Pat George was a recipient of a PACADA Professional Development Grant for the 2017 year. He used his funds to attend the NACADA Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO. See below for more information about his experience!
Article By: Pat George
There are many familiar words associated with St. Louis. Three that come to mind are gateway, arch, and Cardinals (sorry Cubs fans). However, during October 11-14, 2017, NACADA was all the buzz at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis.
I was fortunate to receive a PACADA professional development grant to attend this conference, and I was equally privileged to attend with some of my office colleagues who I believe are some of the most dedicated and caring advisors on this campus. Our Senior Associate Dean, Dr. Holly Mason, supports our Office of Student Services in the College of Pharmacy in numerous ways, and my colleagues and I benefit tremendously from his confidence and conviction.
Speaking of conviction, I am reporting on what I thought was one of the most intriguing and bold sessions at this conference, “The Problems and Promise of Big Data in Advising.” Kudos to NACADA and the selection committee for allowing this proposal to become a reality. It could have easily been passed over due to its subject matter and outcomes that challenge a service retailed by one of the main sponsors of the conference.
Adrienne Sewell, Director of Advising for Retention and Sophomore Initiatives at Indiana University Bloomington provoked thought and insight regarding the academe’s infatuation with big data. “When it comes to data, we aren’t always sure what we are looking at,” stated Sewell. She continued, “Expectations are that we will be able to search like Google® and make recommendations like Netflix®. Big Data can solve anything!”
Sewell stated, “Predictive analytics, data mining, and pattern recognition are now common terms in our digital world, and they promise to practically solve any problem. Looking back at our past Presidential election, it appears Big Data missed the mark as some of the most sophisticated predictive analytics tools in the world were all but certain of the outcome of the election.”
I was fascinated by her explanation of the evolution of computer programming. She explained that initially, computers were programmed by people. Programmers looked at data and made a hypothesis. Today, we are teaching computers the ability to learn without being programmed – to not only have the logic to answer questions, but to create the questions. A couple of examples are Netflix® which predicts what you would like to watch and our smart phones learning about us through typos, voice recognition, routes on GPS, etc.
How does this impact advising? Sewell referenced an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education as saying old- school advising is about who appears in front of you – it’s very limited. New-school advising is using predictive analytics to target a specific group. But is this true?
Sewell argued, “Our responsibility as advisors is to make sure we monitor how well the system is working. Keep good records of any errors (screen shots are ideal) and when systems are developed or enhanced, make sure we are advocates for advisor input/testing. Recognize that not all predictions have equal accuracy. Big data makes predictions for all students which leads to false-positives because it must select an answer.” She quoted Baer and Norris (2013) asserting analytics is only one piece in a student success system. It requires commitment to persistent, personalized actions, and interventions to improve student success guided by analytics-based insights.
Sewell concluded by asking us to ponder these questions: When do our data points become ethical issues? What about economic background, financial need, race, etc.? Can assessing risk become a self-fulfilling prophecy? She followed with acknowledging that data can help answer questions, describe/discover a pattern, figure out students to reach out to, but we must continually adjust and use data wisely because approaches matter and data alone won’t save us.
**Schedule Subject to Change**
|8:00am-8:30am||Check-In||Registration Check-in, Light Breakfast (Coffee, Donuts, Bagels, etc.)|
|8:30am-8:45am||Opening – 30th Anniversary Kickoff||Welcome, Intro 30th Anniversary Items, News Reels, Recognizing Membership Activity|
|8:45am-9:15am||Family Feud||Fun Activity For All!|
|9:20am-9:50am||Founders Panel||30th Anniversary Founding Members Panel|
|10:00am-10:50am||Block #1||See Below|
|11:00am-11:30am||PACADA Recruiting/Business Reports||30th Anniversary Edition; State of the Association & Committee Reports|
|11:30am-1:00pm||Lunch and Social Activities||Honey Baked Ham Lunches, Outside Games, Board Game Room,|
|Tour of Phenotyping Facility, Yoga/Zumba|
|1:00pm-1:50pm||Block #2||See Below|
|2:00pm-2:50pm||Block #3||See Below|
|3:00pm-4:00pm||Keynote||Dr. Tim Elmore|
|4:00pm-4:30pm||Closing||Celebration Cake, Door Prizes, Final Remarks|
PACADA members were once again well-represented at the Learning Community Instructor luncheon where awardees for the 2016-2017 academic year were recognized. The list of award winners can be found below with PACADA members identified in bold text. Congratulations all of the award winners, especially our outstanding PACADA members!
