Thursday, March 24, 2011

James W. Vick Awards for Academic Advising

On March 24, 2011, five Academic Advisors were presented with the pretigious James W. Vick Awards for Academic Advising.  The Texas Exes James W. Vick Award for Academic Advising recognizes individuals who improve students’ overall experience at The University of Texas at Austin through outstanding advising. Each year, five winners are awarded $500 and are recognized with an awards ceremony in March. The nomination and selection process is done solely by students. At this year's awards ceremony, former Vice President of Student Affairs and Best Friend of ACA - James W. Vick - was in attendance to celebrate with the recipients and give remarks.  Leading ther program was Bill McCausland, Chief Operating Officer of The Texas Exes and keynote speaker, Victoria Rodriguez, Vice Provost & Dean of Graduate Studies.  The 2011 recipients were:
•Calina Coakwell: Academic Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
•Susan Gamel Holzaepfel: Academic Advisor, College of Education
•Jennifer McHam: Academic Advisor, College of Education
•Richard Ribb: Academic Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
•Brent Winkelman: Academic Advisor, Red McCombs School of Business

Award namesake James W. Vick

Vice Provost & Dean of Graduate Studies Victoria Rodriguez

Texas Exes Chief Operating Officer Bill McCausland

ACA President Andi Poag

The presentation of the certificates and monetary awards were made by the recipient's Assistant/Associate Dean, Dr. James W. Vick, Dr. Victoria Rodriguez, and Bill McCausland.

•Calina Coakwell: Academic Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
From Calina's nomination:  “I can honestly say that Calina’s positive attitude and advice have kept me in UT. When I graduate, I will first find Calina and tell her it’s because of her. I never thought I would get into the school, let alone graduate, and I can certainly credit Calina for her guidance along the way to help me achieve my greatest and most proud accomplishment. As students, we need someone to believe in us, and Calina is that person.”

•Susan Gamel Holzaepfel: Academic Advisor, College of Education
From Sue's nomination:  “She has shown us that we can do whatever we set our minds to and that we are all basically her children and that she will guide us to our graduation day.”

•Jennifer McHam: Academic Advisor, College of Education
From Jennifer's nomination: “Because of her, I know what I want to do when I get out of college. Her advice has helped me in an innumerable amount of ways. She has been a positive role model and is someone who I can trust if I ever have a problem.”

•Richard Ribb: Academic Advisor, College of Liberal Arts
From Richard's nomination:  “Richard is genuinely concerned for the well-being of his students. He not only helps students improve their academic experience in college, but also advises them on how to maintain a good quality of life. He sees the potential of his advisees and gave me the confidence to achieve my goals.”

•Brent Winkelman: Academic Advisor, Red McCombs School of Business
From Brent's nomination:  “While my plans have changed since my freshman year, one thing has not: Brent’s ability to motivate students and give them the most relevant information to make a decision. By teaching me to manage my expectations, Brent has shaped my success as a student leader.”

2011 James W. Vick Award Winners  

A big congratulations to our colleagues and huge thanks to The Texas Exes!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Member Spotlight: Calina Coakwell

