The Main Advisor

For effective support, evaluation, and accreditation, all associates will be connected to a ‘main advisor’ who is a graduate of Gaia University. An associate’s main advisor is their primary support within a broader support web. Please see our advisor profiles to read about our accomplished pool of advisors.

Services provided by main advisors:

  • Communication and scheduling   
  • Learning intention and pathway design support
  • Project and process advising
  • Output packet support
  • Research and writing support
  • Technical support
  • Networking support
  • Output packet review and feedback

Communication and Scheduling

advising sessionThe main advisor generally seeks regular contact with their advisee and takes the lead in scheduling advising sessions, which occur via email, Skype, phone, or in person. The main advisor also makes sure that their advisee is receiving the administrative information, services, and resources that they require to thrive in their Gaia U program.

Learning Intention and Pathway Design Support

After an associate has defined their learning and unlearning goals, desired skill-flexes, and potential projects and methods in their pathway design, their main advisor monitors their overall development and refers them back to their pathway design as needed. Because the work of Gaia University associates is emergent in nature, they may in the course of their program, with the support of their main advisor, revise their pathway design to better reflect their current strategies and goals.

Project and Process Advising

The main advisor provides support and guidance during regularly scheduled meetings to help their advisee design and manage projects, sort through issues of process and stay on track with documentation tasks and output packet production.

Advising sessions usually take place once every month for about one hour. Advisors have flexibility in meeting the needs of associates and can schedule shorter more frequent sessions when appropriate.

Sessions often begin with a check-in in which a 4-question set is posed to the associate:

  1. What is going well for you in your life and in your project work?
  2. What is challenging for you in your life and in your project work?
  3. What are the long-term goals and visions your projects are helping you to reach?
  4. What are your achievable next steps in your project work?

advising sessionAdvisors will often also use the ‘5 P’s’ as thematic points of reference for checking in on their advisees: project, professional, political, personal, and the patrix.  As Gaia University is concerned with the whole person, we strongly encourage our associates to reflect deeply on the learning and unlearning they are undergoing across the full spectrum of their lives.

Associates can ask their main advisor for specific support with their project work in areas such as with project or time management, project design and implementation, networking, marketing, fund-raising, and any other areas which will contribute to their growth as effective, zestful world-changers. While advisors are not meant to be therapists, they are trained in various counseling techniques and can often point their advisees towards effective resources for dealing with personal or professional distress.

The advisor takes notes for the associate during advising sessions. These may later be incorporated into the associates documentation. The sessions may also be audio-recorded if that is useful to the advisee.

Output Packet Support

A main advisor helps their advisee determine the appropriate focus for each output packet and offers guidance about potential research methods, how to best structure the material, and the output packet’s final design and technical production.

Research and Writing Support

While Gaia University associates are not expected to write conventional academic papers, they are expected to engage in relevant research on topics connected to their projects. An associate’s main advisor is available to offer advice about research resources and methods, as well as about how to faithfully and accurately attribute source materials. 

Technical Support

advising sessionIf an associate needs help with a technical element connected to their project or documentation, their main advisor will assist to the extent that they are able, and refer them to another advisor when more specialization is needed.  Whenever possible, the main advisor will connect an associate in need of technical support to skill flex advisors  within the Gaia University community who have the relevant skills and experience.  

Networking Support

Gaia University advisors are active members of the world-change community and as such are networked with talented people outside of the organization who are specialists, practitioners, and project leaders in a variety of fields. It is one of the main advisor's roles to help their advisees connect with people who may potentially provide specialized assistance, serving as project mentors or providing other additional specialist advising support.

Output Packet Review and Feedback

The main advisor thoroughly reviews their advisee's output packets according to specified review protocols and provides them with detailed feedback, as well as grades, in a detailed written report.