Advocate Award – Awarded to Learning Community Instructors who have been nominated by their students for displaying a commitment to learning, exceptional involvement within the Learning Community, and providing opportunities for connection outside of the classroom.
- Katherine Chartier
- Michelle Mullen
- Bill Oakes
Exceptional Event Planner – Awarded to those LCIs who plan events that are engaging, exciting, and integral to student learning and development during their first semester here at Purdue.
- Aviation – Todd Brewer, Brian Stirm
- Global Science Partnerships – Laura Starr, Terry Ham
- Environmental Sciences – Michael Mashtare
Academic Connection – Awarded to LCIs who plan events and activities that directly connect classroom learning with hands-on experiences.
- The Nature of Wild Things – Julie Pluimer, Robert K. Swihart, Linda Prokopy, Jeff Dukes, Reuben Goforth
- EPICS – Bill Oakes, Sarah El-Azab, Beth Wilson, Priya Sirohi, Elizabeth Boyle, Carla Zoltowski
Student Impact – Awarded to LCIs who have demonstrated exceptional success in connecting students to peers, faculty and professional staff, campus resources, and the community at large.
- Explorers – Jennifer McDonald, Mandy Chalk, Margaret Sheble, McKinley Murphy, Danielle Corple, Beth Jones
- Exploratory Studies Purdue Promise – Rachel Ravellette, Cara Wetzel, Jessica Ramsey
- Exploring Business Majors – Scott Vana
- Exploratory Scholars – Kylie Geiman, Colleen Brown
- Exploratory Studies Honors – Mary Beth Lencke
- Agriculture Technology and Innovation – Dennis Buckmaster, Amy Jones
- Nursing Nexus – Sandra Kuebler, Laura Curry
Real-World Experience – Awarded to LCIs who plan events and activities that offer introductions to various opportunities within their respective academic fields.
- Engineering for the Planet – Inez Hua
- Dietetics – Rachel Clark, Dinah Dalder, Mridul Datta, Lisa Graves, Donna Zoss, Kathleen Hill Gallant
Images by Kendra Larimer, CGT student
The PACADA PIN Pushers just finished week 19 of their bowling season and are currently placed seventh out of eighteen Purdue teams. The team came about after captains Ashley Maloff and Holly Englert bowled in separate leagues the year prior. They thought it would be a fun way to get advisors together for networking and comradery outside of work.
Along with Ashley and Holly, the roster includes PACADA members Sarah Allard, Mandy Chalk, Emily Del Real, Danielle Gilbert, Melissa Law-Penrose, Brandi Moorman, Cynthia Quillen, and Elizabeth Watts. They are also joined by guests Jeff Englert and Nick Gonzalez, as partners and spouses are also welcome. The PIN Pushers bowl against such teams as Spoiler Makers, The PurDudes, Split Happens, The Bowlermakers, Wish I Cud Bowl, and more. The PIN Pushers’ name is more of an inside joke amongst the advising/student services community, as the pun is lost on most others. The bowlers rotate, some bowling every other week, others once a month. They are having a great season so far. Gotta love that handicap! If you’re interested in being a sub, please contact Holly or Ashley.
Here’s what the PIN Pushers have to say about their experience so far:
Stay tuned for a possible PACADA summer softball league.
By Audrey Cowling
Purdue President Mitch Daniels, an honorary PACADA member, observed an advising appointment in the College of Science on October 18. Jamie Linville, former Academic Advisor in Computer Science, brought up the idea of President Daniels shadowing an advising appointment during the fall 2016 PACADA Retreat in September.
