Nearly 3,000 academic advisors from throughout the United States recently traveled to Nashville, Tenn. to attend the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) 36th Annual Conference. The four-day-long best practices event dealt with 50 different academic advising topics, two of which were presented by advisors from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida.

UCF Rosen College academic services coordinator Vanessa Cogswell spoke about peer advising & mentoring, while Joshua Johnson, the college’s academic relations coordinator, discussed advisor training & development.

Cogswell’s commission-sponsored session, entitled “Peer Outreach Mentoring Program – Building empowerment through a coaching framework in the era of the millennial student,” focused on the application of coaching principles within a team environment, such as a peer mentoring program.

“In sports, a coach brings a team of people together to accomplish a common goal,” said Cogswell. “I took this concept and applied it to the Peer Outreach Mentoring Program that I oversee. By building camaraderie among the students and empowering them to contribute to the group, they are working as a team to successfully reach their goal.”

Since it was founded in the fall of 2011, Cogswell’s peer mentoring program has had an extremely high success rate of helping struggling students improve their grades through the help of fellow students. During the Spring 2012 semester, the POMP program had an 89% success rate in helping struggling students remove themselves from academic probation.

Johnson’s session, entitled “My pleasure to serve: Exceptional academic advising that will leave your students singing for more,” preached a customer service approach to advising.

“An academic advisor’s mission is to help their students graduate, but that becomes difficult to do, if students choose not to return to their advisor,” said Johnson. “In order to retain students, advisors must deliver great service, leaving their ‘client’ with a positive and memorable experience. When people have a positive and memorable experience, they’re not only likely to return, but they are also likely to share their experience with others.”

Both Cogswell and Johnson’s presentations were selected out of 880 proposals.

For more information on NACADA or the 36th Annual Conference, visit