Tuesday, May 27, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Andrea Gonzalez

Hometown: Royal Oak area of Michigan, St. Charles, Missouri and Killeen, TX
College(s) attended: Central Tx Comm College, Central Michigan Univ., UT Austin
Job title(s) and department(s) past and present: Past: Undergraduate Academic Advisor at McCombs School of Business / Present: 360 Program Coordinator in the First-Year Experience Office in UGS
How did you end up at UT in the first place? I was interested in leaving my position at Ford Motor Company and working in higher education in some way and some McCombs Academic Advisors  (Cole Holmes, Cindy Bippert, Michael Schuetz, Jeff Jackson) I worked with when I was an undergraduate business student and Peer Advisor suggested I consider applying to an Academic Advisor I position that was posted.
What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA? The people who participate in ACA meeting and events are people who care about what happens to students as they navigate their undergraduate degrees. Because of this common interest, no matter what ACA event or meeting I attend, I know that I will have something in common with someone there. Being around other ACA members makes me feel like I am with "my people". :-)   
Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member. I cannot name one single favorite memory of time spent with another ACA member, but here are some that come to mind: walking through the old, original "strip" in Vegas (I don't remember what that area is called!) during one evening of a NACADA conference with Lovelys Powell, Theresa Thomas, Cindy Bippert, Melva Harbin, and so many other members who were able to attend. Getting to visit with and meet advisors and ACA members around campus through Advising Expo days as we all staffed tables around West Mall, FAC patio, South Mall, or Speedway. Answering random questions of students registering during the last day of new student orientation each summer, in whatever computer lab students are able to register in, alongside other advisors and ACA members. We are all delirious and tired by this time in the week of orientation, but we are wired on energy and one time I accidentally fell out of a chair I was sitting in, in the McCombs reading room and Andi Poag laughed so hard which started us both laughing uncontrollably.
What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT? Go to any event on campus you see that you are able to fit into your schedule and your supervisor allows you to attend. This allows you to explore campus and get to know not only your surroundings, but people who work in different capacities that you will inevitably interact with at some point. If you really want to build a network, join a professional organization, like ACA, and join a committee.  By working on a committee to bring an event to life, faces in a room turn into acquaintances, and very quickly, these acquaintances evolve into friendships or enriching professional relationships. UT Austin is a campus rich with heart and this heart is revealed through relationships made with colleagues.
What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? I would like leave a legacy of having heart. In whatever way I have engaged on this campus as an undergraduate, professional, and graduate student, I have engaged fully and devoted as much of my heart as possible to every endeavor. Completing a task is something that people do all day long and what I work to do is always complete a task with heart. I suppose I would define "heart" with these characteristics: passion, compassion, and strength. 

Anything else you want to tell us?  Even when I am not at a meeting, conference or event with other ACA members, I am supporting you all. I believe in the mission of the organization and value the work each member does on this campus. We all work in varying, unique capacities and that is what I find amazing. Together, the members of ACA are wealth of expertise and an incredible force. Thank you for the work you do to enrich the experiences of the students on this campus!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Mike Dean

My name is Michael Dean and I am originally from Anderson, IN.  I graduated in 2006 with a BA degree in Social Science with an Emphasis in Social Studies Education.  I am currently the Program Coordinator/Academic Advisor in the College of Education, and in the past I was an Admissions Counselor at National American University, and I taught for three years.  My journey at UT Austin started in 2012 when I was hired as the Administrative Associate in Career Services at the College of Education, and now I have branched out into academics.  My favorite thing about ACA is sharing experiences and best practices with other advisors across campus.  The best advice I could give a new advisor is to network and ask a lot of questions.  Do not be afraid to approach another advisor with a question, because (more than likely) they will know the best person to connect you with.  I would like my legacy at UT Austin to include my passion for higher education and to provide great service for our outstanding students.  I've lived in north Austin for eight years with my wife Amanda and our Golden-Retreiver, Brinkley.

ACA May 2014 General Meeting

The May General Meeting of ACA was held Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in WEL 3.502 and was sponsored by New Student Services.

NSS brought us ice cream from Amy's and it was delicious! 

Esmer and Kyle setting up to present. 

ACA Exec Board doing important things

Ice cream!

The lovely folks from NSS telling us all about orientation

Dr. Lilly kicked off the presentation with inspirational words.


Alana kicking off the election speeches. 

 Election speeches!
Lovelys made us all cry. 


