Advising Across Difference
Academic Advisors Course

The Intergroup Dialogue Project (IDP) and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (OVPUE) invite academic advisors to apply for the year-long Advising Across Difference course.

Our application cycle for our 2020-2021 offering has closed.

Please check back for updates about when this program will next be offered.

Through an interactive process known as intergroup dialogue, this course will provide participants with sustained opportunities to explore how social identities inform advising and mentoring processes; to practice tools for leading and communicating across difference; to strengthen their capacity to develop effective collaborations; and to build a professional network of academic advisors interested in enacting systemic change past the completion of this course.

The inaugural offering last year was highly successful: providing 17 advisors across 14 advising units with tangible skills, concrete practices and a dynamic professional community committed to change. We would like to amplify its outcomes and engage a new group of academic advisors in this important work.

Advising Across Difference is open to academic advisors at Cornell.

This course could be for you if you want to:

  • Learn skills for advising, collaborating, and leading across difference
  • Explore your role as an advisor and culture navigator in an uncertain, changing, and challenging reality
  • Connect more effectively with students, faculty, and colleagues
  • Prepare yourself to engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion processes in your unit and on campus
  • Explore your own and others’ core and social identities and how they inform advising and educational processes at this time of crisis
  • Communicate productively through conflict
  • Collaboratively think about ways you can enact positive and strategic change
  • Get to know a diverse group of academic advisors who are interested in similar topics

This year the program will be offered as ten 90-minute synchronous, virtual sessions that provide opportunities to learn, practice, and implement dialogue skills with a cohort of peers. The course will be co-facilitated by Steph Cowling-Rich, Assistant Director of OADI (Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives) and Adi Grabiner-Keinan, Executive Director of Undergraduate Diversity Education & Director of IDP.

Participants will be asked to:

  1. Reflect, read and watch assigned materials between sessions (approximately one hour between sessions). 
  2. Attend all ten sessions, and communicate promptly with course facilitators if unable to attend a session. 

The course will meet Fridays from 9:00 am – 10:30 am on the following dates:

  • Session 1: November 13, 2020
  • Session 2: December 4, 2020
  • Session 3: December 18, 2020
  • Session 4: January 15, 2021
  • Session 5: January 29, 2021
  • Session 6: February 26, 2021
  • Session 7: March 12, 2021
  • Session 8: March 26, 2021
  • Session 9: April 16, 2021
  • Session 10: April 30, 2021

Testimonials from Former Participants

“I came to the IDP program with the expectation that I would get more knowledge and skills – things –  to use as an advisor, tools that would help me to connect with my students.  And I did get these things.  More than that, I got more of an awakening.  I’ve learned that I often have no understanding of the life and circumstances of some of my students…and that’s ok.  What’s not ok, is for me to leave things that way.  Cornell can be a transformative place and time in students’ lives, and I can have a role in transformation.  I can be there as they consider the new idea, the other person, the possible outcomes. I don’t need to have the answer.  The listening, questions, challenges I pose to them can allow them the space to make a decision that is right for them.”

“This course challenged me to continue to think about the ways I could stir change from within my advising role and how those avenues of change may shift on various levels. As an advisor, this course reaffirmed for me in the fundamental conviction I have held as a teacher and a learner. Learning new tools, such as strategic questions, has allowed and will allow me to work with students in ways that embody curiosity and clarity.”  

“This course has strengthened my resolve to be a student advocate, to be more comfortable in my own skin and show my vulnerabilities to students and other colleagues in a more authentic way. I am more present to students in meetings and more aware of how social identities, especially my own, shape our interactions. I have been humbled in the best of ways by the work we are doing and the gift of privilege to participate in the course, on our campus with such an interesting and thoughtful group of advisors and instructors. The occurrence of the COVID-19 crisis part way through our course has been a powerful experience of putting IDP tools into practice to support students. I don’t think I would have handled the weeks of uncertainty and loss as well if not for the IDP training. I may not have recognized as well the disparities in students’ abilities to learn from home environments or to cope with the crisis.”

“While much of my focus has been critically focused on myself I’ve also gained a wider perspective to critically analyze some of the policies, procedures, and practices of my unit. I can now more clearly identify practices that are not necessarily equitable and feel much more confident bringing them up for discussion with my supervisor or team when appropriate.” 

Contact with any questions.