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Vanessa Lillie advises a student at Elizabeth Dafoe Library during a community advising session

Advisors go to students

New advising method brings advising to Indigenous students

May 2, 2017 — 

A trip to the academic advisor is something that is usually done once there is already some sort of academic problem, but two advisors are attempting to change that. Trevor Phillips and Vanessa Lillie have begun a process of open community advising where they go to students rather than waiting for the students to come to them. They assist Indigenous students with academic life through a holistic model, strength-based support style to assist students in their academic journey.

This new method was the brainchild of Phillips, Indigenous graduate student student success coordinator in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Originally called “guerrilla advising” Phillips sought to find where students were going and make the process of proactive advising more accessible and easy on the students. After he gave a few tries, Vanessa Lillie from the Faculty of Arts joined Phillips and tried out the process for her own advising activities last week in the flex space of Elizabeth Dafoe Library.

Phillips describes the benefits as allowing students, in their own spaces, to immediately make use of their session, where if they come into the office they may immediately have to leave campus to catch a bus or go to a job, and might not be able to immediately action items from their discussion. By engaging the students where they are in a more open and flexible way, students immediately go to their work and begin planning and implementation.

Phillips and Lillie work out of their respective faculties and Migizii Agamik, where they assist Indigenous students with academic life as well as providing other meaningful supports to assist students through their academic careers.

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