Category Archives: Uncategorized

PACADA Statement of Support for Students

In this time of uncertainty and unrest, the members of the Purdue Academic Advising Association (PACADA) affirm the dignity and value of all students regardless of race, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation or national origin. We care about you and support you.

As advisors, it is our responsibility not only to assist you with course selection and registration, but also to direct you to helpful resources. Therefore, we suggest that students in need of support, in addition to contacting your academic advisor, look to the campus offices below (listed in alphabetical order) as needed.

If you experience acts of hate and bias on campus, we encourage you to report them to Purdue University Police as well as to the Division of Diversity and Inclusion through the REPORT HATE and BIAS link on

Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center

Black Cultural Center

Counseling and Psychological Services

Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education

Disability Resource Center


Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette

Latino Cultural Center

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Center

Native American Educational and Cultural Center

Residential Life



Molly Gilbert In the Spotlight: Purdue Today


This week, Purdue Today will offer short profiles of Purdue faculty, staff and students who are making a difference by volunteering at a United Way agency or program. Today, Purdue Today is featuring Molly Gilbert, senior academic advisor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, who volunteers at Right Steps Child Development Centers, which offers early care and education, after-school care, and educational trainings, technical assistance and workshops on child development through The Child Care Resource Network.

How long have you worked at Purdue?

Five years, started in August 2011.

How long have you volunteered with Right Steps Child Development Centers?

I have volunteered for three years, starting in fall 2013.

How did you get involved with Right Steps?

Two former co-workers were members of the board, and the organization had decided to hold a 5K walk/run as its big fundraiser in 2014.  Before coming to Purdue, I was director of a camp for children with cancer, and we organized a 5K fundraiser each year. Knowing my history, my co-workers asked me to sit on the Right Steps Run planning committee. I have been involved ever since and even send our son to one of the centers!

What does your volunteer work with the group entail?

My involvement has grown over the years. I have been active in the planning process for the annual Right Steps Run 5K/10K, now in its fourth year. We meet regularly to plan the race from picking a date all the way to race day in April.  I have also recently joined the board for the organization, where we monitor and establish organizational policies and make decisions for the good of the organization.

Why did you decide to volunteer?

I am a huge believer in education, from birth through higher ed, and unfortunately there are a lot of children who do not receive quality child care and are starting their formal education behind many of their peers. One of the things Right Steps offers is four early care and education centers that operate on a sliding fee scale. This allows access to quality child care and education for families of all income levels. Right Steps believes that all children deserve quality child care and early education, and they work to make it available to the youth in Tippecanoe County. I am excited to be a part of that and to put my heart and soul into something so important. So when asked to help, I didn’t think twice about it.

What would you like to tell someone who is considering volunteering at a United Way agency?

Do it! United Way agencies are all working towards a common goal — to create change that will make our community better.  It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know you are volunteering for an organization that is making such an impact in your local community.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am in a unique position because not only do I volunteer, but I am also a parent of a Right Steps child. I am in a center every day and get to see the impact the organization is having on our community. Children who may otherwise not be receiving early education are excelling socially and academically (and even getting regular health screenings!).  It is very rewarding to be a part of something like that.

We are always accepting volunteers. If anyone is interested in finding out more, they can contact me at

 How to help

The United Way of Greater Lafayette lists volunteer opportunities online on its Volunteer Center page.

Faculty, staff and retirees also may contribute to the Purdue United Way Campaign by going online and logging into the ePledge system. Donors can choose among several methods — payroll deduction, one-time credit card donation or recurring monthly donations, or by check.

Rita Baker and Nancy Kester Recipients of Special Boilermaker Award

Special Boilermaker AwardCongratulations to Rita Baker and Nancy Kester for winning the 2016 Special Boilermaker Award! The Special Boilermaker Award was established in 1981 to recognize members of the Purdue faculty or staff who have contributed significantly to the quality of life and/or the betterment of the educational experience for a substantial number of Purdue students.

Rita earned her undergraduate and master’s degree from Purdue University, and has been an academic advisor at Purdue since 1985.

“The best part about being an academic advisor at Purdue University is that the position requires talking with and getting to know great people. Can anyone ask for a better job description?”

See a story written about Rita in the Brazil Times, Rita’s hometown newspaper.

Nancy also earned her undergraduate and master’s degree from Purdue University. After serving as Purdue’s Assistant Volleyball coach for seventeen years, she became an advisor for Health and Kinesiology in 1995.

“I love meeting with students one on one, hearing about the exciting things they are doing on campus, in the classroom, and in the community or on study abroad trips, helping them navigate college and resources, and guiding them in developing a plan of study that will help them fulfill their personal and career goals.”

Take a look at historical winners to find more PACADA members.

Also pictured above: Chemistry professor and Special Boilermaker recipient Marcy Towns.

