Tuesday, February 11, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Cindy Bippert

I was born in San Marcos, but I lived in Panama and Delaware prior to my father’s retirement from the Air Force.  We moved to San Antonio when I was in third grade and I still have family there.  

College(s) attended
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated from high school so I attended San Antonio College for a few semesters before transferring to the University of Texas at San Antonio, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and English.  I started a master’s program in counseling at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) and quickly decided that was not the right career path for me, so I transferred to UT and completed the master’s program in Higher Education Administration in 1998. 

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present
My first job at UT was in the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Office (1990).  I was a degree plan evaluator which means I evaluated degree progress by hand (no computers or degree audits existed then) and determined when students were eligible to graduate.  I met with students to discuss their remaining requirements and processed their graduation applications.  A lot of the work was clerical in nature, however it was an incredible experience because I learned about all the degree requirements and it helped me discover my passion for working with college students.  A year later I became a Student Development Specialist in the same office, and worked with undeclared students, new student orientation, study abroad initiatives, and other programs like the Provisional Admission Program.  Six and a half years later I became an advisor in the Mathematics, Physics, & Astronomy Advising Center in the College of Natural Sciences.  I was hired in the McCombs School of Business as an advisor/peer advisor program coordinator in 1999, and have been here ever since.  I became the Director of Advising in the BBA Program Office several years ago. 

How did you end up at UT in the first place?  My husband’s employer transferred him to Austin in September 1990.  My sister worked in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the time and really enjoyed it, so she encouraged me to apply for a job here. 

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  While I am not as involved in ACA as I used to be, my favorite things about this organization are the amazing friendships you form, the opportunities for professional development, and the strong sense of community that exists.  Some of my dearest friends are people I met in ACA many years ago.   Not only was I able to chair and/or serve on various committees (Professional Development Day and Advising Expo) in my early years in ACA, I held several executive offices (Vice President/Program Co-Chair, Historian), and these experiences had a profound impact on me both personally and professionally. 

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member.  Some of my fondest memories of ACA occurred when Robert Berdahl was president of the University.  I discovered my passion for working with college students, ACA solidified its presence on campus, and advisors established credibility with administrators, faculty and students.  Advising was recognized as a profession, and numerous positions were created at the University.  It was an exciting time to be at UT!

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?  Don’t be afraid to get involved in ACA by serving on a committee or running for an executive office.  The time you devote to this organization will come back to you tenfold, and the skills you acquire will help you throughout your career.

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? 

To both the students I advise and the advisors I supervise, I would like to be remembered for offering compassion during a difficult time, listening when it felt like no one cared, and providing support to facilitate personal and professional growth. 

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