to initiate their students into the intellectual and scholarly life of the disciplines those departments embody. Associate Dean Phil Deloria moderated a discussion with a panel that included faculty and undergraduate student representatives from Classical Studies, Astronomy, English, and Psychology. This was followed by table-based discussions on topics drawn from the ideas introduced by the panelists.