Academic advisors from across the campus came together recently to gain new knowledge, collaborate with colleagues, and find new ways to serve students through participation in the fall 2018 cohort of Virginia Tech’s Academic Advising Institute (AAI).

Offered through the Office of Undergraduate Advising, the AAI is a multilevel, semester-long training and development program for academic advisors at Virginia Tech that was created to help advisors at all levels of experience augment their advising skills. Through collaboration and discussion within the cohort, advisors were encouraged to identify and cultivate the informational, conceptual, relational, and technological components of their advising practice.

Participants in the AAI fall 2018 cohort are as follows:

  • Kelly Avery, associate professor of practice, Department of Apparel, Housing and Resource Management.
  • Vern Ferguson, academic advisor, undergraduate programs in Architecture and Industrial Design.
  • Virginia Formella, advising and student support assistant, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
  • Courtney Glass, undergraduate advisor, Department of Biological Sciences.
  • Brandy Hayden, undergraduate advisor, Department of Statistics.
  • Kim Higgs, academic advisor, Department of Communication.
  • Tonisha Montgomery, academic advisor, Department of Computer Science.
  • Susan Rosebrough, academic program coordinator and advisor, undergraduate programs in landscape architecture and interior design.
  • Zack Underwood, director, University Studies.
  • Alison Weston, professional academic advisor, Office of Dean of College of Science.
  • Sharon Williams, academic coordinator, Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education.
  • Teresa An Vu Wilson, undergraduate enrollment specialist, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.


Each cohort of participants is provided with the data, tools, and resources needed to conduct meaningful and relevant academic advising with students to assist student achievement and transition to the university.

“The advisors who participated in this most recent cohort learned foundational and advanced approaches to further develop their informational, conceptual, relational, and technological academic advising competencies,” said Banks Blair, assistant director for academic advising initiatives. “Through this experience, they expanded and applied their knowledge about academic and career advising resources and concepts, ways to create more inclusive advising environments that better serve their students, and new approaches they could take to continually develop and grow within the field of advising.”

The AAI is offered during the fall and spring semesters each year with cohorts ranging from 15-25 participants. Each is led by a small group of experienced, dedicated individuals from campus who engage participants on a number of important topics.

There is no cost to participate and applicants are still being accepted through Dec. 14 for the spring 2019 cohort. If you would like to participate in a future offering of the Academic Advising Institute, please contact the Office of Academic Advising Initiatives at 540-231-8440 or by email at

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