Advisor Works Full Time While Pursuing Master’s

In honor of National Distance Learning Week, the blog will highlight some of our current students. We caught up with them at the NACADA National Conference in Denver.

Erin Donahoe-Rankin
I discovered advising as a (non-traditional) student employee, and spent a year assisting an academic advisor and another year assisting the director of Honors at Utah Valley University. After completing my BS-Integrated Studies, History & Religious Studies, I began working for the institution in another capacity. I also completed a second BS in Philosophy during that time.

I began as a full-time advisor in 2007, promptly joined NACADA at the suggestion of other advisors I worked with, and was hooked. Kansas State University’s online master’s program has given me an amazing chance to continue working in the field full time, while taking courses from incredible faculty. I plan to graduate in spring 2012.

I have learned so much about advising as a profession, from the instructors and my classmates. The depth and breadth of information covered in the courses is amazing, and yet everything is so applicable to what I, we, do as advisors. Every course has added tools to my toolbox, and I can safely say that I use some technique or theory or idea that I acquired in the program every day. The classes have also given me the opportunity to work on projects and research I always wanted to do, like investigating learning communities or multicultural advising issues. These projects often have direct implications for what I pursue in my job, whether it is working with other advisors to implement a Junior Review process or updating a website.

I have also been inspired to participate in NACADA in new ways, which provides excellent opportunities for professional development. I can only imagine how many more long-lasting changes I will experience as a result of this. Most importantly though, I think this has made me a better advisor – and better advisors make better students!

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