The appointment that President Daniels observed was a spring 2017 registration meeting between Jamie and one of her advisees, Paul Krivacka, who was told before the appointment that President Daniels would be there. Paul is a freshman at Purdue studying Computer Science. He is also a Presidential Scholar and member of the Honors College. During the appointment, Jamie and Paul discussed a number of topics, including spring course selection, degree requirements, experiential learning opportunities, study abroad, and graduate school. At the end of the appointment, President Daniels asked Jamie about the advising role and what it entails and also took the time to learn more about Paul. Upon asking where Paul is from, he found out that they are both from Tennessee.
Paul had positive things to say about President Daniels’ visit: “I thought it was very cool of him to come to my appointment; it really shows that he wants to be involved in the college at every level.” He stated that he is a fan of how President Daniels “goes outside and gets to know the campus and people firsthand rather than only reading about it in reports at his desk.” Paul said that President Daniels was genuinely interested in student life, asking Paul about living in the new Honors Residence, his study abroad plans, classes he is taking, and the registration process as a whole. Paul stated that President Daniels “seemed to care about students as individuals…wanting to know what could be improved upon and if I personally had any problems or issues.”
President Daniels said in a statement that he found the experience “enjoyable and illuminating” and that he “came away reassured that, regardless of heavy caseloads, our students are getting individual and personalized attention.” He added that “despite what seemed an overly complex set of requirements and options, Jamie and her advisee still managed to build an academically engaging schedule that will also keep the student on track to graduate in four years.”
The PACADA Communications & Connections Committee would like to thank President Daniels for taking the time to learn more about the role of advisors. We would also like to thank Jamie for initiating this important dialogue, and Paul for sharing his experience.
In case you missed it, PACADA member Beth Tucker was featured in Purdue Today on 10/28/14.
Please take a moment to read about Beth’s dedicated work with Purdue’s international student population. What an inspiration! Way to go Beth, keep up the excellent work!
PACADA presents two advisors with distinguished awards recognizing excellent work each year – one award for Outstanding Advisor and another for Outstanding New Professional in Advising. Candidates are chosen through a peer nomination process and winners consistently demonstrate excellence in advising as experienced by students, colleagues, and faculty alike.
Additionally and perhaps less well known by PACADA members at Purdue, some Purdue advisors are also recognized by their own College or Department or are honored with awards from organizations outside Purdue like NACADA – PACADA’s national organization.
In order to spread the word on campus and beyond, it is critical to honor these individuals for a job well done.
Please congratulate the following Purdue Academic Advisors for the excellent work they do each day to help Purdue students reach their academic, personal, and professional goals:
PACADA Outstanding Advisor 2013-2014: Anneliese Kay, Assistant Director, College of Agriculture
PACADA Outstanding New Professional 2013-2014: Peter Vasher, (former) Advisor, Exploratory Studies
NACADA Outstanding Advising Award Certificate of Merit Recipient, Primary Advising category 2014: Anneliese Kay
NACADA Outstanding Advising Administrator Award Certificate of Merit Recipient, Advising Administrator category 2014: Dr. Mark Diekman, Faculty/Advisor, Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture
Richard W. McDowell Best Advisor Award for 2014: Jeffrey Myers, Advisor, First-Year Engineering
Outstanding Service to Students Recipient for the College of Agriculture, 2013-14: Andrew Oppy, Advisor, College of Agriculture
Outstanding Management Advisor Award for 2013-14: Jennifer Walters, Senior Academic Advisor, Krannert School of Management
NACADA Student Research Award Winner (Master’s category): John Gipson, Advisor/Student Program Specialist, College of Health and Human Sciences
Dr. Earl P. Notestine Award for Excellence in Academic Services, College of Liberal Arts, 2013-2014: Angie Palikaris, Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
Again, we offer a heartfelt thanks and congratulations for your hard work and dedication.
*If an award was missed, please email the author Colleen Brown at email@example.com to have the award/recipient added to this list.
Communications committee member Sheila Hurt interviewed Brooke Linn, winner of PACADA’s 2013 Outstanding New Professional Award
This year’s winner of PACADA’s Outstanding New Professional Award, Brooke Linn, has something of a split personality (career-wise, at least). While she loves her job as an advisor in the College of Pharmacy, she also puts in time every day pursuing her dream of being a published author. When we talked about her career path so far, it became clear that she is on two paths simultaneously that occasionally intersect in interesting ways.
