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Advisor of the month: January 2020

Brian Kastner, January 2020, Advisor of the Month, Advising Matters at Virginia Tech.

Brian Kastner

Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, College of Engineering


What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
My favorite part of advising is getting to be a part of a student’s road to success. We have so many amazing students in our department, and it is a joy to build relationships with our students and help them achieve their goals.

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
The most rewarding part of my position is interacting with students, so as our department grows, it has become important to increase the efficiency of our advising office to not only increase the time we have available to students, but to also maximize that time. This has been done through multiple means, including an increased focus on appointment-based advising allowing our advisors to be better prepared for student meetings and have an opportunity to focus solely on each individual student. Increasing efficiency has also been done through “flipped advising” where we ask the students to prepare prior to our meetings to allow the students to have a more active role in the advising process.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Be adaptable and keep learning. Our roles can be so varied as to what our students need that we have to be willing to wear many different hats. In the span of an hour, one student may need you to be a mentor, another may be looking for someone to listen, and yet another may simply need affirmation. It is important to approach every student interaction ready to take on whatever role will help serve the needs of the student. There is a wealth of learning opportunities available to advisors from online workshops to multi-day conferences. Whether it is utilizing technology in advising, advising philosophy, or strategies to reach more students, there is always room to grow.