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Advisor of the month: April 2018

Tracey Drowne, Advisor of the Month for April. Advising Matters at Virginia Tech

Tracey Drowne

School of Visual Arts, College of Architecture and Urban Studies


What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
I enjoy getting to know my students over the course of their four years and watching how much they grow and change during their time at VT. I enjoy helping them connect with each other, with their faculty, our administration, and the VT community at large.

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
Since joining SOVA I have implemented a mentoring program for our new foundations level students, created a SOVA professional development series to improve major-specific career programming, and I started a student ambassador program which serves current and prospective visual arts majors. I developed a job/internship database for art/design/technology positions and continue to foster relationships between potential employers and SOVA students. I have focused on outreach opportunities with K-12 schools to form mentoring partnerships between their underrepresented students and SOVA students, using art as a tool for developing the mentoring relationship and to increase interest in the visual arts. I have created social media groups to help SOVA students connect with each other, which led to the formation of study groups, informal peer critiques, increased participation in extra-curricular activities and more! I have focused heavily on assessment in advising and implemented changes based on feedback received to help improve advising services for our majors. I work to promote success stories of current students and alumni on social media, and I try to stay connected with and continue to serve our alumni. I have experimented with after-hours advising, both evenings and weekends, and offer Skype or FaceTime advising when needed. I'm always looking for new ideas to enhance advising services and be more available for SOVA students.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Listen to students! Hear their thoughts and ideas regarding their advising needs in your major/school. Get excited about assessments that can give you new insight and inspire fresh ideas for your advising services. Assessment doesn't always have to be a survey. Assessments can be done in focus groups, in exit interviews, etc. but be open to hearing the thoughts and ideas that students present.