Finally, Sarah McKay filling us in about the final awards for the year. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

ACA 2014 Executive Board Nominee Speeches


Kayla Ford

I have been an Academic Advisor and in the McCombs School of Business and ACA member since August 2011. Before moving into academic advising, I worked for two years as a Coordinator of Leadership Development for the Leadership and Ethics Institute in the Office of the Dean of Students.  My bachelor’s degree is in Marketing and my master’s degree is in Higher Education, both from UT Austin.  UT has provided me a variety of amazing opportunities and I hope to be able to give back to this great university through ACA.  As I thought about running for this position, a few “to-do’s” came to my mind.  I’m fairly certain they don’t fit the ‘SMART’ criteria for goal-setting, but to me, they are fundamental for success in any position, specifically for the President Elect:
1)      To Learn: My three years of academic advising experience have proved to be full of learning opportunities for me.  I have learned so much, but I also fully acknowledge just how much more I have to learn. I think there is something to learn from every conversation, interaction or presentation and this opportunity to serve on the ACA Executive Committee would be no exception. I want to learn as much as I can so that the ACA ‘agenda’, including events, programs, services, etc., is set by the membership and meets the needs of the dedicated members involved.
2)      To Communicate: Our job as advisors is all encompassing and is also ever changing.  As part of that, I believe that communication is a critical element, especially on a large and at times, disconnected campus like UT. I am not afraid to ask questions or ask for help, advice or feedback in order to make improvements. I recognize that there are many people on campus and in this organization with much more knowledge, years of experience and expertise than myself, and I think it would be a missed opportunity if I did not reach out to them for assistance/advice when the need arose. 
3)      To Be a Team Player: I know that being elected to this position comes with specific duties as outlined in the bylaws and I will strive to do those to the best of my abilities; however, I feel that one of my main focus areas will be to be a team player. I want to provide my thoughts/feedback and ask questions that will encourage other members of the executive committee to be their best in their role so that as a team, we are doing our best work for ACA. 
4)      To Serve:  One formal definition of service is ‘the action of helping or doing work for someone.’ Though I will undoubtedly grow as an individual and professional in this role, that is not my reason for running for this position. I have a strong desire to represent and advocate for the entire advising community. In order to achieve this, I will have to ensure I am diligent about the above to-do’s that I have already covered!
Thanks for your consideration for this very important position. I am humbled and honored to even be considered! Let me know if you have any questions at all!

Noe Gonzales
Good Afternoon Everyone,

I was thinking about sending this information in to put on the ACA Spotlight, but I thought today’s speech for my President-Elect nomination was a good way to introduce myself to those that I have not yet had the pleasure of knowing.  I am running on the OLD (or as I like to call it well-seasoned) ticket.  

When a colleague of ours recently encouraged me to run for executive office in ACA, I suddenly and happily saw my entire professional career flash before my eyes.

I graduated from UT back in 1995 (yes, hard to believe from my youthful demeanor, that I was around when TEX was telling us goodbye and goodluck – please ask around if you don't get that reference) took some time to be a school teacher in South Texas where I am from, then came back to start my new position in the inaugural class of department advisors in the College of Communication. I was the first professional Academic Advisor in the Department of Journalism. I have been a faithful member of ACA ever since (give or take 2 years for my graduate degree UTSA). Academic Advising is a way of life for my family and I, and I am even married to an advisor. We would playfully fight over who was a better advisor, but unfortunately for me, her winning the Vick Award quickly helped us decide the winner.  My eldest son is a proud UT graduate and my youngest is currently attending (UT Daycare that is).

Now to get a bit serious. We are going through some major changes on this campus that affect how we provide academic advising services and while we may each have differing opinions as to whether or not we all agree with these changes, it is extremely important that ACA have a seat at the UT Table to voice our thoughts. I have certainly been around long enough to see close colleagues and friends of mine move through the ranks across campus as registrars, coordinators, deans, directors, and administrators, and I am eager with your vote, to sit right next to them as part of Executive Council and give ACA the strong voice that is needed to represent you. The leadership in ACA should be those that you feel can represent our organization and stand toe to toe with University Administration when we need to discuss tough issues and also be able to join them hand and hand when we celebrate our mutual achievements. I hope my years of campus experience have earned me the right to ask for your vote today. Although I can't promise a window office for every advisor or authorized nap-time in between appointments, if elected, I do promise to uphold the values that we each hold dearly and to carry on the tradition of great leadership that we have maintained over the years.