I asked Brooke about her childhood dreams, and what she thought she wanted to be when she grew up. She said that when she was in kindergarten, she wanted to be a cheerleader. Throughout elementary and middle school, her dreams turned more towards writing and teaching. By high school, she planned to be a lawyer. She attended Purdue and started out majoring in Management, thinking that would help her own her own bookstore. But when she realized she would have no time for writing as a small business owner, she decided to switch to Elementary Education. Along with learning to teach, she would learn what children liked to read, and that would help inform her other career as a writer.
After graduation, Brooke taught second grade for several years, first in Florida and then back in Indiana. She became a reading interventionist and literacy coach, helping other teachers improve their teaching. During this whole time, she continued to work on her other career goal as well, and started an MFA in creative writing. Eventually she started thinking about working at Purdue as an advisor. She applied for a few jobs but was never even interviewed, since she had not yet completed her master’s degree. She got some advice from her own undergraduate advisor, Jane Ann Dimitt, and kept applying. Her persistence eventually paid off when someone who interviewed her but turned her down recommended her for an advising job in pharmacy, and she was hired.
Brooke loves her current job, saying the students are wonderful and the people she works with are both motivating and supportive. They make her want to be a better advisor and continue to learn more. The biggest change from her previous career as a teacher is the schedule, but in a way it’s easier for her now because she doesn’t take work home and for the first time ever, she has a lunch hour available to spend time writing. She has completed her first young adult novel and is working on the sequel; she also wants to write picture books for children.
Brooke has found an interesting way to combine her varied career interests by creating and teaching a writing course for PharmD students whose skills could use some polishing. Even though it was not technically required, her students had almost perfect attendance last semester and suggested she offer a longer version of the course for next year. She also works with students who decide they do not want pharmacy, and is looking forward to learning more about career advising by taking the online course sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Advising that starts in a few weeks.
Though she certainly appreciates winning the Outstanding New Professional Award, Brooke wanted to emphasize that she doesn’t think she does anything out of the ordinary as an academic advisor. If that’s the case, then Pharmacy students are clearly in good hands!
Communications committee member Paul Birkhimer interviewed Cara Wetzel, winner of PACADA’s 2013 Outstanding Advisor Award
“Outstanding In Her Field”
Or, as the pun-loving Cara Wetzel would say, “Out standing in her field”. But being awarded PACADA’s Outstanding Academic Advisor Award is no joke to Wetzel. Since beginning her employment on the Purdue campus in 1997, Cara has always wanted to make an impact on students. As Assistant Director in the Undergraduate Studies Program, she is able to make this impact not only when she meets with students one-to-one, but also inside her EDPS 105 classroom, where bad jokes help her to make good connections.
This year’s Outstanding Academic Advisor didn’t have a career in academic advising as her goal. When she shares this information with her exploratory students in USP, it provides another opportunity to make a connection and impact students. “I want to make a difference in students’ lives by helping them make organized decisions,” says Cara. She says she had a great advisor while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Purdue, now she strives to be the same type of influence for her students.
Wetzel truly didn’t realize academic advising was the place for her until she started advising in the Undergraduate Studies Program. Looking back at the path which led her to Academic Advising has allowed Cara the opportunity to reflect and uncover the influences which have impacted her decisions. Or as this Purdue math alum would say, “Looking for a sine.” (The puns never end.)
The most fulfilling advising moments for her are the ones where she can see the light bulb go off in the student’s eye. That’s when she knows the connection has been established and an impact has been made.
“I’m a learner,” says Wetzel, so being an instructor in EDPS 105, Academic and Career Planning, is a great place to be. Beyond the classroom, she continues to increase her understanding of academic advising by attending regional and national conferences where new ideas and practices can be learned and shared. For this academic advisor, the learning never stops.
Along with her dedication to academic advising, Cara has a strong commitment to family. Her husband, daughter and son provide joy and stability to her life, but their busy schedules can make it challenging to maintain balance at times. The challenges she experiences allow her to be more empathetic with her students. She understands that they must also balance multiple elements in their lives as they explore their options at Purdue.
Receiving this recognition as Outstanding Academic Advisor made Cara smile. How appropriate, since her students share a similar reaction when she delivers one of her many bad jokes or puns.
