Monday, September 26, 2016

ACA September 2016 General Meeting

Thank you to Moody College of Communication for sponsoring the September ACA meeting - a meeting filled with ways to encourage our campus community, our students, and ourselves to be more. Even though the meeting started a little earlier than usual, we hope you noticed the music at the beginning. Our ACA Vice Presidents are shaking things up a bit.

First up: Dr. Bob Harkins, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety and Security

Dr. Bob Harkins stated that his office has had two major tasks over the past several months - campus safety following Haruka Weiser’s death and the Campus Carry law which went into effect August 1, 2016.

Dr. Harkins provided many updates and clarification on the state's Campus Carry law. He directed ACA members to the Campus Carry website where his letter penned July 29, 2016 provides an excellent recap of his points of emphasis: He also directed ACA members to the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Campus Carry Policies and Implementation Strategies, and other details about Campus Carry law important to UT Austin Staff.

Many of you raised questions regarding the oral notice employees may provide to prohibit concealed carry handguns in their solely assigned offices. A recap of the committees decision is outlined below:

"University employees who are solely assigned to an office are permitted to prohibit the concealed carry of a handgun in that office. If an employee chooses to exercise this discretion, he or she must provide oral notice that the concealed carry of a handgun is prohibited in the office. Oral notice is the only legally effective way to provide notice about the prohibition."

This decision is in the process of being fleshed out. Oral notice may be provided by phone, by office assistants, in classrooms or other spaces that convene large groups of students, and possibly by video although the legality of that form of notification is in question. Dr. Harkins confirmed that you may post signage inside your office (not in outside facing windows) prohibiting firearms; however, oral notification is still required.

Dr. Harkins briefly touched on the TX DPS campus safety assessment and outlined a few ways his office is meeting those concerns:
  • TX DPS found lighting and landscaping deficiencies which are being met in part through the efforts surrounding Waller Creek
  • SURE walk is now a joint effort from Student Government and Parking and Transportation Services (PTS)
  • The Be Safe safety education campaign started for the 2016-17 academic year and resources can be found on the Be Safe website:
  • Dr. Harkins asked ACA to encourage students to practice bystander intervention practices by reporting concerns to the police. 
Please contact Dr. Bob Harkins with questions or concerns at

Next up: the meeting sponsors, Moody College of Communication with Dr. Meme Drumwright, Associate Professor; Dr. Jennifer Jones Barbour, Lecturer; and Theresa Thomas, program academic advisor

Dr. Drumwright presented on Moody College's new major and a labor of love - Bachelor of Science in Communication and Leadership. This interdisciplinary major emerges from the Bridging Disciplines Program certificate in Ethics and Leadership after 12 years of hard work. The program is designed to prepare students to practice the art and science of leadership. The ethical implications of leadership are integrated throughout the program. For more details on degree requirements visit: Students who are interested can start with COM 301L, Introduction to Communication and Leadership with Dr. Jones.

According to Dr. Drumwright and Dr. Jones, students are seeing this as a major for entry into public policy, social justice, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and various other pursuits. At this time there is not cap to the number of student in the major. The College's goal is to have 50 students in the major by start of spring 2017; 100 by fall 2017. If you have a student that wants to apply they can do so through the College of Communication's Internal Transfer Process, but currently priority is given to Moody students.

Dr. Art Markman, founding director, Human Dimensions of Organization (HDO) & Dr. Amy Ware, Associate Director, HDO, presented on one of the College of Liberal Arts' newest majors the Bachelor of Arts in Human Dimensions of Organization (HDO).

The program started with a masters program in Human Dimensions of Organization before spinning off into the undergraduate program in the 2016-18 catalog. The field of study aims to teach people about people in the workforce - to understand people as individuals, groups, and cultures in order to work and communicate effectively. HDO helps students to realistically apply the skills they learn through the liberal arts to the workplace. For more information about the major, visit the HDO website:

At this time, HDO is an open major and students do not need to apply to the major before taking HDO 301- Introduction to the Human Dimensions of Organizations. Interested students can contact Jillian Sise, HDO Academic Advisor, for more information.

Next up: ACA Updates
The ACA Executive Committee plans to build more time into every general meeting for ACA to mix, mingle, and share with ACA Updates.

Kayla Ford, ACA President, led the charge with a call to be "more than a member" in her first address to the ACA membership as President. Her call noted that ACA General Meetings are more than a standing meeting; the meetings are an opportunity to come and connect with colleagues from across campus. As an organization gets larger, it is our job as members to make it feel smaller by connecting with each other on a small scale such as ACA committees or networking before the general meeting.

