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:
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.