An Interview with Sandy Monroe:
Director of University Undergraduate Advising
By Danielle Gilbert and Jennifer Radecki
Sandy Monroe’s connection to Purdue was forged early. A daughter of Seymour, IN farmers, she sought out the diversity and opportunity she wasn’t receiving at a small Chicago university by transferring to Purdue. The change afforded her access to excellent advising and experiences, culminating in the opportunity to be the first student from Purdue to complete an Indiana University-sponsored student teaching semester on a Navajo Indian Reservation. There she learned what it was like to be a minority, how to fully respect another’s culture, and what the 24/7 lives of her students really entailed. Her commitment to teaching was solidified and she graduated with a B.A. in Social Studies Education.
Afterwards, Sandy dove into a Purdue graduate degree in counseling (College Student Personnel). While completing her degree, she served as the “house mom” for Shoemaker Cooperative. This experience brought her into contact with wonderful mentors at the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) who encouraged her professional development, such Bev Stone, Barb Cook, Betty Nelson, and Linda Ewing. She transitioned to a full-time generalist counselor position with ODOS where she stayed for 10 years, continuing to advise co-operative housing through what is now called Student Activities and Organizations.
ODOS is also where she met her husband of 32 years, Jim Westman, who recently retired as the Director of the Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH). To have both spouses working in the student affairs field is almost ideal, she said, because serving students is “a lifestyle and not just an 8 to 5 job” – a commitment they both understood. Over time, Sandy held varied positions in the Office of the Dean of Students. As an Associate Dean of Students, she served as the director of the On-Call Team to assist students in crisis. Later, as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, she led the Behavioral Intervention Team. Her career so far has allowed her the joy of “[being] invited to be a part of students’ lives” and to affect them positively.
At the time of our interview with Sandy, she had been the newly-minted Director of University Undergraduate Advising for a grand total of 8 weeks. The position was the result of a Foundations of Excellence (FOE) recommendation encouraging a “unified academic advising focus,” with a “central point person” representing academic advising at the highest levels. This person would be a “centralized resource responsible for advisor advocacy, as well as best-practice review.” Sandy hopes that the creation of this position will bring visibility to the importance of academic advising in the undergraduate experience.
Sandy believes that academic advising is a student’s introduction to the higher education experience and it is important for that student to establish a one-to-one advisor connection early. Advisors can challenge students to think critically about their personalities, interests, goals, and the different worldviews they are experiencing. In her interaction with advisors, she has always been constantly impressed with what we do, our hard work, and our commitment to students and to the Purdue community at-large.
Sandy feels she has made good progress in her work with the Academic Advisor Project, which focused on the restructuring and standardization of academic advising positions. A task bank, created by a committee of academic advisors and advising directors, was implemented to assist in delineating new advising levels. Career ladders within each level will follow. A new standard for student to advisor ratio has been set (at 225:1) and new advisor hiring has been proposed to move this goal toward fruition. Throughout, Sandy has been representing advisors at campus-wide committee meetings.
Sandy feels that our advising community’s greatest challenges are to obtain recognition of, and respect for, our profession and our accomplishments. Collecting student feedback, continuing to be involved in student-related projects, committees, and programs, and actively participating in professional development opportunities are just a few ways for us to address these challenges. Ultimately, advising needs to remain student-focused and centered on continuing to assist and improve our services to them.
Positive changes for advising are just beginning. Sandy would love to hear advisors’ ideas for continued improvements, whether it’s through e-mail, during her attendance at a staff meeting, or through an informal talk while returning from an advising event. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and her phone number is 494-5779. Meetings can also be set by calling Julie Wise, her administrative assistant, at 496-2690.
Last time we hoped to inspire you with quotes from former Outstanding Advisor Award winners. This time we have more inspiration for you—but from further back! Enjoy this blast from the past!
Rita Baker, 2002 Winner
A successful advisor will remove the word “I” from their repertoire when talking with students.
If a minute count were done, a successful advisor will have spent more minutes listening than speaking. A successful advisor puts the world aside and listens with ears and eyes.
A successful advisor puts themselves in the seat of the student, literally and figuratively, often. Empathy is a key player in quality advising.
