Friday, November 22, 2013

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Nathan Vickers

Swiped from the ACA Facebook page.  Nathan is the one on the left.
Spotlight on Nathan Vickers

Hometown: Born in Tulsa, OK but raised in Borger, TX

College(s) attended:
Frank Phillips College in Borger, TX

BA, major in English from The University of Texas at Austin

MS in Academic Advising from Kansas State University

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present: Currently a Senior Academic Advisor for the Department of Government and have been for ten years

How did you end up at UT in the first place?  I was an Orientation Advisor for three summers, and then took a job right out of college as a Cashier for Parking and Transportation.  I did that for nine-months, then worked in the Admissions Office for the Texas Culinary Academy of a year before ending up in the Department of Government.

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?:  The camaraderie and friendships, as well as the opportunity to continually network with other advisors, administrators, and student affairs professionals from across campus.  

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member.  This is a tough one.  I've had some awesome times, but I would have to say that my favorite memory is my most recent:  being able to serve ACA as President.  It was such an honor to be able to do this, and I am so incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity.

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?  Get involved in ACA or with your college/department.  Also, don't be afraid to ask questions of folks who have been around awhile.

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT?  Another tough one to answer, but I would like to think that the legacy I leave behind at UT is that of someone who truly enjoyed working with students.  I love what I do, and working with students is an absolute passion of mine.  That is what I'd hope to be remembered for.

Anything else you want to tell us?  I will openly admit that I am a great big nerd.  :-)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

ACA FUNdraising Pot Luck

On Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 a group of ACAers gathered in GDC 2.104 to eat, visit, and share stories about what we are thankful for.

Here are a bunch of pictures of the group eating and chatting.
There was a lot of eating and talking. 

Sharing news and swapping stories

More eating and talking

Mostly about the food--it was so good!

And the food!  I ate and then remembered to take pictures so the deviled egg plate is already bare.  

Emily, one of the FUNdraising committee co-chairs, encouraged members to share what they are thankful for and to talk about holiday plans.  

A lot of laugher resulted from our stories

And some hugs

A great time was had by all!  

ACA November 2013 General Meeting

The meeting was held on a blustery morning in the Santa Rita Room in the Texas Union.  The meeting was sponsored by ACA.

As always, full meeting minutes can be found on the ACA website:

Note from the Historian: The light in the room was lovely and soothing during the meeting but the pictures turned out a bit on the shadowy and blurry side.  Please excuse my lack of photography skills!

Coffee and danishes to help ward off the chill.


Smiling ACAers are happy to be out of the cold

Catching up with coworkers

Rob welcomed us and this time I took a picture of it!

Matthew introducing our first speaker

Erika Frahm talked to us about Staff Council 

Emily Watson and Erin Thomas provided us with great information about Bridging Disciplines Program

More great info about BDP

Dr. James Henson provided us with a sneak peak of what the online GOV 310L courses look like.

Justin Brady, Alanna Bitzel, and Beth Andre from the PDD committee telling us about the call for proposals.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Committee Chair Spotlight: Professional Development Day Co-Chairs Justin Brady and Alanna Bitzel

       Professional Development Day Co-Chairs
           Justin Brady and Alanna Bitzel


Alanna Bitzel, Academic Counselor – Reading and Writing Programs, Intercollegiate Athletics – Football
Justin Matthew Brady, Senior Academic Advisor, School of Nursing

What committee are you chairing? 

A: I am co-chairing Professional Development Day with the wonderful and well-coiffed Justin Brady from ACA, and from APSA, the lovely Beth Andre and Melissa Wommack.

J: I serve as the co-chair for the Professional Development Day committee, along with the fabulous Alanna Bitzel! We plan the annual ACA/APSA Professional Development Day conference, along with two wonderful co-chairs from APSA.

Why did you want to chair this particular committee?
A: I began working as an Academic Counselor for Football in 2011.  As a new advisor, I have greatly benefited from my involvement in ACA and my interactions with fellow advisors on campus. I wanted to help facilitate a positive learning experience for ACA and APSA members and create an opportunity for members to network with each other.

Justin: I believe that engaging in professional development is crucial to the work and advancement of staff, and I believe that staff at UT-Austin are doing fantastic things! Serving as the co-chair provides me with an opportunity to help encourage and foster professional development among our colleagues. I had the opportunity to serve as the co-chair for the 2011 PDD as a representative from APSA. Being new to ACA, this provides a fun and meaningful way for me to plug in to the advising community.

Why do you think this committee is important to ACA and/or the university?

A: Professional development is important for new and veteran advising professionals. We can always learn something from each other, and PDD creates a supportive time and space for exchanging ideas and best practices and connecting with professionals on campus and beyond.

J: We can certainly learn a lot from what our colleagues in academic advising and student affairs are doing around campus, and Professional Development Day provides an opportunity for us to share with each other, and network with each other. With the high costs associated with attending national and regional conferences and the budget challenges that each unit faces, PDD provides a unique and cost-efficient way for staff to engage in professional development.

What is one thing that you would like the membership to do to support your mission this year? 

A: I want to encourage members to submit proposals to present at PDD and to, of course, attend PDD in February!

J: If by one thing, you mean two, here are my TWO things I'd like the membership to do to support our mission.
  1. Submit a proposal to present at PDD! Think about the fantastic things you are doing in your office, and/or things that you've learned through other conferences, and consider writing a proposal. We have so much to learn from each other!
  2. Network with and get to know the colleagues in ACA and APSA during the conference! There are really remarkable people who work at UT-Austin, and PDD provides you with the opportunity to branch out of your C/S/U. The more we get to know each other, the better we can collaborate and help make this campus even more wonderful!
Is there anything else you want us to know? 
A: In addition to serving as an academic advisor for student athletes, I oversee the in-house writing center for Football.

J: I transitioned into my Advising role a little over six months ago, after spending 3 1/2 wonderful years with the UT Leadership and Ethics Institute (LEI) in the Office of the Dean of Students. Having been on the Student Affairs side, I've had the privilege to work with truly fantastic colleagues all over this campus, and I've been so pleased with the warm welcome I've received in the Advising community.