Opportunities from ACA Committees to be "More Than A Member":

Justin Brady-Joyner, ACA President-Elect, provided an ACA Advisory Council Update. The ACA Advisory Council consists of 10 or more members from different campus departments and aims to represent every advising community on campus. This year the ACA Advisory Council is working on a survey about retention, employment, etc. It is still in the works but keep an eye out for their outreach in the next few months. (update: Thank you to Justin Brady-Joyner for his service to the ACA Executive Board. He  decided to step down from his position as President-Elect due a change in job responsibilities.)

Don't forget about the R.O.A.D. Committee Certificate & Minor Update Day this Friday, September 30 in UTC 4.104 from 9am - 3:35pm. Check your email inbox for more information about this event from Josh Barham.

ACA Advising Event Committee, co-chaired by Susan Somers & Rose Mastrangelo, is moving away from the old Advising Expo format to a new format designed to help students learn more about the internal transfer processes, explore the new minors, and develop creative ways to promote new majors on campus. The event is scheduled for February. The Advising Event Committee needs more members to give this bigger, bolder event the support it deserves. Interested in joining? Check your email inbox for more information about this committee from Susan.

Aida Gonzalez, Chair of the Graduate Coordinator Network (the ACA of graduate programs on campus), asked ACA members to reach out to their undergraduate students about the GCN graduate school fair on Tuesday, October 11 in the Union (more information from Aida to come). Over 100 graduate programs from across the country will be available to meet with students. The Graduate School Fair is open to all students, freshman to seniors.

So many Kudos! You can find them on our website: ACA KUDOS!

We are bringing back ACA Member Spotlights and doing a spotlight or two during each meeting. This month we met two new College of Liberal Arts advisors (Meet Marc and Megan!), but we want to spotlight members from across Colleges, across positions, and across lengths of experience at UT Austin. Please consider nominating someone to spotlight.

If you still have not paid your ACA dues, please contact Sara Sanchez, ACA Treasurer, for more information about next steps.

Don't forget to join the FUNdraising committee at Space 24 Twenty this Wednesday, September 24 for our Welcome Happy Hour. The committee will raffle a $50 gift card to members donating to the  Student and Staff Scholarship fund.
The FUNdraising Committee set a $1,500 fundraising goal for the year. Help them reach it this Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

ACA July 2016 General Meeting

Obligatory breakfast pic! - everything was SO good.
Thank you to Athletic Student Services for sponsoring this meeting and providing us with a delicious breakfast.

Our hosts provided many useful updates in reference to UT student-athletes and how we can help those students break the "Athletics bubble."

Kat Hastings, Associate Athletics Director for Student Services, discussed the steps being made to help new student-athletes transition to UT Austin. Athletics is expecting 135 new student-athletes this year. Only 12 attended summer orientation (many were participating in U.S. Olympic Trials!) and the rest will attend the August 19 orientation. Athletics Student Services teamed up with New Student Services (NSS), Student Conduct and Accountability, and various other offices to provide important programming for the new student-athletes geared to enhance understanding of college and academic life including programming with UTPD, Voices Against Violence, and CMHC. Some presentations will be offered for all student-athletes, not just new students.

Other useful updates from Kat:
  • Monday, August 22: Dean of Students Student Organization fair in the North End Zone- there will be 50-70 student organizations for student-athletes, but the fair will be open to all students on campus. 
  • More to come: Advising Night will be held in the fall so students can talk to an advisor from their college.
Dr. Marnie Binfield and Alanna Bitzel provided updates on the Academic Mentors, Tutoring and Writing programs available for UT student-athletes and staffed by UT graduate and undergraduate students with content expertise.
Academic Mentors help student-athletes during study hall, a time designed to instill good study habits. Academic Mentors must have a Bachelor's degree and are usually UT graduate students. Academic Tutors are content-focused guides who explain concepts in-depth at an individual student's pace. Undergraduate students may apply but must have at least two long semesters enrolled at UT. Athletics Student Services is still looking to fill both positions; follow the Academic Mentors and Academic Tutors links for position descriptions.