The student leaving the advising session should leave feeling like someone has not only listened, but heard and cared. “You have all the qualities it takes to do well…please let me know how it goes” can be the one statement that makes a student feel cared for at college.
Erik Props, 2000 Winner
To me, the most important advice is to be a good listener. By listening you’ll find out what their goals are and what they are passionate about so you can help put them on a path to success. You’ll also hear about their struggles; and, sometimes, what they do not say is very telling. You should also know as much as possible about your own programs as well as other campus opportunities and resources. Share your knowledge with the idea of empowering the student to make their own decisions and take control of their career and college experience. Help them grow by pushing them beyond their comfort zone.
Cher Yazvac, 1995 Winner
Being a successful advisor is a combination of being knowledgeable about the myriad of programs and procedures at Purdue, being an insightful & creative listener and communicator, and being 100% “for” each student.
Roberta Schonemann, 1994 Winner
Advisors need to be well-informed on university and school (They call them “colleges” now?) policies. Importantly, they should be good listeners, make an effort to learn their advisees’ names, and encourage independent decision making (not make the decision!) through the discussion and evaluation of options. Above all, like and respect young people.
Alan Welch, 1992 Winner
Just one thing? Wow. I doubt I’ll stop at one!
Treat students like adults, whether or not they are acting like adults. Resist the urge to be their parents away from home. People will generally respond appropriately, and if you talk to them as an adult, they’ll learn how to respond that way. The students need to learn to talk to their parents the same way.
Make a connection with your advisee that’s something more than their name and major. It will help you remember them better and will let the student know that you care about them as a person.
Don’t get hung up on ‘the company line’. Help your students dream about what they can really accomplish and what they are passionate about, even if it’s not furthering the current stated goals in retention or goals of the University. If the goals they have are not matching with evidence (grades, progress, etc.), give them that evidence and let them draw their own conclusion; you don’t need to spell it out for them. It might take a little longer, but the effect will be more lasting.
As we begin another school year, the Communications Committee thought it might be nice to share with you some words of inspiration from past Outstanding Advisor Award winners. We asked them, “What trait makes an advisor successful?” We hope their answers will motivate you to be just as outstanding this year!
Truda Strange, 2012 Winner
It is difficult to name just one because there are several. But after thinking about it I would say that I like to use humor. However, one must be careful and not overuse it or use it inappropriately. The use of humor with my advisees has helped me build a positive relationship with them. It has made me more approachable, interesting, fun, and human. I like to smile too.
Mary Beth Lencke, 2011 Winner
I think one of the traits (because there are many!) that makes an advisor successful is the ability to save somebody. And by that, I don’t mean literally saving a person from a fire or from drowning or something like that… I view my students as needing saved from “something” every single time they come in to see me. I envision myself as sort of their superhero, willing to swoop in, fight their battles, lift them up when they are weary, BE ON THEIR SIDE… basically save the day. I empower them, to be sure; but I also want them to know – very clearly – that I am with them in this journey. Because, very often, we advisors are saving them from themselves. And the best part? Sometimes all it takes is a hug.
Sharon Kraebber, 2010 Winner
I can’t just answer one thing!!! But as a short answer…An outstanding advisor has to convey a passion of education and learning through a caring, helpful attitude using strong interpersonal skills. This advisor would cultivate a relationship and rapport with advisees helping them integrate their undergraduate education, curriculum, and experiences into their overall personal and professional journey/goals.
Mark Diekman, 2009 Winner
I think one of the most important traits of being a successful advisor is to be accountable in a timely fashion—let the advisee know what you are going to do and then do it.
LeeAnn Williams, 2008 Winner
I think an outstanding advisor truly cares or has passion about his/her students’ success. This passion drives the advisor to engage with students in developing individual academic plans that not only meet graduation requirements, but encourage academic options such as minors, study abroad, certificates, etc. An outstanding advisor uses this same passion to guide students as they make decisions about internships and career options, promotes personal and professional development through co-curricular activities, and serves as a sounding board when students are walking through the decision making process. An outstanding advisor doesn’t need to have an answer to every question, but a desire to assist students to find the answers and introduce them to the correct resources.
