Tuesday, April 8, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Eric Bowles

Hometown: Eagle Pass, Texas

College(s) attended: UT-San Antonio (BA in English) UT-Austin (MEd in Higher Edu & abd in Ed Psych PhD)

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present: Student Development Specialist (Dean of Students Office) Academic Advisor (Economics) Program Coordinator & Assistant Director (UTeach-Liberal Arts)

How did you end up at UT in the first place? I had a UTemp job in Student Government for 6 weeks a little over 15 years ago. At that time Kevin Rome directed the office of Campus and Community Involvement within the Dean of Students Office.  On my last day of the temp job he walked in and said, "You looking for a job?" and I said, "Yes."  Kevin says, "I have an admin assistant position, you have an interview tomorrow at 9am, be there!"  I got the job offer the next day and I started my life in student affairs. Little did I know it was a life altering moment and I have done my best to make the most out of my time here. It's been a tremendous journey so far!

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  ACA has the most welcoming, helpful, comforting, and friendly professional environments you could ever wish for. I loved my time as Co-VP!

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member: Oh man I have a few.  Gabby Yearwood and I were Co-VP's and we took a giant life-size cutout of Homer Simpson and took pictures all over campus with Homer for David Spight. We shared the pictures with the entire ACA family at a meeting.  It was just a fun group of people to be with and we laughed non-stop. 

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT? Learn as much as you can about your profession through advancing your education and/or professional development.  Utilize that information and your education to do good in your community in large and small ways daily.  Take what you learn and work efficiently, diligently, and don’t lose sight of the fact that your work makes a difference in someone's life each day.  We work at a public institution for the public and we are entrusted with a very important mission. Foster that mission for the sake of your students and your community! 

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? I don't know that I think of it in terms of legacy, but more so memories, students, and friendships. I have laughed, cried, and learned a ton during my time at UT and I hope my students and friends cherish those memories as much as I do. 

Anything else you want to tell us?  I feel extremely privileged to have had the types of experiences during my time here. For a kid from a small border town, I don't lose sight of where I come from and I hope I do my communities justice! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Nancy Sutherland

My home town is Dallas, specifically Southwest Oak Cliff and Kimball High School.  My parents both worked (Dallas Transit and DISD).  My older brother earned BBA and MBA from SMU.  

I knew what I was going to major in early on . . . Elementary Education and History.  I considered attending Texas because of the outstanding Education program and, back then, I would have been automatically admitted.  Since I didn’t have any friends going here, I stayed at home my freshman year and attended Mountain View College, took 20 hours a semester and played on the District Champion Tennis team, sang in choir, and played piano for the children’s church services.  After a visit with my two best friends in College Station, I decided to attend A&M for my sophomore year.  It had nothing to do with the fact that it was 85% male at the time.  It was smaller than it is now and they had just put a lot of money into expanding their College of Education.  It turned out to be just what I needed, a great place to learn, small classes, and friendly folks.  My student teaching was with 4th and 5th graders in Spring, Texas.  I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction with a Lifetime Texas Teaching Certificate, Elementary grades 1-8, and History.  

How I got into advising:
The summer after I graduated, I was coordinating A&M tennis camp and met my future husband, Leroy Sutherland.  He was academic counselor and dorm manager for Men’s Athletics at Texas A&M.   In the first five minutes, we got in an argument about check-in procedures.  We were married 6 months later and I moved into the men’s athletic dorm at A&M.  For 3 years, I was “dorm mother”.  It was an amazing learning experience for me to observe Leroy, an expert academic and life skills advisor, on a daily basis.  Student-athletes would stop in his office -- just down the hall--or our apartment at all hours, 24 hours/7 days a week, year round advising.   We were all in a fish bowl.  I felt like I had 200 big and little brothers.  My husband spent 30 years in college athletics — which means I did, too.  7 years at A&M, 18 crazy, memorable months at the University of Memphis, and at UT from 1986-2008.  It has been rewarding to help thousands of student-athletes over the years and they still call the house from time to time.  

UT Advising
When we came here in 1986, I started out as a UTemp doing calligraphy for the President’s Office (envelopes and name tags).  Several ACA advisors including Arthur Allert (Business) and Joe Eivens (Athletics and Education) suggested that I look into advising positions.  I was fortunate to get my first job at MEC (testing) as a Student Development Specialist with Mary Castilla where I advised prospective and current students and parents about required and optional testing.  It also gave me added experience working with chairs and faculty advisors in departments and deans offices.  

Fine Arts
My next job at UT was a big step up as the Dean’s Office advisor for the entire College of Fine Arts (faculty advisors were in each department).  I worked directly for Associate Dean Charles Roeckle (who has been honored by ACA for his longtime support of advising).  Shortly after I got there, the degree evaluator went on maternity leave and I had to do both jobs — 144 degree plans, 2000 students,  all by hand — it was a huge learning curve.  I do very much appreciate Dean Roeckle, the staff, and ACA colleagues for patience and daily guidance.  During those 7 years, we hired staff academic advisors in Art, Theatre & Dance, and Music including Rachel Martin (Fine Arts).  We attended ACA meetings and I served as Program Chair one year.  Advising on campus was changing and making a difference for students.  

