Member Spotlight | February 2024
What has your career path been like up to this point?
I studied Restaurant and Hotel Management at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIUC). At the end of my undergraduate career, I knew I wanted to work in higher education. I had a great experience and had taken advantage of many programs and taken leadership in student organizations. I don’t advise doing it, but I simultaneously completed two master’s degrees. I continued at SIUC and studied Educational Psychology and Higher Education.
My first advising role was at SIUC in a pre-major advising unit. I enjoyed it and have been advising or affiliated for over 30 years. I went to Wayne State in 1993 to work for Disability Support Services. In 1999, I moved to Grand Rapids Community College as an Advisor/Counselor with both personal and career counseling opportunities. I was there for 18 years and was Dean of Student Success and Retention. I went on to earn a PhD in Workforce Education and Development. I spent several years at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis as Vice Chancellor of Student Success. I realized I didn’t want to manage anymore because I missed working with students and am now at Ferris since 2022.
Explain how the role you have received of Chair of the Department of Academic Advising has changed the work you do and impacted the role of advising at your institution.
This is relatively new as I was elected last October. At Ferris, Academic Advising is part of the Faculty Association. This occurred in 2017 and we now have been fully integrated in the collective bargaining agreement.
Instead of being focused strictly on the College of Health Professions (CHP), I have a university focus making sure we operate smoothly as a team even though we are still independently run within each in college. There is a focus in this role on advising techniques, philosophy, technology, etc. that we utilize as an advising team. I also have a release time from working in two of our CHP programs in order to spend time on the chair work. Lastly, I spend a lot of time hiring and training new advisors. I mentor in Region V’s mentoring program and now enjoy the ability to select, train, and mentor at Ferris.
What brings you joy outside of work?
My husband and our four dogs and cat. I enjoy watching silly TV programs and eating out. I also enjoy travelling and seeing new things, being in new places, and meeting people from around the world. My favorites are Mexico and London.
What has been the highlight of your experience with MIACADA so far?
The ability to interact locally with people. Sometimes on a national stage, you may find meeting folks that it is different from what you are facing in your state. The local community and professional development are what is special about MIACADA.
What advice would you give to new advising professionals entering the field?
Ask questions. Never stop asking questions. When I was a new advisor a much more seasoned advisor said it takes about 10 years to become a good advisor. I thought this was silly, but my perspective now allows me to understand. Questions are the best way of learning.
Find a mentor. If a formal program isn’t offered where you are, seek someone out. Develop relationships where you are learning all the time.
Make mistakes. It sounds horrible, but I often say no one is going to die because of an advising appointment. Don’t beat yourself up. We make mistakes, students make mistakes, and that is okay.
Member Award Winner | 2023 NACADA Annual Awards
Jenny Lee, a member and Webmaster of MIACADA, received the 2023 NACADA Outstanding New Advisor Award in the Primary Role category at the NACADA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. She is an Academic Advisor at the University of Michigan School of Information in Ann Arbor, where she advises graduate students seeking to deliever innovative, elegant and ethical solutions connecting people, information and technology. Before assuming her current role, she was as an Academic Advisor in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Jenny fervently believes in the transformative potential of advising as a teaching and learning model. It has strengthened her advising practices and deepened her relationships with her students, forming the bedrock of meaningful advising experiences. In reflecting on her path, Jenny expresses gratitude to her initial cohort of students at Oakland University. Those advising relationships enriched and reinforced her firm belief in the profound influence academic advising can wield in shaping a student's college experience. She would also like to thank her loved ones, mentors, and colleagues for supporting her along her academic advising journey.