James W. Vick Texas Excellence Award for Academic Advising Recipient
Hometown:  Belton, TX
College(s) Attended:  University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (first year)/ UT Austin – B.A. in Psychology received May 1997/ Texas State University – M.A. in Professional Counseling received December 2000
Degree(s) earned:  B.A. Psychology/ M.A. Professional Counseling
What are your hobbies?  I read incessantly (fiction and horror mostly), running and walking when time permits.
What was your favorite childhood toy?  When I was very young I had a plastic riding horse with wheels I named “Oscar.”  Later on, Barbie dolls.  I also loved to play with a multitude of animals.
What is your current position at UT? Briefly explain:  I have been the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Geography & the Environment for 10 years.  I also advise Urban Studies majors in addition to Geography majors.
Have you had any jobs prior to your current job at UT?  If so, what were they?  I interned as a career counselor for a year at Texas State University.  I interned for a semester at Casa Esperanza in Kyle, Texas, doing marriage and family therapy, mostly working with children and their parents.  I taught emotionally disturbed children for a year in Manor, TX.  I worked as an after school counselor for the YMCA.  I worked at the GAP Outlet for a holiday season.  I worked at the Dell Factory Outlet for a few years.  I worked as a bank teller for a few years.  I worked at Mr. Gatti’s for 3 years.  I was a swim instructor and lifeguard for many summers.  I worked at a few day cares growing up too.  Too many “jobs,” but this is my first professional career.
What is the most challenging aspect of your current job?  Balancing advising students with other administrative tasks, and also having too few classes and seats available for students (especially with budget cuts).
Tell us about one of your success stories that happened in your current position (regarding a student, a co-worker, a project, etc.).:  There are so many over the years.  The most recent one was a very poignant one from last semester.  A student came to my office in tears with a difficult non-academic issue.  She said she couldn’t get in to see a counselor in the CMHC for an appointment for a while.  She didn’t feel comfortable calling the hotline either.  I’ll let her tell the story anonymously.  This is an excerpt from her Vick nomination:
“When the health and mental service center was booked and I couldn't get in sooner than 2.5 weeks, I had an urgent problem that I wasn't comfortable calling the hotline about. Calina opened her door and listened to me and gave advice on how I could manage the next few weeks until my appointment. She went above and beyond by checking in with me, and just making sure that I was keeping up with course work. She wanted to make sure that I had options available late in the semester like, withdrawing or getting an incomplete. She also encouraged me as a person and lifted my spirits so that I had enough courage to talk to my professors about my performance. Thanks to her, I will not be failing this semester, which in turn will not delay my graduation date.”
What is your advising philosophy?  I am person-centered and empathic.  For every student contact, whether it be face-to-face, email, or telephone, I attempt to clear my mind and give him or her my full, undistracted, positive attention.  I keep humor as a tool, and empathy as a rule.  I try to understand the comprehensive situation and provide as much relevant information as I can to help students make their own educated decisions.  I provide resources and active referrals as needed.  I try to anticipate any additional developments or help that students may need and provide information and availability for the future.  I constantly communicate with my students:  in my office, through my email listserv, individual email, student groups, and in the hallways.  I keep my door open and encourage open, respectful communication.
Title:  Senior Academic Advisor -- College of Liberal Arts

Member Spotlight: Richard Ribb

James W. Vick Texas Excellence Award for Academic Advising Recipient
Hometown: Houston, though Austin since 1973
College(s) Attended: Brown U./ UT Austin
Degree(s) earned: BA, MA, PhD American Studies, UT Austin
Title: Senior Academic Advisor -- College of Liberal Arts
What are your hobbies? Live music, fishing, dog, playing cards
What was your favorite childhood toy? Baseball glove
What is your current position at UT? Briefly explain: Senior Academic Advisor, Student Division Liberal Arts ("Dean's Office"); in addition to customary Dean's Office role of advising undeclared students and students in need, I also serve as lead advisor for International Relations and Global Studies (IRG) majors, of which we have c. 500 already, and work closely with the Director on developing course lists and other matters; coordinate SummerStart, a program for new students to start school in the summer instead of fall.

Member Spotlight: Theresa Thomas

2010-2011:  President Elect
Hometown:  I was born in Columbus, Ohio, but I’ve lived in Austin since I was 4 years old, so I consider this my home.
College(s) Attended:  The University of Texas at Austin
Degree(s) earned:  BS in Applied Learning and Development – Youth and Community Studies.  This was after starting out as an RTF major and changing it to Spanish, then to English, then to elementary education, and then to Y&CS.  Yes, I was THAT student.
Title:  Senior Academic Advisor --College of Communication

Member Spotlight: Sue Holzaepfel

James W. Vick Texas Excellence Award for Academic Advising Recipient
Hometown:  Sandusky, OH
College(s) Attended:  The Ohio State University / Ohio University
Degree(s) earned:  B.S Edu (Major- Elementary Education)/ M.Ed. (Major- Guidance and Counseling)
Title:  Academic Counselor --College of Education
What are your hobbies?  Guess I don't have any?? Too much to do around my house, and not enough time in the day!
What was your favorite childhood toy?  Barbie! I even still have one of the original Barbies.

