Servant Leadership: Theory & Practice


For years, advising has been associated with student success and retention. However, while these are valuable byproducts of effective academic advising, they do not represent the purpose of advising. This article explores the purpose of academic advising through the lens of servant-leadership theory with an emphasis on Greenleaf’s (2002) best test, which asks, “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” (p. 27). The outcomes alluded to in this statement are examined and explored as they relate to the purpose of academic advising and student development. Specific emphasis is placed on examining the role of advising in developing students’ hardiness, outward mindset, wellbeing, flourishing, and wisdom. Measurement of these outcomes is discussed and the processes for promoting growth in relation to these areas are explored.