Blake Barlow, Assistant Athletics Director of Risk Management and Compliance Services, recommended reaching out with questions, comments and concerns regarding NCAA compliance for student-athletes. He briefly described new NCAA academic misconduct legislation. This legislation defers to the university process for student conduct. Here's the helpful handout he provided to depict the process: NCAA Flow Chart

Next up: AlcoholEdu updates from Shannon Hanby, Health Promotions Coordinator with University Health Services

AlcoholEdu is an online educational program all incoming students must complete (freshmen and transfer students under 21- if a transfer student did it at another school, they will have to do it again). Through interactive and personalized course content, the program teaches college students risk reduction in the areas of alcohol and drugs. There is also a companion module called Haven that addresses sexual assault and healthy relationship promotion.

AlcoholEdu consists of 2 parts. Part 1 was sent out August 1st and takes about 2 hours to complete (1 hour for each module- the AlcoholEdu and Haven). Students have from August 1st to August 23rd to complete Part 1. Part 2 should be completed by October 28. Students who fail to complete either Part 1 or Part 2 of the AlcoholEdu program by November 4 will not be able to see their grades online for that semester. You may see students at the end of the semester requesting to see their grades. Please direct students to the Health Promotion Resource Center (HPRC) to get that bar cleared, 512-475-8252.

ACA Treasurer Updates from Josh Barham

In one of his final duties as ACA Treasurer, Josh updated the association on the the 2015-2016 ACA budget. Profit for the year was $951.52; down slightly from last year. Josh explained that PDD came with additional expenses that were unforeseen (hidden fees are the worst). The executive board and PDD committee used extra funds from 2014-2015 year to cover the cost.

ACA Advising Awards presented by Awards and Recognition Committee

· Dedication to Students Award was awarded to Mark-Anthony Zuniga for his tremendous work with Theatre and Dance students this year

· Taking Initiative and Creating Positive Change was awarded to Yvanna Corella for her Family Orientation Packet

Thank you to both of you for being such stellar academic advisors! UT is a better community because of professionals like you.

Kudos - there were 23 this month!!! Kudos have a new home on The ACA Argosy blog: Please take a moment to see who was recognized!

Can we beat 23 in September?! #IHopeSo

A special thank you to the outgoing ACA Executive Committee for all your hard work - another successful year in the books!

ACA Executive Committee for 2015-2016
Sarah McKay – President
Kayla Ford – President Elect
Amanda Golden & Lexi Losch – Co-Vice Presidents/Program Chairs
Josh Barham – Treasurer
Yesenia Sanchez – Secretary
Kelsey Thompson – Historian
Blake Wilms – Communications Coordinator

Friday, July 22, 2016

ACA June 2016 General Meeting

Tacos, fruit and coffee -- oh my!
June's meeting was all about transitions. From the Provost's Office unveiling of new initiatives for the 2016-2017 year to the new ACA officer inductions, this meeting was packed with exciting updates!

Thank you to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost for sponsoring this meeting and providing us with a delicious breakfast. As you can see, the spread was on point.

First up, updates from the Provost's Office and Student Success Initiatives:

New to summer Freshman and Transfer Student Orientation sessions is the Orientation Help Desk located on the first floor of the FAC. Students are able to visit the help desk to turn in transcripts, find registration help for needed classes, and troubleshoot other questions. The Provost's Office is also leading the charge on the transcript recognized minor/certificate declaration process. There is more to come this fall on that important change.

The team also announced the new student portal - MyUT.

This customized UT Austin-branded experience is an evolution of UT Direct. It is optimized for mobile devices, personalized to each student, and socially engaging. Check it out:
Loving that "Important Info" Widget!

Next up: The Terry Scholar Program 

Did you know that there are currently 310 Terry Scholars at UT Austin? That's 310 students completing their undergraduate (and sometime graduate) programs with the cost to attend UT Austin completely covered by the Terry Foundation.
Jaden Felix, Coordinator of Sorority and Fraternity Life and Terry Scholars Program Advisor, DOS,  spoke about the UT Austin Terry Scholars that he advises.
Michelle Guzman, Manager, Scholarships and Outreach with OSFS, helped to fill in some of the blanks about the application process and how students with the scholarship remain eligible at UT Austin.

Javier Carmona, Terry Scholar Relations Coordinator with the Terry Foundation, helped to provide context for the Terry Scholarship. Describing the path to success Howard Terry, B.B.A. '38 took leading up to the start of Terry Foundation established in 1986 by Howard and his wife Nancy. The Foundation's mission "is to improve and develop the State of Texas by assisting Texas students to attend the state’s finest public universities. The Foundation hopes that these students will have a significant impact on the future leadership of the state and nation. To achieve this goal, the Foundation awards scholarships to students who meet the high standards set by our Founders."