Member Spotlight: Jennifer McHam

James W. Vick Texas Excellence Award for Academic Advising Recipient
Hometown: Born in Bartlesville, OK
College(s) Attended:  Undergrad- Missouri State University/Grad- University of Central Missouri
Degree(s) earned: Undergrad-Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism/Grad- Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration
Title:  Program Coordinator- College of Education

Friday, March 11, 2011

Member Spotlight: Lovelys Powell

2010-2011 Co-Historian (w/ Yesenia Sanchez)

Hometown: El Paso, TX (born in Nuremberg, Germany)

College(s) Attended: The University of Texas at Austin (BA); Texas State University (MA)

Degree(s) earned: Bachelor of Arts with majors in Sociology and Government; Master of Arts in Sociology

Title:  Academic Advising Coordinator (Assistant Director of Advising)

What are your hobbies?  I love going to see movies and eating out at restaurants.  I’m also a big fan of walking around Lady Bird Lake and going to Half-Price Book Store.

What was your favorite childhood toy?  Initially it was “Lester” (ventriloquist dummy), but it got lost in our move from Virginia to Texas.  “Mr. Mouse” (a stuffed mouse that wore a yellow raincoat and rain hat) became the top toy on the block.


ACA FUNdraising Committee: March Madness Potluck

ACA members Beth Glenn, Pam Dahl, Andrea Chytil, Cindy Bippert, Lauren Campbell, Jay Guevara, Kristin Tommey, Angie Martinez, Angela Mirabito, Yesenia Sanchez, Courtney Cross, Livy Knox, Juanita Gonzalez, Melva Harbin, and Lovelys Powell ate and laughed their way through the 5th Annual March Madness Potluck.  Unfortunately, the event was planned for a day on which many ACA members had obligations (sorry L.A.), but they still managed to eat their weight in fabulous foods and extraordinary desserts. 
Yesenia & I forgot to take pictures (we were so stuffed, our minds weren't thinking clearly), but this is sort of what the event was like:
Imagine a more healthy version of this...but just as good.

Winner:  best dish

Lots of bright, smiling faces.

Next FUNdraising Effort:  Thank You Goodie Bags for those of your who donate money to our ACA Scholarship.  FUNdraising Committee will be accepting donations and Goodie Bag Thank You slips until the Q-drop Deadline!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 2011 ACA General Meeting

The March 9, 2011 ACA General Meeting, sponsored by the Academic Counselors Association, featured presentations on the following topics:

Center for Teaching & Learning Early Academic Warning System - presented by  Mario Guerra (Instructional Technology Specialist) and Sejal Shah (Software Developer & Analyst) 

If you have feedback, please send it directly to Mario & Sejal:

Office of Student Financial Services - presented by  Joe Wilcox (Student Financial Aid Officer IV) 
Joe Wilcox came to inform the advising community about all of the changes and possible changes to federal and state financial aid that will impact summer and fall financial aid packages.  Please review the ACA minutes if you were not able to attend the meeting (minutes can be found under resources on the ACA website).

Academic Service Learning - presented by  Emily Van Duyn (Senate of College Councils)  
Emily came as a respresentative of Senate of College Councils to inform ACA of their push to promote community awareness and academic enrichment through Academic Service-Learning. 

ACA Professional Development & Student Scholarships - presented by  Wendy Boggs (ACA Awards & Recognition Chair)
Wendy Boggs, chair of the ACA Awards and Recognition Committee, made an annoucement to promote ACA Student and Professional Development Scholarship.  The application is available on-line and the deadline is April 1st.

FUNdraising Committee
Don't forget to donate money to the ACA Scholarship (professional and student).  During this scholarship promotion time (from now until March 31st), for every dollar you donate to the scholarship, we will deliver a goodie bag of candy to someone on campus that you would like to thank.  For more information, please contact the FUNdraising Committe Co-Chairs:  Angie Martinez ( or Lovelys Powell (

A special congratulations to the 5 ACA members who are being awarded the James W. Vick Award for Academic Adivising:

ACA President Andi Poag with Flat Sybonae! this one was from the January meeting...but we're sure someone had fun at this meeting.