In conclusion, and to get really deep here, I end with my philosophy of life and advising.  Everyone in this room that knows me can vouch that I will give any student and colleague the shirt off my back if they need it and it is my mission in life to try to make everyone I come in contact with, smile. That being said and as I am a product of the 80’s and know way too much about pop and movie culture (which by default makes me really fun at our social gatherings) I end with a quote from that wise physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, rock musician Buckaroo Banzai: Hey, hey, hey now, don't be mean. We don't have to be mean because remember, no matter where you go, there you are. Keep on being nice to everyone and thank you for your time.

Matthew Haynes

Good Afternoon and Welcome, once again.

For those of you who might still be in a food coma, my name is Matthew Haynes. I stand before you to ask for your vote, a vote you can give with confidence that I will be the most dedicated President-Elect and future President of the Academic Counselors Association that one could be. Since coming to The University of Texas at Austin, I have been an active member of ACA. I have been serving as the Co-Chair for the R.O.A.D. Committee for two years, and have been a part of the Executive Board first as the Communications Coordinator and currently as the Vice President. I feel that ACA is vital to the advising community of UT and have made it my own personal goal to make sure that our presence is known in all areas on campus. Over the past two years I have presented at State, Regional, and the Annual NACADA Conference levels 11 times, with two additional presentations accepted to the upcoming Annual Conference in Minneapolis. At each and every one of those presentations I proudly represent UT and, more specifically, ACA.

I know that I will be a strong, determined leader and I have shown that with the presence I have on the additional committees I collaborate with on this campus. Within my first year in the College of Liberal Arts my leadership skills were recognized quickly and I was elected to chair our Retreat committee and after its success I was asked to chair it again this year. While serving on college appointed committees, I have had the wonderful opportunities to Co-Chair the Resources for On Going Advisor Training (R.O.A.D.) Team and help to develop multiple common readings, guest lectures, and brown bag shares.

As President-Elect, I plan to continue working to give ACA and the advising community the positive exposure and recognition that we deserve not only just on campus but to the advising community at large. With your help, I know that we can work together to create an unstoppable team that strives for nothing but the best. 

Gina Higby & Emily Schroeder

Hi I’m Gina Higby in the Women in Engineering Program and I’m Emily Schroeder in Discover Scholars and we want to be your ACA Vice Presidents! So, why should we be your Vice Presidents? We have been co-chairs of the FUNdraising committee for the past year and we have raised $600 so far to go towards ACA scholarships! As ACA Vice Presidents, we would be a great team in coordinating sponsors for meetings, reserving rooms, and setting the details for the meetings. As FUNdraising co-chairs, we put a high priority on welcoming new members into the ACA community and would do the same in our role as Vice President. ACA has provided us both with a community of colleagues and friends at UT. We love the ACA community and want to give back and grow through another leadership role within ACA. So vote for us! Because we’d love to be your VP’s!


Josh Barham

My name is Josh Barham and I work for the School of Undergraduate Studies in the Vick Center. I’ve been an academic advisor about 9 months now, and I worked with AdviseTX for two years doing college access advising at the high school level.

I suppose there are two important questions to answer when running for any position: “Why are we here?” and “Do we have free will?” No, wait. Those are actually two important questions in philosophy. Sorry, the two questions you probably want answered are “Why do I want this position?” and “How am I qualified for it?” I’ll cover the answers to those questions, but if you want the answers to those first two questions, you’ll need to ask someone else- I was an RTF major. That’s what the Staff Education Benefit is for. The Philosophy Department is over in Wagner.

Being a new member to the advising community here at UT Austin, ACA has been a fantastic means of learning about resources and programs on campus. Even more importantly for me, ACA has been a way to connect with people from different offices and exchange ideas from across campus. I’ve always been a fan of supporting roles, and by becoming treasurer I can help support an organization that I feel makes a positive impact for our community and supports all of us as advisors, whether new or experienced.

For the Treasurer position specifically, I feel like two skills will be of utmost importance: the ability to handle money positively and organization. As a Resident Assistant here at UT Austin and during my work with AdviseTX, I was in charge of a budget that was used mostly for event planning- buying the food, setting up the event, and providing the prizes/swag. Organizationally, I’ve helped to reorganize the Vick Center server to be more accessible, and I also use actual, physical folders to keep track of specific projects as well. Lastly, in case anyone was thinking of skipping out on dues, be warned- I have watched The Karate Kid.

Lovelys Powell

HI!  My name is Lovelys Powell and I am an Academic Advisor in the McCombs School of Business, where I have worked for the last 10 years.  I am running for ACA Secretary for the 2014-2016 academic year.