Fun facts from Jaden and Javier:

Terry Scholars must:
  • maintain full-time enrollment and should meet with Jaden if a change in enrollment status would be beneficial. 
  • maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5, and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA each semester
Terry Scholars can now receive a study abroad stipend up to $15,000 depending on the length of program!

Ana Dison provided a quick update on behalf of the Advisory Council. A last recommendation from Dr. Gage Paine was to consider ways to incorporate checklists into our work lives. The Checklist Manifesto is the catalyst for this initiative. We will be setting up a public folder in ACA Box for you to share the checklists that you currently use to make work more effective and/or efficient. More to come!

Lauren Contreras and Casey Butler were the lucky winners of their very own copy - thanks for signing up for an ACA committee!

A reminder from Yesenia Sanchez regarding ACA By-Law update: The proposed change to Article VII. Standing Committees, Section 1. Executive Committee will move the nomination process a month later where new officers will be appointed in July instead of June. Voting will begin by electronic ballot soon.

In one of her last official acts as ACA President, Sarah McKay asked all new ACA Executive Committee Officers to join her at the front of the room to be inducted.  New Officers include:

President:  Kayla Ford
President-Elect:  Justin Brady
Vice-Presidents/Program Co-Chairs:  Jillian Sise & Daniel Zarazua
Treasurer:  Sara Sanchez
Treasurer-Elect:  Alexis George
Secretary:  Anne Pugh
Historian:  Katie O’Donnell
Communications Coordinator:  Blake Willms

That's a big group - this is as close as we get to a panoramic shot. Congratulations!

Finally, to help ACA members get a better sense of what each ACA Committee does, we held quick meet-and-greet to learn more and sign-up. Didn't have time to stay? Don't worry!
There's still time to join in. Just sign-up here.

Professional Development Day (PDD) Committee
Nominations Committee
ACA Mentor Program (aka PODS) allowed members to learn more about the mentor program and sign-up if interested in participating in a POD or leading a POD
Awards & Recognition Committee
(There's no incentive quite like chocolate.)
R.O.A.D. Committee
Annual Advising Event formerly known as Advising Expo
Holiday Party Committee
FUNdraising Committee - look how fun they are!

From Lovelys: "Cheers to Yesenia Sanchez for overseeing a very exciting election process. You worked so hard during an extremely busy time and the amazing slate of officers is a testament to this hard work."

From Lovelys: "Cheers to all of the people who ran for ACA Officer positions this year. I left the last ACA Meeting so excited about the energy created in the room with on-the-floor nominations in addition to the amazing slate of candidates who agreed earlier on. Thanks for all that you do to create a support community on our campus. "

Friday, May 6, 2016

ACA Election for 2016-2017 Executive Officers

Below are the pictures and speeches of the folks who are running for an officer position in ACA for the 2016-2017 year. I've listed the pictures for everyone first and the speeches follow. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

President- Elect

Justin Brady 

Rose Yurcina

Treasurer- Elect

Alexis George

Micah Jackman


Anne Pugh

Briana Weiland


Kate O'Donnell

Susan Somers

Candidate Speeches

President- Elect

Candidate: Justin Brady

Good morning, everyone-

I want to start by thanking you for providing me with the opportunity to run for the President Elect position. I am honored and humbled to be considered for this role!

My name is Justin Brady-Joyner, and I have worked at UT since November 2009 when I was first hired with the Leadership and Ethics Institute in the Office of the Dean of Students, and transitioned to academic advising 3 years ago. My move into advising brought me into this amazing community, and I am consistently impressed with the organization.

My personal Core Values are Authenticity, Community, Compassion, Creativity, & Growth, and I strive to live and lead from these core values. They shape much of who I am and what I am drawn to, and connect with my goals for this position.

I love that ACA provides space for advisors to get involved within the organization, to connect with others around campus, to develop personally and professionally, and to share their ideas with each other. My primary goal is to ensure that ACA continues to foster healthy community among its members, and across the university.

Having served as the Pod Co-chair alongside Kayla Ford, I am grateful for the relationships I’ve seen establish and grow through the Pods. I am looking forward to seeing this program start up again this year, and hopeful that many of you will participate. The value of getting to know each other outside of our monthly meetings is beyond just the fun and silly things we learn about each other. Professionally, it is helpful to have a better understanding of others’ roles on-campus, and to be able to provide feedback and support.