Written by Danielle Gilbert

Sue Aufderheide in the Spotlight: Purdue Today


Susan Aufderheide has guided the Exploratory Studies program at Purdue for more than 16 years. She also has been a professor in Physical Education and Health and Recreations Studies, an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and director of academic support services in Intercollegiate Athletics.

What is Exploratory Studies and what is your role as director?

Exploratory Studies is a program that helps students discover the major that best reflects their interests, skills and abilities. With the guidance of our advisors, students are given the luxury of a non-pressured environment to explore their own interests, skills and abilities while exploring the over 200 majors at Purdue.

Each student is assigned to an experienced academic advisor who is familiar with all Purdue colleges/schools and degree programs. A course schedule is created for each student specifically tailored to their interests, skills and abilities, allowing them to fulfill general requirements, while exploring all that Purdue has to offer. A student can stay in Exploratory Studies for two years, but can declare a major at any time during those four semesters.

As director I am responsible for the strategic direction of the department and the implementation of its programs and services. I provide expertise, mentor staff and advocate across campus for the needs of the exploratory population. I also advise my own subset of exploratory students and teach a mandatory course for our students called Academic and Career Planning.

What is your favorite part of your work?

Working one-on-one with students. As an advising administrator, I believe deeply in serving both as an academic advisor and an instructor of our Academic and Career Planning course. I feel I am a much more effective leader if I experience firsthand the joys and frustrations my staff sees on a daily basis.

Does this program help students save money?

When students come into Exploratory Studies, they begin taking coursework that spans all of the majors they are considering. Once they decide which direction to pursue, they have already taken many of the courses they would need for that major.  They are well on their way to completing their degree in four years. If a student comes in decided and then makes a 180-degree major change, there is a good chance they have not taken the appropriate courses for their new major. This adds time and money to completing their degree.

What would you tell incoming freshmen about the program? 

Exploratory Studies is the place to begin you college career. Nationally 80 percent of all college students change their majors at least once. We give you time to explore the over 200 majors on campus while keeping you on track to graduate within your four-year time frame. While exploring you will have an amazing relationship with an advisor who has knowledge of you, your interests, skills and abilities, and all majors on campus and has time to get to know you and assist you on this wonderful journey.

Eighty-five percent of the students who started in Exploratory Studies never change their major once they leave our program. Students have taken time to explore themselves, their major and career interests. They make those major decisions based on fully vetted information.

What is your most memorable moment from your time at Purdue?

I would have to say being an academic support staff member of the 1999 national championship women’s basketball team is the most memorable. It was great being able to travel with and support the women in their academic endeavors as they made that historic run.

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325,

Erin Schultz and Christine Hofmeyer Win PACADA Advising Awards

The Purdue Academic Advising Association (PACADA) recently honored two academic advisors for their hard work and dedication to their students.

Outstanding Academic Advisor: Erin Schultz, College of Education


Professionalism, confidentiality, trustworthiness and accountability are the foundations for Schultz’s attitude toward all students that are fortunate enough to meet and work with her, said nominator Jane Dimitt, director of the Office of Advising and Recruiting for the College of Education.

Students often express how supportive and informative Schultz is as an advisor.

Schultz started her career as a school counselor at Wea Ridge Middle School. She later realized that she could use her skills to benefit a different set of students.

“As a Boilermaker and previously a school counselor, academic advising at Purdue was a natural fit for me,” she says.

Co-workers lauded her work mentality and commitment in letters of support.

“It is made clear through her actions that Erin sees her advising role as going beyond suggesting courses for a plan of study to include the work of mentoring, listening, supporting and encouraging her students,” says Jill Newton, associate professor of Mathematics Education.

Schultz has been a member of PACADA since her first year on campus and co-chair of the Communications Committee since 2014.

“I love being a difference-maker. I hope that I have made some sort of impact in the lives of my students, and that, as future teachers, they will be paying it forward,” she says.

Outstanding New Professional: Christine Hofmeyer, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Christine Hofmeyer

Hard work, willingness to learn and a strong desire to help students have marked Hofmeyer’s time as an advisor in the Office of Student Services in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, where she took on two roles: academic advisor and graduate program coordinator.

“Christine is very friendly and engaging with her students and they are comfortable talking with her and discussing their concerns,” says John B. Dunning Jr., professor and director of the Office of Student Services.

Hofmeyer has worked as an academic advisor for a little more than a year, but already knows the job was the perfect fit for her.

“I love to learn, so being employed at an educational institution is a natural fit for me. I love being part of the students’ academic, emotional, social and professional development plan as they progress through their college years,” she says. “I met my freshman and transfer students when they visited the university as prospective students, and I have assisted them with various issues during their first year at Purdue and have enjoyed watching their transformations.  I have learned from the ongoing experiences of my sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students.”

Hofmeyer says she became an academic advisor because she wanted to be more directly involved with Purdue students.

“I’m a people person and am driven by opportunities to serve others,” she says.

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325,


Learning Community Instructor Awards- Great PACADA Representation!

Purdue has outstanding academic advisors, many of whom go above and beyond their daily job responsibilities in order to serve their students and the greater Purdue community to the best of their ability. Many academic advisors also serve as Learning Community Instructors. Each year students are asked to nominate outstanding Learning Community Instructors and based on those nominations,  four LCIs receive the Learning Community Advocate Award. Of those four, three are academic advisors and PACADA members! They are as follows:

Sheila Hurt – Explorers LC

Julie Pluimer – The Nature of Wild Things LC

Cara Wetzel – Exploratory Studies Purdue Promise LC

In addition,  several other Learning Community Instructors were recognized with various awards. Among the winners, PACADA members were very well represented:

Exceptional Event Planner

Awarded to those LCIs who are especially successful at planning events that are engaging, exciting, and integral to student learning and development during their first semester here at Purdue.

Debbi Bearden – Krannert Direct Admit LC

Lora Goonewardene – Discoveries in Biology LC

Jamie Linville – Discoveries in Biology LC

Marsha Rhees – Discoveries in Biology LC

Karen Wiggins – Discoveries in Biology LC

Academic Connection

Awarded to LCIs who are especially successful at planning events and activities that directly connect classroom learning with hands-on experiences for students.

Michelle Mullen – Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences LC

Student Support

Awarded to LCIs who are especially successful at planning events and activities that introduce students to helpful resources on campus and provide opportunities for direct interaction for support.

Vicki Gilbert – Computer Science LC

Faith Giordano – Computer Science LC

Desiree Marmon – Computer Science LC

Real-World Experience

Awarded to LCIs who are especially successful at planning events and activities that offer introductions to various opportunities within their respective academic fields.

Julie Pluimer – The Nature of Wild Things LC

Congratulations to the award winners, and thank you for all that you do for the Purdue community!


*a special thanks to Justin Hamman, Assistant Director of Learning Communities, for providing award descriptions and award winners.

University Residence Hall Mediation






By Elizabeth Byers

The PACADA Communications Committee would like to thank Ms. Dorothy Hughes for her 16 years of dedicated service to Purdue students and the Purdue community.  She earned her M.S.Ed. in Counseling and Development from Purdue-Calumet in 1997. She came to Purdue’s main campus to start a PhD. in 1998. After two years in the Counseling Psychology Program, it became clear that her skills were clinical in nature, not research oriented.  Once she left the program, Ms. Hughes began working at two part-time positions: one as a half time Span Plan counselor in the Office of the Dean of Students, and one as a psychotherapist at a local mental health center.  Eventually, she became the full time director of Span Plan Adult Student Services and an Assistant Dean of Students.  Currently Ms. Hughes is working in University Residences mediating roommate conflict, training resident assistants and assisting the residential life director in developing a new leadership program.

Dorothy is a long time member of PACADA and served as the chair of the Professional Development Committee. She also chaired the professional development committee for the Office of the Dean of Students for many years. She served on several campus wide committees including as a Wellness Ambassador, APSAC Representative and Family Friendly Purdue. During her tenure at Span Plan she advised two adult student organizations: Alpha Sigma Lambda and the Purdue Adult Student Network.

Ms. Hughes’ goals include teaching students lifelong skills they can use with any kind of conflict throughout their lifespans.  Additionally, she hopes that the work she is doing to develop the leadership program will be a strong foundation for ongoing leadership development for residential life students.  Ms. Hughes is looking forward to retiring in June 2016!  Join us as we thank Ms. Hughes for her hard work and dedication towards student success at Purdue University.

John Gipson Awarded Outstanding New Professional Award from NASPA Region IV-East






By Audrey Cowling

Congratulations, John Gipson!

John Gipson, Recruitment Coordinator for the College of Health & Human Sciences, was recently presented with the Outstanding New Professional Award from NASPA Region IV-East (Region IV-East is comprised of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the province of Ontario). The Outstanding New Professional Award is presented to one individual with no more than three years of experience within a professional position. The criteria for the award are: active involvement in NASPA and/or other professional organizations, innovative or creative programming efforts that address the needs of students at his or her institution, and outstanding service to his or her institution.  

John was also recently presented with The FreshMaker Award from the ACPA (American College Personnel Association) Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals, an award that recognizes graduate students and new professionals who bring fresh perspective, energy, service, innovation, and high levels of participation and contribution to their host institution.

 John is currently serving as Co-Chair of the PACADA Research Committee. He is also actively involved in a number of other professional activities, including: Co-Chairing the Research & Scholarship Committee for the NASPA Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Community (SAPAA KC); serving on the Purdue Recruitment Council, Advisory Council on Equity, and HHS Recruitment & Web Advisory Committee; and serving as staff advisor for Men of Color in Human Affairs (M.O.C.H.A.). In addition to his professional work, John is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, with a concentration in Quantitative Research Methods, from Purdue.

 Congratulations, John, and thank you for your hard work and dedication to student success!