I’ve had the pleasure of being a member of ACA for 21 years.  I contribute my longevity in the profession to my passion for student success and my passion for our profession.  In my first advising job I learned the importance of collaboration across campus to better serve our students and to grow as a professional.  I’ve tried to maintain a high level of involvement throughout my time in ACA by participating on committees, attending social activities, as well as serving in leadership roles.  I was ACA Secretary 16 years ago and still consider it to be one of my favorite professional development and leadership experiences.  The ACA Secretary must stay fully engaged in our meetings to accurately document the content of our meetings (which I know I can do as long as I’ve had at least half a cup of coffee), and then make sure the minutes are available to the membership.  Additionally, as the person who would administer the election process, I see the role of Secretary as an opportunity to actively promote the leadership development opportunities involved in being an ACA Officer.  Because I have been in the organization for a while and have served as mentor in the mentor program,
I feel that I can be a strong resource for members who are considering being an officer. 

In sum, I am running for ACA Secretary because I am committed to representing the members of ACA through my voice on the Executive Committee, to preserving the content of what is learned in our general meetings, to providing a historical perspective on how we’ve grown as an organization, and to help create a vision of our future.

Sarah McKay

I’m so excited to be running for the Historian position on the 2014-2015 ACA Executive Committee! ACA has been a vital part of my academic advising career at UT Austin; over the past four years, I’ve made it a priority to attend almost every monthly meeting and participate in peripheral ACA events, which always serve to breathe energy back into my advising practice. The aspect I value the most about ACA is the sense of connectivity and community fostered through the organization. ACA gives advisors space come together, share ideas, celebrate, commiserate, learn, and grow. I’ve most enjoyed contributing to the “celebrate” aspect through my time as Awards and Recognition Committee Chair; I’ve had the awe-inspiring experience of reading accounts of advisors’ seemingly inexhaustible strengths, talents, tales of student advocacy, and passion projects while supporting the committee and organizing awards cycles for the past three years. Through it all, I’ve learned that our advising community is straight up fabulous!!  If elected, I look forward to continuing to document and celebrate the advising experience as Historian next year. In particular, I’d like to spotlight student 360 connections that are being developed and maintained by our ACA advising community on the blog so we can continue to learn from each other’s endeavors!

Eric Carter

I am very excited to be a candidate for the Communications Coordinator position! Ever since my first ACA meeting, I knew that I was becoming a member of a great organization. In my opinion, there is one thing in particular that makes this group so special: the community. Seeing this congregation of staff members from all across campus with the common goal of helping our students gave me a great perspective that I never had while I was an undergraduate here. (Coincidentally, my major was in Communications, so I believe that I can bring that added knowledge to the table in this leadership role.) In my experience this past year as Holiday Party Committee Chair, I realized how much I enjoyed bringing people in this organization together. In a broad sense, communication can be used to grow and maintain our community and relationships—and there are many ways that I feel I can contribute to this. If I were to get the opportunity to serve ACA in this position, I would be fully prepared to handle all of the website and social media responsibilities. In McCombs, I have had the chance to develop those skills by serving as an advising representative on our office-wide technology committee. Ultimately, I just look forward to using some of my skills to help make this organization a great place to grow together professionally and personally. I hope you will consider voting for me for Communications Coordinator. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ACA April 2014 General Meeting

The April ACA meeting was held on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 from 8:15-10:00 am in SAC 2.412 (Ballroom North)

The meeting was sponsored by the School of Undergraduate Studies.

As always, check out the full meeting minutes on the ACA website: http://www.utexas.edu/staff/aca/minutes/2014/04/09

ACA Membership networking and having breakfast

The awesome breakfast spread that UGS provided 


Breakfast tacos 

So many choices of salsa!

Julia Chinnock welcomed the membership
The Awards and Recognition Committee announced various awards.

John Newton spoke to us about the ULN Campus Partner Program 

David Spight introduces his colleagues from Undergraduate Studies

Jen Morgan spoke about the core curriculum.

Patty Micks spoke about Signature Courses.

Jeanette Herman spoke about Research Week 2014.

Hillary Procknow provided info about the TSI pilot program. 

Phaedra White spoke about the Discovery Scholars Program.

Arthur Allert spoke about the Business Foundations Program

Robert Prentice introduced us to the new Business Government and Society department, the newest department in the McCombs School.

Finally, Julia closed the meeting with information about the by-laws and upcoming elections.