Likewise, strong campus-wide relationships and teamwork are crucial to our success as an advising community and as a University. As President-Elect, I hope to represent ACA well by continuing to foster established relationships with partners around campus, and ensuring that information is shared and voices are heard. I want to continue the great work the ACA Advisory Board has done with Kayla’s fantastic leadership, and provide this as an outlet for gathering feedback from the organization. I recognize that we are each limited with our own experience, and by no means should my voice represent the whole, and I value the opportunity to include others in feedback-giving and decision-making processes wherever possible.

Finally, I want to encourage other members to become more involved in the organization. ACA provides a myriad of leadership opportunities, from serving as a Pod Leader, to joining a committee, or serving as a committee co-chair, or providing feedback through various communication channels. My experience has been richer due to my leadership roles with ACA and around campus. My hope is that each of you will find a meaningful way to connect with ACA this upcoming year, and continue your personal and professional growth.

Thank you for your consideration, and, borrowing the words from the great Ellen DeGeneres, “Be kind to one another.” 

Candidate: Rose Yurcina

Good morning ACA,

My name is Rose Yurcina and I am running for the office of President-Elect.

I have been an advisor at UT in the College of Fine Arts for four and a half years. Prior to advising, I served at UT for two years as a graduate program coordinator and one year as an academic assessment coordinator.

At first, I came to ACA meetings for the tacos.

Come on--admit it. There are mornings when only tacos (or coffee!) could lure you away from your full email inbox.

But ACA isn’t just about tacos. I’ve learned it’s about professional development and building relationships. It’s about serving students the best we can.  

I’ve been a member of ACA since I started advising in the spring of 2011. Since then I’ve served one year on the Awards and Recognition Committee, presented at Professional Development Day in 2015, and currently serve on the ACA advisory council.

In the performing arts, it’s customary to list your special skills at the bottom of your resume. You know, things like backflips, juggling, an excellent Donald Trump impression (although I doubt anyone is in the mood for that one right now).

When it comes to serving ACA, I don’t really have any special skills. But I am willing to speak up in meetings. And I will look for ways to make sure the voice of advisors is heard in important campus conversations.

Because I believe that when we advocate for advisors, we advocate for students.

You all bring such tremendous value to UT. It is awesome working with so many amazing colleagues across campus. Thanks for your consideration. 

Treasurer- Elect

Candidate: Alexis George

Good morning, ACA! My name is Alexis George and I’m running for the position of Treasurer-Elect. I want to start off by thanking my not-so-secret nominator for submitting my name (Yet again, ha!) for nomination. I’m incredibly honored to have the opportunity to run for Treasurer-Elect and become even more involved in ACA and its inner workings. For the past two years, I’ve served on the ACA Awards & Recognition Committee, and this year, was a member of the Professional Development Day Committee, where I witnessed firsthand the importance of budgeting and planning for such an event.

I currently serve as the academic advisor for all undergraduate students in the School of Social Work, where I have been for the past two and half years. In this role, I regularly oversee the coordination and orchestration of academic advising, orientation, admissions events, course scheduling, curriculum planning, and event organizing. Because of the juxtaposition of these roles, I’ve developed excellent management skills and I’m an accomplished communicator. I’m very detail-oriented and when it comes to finances, I believe that everything has a place, must be tediously organized, communicated, documented, timely, and accurate.

ACA has always acted as a supportive space where I can fellowship with other academic advisors around campus. This has meant a lot to me, especially since I do not have any advising colleagues in my department who can relate to the intricacies of advising on an undergraduate level. I have always felt welcomed and at home here in ACA, and I want to give back in a greater capacity. As Treasurer-Elect, it would give me the opportunity to become even more involved with this organization, commune with all members, and work together with the ACA Executive Committee to continue the excellence that ACA is known for.

Thank you for your time and have a wonderful rest of the day!

Candidate: Micah Jackman

My name is Micah and I have been an Academic Advisor in the Biology Department for a little over a year now.  First I am very humbled and honored to be nominated for an ACA position.  The Treasurer-Elect position involves three of my favorite things: higher education, trying something new, and money.  Depending on when bills are due determines the priority of those three things.

 In our profession we tell our students every day to branch out and try something new whether it be joining a student org, volunteering, or meeting new people.  As advisors and individuals I think it is important that we do that as well in our professional life.  Thank you!