Debbie Landis Bearden, 2007 Winner
Wow! “What trait makes an advisor successful?” That is a hard question. So many things come to mind. Since I have to pick just one trait I would have to say “compassion for students”.
Jamie Schoenbeck Walsh, 2006 Winner
For me the key to being a successful academic advisor is always remembering who I’m doing this for: the students. They have been my best teachers the last 12 years. I feel I can only measure any success I’ve had as an advisor through the success of my students.
Nancy Kester, 2005 Winner
It is important to be yourself and use your personality, strengths, and passions to develop a connection and trust with your students. Listen and ask follow-up questions. They need to know you care about them as individuals as well as for their academic and professional success. Make suggestions and send them information about classes, minors, volunteer, professional, student organization, and study abroad opportunities that might be pertinent to their career goals and dreams. Follow up with additional information and resources when you say you will or, like me, when you think of it after they have left your office. Teach and coach them to become independent learners and owners of their own educational and professional paths.
When CCO Associate Director Linden Petrin first took a job at Purdue, she expected to stay only one year. Twenty-six years later, she’s finally retiring. I talked with Linden about her time at Purdue, the changes she’s seen at the CCO, and her plans for retirement.
Linden earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling, and when she found out she had to take a career counseling class as part of her degree, she tried to get out of it since she thought it would be a waste of time and money because she would never use that information. It’s a good thing the faculty made her take it, however, because after a year working for a local social service agency, she took a job with the Office of the Dean of Students as a career counselor.
At the time, CCO was called University Placement Service, and students who needed career counseling went to ODOS. Linden worked in University Division, a program for students between majors at Purdue. She was primarily a career counselor but also did mental health counseling, academic advising, and taught a class for UDV students. Linden was one of the original members of PACADA and was the newsletter editor for several years before joining the professional development committee.
Around the year 2000, University Placement became the Center for Career Opportunities, and broadened its mission to include career counseling. At the same time, University Division became part of the Undergraduate Studies Program. Ken Coleman moved to USP, and Linden moved to the CCO. Linden was not excited about moving at first, since she didn’t feel like she had any choice in the matter, but it turned out to be a wonderful move for her.
She no longer officially did academic advising but she still advised students on courses to take or majors to investigate as part of the career exploration process. She stayed active with PACADA because she wanted to stay connected to the academic side of Purdue.
I asked her how the CCO had changed during her time at Purdue, and she said that besides adding career counseling, it has changed its general approach to serving students. Instead of placing students in jobs, now CCO staff members try to teach students skills, make them aware of resources, and provide opportunities to connect with employers. She says it’s much more student service oriented.
I asked what changes she sees ahead for the CCO, and she said they will probably be driven by changes in technology. For example, online social networking has become a major part of resourcing job openings, and it didn’t even exist a few years ago. Also, as budgets continue to be tight, she expects technology will help the CCO continue to serve students in new ways without increases in manpower.
She has really enjoyed the closeness of the staff at the CCO, and says that when she retires she will miss her CCO family. However, it’s clear that she’s looking forward to retirement. If you look at her office clock to find out the time, you instead see the words, “Who cares?” and all the numbers are in a heap at the bottom.
Her last day at Purdue will be July 6th, and she and her husband have already made plans to cross several items off their retirement “bucket lists.” Their eleventh grandchild is due in July, so they will use the minivan they equipped with a mattress in the back to start traveling around the country visiting far-flung family members and seeing the sights. They are also going on a riverboat cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam for fifteen days in October, and next spring they hope to drive on Route 66 from Chicago to California. Besides traveling, the biggest item on her list is to use up all her craft supplies before she dies so her children don’t have to sort through all of them. It’s a good thing she plans to live a long time, because it will take a while to go through all the supplies that currently fill the craft room, the garage, and the attic. Linden enjoys woodworking, weaving, scrapbooking, needlework, and making soap, candles, and jewelry. She also hopes to finally have time to cook every single recipe she’s collected over the years.
Between ODOS and the CCO, Linden has helped hundreds (or thousands?) of students over the years. She’s also been a great member of PACADA, staying active herself and recruiting new career counselors as they join the CCO. She has helped me personally many times with improving the class I teach, and I know she’ll be greatly missed by everyone at Purdue. Happy retirement, Linden!