Liberal Arts and History
As the College of Liberal Arts was adding departmental advisors and a position came up in History in 1995.  Prior to that time, they had a faculty advisor and two part time graduate assistants.  While I love the arts, History is still my favorite subject (yes, I stop for historical markers).  That first year, Cynthia Gladstone (then a graduate assistant advisor, now Dr. Cynthia Gladstone, Academic Advisor, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, and Jewish Studies) helped me transition to departmental duties.  I continued attending ACA and served as Program Chair a second time.   I now work with ACA members Tom Griffith and Thomas Fawcett, and Susan Somers.  We are Advising Team One:  History, Classics, and Philosophy.  I report to Assistant Dean Kim Krieg in Liberal Arts.

Thoughts on ACA:
ACA was only 29 people when I first started attending back in 1987.  I immediately felt welcome and realized that we had an extremely important purpose and vision.  Through ACA, we all have exceptionally-talented colleagues to help us solve our challenges and help us move forward in our careers.   

My mission statement for advising seems silly but it is accurate:    “Be here and know stuff” — that is what the students need, want, and expect.  

UT and ACA have treated me well.   I’m doing OK for a blonde, Aggie from Oak Cliff.      : )   

Monday, March 17, 2014

ACA March 2014 General Meeting

The March 2014 General Meeting was held on Wednesday, 3/5/2014 in the SAC Ballroom North.  Special thanks to the School of Nursing and the University Leadership Network for sponsoring the delicious breakfast. Full meeting minutes can be found on the ACA website: http://www.utexas.edu/staff/aca/minutes
Our fearless leader, ACA President Rob Poynor welcomes the membership. 

Cindy Gladstone announced the NACADA Nominees.  Congrats to all who were nominated! 

Matthew Haynes, ACA Vice President welcomes our first speaker

Dr. David Laude, Sr. Vice Provost for Enrollment and Graduation Management spoke to us about several programs and initiatives as well as the new registration slotting system. 

Dr. Linda Carpenter from the School of Nursing provided us with updates on the nursing program and information for students who are interested in transferring in to nursing. 

Rebecca Wilcox from the Office of Undergraduate Research spoke to us about Research Week 2014. 

John Newton closed the meeting with information about the University Leadership Network. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Jeff Hallock

Hometown: Sand Springs, OK

College(s) attended: Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present: Academic Advisor I: Transitional Advising Center (TrAC) in Natural Sciences, Academic Advisor II/Senior Advisor: Biomedical Engineering, Academic Advising Coordinator: Biomedical Engineering, Associate Director of Residence Life – Resident Management, Facilities, Sustainability @ St. Edward’s University, Associate Academic Advisor: Moody College, Dept. of Radio Television and Film

How did you end up at UT in the first place? I left Butler University where I was a Hall Coordinator and accepted the job in the TrAC to make a long distance relationship a short distance one.  The relationship didn’t work out so much but Austin and UT did :)

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  I really enjoy the community of advisors and the support it provides you as a professional.  It allows you to make connections and create friendships that can influence both your professional and personal lives. I also appreciate that there is an organization on campus that really tries to balance the welfare and guidance of the student population with needs of the administration.

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member.
So my first year as an academic advisor in Natural Sciences we were doing our normal Freshman Orientation night thing with giant ballon arches and tons of pizza.  We finished handing out pizza and chatting with the new Natural Sciences students and did some cleaning up and I headed home.  Little did I know this was a mistake.  I get back to my, little, office the next morning and open my door to find… BALLOONS!!  All of the balloons from the arches, stuffed in to my office.  I’m standing there wondering to myself “Hmm, did I leave my office unlocked?  How did this happen…” and then David Spight walks out of his office, coffee mug in hand, smirk on his face, and tried, relatively straight faced, to ask “So what happened here?”.  I have no proof, but I’m pretty sure him and Patrcia Gutierrez had something to do with this.  I will say, popping all the balloons that morning was a good deal of fun.  I have a picture if you’re interested.

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?  Get out there and have fun.  The University offers a lot of different activities to improve yourself both personally and professionally, make time to do some of them.  And take classes, figure out how to do that.  Even if you don’t get another degree, take classes.  There are some really fascinating ones out there and you should take advantage of that if you can.

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? A long list of students who can say “Yeah, he helped me get through, and enjoy, my four years on the 40 acres.”  I’d also like staff to be able to say “He made work just a bit more fun."

Anything else you want to tell us?  Try not to regret anything.  Even if it seems like a miss or a failure, it probably wasn’t.  Learn from it, use it to make better choices and do better things, but try not to regret it.  Regret leads you down a road to bitterness and sadness, and that is not going to lead you where you want to go.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Sarah McKay

Garland, TX. Ever seen King of the Hill? Yep, “Arlen, TX” is based on my hometown. FAME!