Candidate: Anne Pugh

Hello, ACA! My name is Anne Pugh and I am an academic advisor in the College of Natural Sciences’ Center for First Year Advising, where I started in June 2015. I realize my verbal speech at the meeting on May 4th was somewhat haphazard due to short notice, so hopefully I can make up for it here by giving you some of my actual credentials.

When I was an undergraduate student at UT, I was both an Orientation Advisor and FIG mentor, which is what led me to my passion for helping undergraduate students navigate higher education and, ultimately, academic advising. I left UT for a few years to get my Master’s in Higher Education Administration and Policy at Northwestern University, where I conducted original research and held several internship roles. These included being a career counselor, a college advisor for high school students, and finally, an advisor for new student organization creation at Northwestern University. Because of these experiences, I am now skilled at utilizing organization and communication every day to ensure accurate transmission and analysis of information. Additionally, my final position at Northwestern involved advising on constitution creation, which I believe will fit well with the ACA Secretary role since I have become incredibly accustomed to how organizations formally run. My standard is to be meticulous and detail-oriented but still fun and concise.

As Secretary, I hope to keep ACA running smoothly with good humor (maybe a puppy picture or two), and to get to know everyone in UT’s advising community much better. For those of you that like to nerd out over tools like StrengthsQuest like I do, my top 5 strengths are Input, Learner, Activator, Relator, & Responsibility. They illustrate how much I love learning and sharing new information with others so we can achieve greatness. Thank you for the nomination, the opportunity, and your time; it is much appreciated! Have a great day!

Candidate: Briana Weiland

I am an Academic Advisor in the Student Division for the College of Liberal Arts and would be honored to serve as the 2016-2017 Secretary for the Academic Counselors Association.  I began advising four years ago for pre-health students and the Neuroscience program at the University of Southern California.  I was quickly hooked on the ways in which rapport-building in advising can lead to stronger institutional engagement for students.  In December of 2015, I began working in the College of Liberal Arts Student Division at the University of Texas at Austin with Undeclared students.  I have truly enjoyed the importance of connecting students with institutional involvements, resources, and experiences that match their individual needs and interests.  Each day, I get to encourage decision making skills, consider possible personal or academic roadblocks, and challenge students to take their next step toward academic and professional development.

While I am newer to UT, I have diverse experience in advising and have also served on a committee very similar to the Academic Counselors Association.  I served a two-year term at my previous institution, the first of which I led a committee that revamped USCs Leave of Absence process and the second year was the Chair of the Council of Academic Advisors.  In that role, I developed, organized, and executed campus-wide monthly general meetings, as well as executive committee meetings.

I look forward to becoming more involved with the UT community of academic counselors through the Academic Counselors Association and know that my previous experience in advising and organizational skills as Chair will fit well with the Secretary position.

Thank you for considering me for the 2016-2017 ACA Secretary.


Candidate: Katie O'Donnell

Good morning, ACA. Thank you for the opportunity to run for Historian position for the 2016-2017 ACA Executive Committee. My name is Katie O’Donnell and I am an academic advisor with the College of Liberal Arts where I split my time between International Relations and Global Studies program and the department of Sociology. I have been at UT for a year and a half and I am new to the advising profession.  In my short time here I have enjoyed becoming a part of this engaging professional community. I look forward to ACA meetings as a place to meet professionals from across this huge campus and to learn more about the work each of you do. The Argosy blog has added to that sense of connection allowing me to recap new information from campus partners and remembering important names.

This year I wanted to get more involved in ACA as a Professional Development Day committee member. I was happy to find a way to share my interest in strategic communication and graphic design by helping to develop the PDD event logos and program.

I developed that interest in what feels like a past life. I was a communications and development specialist for a small non-profit called America SCORES for 3 years before deciding to make the leap into Higher Education. As a communications specialist I was tasked with taking a lot of photos of adorable 9 year-olds playing soccer (America SCORES is an after-school program empowering youth through soccer and poetry) and managing the organization’s website. I recognize that the Historian contributes to the ACA Executive Committee in ways other than taking photos and updating a blog, but I should have that part covered.

If I am elected as Historian, I would hope to continue the monthly higher education updates and Kelsey’s Kudos. I would be interested in working on other ways to connect members to each other and campus history perhaps with campus tours for new ACA members or other interesting historical excursions across campus. I hope you will consider me for the 2016-2017 Historian Position. Thank you for your time.

