University of Houston Workshop Explores Appreciative Approach to College and Career Readiness

December 2014 | Houston, Texas
BY: Heidi Kennedy and Matt Lashlee

Appreciative Advising is a theory-to-practice framework for building relationships with students that can positively impact student success. Under the sponsorship of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and as a Gulf Coast Region College Readiness partner, the University of Houston hosted a professional development workshop to explore An Appreciative Approach to College and Career Readiness. The event was held on November 18, 2014, at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel.

Participants experienced an interactive workshop and learned more about the six phases of Appreciative Advising (disarm, discover, dream, design, deliver, and don't settle) and how to use this framework to optimize their interactions with students from middle school to college. In more than one practical exercise, participants experienced that, in only two minutes, they could learn much about a student in a meaningful and helpful way. The Appreciative Approach is not only applicable for academic advisors and counselors but also may enrich anyone who has a service mindset and is interested in improving the student experience in and out of the classroom.

Dr. Jenny BloomThe workshop was facilitated by Dr. Jenny Bloom, who serves as Director of the Office of Appreciative Education and Director of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Master's Degree Program at University of South Carolina. She is also the co-author of Increasing Persistence: Research-Based Strategies for College Student Success.

The next summer Appreciative Advising Institute will be held in San Antonio in 2015. Attendees will have access to hands-on workshops and advising expertise to further develop their skills and share this approach with their colleagues who are interested in implementing the Appreciative Advising framework at their institutions.