College(s) attended:
University of Missouri, where I earned both my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and my Master of Education in Counseling Psychology.

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present:
Current: Senior Academic Advisor in Economics
Past: Associate Academic Advisor in UGS

How did you end up at UT in the first place?
I decided to move back to Texas after grad school so I could be a little closer to my nephew (and now niece) in Dallas. I visited Austin during my last year of grad school, and set my sights on moving here. I had a lot of experience working in higher ed as a student, so it seemed like a natural progression after my counseling degree.

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  
Getting out of my office, hearing new perspectives, and free breakfast J

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member.
Probably the most memorable experience was the time Kristin Tommey and I made 6 dozen cookies FROM SCRATCH for the ACA holiday party. Because we were like “pshh, slice n’ bake? Lame.” We…kind of hated cookies for a while after that. I can cross “professional baker” off my list of alternative career options, not because I’m bad at it, but because baking en masse really takes the fun out of it.

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?
UT Austin is massive, and there’s tons of stuff to learn and synthesize. You might cry a lot in the first few months. THIS IS NORMAL (that’s what I told myself, anyway)! Learning this much information, especially for someone who didn’t attend UT as a student, takes time. It helped me to talk to lots of different people on campus to start feeling more connected, and to be open to lots of uncertainty at the beginning.

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? 
If I can leave feeling as though I’ve helped students feel listened to and supported, if I can make this enormous campus slightly easier to navigate, I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded.

Anything else you want to tell us?  

I have a love/hate relationship with reality television. No apologies.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Debi Elliott

Hometown – Raised in San Antonio, although I was born at the new Austin airport  — Bergstrom Air
Force Base.

College(s) attended – Our Lady of the Lake University, Worden School of Social Service (BSW, MSW)

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present — Coordinator, Teenage Parenting Services, Child & Family Services, Clinical Director, Workers Assistance Program, Senior EAP Consultant, Motorola, Inc., Social Worker, Travis County Health and Human Services, Academic Advising Coordinator – “Non-academic Counselor”, College of Natural Sciences, Owner/Sole Proprietor, SOULutions Counseling

What are your hobbies — I love reading, writing, blues/jazz, dancing!, cooking!, throwing dinner parties, and dabbling in various kinds or art.

How did you end up at UT in the first place? My girlfriend from the Motorola days, Robbie Albracht, was leaving this position and suggested I apply.  The world of academia was totally new for me, and In all previous jobs I’d worked with adults, children and teenagers, never really with this age group. The opportunity of working  with young adults in this setting was very appealing to me. 

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  The energy! So many talented, excited, young adults, proud of their profession, and excited about changes towards making a difference for our students! Given my position, I am not able to participate as much as I’d like, but I  really enjoyed meeting advisors face-to-face that I may have conversed with on the phone. 

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?  Ask questions, attempt to build relationships with other schools/departments, because you will end up working with people across campus in your everyday, and advocacy roles, with your students. ACA is one quick way to begin to do that.  It is also always nice to belong to a professional group of your peers — to learn and grow together in your chosen profession.

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT?  Just that I made a difference in the life of the students with whom I met, that  I was able to be there when needed, with the correct information, or listening ear, and it helped students along their path.

Anything else you want to tell us?  I love my job! I have certainly had other jobs that paid better, where I was boss, that allowed me much travel, the fun things — but — for some reason this one pulls at my heart strings in a different way than all the others. These students are at such an important and vulnerable stage in their lives. The smallest clarification, piece of missing knowledge, supportive listening, ability to assess during a crisis and get the student to the right place for self care — then being able to assist with their academics so that the current crisis didn’t completely ruin their future possibilities — can make SUCH a big difference for these students — and to see them grow, and turn things around over the years here, is extremely rewarding.

Monday, March 3, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Lisa Valdez

Born in Austin, but grew up in Kingwood so consider both my hometown!

College(s) attended
I started at community college then transferred to UT Austin

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present
Administrative Assistant, Student Division, College of Fine Arts
Academic Advisor, Dept. of Art and Art History
Academic Advisor, Longhorn Scholars
Program Coordinator, First-Year Experience

How did you end up at UT in the first place?
I graduated from UT with a degree in Art History, and decided not to leave! I wanted to stay in Austin, so took a job with the College of Fine Arts.

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  
My favorite part is the community, getting to know people from different colleges and programs.

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member.
My favorite memories are all a part of NACADA! Getting to know people outside of campus, and getting to bond with the people I work with. 

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?
Don't be afraid to carve out your niche on campus!  Just like we tell students to find themselves, as professionals we need to do that too.  So seek out those opportunities to grow as a professional on campus!

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? 

I want to leave behind a program that continues to grow and make a difference to students.  I hope the FIG program continues for many years to come, and I hope that it continues to leave its mark with all students who attend UT.