Candidate: Susan Somers

Hi, I’m Susan Somers, and I’m here to ask for your vote for ACA Historian for 2016-17. I’ve been an academic advisor here at UT-Austin for going on six years, and I’ve been a member of ACA that entire time. My association with UT actually started in 2005, when I moved to Austin to attend graduate school in history.  After spending a few years in that program, I decided I did not want to write a dissertation, but that I had a passion for working with undergraduate students. I became a bit of an advisor wannabe and ultimately started as an advisor in the history department in 2010. In 2013 I moved over to Waggener Hall, where I currently serve as Senior Academic Advisor for majors in the Departments of Classics and Philosophy.  I really love working with any and all UT students, but I have a special love for working with students in academic difficulty and transfer students.

I’ve always been an ACA member but so far haven’t been as involved as I would have like to have been in ACA committees and leadership. When I got an email that someone had nominated me as Historian, it seemed serendipitous. I’m moving off a major committee for my College next year and I’d thought to myself, I wonder if this year is the right one to step up with ACA.  I have always appreciated the networking and support that ACA provides and I would relish the opportunity to deepen my ties with all of you by serving on your ACA Executive Committee next year. I’m confident that with my background in history and interest in the direction of higher ed, I could ably perform the duties of ACA historian by recording events for posterity and sharing news updates on our blog. I would also love to see more pieces on the history of ACA here at UT with interviews from some of our founders – that would hopefully help contextualize UT’s position as a pioneer in the profession of academic advising.

Please vote for the 2016-2017 ACA Executive Officer positions here:

Uncontested Positions

Public Relations (Communications) Coordinator
Blake Wilms

Vice President/Program Co-Chairs

Jillian Sise

Daniel Zarazua

Congratulations to Blake, Jillian, and Daniel!

Monday, May 2, 2016

April 2016 News Digest

Check out some higher education news for April!

Common Application to Change Gender-Identity Options

As part of society’s gradual shift in its understanding of gender, the Common Application will now ask students to state their “sex assigned at birth.” There will also be an optional free-response text field for students to describe their gender identity.

This allows transgender students to freely express their identity on their college applications.

The Universal College Application has also decided to modify their gender identification sections in a similar manner.

Who’s Going to Be Punished for the Worst Academic Scandal Anyone Can Remember?

According to reports, UNC has offered fake classes to student athletes since 1993. The question still remains on who will be punished or who will enforce that punishment. The NCAA, UNC’s accrediting agency, and the university itself may both be part of imposing penalties.

The toughest penalties from the NCAA will most likely affect scholarships to student athletes. This will mostly hurt students who were not yet enrolled in the university during the scandal.

Yale Keeps Name for College That Honors a Slavery Apologist

Although Yale recently decided to get rid of the term “master” to refer to the leader of each residential college, it has decided not to change the name of Calhoun College. The college is named after alum and slavery sympathizer, John C. Calhoun. 

The President of the University, Peter Salovey, argues that keeping the name facilitates the discussion of slavery and racism rather than just forgetting about it. Yale has responded to some demands from protestors and agreed to remove portraits of Calhoun from the college.

A former African American student and current professor said seeing the name everyday was a source of inspiration to prove that Calhoun was wrong about African Americans. However, many black students on campus wanted the college to be renamed.

Yale's Calhoun College

What Community Colleges Are Doing to Counteract Declining Enrollments

According to EAB, a research and technology group, enrollment in community colleges has dropped 16% from 2010 to 2015.

The improving economy has seen more people going to work rather than school, but four-year colleges are also responsible for this drop. Four-year universities have increased their marketing techniques to reach more students.

According to Carla Hickman of EAB, community colleges need to do a better job at educating students on transfer pathways and career opportunities in order to counteract this decline in enrollment. Many community colleges have also begun to improve their marketing techniques as well.

A Piece of UT Austin History

Big Bertha is the name of the massive bass drum that's wheeled around at football games. Nicknamed the "Sweetheart of the Longhorn Band," it was acquired in 1955 from the University of Chicago. When Chicago decided to drop varsity football in 1939, UT bought it for $1.

The drum is over 100 years old and is 8ft in diameter, 3.4ft wide, and over 10 ft high when set on its carriage. A group known as the "Bertha Crew' cart the drum around during football games. Next time you see it, remember that sometimes $1 can actually buy you a lot.

The Bertha Crew

Vintage Big Bertha

Big Bertha with updated branding

Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal