NACADA is excited to have Dr. Vasti Torres as the Plenary Speaker at the 2010 Annual Conference. Dr. Torres is currently a faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University. She teaches classes in student affairs administration, student development theory, diversity, and research in higher education.
I wanted NACADA members to learn more about Vasti prior to the conference, so she took the time to do a quick Q&A as the conference approaches - only 54 days to go!!!
Brad Popiolek: Why were you interested in speaking at the NACADA Annual Conference?
Vasti Torres: Regardless of the type of campus, residential or commuter, the academic advisor is the one person that every student should have contact with. What I think is critical in helping students is that advisors must take an active outreach role - many times it is assumed that students understand the advisor role and will come to the person. My research illustrates that this is not the case for all students.
BP: Describe some of your research interests and how they may relate to academic advising.
VT: Early on in my longitudinal study of Latino/a college students I found that having a mentor or advisor was very important to the students who were processing and developing. As a result I added this as an item to the survey of the students I was following - the results illustrate this importance. The issue is that not all students had identified a mentor or advisor - this means there is much more work that needs to be done.
BP: What are possible topics that NACADA members can anticipate hearing about from you?
VT: Some confirmation of the importance of the academic advisor and then some challenges about how this work should be done to reach students who may not understand what this role is.
Vasti Torres will be speaking in Orlando on Tuesday, October 5 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in the Coronado Ballroom.