Advising & Helping

Throughout my time at BGSU and in positions previously held at institutions in the UK, I have developed a strong ability to support individual students and student groups through my interactions in advising them.  I have achieved this in many different forms and settings, which is why I have included the competency as the first of my advanced skills. ACPA’s Professional Competency criteria (2007) suggests that student affairs professionals should be able to individually counsel students and conduct counseling with groups of students to be considered advanced in this area.

Prior to arriving at BGSU I advised eight student organizations and their representative officers while serving in my role as President of York St John Students’ Union.  These groups included RAG (Raise and Give, a charity fundraising team), the Equality & Diversity Committee, the Ethics & Environment Committee, the LGBT society, the Underrepresented Students collective, the International Student Society, and the Union Council.  I also served as an advisor and mentor to the respective chairs of these committees, as well as coordinated the activity of the Students’ Union Executive Committee and Sabbatical Team.

Whilst working as the Student Democracy Coordinator at The Oldham College I advised 181 students in their roles serving as Class Representatives, Student Governors and the Students’ Union Executive Committee.  These students fell directly under my responsibility in my capacity as Student Democracy Coordinator, a position that worked closely with the Student Enrichment Coordinator and Student Liaison Coordinator to provide advice, guidance and holistic development to the 14,000 students enrolled at the college.

When I began my assistantship in student conduct at BGSU, I immediately began advising the Residential Discipline Committee, a group of students who reside on-campus and who show interest in the disciplinary process at the university. These students sat on the committee to hear formal hearings of discipline cases at the residential level.  In my final year at BGSU I have also taken on the responsibility of co-advising a new student organization named Aspiring Student Affairs Professionals (ASAP).  This group was created to provide undergraduate students interested in student affairs the necessary guidance and support in planning for graduate school or entry level professional positions.

To demonstrate my advanced level of competency in this area I have included several artifacts in my professional competency portfolio.  The first of these artifacts is the training pack I developed for the Oldham College Students’ Union Vice President in 2007.  This packet, like all training materials and handbooks I have developed in the past, were specifically designed to address issues related to her responsibilities.  At the time, I recognized that the VP was very new in her role and had not had any previous experience, nor did she have a predecessor to base her foundations on.  I recognized quickly that she would need solid direction during the training process and designed her training to be focused on the orientation of the field, the issues, and the resources that are available to her.  In doing so, I was able to educate her on where to seek out opportunities for action while still allowing her to maintain her autonomy.

I have also included the Class Representative handbook from the Oldham College.  I designed this booklet to provide a basic overview and source of reference for class representatives at the college.  By including my contact information, I found that students would get in contact with me to clarify aspects of their responsibilities and to seek out ways to be involved further.  I also worked with the Students’ Union Executive Committee as a group to oversee the process of their group development and assist them in goal-setting.  I have been lucky enough to work with a wide number of students and clearly recognize Tuckman’s (1965) stages of forming, storming, norming and performing in action.  I often use this model in my advising student groups, being sure to give strong direction in the early stages of the group development process and to become increasingly less hands-on as the group dynamic develops further.