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Better Together: Striving for Inclusive and Connected Advising in a Transforming Landscape

May 21, 2021 | 9:00am - 4:30pm

Prepare    |    Schedule    |    Keynote  |   Breakout Sessions


To prepare for our keynote presentation, our speaker encourages you to take the Implicit Association Test (IAT) before the conference. Taking the IAT during or after the conference will also be beneficial to help bring relevance to the keynote’s material.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) 

Harvard’s Project Implicit developed the IAT to measure attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. The IAT may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about. For example, you may believe that women and men should be equally associated with science, but your automatic associations could show that you (like many others) associate men with science more than you associate women with science. 

But how does it work and does it work? Take the IAT and then watch this video overview and interview with Project Implicit’s Director of Research Calvin Lai.  


If you have questions about the 2021 MIACADA Virtual Conference, please email miacada@gmail.com.

Accessing the event

The day before the conference (Thursday, May 20) all registrants will receive an email with details about how to prepare for the conference and what to expect. Access to the Zoom link will be included. The virtual conference will be held through one Zoom link and we will be utilizing the Zoom breakout room feature during our breakout sessions.


9:00am - 9:30am  Welcome, Opening Remarks, & Awards

9:30am - 10:30am Keynote Speaker Address

10:40am - 11:30am  Breakout Sessions 1

11:40am - 12:00pm  Wellness Activity

12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch Break 

1:00pm - 1:50pm  Breakout Sessions 2

2:00pm - 2:50pm Breakout Sessions 3 

3:00pm - 3:50pm  Facilitated Workshop | Being Equity: Using Mindfulness to Serve Students Better

3:50pm - 4:00pm Prize Drawings, Closing Remarks

4:00pm - 4:30pm Networking and Virtual Happy (Half) Hour

KEYNOTE SPEAKER | John Parker-Der Boghossian

John Parker–Der Boghossian serves as Chief Diversity Officer for Normandale Community College. He is the former Equity and Inclusion Education Manager for Rainbow Health Initiative and Chief Diversity Officer for Saint Paul College. John has advanced equity and inclusion work across the higher education, health and human services, and the arts/nonprofit sectors. His previous clients include: University of Minnesota, Augsburg College, Allina Health, Fairview Health, Health Partners/Park Nicollet, Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers, Minnesota State College Student Association (LeadMN), Inver Hills Community College, Hennepin Technical College, and Lake Superior Community Health Center.  An in-demand public speaker, John has been a keynote speaker, invited speaker, and conference presenter throughout the Midwest and internationally. His areas of expertise include: implicit bias, LGBTQ health equity, Intersectionality, historical trauma as it relates to equity and inclusion, racial healing circle facilitation, and intercultural competence. He is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory, the premier assessment tool used internationally to assess and develop intercultural competence.

He is the founder of the Queer Armenian Library, the world’s first collection of literature, film, television, and art by and about Queer Armenian writers and artists. John is the President of the Armenian Cultural Organization of Minnesota and a founding board member of the International Armenian Literary Alliance. He has a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Minnesota. He uses he/him and they/them pronouns.


Breakout Session 1 | 10:40-11:30am

    • Putting Up The Guard Rails
  • This interactive workshop will follow up on the keynote presentation. It will provide participants the opportunity to try out strategies to put up guard rails in processes/programs to minimize implicit biases. Small groups will receive two advising scenarios. They will begin to think through how to design processes into those scenarios to reduce the impact of implicit biases and promote student success.

    John Parker–Der Boghossian,Chief Diversity Officer, Normandale Community College

    • 2020: A Reminder of One of Our Core Values as University Professionals - Advocating for All Students
    • 2020 has provided a great opportunity to reflect on one of the University’s core values: advocating for all students’ needs. Virtual education required considering EVERY student’s situation, not just GPA: wifi speed; family dynamics; COVID-19 numbers; zoom-call time zone. The results are noticeable: Faculty seem more flexible, understanding and listening to students; Administration’s decisions respond to students’ actual needs; advisors continue building rapport and advocating by zoom and other means. There’s room for change, but also to grow.

      Session Takeaways:

      • One of our core values and mission of the university should be to always advocate for ALL its students’ needs, not just in times of crisis.
      • Times of crisis are a good time to reflect and an opportunity to grow as a person and as an institution, when there is good leadership that promotes it.
      • Based on the lessons learned in 2020, we will discuss ways to continue advocating for ALL students, and different groups of students as well.

      Presenter: Nicolas Gisholt, Academic Advisor, Michigan State University

      • Embracing Technology to Connect with Students Differently Amid the Pandemic
      • Now more than ever it is important to be proactive in our outreach to connect with students and embrace using different technology options. I will review the messaging plan that I created for my students, and how and when I push these messages out to students. Last, I will show our page used to relay university resources to our students 24/7 and easily connect to send messages in one location students are familiar with using.

