NOVA recently held the first in a new series of summit-style meetings focused on addressing the evolving needs of students through the use of Design Thinking. The inaugural Advising Summit was convened by Dr. Frances Villagran Glover, NOVA’s newly-appointed Vice President for Student Services. Dr. Villagran Glover collaborated with Dr. Keri Bowman and Keeling & Associates to develop the agenda for the summit. The event was attended by over 60 stakeholders including NOVA faculty, student services staff and administrators from across the College.
Participants were introduced to the process of Design Thinking as a means of identifying solutions to existing challenges through the use of creativity, empathy and experimentation. Dr. Villagran Glover shared how she had previously used Design Thinking to help revise and improve processes at her former institution. “When I was first introduced to Design Thinking, I was very skeptical. It’s a little unconventional – but once I began working with it with my team I quickly discovered how beneficial and empowering it can be”, said Villagran Glover. “Design Thinking allows us to really work outside of the conventional box of problem solving. It affords us the chance to examine challenges through innovative and creative methods that help create new opportunities for success.”
Following the introduction, the presenters led the group through a series of interactive, small group exercises intended to help them begin to identify and address potential advising challenges for students using Design Thinking. Participants were able collaborate and experiment with colleagues from different units across the College. Dr. Bowman, NOVA’s Director of Academic Planning and Advising, helped to facilitate the group work and collected the feedback for use in future planning and advising meetings. “I am very pleased that academic advising was the focus of the inaugural summit. It’s an area the College has committed to improving and today will serve as an awesome springboard for new innovation and change,” she said.