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Member Spotlight | April 2024

What has your career path been like up to this point?

I studied French and Global Studies with a focus on Environmental Policy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Everything started when I went back to grad school. I was in a French Linguistics PhD program at Indiana University (IU) but did not enjoy the research and publishing side. I enjoyed teaching, however, so I wanted to find a way to continue working in a university setting directly with students. I wanted to offer support and build bonds like I did with teaching. 

I thought advising would be a good fit for that. I met an administrator from our school in one of my courses and she mentioned how much she enjoyed her job and that they had openings in advising. I worked there (IU) for three years. I found I got to interact with students in the capacity I hoped for while contributing to DEI initiatives and student success efforts. I love providing resources and helping students find their own answers. In August, I moved to Detroit and started at Lawrence Technological University in College of Business + Information Technology.

What brings you joy outside of work?

Two of my friends from undergrad live in Detroit. I enjoy spending time with them and their son. I like exploring the city. I also have three cats and just adopted one that is settling in. In Bloomington, Indiana I went to the state parks often and enjoyed hiking. I’ll explore that here in Michigan this summer.

What has been the highlight of your experience with MIACADA so far?

My direct supervisor at LTU, Stefanie Janes, is a Member-At-Large. She invited me to go to A Taste of MIACADA. I got to meet other folks which was great since there are only two advisors in my college here, but my college at IU we had 18. It was nice to meet people and then have familiar faces at the Region 5&6 conference which I attended on my own. It made me feel more at ease.

You received a NACADA Regional Conference grant sponsored by MIACADA, that allowed you to attend the Regional 5 & 6 Conference last month in Milwaukee. What was your experience at the conference like? 

It was such a well done, well organized and beautiful conference. I did not know the city and was travelling alone, but everyone was very personable (probably a trait of advisors). There was always someone to talk to and it was nice to meet more folks at the state meeting. The concurrent sessions were amazing, but hard to pick what to take advantage of!

There were two sessions that I particulary enjoyed. The first was about detailing how to start a peer-to-peer mentoring group. It sparked ideas for how I can work with our Student Success Center and engage students. It can be hard with our school having so many student athletes to find time for them to do things outside of class and sports. Building a support network into their teams could be helpful.

There was also a session about advisor onboarding and how to make a continual development process. It provided aspects of how to keep it open-ended and support people with different learning styles. Being at a small school and not having a lot of staff to support onboarding made me realize that keeping notes can be helpful. There was a similar session from an HR professional focused on how to recruit and retain advisors and how to advocate for advisors.

Is there anything you would share with our members about the conference grants processes? 

Definitely do it! It wasn’t on my mind, but my supervisor encouraged me to apply. It helped support me when I was given the opportunity to go with extra funds. I could use the grant to leverage more support from my office and university, which made the financial obligation more manageable. It is one of the best things I could recommend to someone looking to grow their skills and if they are like me and new to their area, they can meet others and find support.

What advice do you have for new advisors?

Have your own Stefanie Janes! Having a mentor or someone who can relate to you and who understands what academic advising is. Being at a school that has traditionally used faculty advising can be challenging, but having someone who knows what we do and who I can bounce ideas off makes it easier to get support from the institution. 

Connect with other advisors or seek out a mentor. There are other people who care about the same things as you and put in the same level of work you are. You can learn about how other offices work. I feel like my biggest growth as a professional has happened when I learned about how different folks have found ways to benefit students.

Member Award Winners

Margaret MacKeverican, Academic Advisor at Wayne State University, has been awarded the 2024 MIACADA Academic Advising Award - Primary Role! Her dedication and commitment to student success have earned her this recognition. Congratulations to Margaret on this well-deserved honor!

MIACADA Advising Awards Information

Philip Himebaugh, an Academic Advisor from Ferris State University, has been awarded the title of "Best in State" at the 2024 MIACADA Annual Conference! Philip's captivating presentation, "Motivational Interviewing for Academic Advisors," not only caught the eye of attendees but also earned him this recognition. Despite it being his first MIACADA Annual Conference, Philip's expertise and delivery left a lasting impression on attendees!


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