        Session Takeaways:

        • Creating an updated messaging plan for students that fits their needs and rolls out at appropriate times for them to be able to take action.
        • Utilizing campus resources students are already familiar with to connect them with other campus resources they need to know about but may have trouble finding.
        • Building a connection with students while working virtually and helping keep them connected to campus as well.

        Presenter: Rebecca Russell, Academic Advisor III, Wayne State University

        • Building Trust While Advising Virtually
        • Advisers support and engage students better by developing trust. Join this interactive presentation where advisers will learn, discuss, and brainstorm advising actions that build trust. This session will cover frameworks for establishing trust from Frei (2018) and Covey (2008). Participants will discuss challenges of virtual advising, and focus on solutions that promote trust. Building trust empowers advisers to help students more effectively and with better results. Ultimately, advisers will leave encouraged to implement trust building behaviors.

          Session Takeaways:

          • Learn key trust building strategies for advisers.
          • Brainstorm strategies for fostering a trusting relationship through virtual advising.
          • Discuss the importance of intentionally building trust when working with students who are different than us.

          Presenters: Roberta Rea, Director of Advising, School of Education and Human Services, Oakland University

          Wellness Activity | 11:40am-12:00pm

          Wellness Activity

          Breakout Session 2 | 1:00-1:50pm

          • MIACADA Board Meeting
          • Who (and What) is Diversity Education For Expanding Assessment Research on Anti-Racist Diversity Education
          • Diversity education increasingly takes an anti-racist, anti-sexist, and trans-inclusive orientation. In this pilot study, we explore data on the impact of diversity education. Importantly, we find that diversity education is particularly impactful on the sense of belonging the students feel toward the university and its community, and especially for students of color enrolled in the course. We argue that further research is needed on diversity education as also an affirmation of belonging in our institutions.

            Session Takeaways:

            • DEI educational components
            • DEI assessment literature and basics
            • Sense of belonging in college success

            Presenter: Patrick Arnold, Academic Specialist - Advisor, Michigan State University

            • Booking it: Using a staff reading group to craft a DEI lens for advising
            • Join an experienced panel of undergraduate advisors as they recount their shared experiences while reading Dr. Ibram Kendi’s landmark book, How to Be An Antiracist. The team’s director will share her process in using a bookclub to foster a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on her team. Additionally, advisors will share their own takeaways from the experience, particularly in the context of the pandemic.

              Session Takeaways:

              • Understand the steps necessary to form an advising reading group at their own institutions with a focus on the historic issues with reading groups and potential ways to avoid them
              • Conceptualize how to promote DEI in the advising space, looking at both the context of the pandemic as well as more historic institutional practices and narratives
              • Utilize non-traditional method of professional development to build unity and understanding on advising teams

              Presenters: Jamie Guigar Storey, Director of Advising Student Services for the College of Education and Human Services; Zachary Evans, Academic Advisor; Marceil Davis, Academic Advisor; Bridget Dunigan, Academic Advisor; Central Michigan University

              • Fostering Shame Resilience, Academic Identity, and Positive Mindset with Probationary Freshmen Through a Virtual Support Course
              • This presentation focuses on characteristics of Generation Z and how these characteristics intersect with noncognitive factors of attribution perspective, the reasons to which students attribute their success or failure; shame resilience, the ability to overcome feelings of unworthiness; and academic identity development. Participants will learn how these skills were developed in probationary students via a support course delivered virtually during the pandemic. Participants will leave with at least one actionable idea to apply in their advising role.

                Session Takeaways:

                • Understand the constructs of attribution perspective, shame resilience, and academic identity
                • Understand the characteristics of Generation Z students, including resulting challenges and opportunities in regard to how academic advisors can empower Gen Z success
                • Weave together new learning in regard to the constructs and understanding of Generation Z to identify at least one new actionable method to connect, engage, and empower students within their advising and teaching roles.

                Presenters: Christine Robinson, Academic Advising Director; Pam Sward, Student Success Coach; Western Michigan University

                  Breakout Session 3 | 2:00-2:50pm

                  • A Transformative DEI and Global Understanding Program 
                  • Have you ever paused to reflect if your school and/or program in which you advise lives out its mission? One of our tenants is to provide “global understanding” for students. An adviser’s doctoral journey led to the knowledge that a universal definition was not understood; furthermore, how to facilitate global understanding to students was not evident. In order to grasp global understanding, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices also needed to be scrutinized. If you are an adviser who is looking to broaden your knowledge of global understanding, as well as DEI practices, join us for this interactive session which will allow for self-reflection and group discussion. Hands on learning activities will allow advisers to bring tangible learning tools back to their campuses. An intended safe space will be created in which participants can engage in conversation and ask questions surrounding Global Understanding and DEI practices.

                    Session Takeaways:

                    • Advisers will be able to define what global understanding means to them. A digestible review of global understanding will be provided and the presenter will coordinate small group discussions to further the knowledge base.
                    • Advisers will be able to learn and share diversity, equity, and inclusion practices they can have in their toolbox for students. DEI practices will be shared and intentional brain sparking will be encouraged of all participants.
                    • Advisers will be encouraged to share questions and insights regarding global understanding and DEI practices. A safe space will be intentionally created in which we can learn from one another.

                    Presenter: Meaghan Cole, Experiential Programs Manager, Oakland University

                    • Student Success: A diverse approach to engaging students virtually
                    • Introducing an innovative approach to addressing diverse student needs in a virtual success workshop. Participants will leave the session with a lesson plan, success strategies, tangible handouts to share with students, and more to conduct a Student Success Workshop tailored to the student population whom they serve. This presentation will address challenges, successes, and lessons for future workshops and support programming.

                      Session Takeaways:

                      • Learn how to successfully execute a success workshop and learn how to successfully manage and engage students in a virtual program.
                      • Learn the importance of tailoring success strategies to diverse groups of student learners and needs.
                      • Leave presentation with tangible resources (lesson plan, handouts, and strategies) that can be tailored to multiple institution types and student populations.

                      Presenters: Shannon Gass, Academic Advisor, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor; Allison Prough, Success Coach & Academic Advisor, Madonna University

                      • More than a schedule: A discussion on advising post traditional learners during COVID
                      • Join a pair of experienced advisors as they lead a discussion around working with large caseloads of both undergraduate and graduate students during the pandemic. The session will start with the presenters sharing the changes they have experienced in the past year and will end with conversation around best practices. A focus will be provided on distance learners and post traditional students who are often excluded from operational structures and DEI work.

                        Session Takeaways:

                        • Collaborate with other advisors on best practices to engage with post-traditional learners
                        • Build a sense of professional validation for the difficult practice of advising
                        • Understand the experiences of advisors at other colleges as a reference for their own professional activities

                        Presenters: Zachary Evans, Academic Advisor; Anna Grajek, Academic Advisor; Central Michigan University

                        • There’s No Crying In Virtual Advising – Or Is There?!
                        • There’s no crying in virtual advising – or is there?! Join us for a dynamic presentation about how Central Michigan University shifted to completely remote academic advising services to meet the changing needs of a diverse student population while also prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. We will identify the positive outcomes for students and unintended consequences for advising staff while engaging participants in a lively discussion about how best to support students and academic advisors moving forward.

                          Session Takeaways:

                          • Understand how Central Michigan University shifted academic advising approaches and appointment modalities to meet the changing needs of a diverse student population.
                          • Identify positive outcomes from the shift to virtual academic advising services as well as the unintended consequences that accompanied the shift.
                          • Brainstorm solutions and identify recommendations to support both students and academic advisors moving forward.

                          Presenters: Ashleigh Begres, Academic Advisor College of Business Administration; Jamie Guigar Storey, Director of Advising Student Services for the College of Education and Human Services; Central Michigan University

                          Facilitated Workshop | 3:00-3:50pm

                          Being Equity: Using Mindfulness to Serve Students Better

                          • Our closing session is an opportunity for both personal and professional growth. We will explore mindfulness – what it is, how to practice, and why it matters in our work for equity. We will cultivate new tools for strengthening self-care, promoting student success, and enhancing justice. Join us to wrap up the day with this inspiring session!

                            Presenter: Grace Helms Kotre

                            Grace Helms Kotre, MSW (pronouns: she/her) is the founder of Power to Be, LLC. She has been practicing mindfulness and meditation since 2009. She is certified in mindfulness instruction and has completed over a year of in-depth meditation training. She holds degrees in community social work and human development. Her passion for facilitating inner transformation and social change through contemplative practice informs her life and her work.

                            Since 2015, Grace has offered mindfulness and social justice training to adults and youth in various settings including schools, community groups, non-profit organizations, businesses, and professional conferences. Grace has additional training in the areas of mindful parenting, mindful communication, trauma-informed instruction, intergroup dialogue, and organizing for racial justice.

                            As a white person, Grace is continually in the work of deepening her consciousness of internalized white racial identity, white privilege, white supremacy, and racism. As a woman, Grace is regularly challenging internalized gender conditioning, patriarchy, and sexism. And in her many other social identities, Grace is exploring how privilege and oppression manifest on a daily basis.


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