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Advisor of the month: March 2017

Janice Chatham, Advisor of the Month for March, Advising Matters at Virginia Tech

Janice Chatham

University Studies


What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
I enjoy the challenge and opportunity to get to know my students. Witnessing the change in first year students, physically as well as developmentally is wonderful. Especially rewarding is working with a student who has struggled and watching them come into their own success. Every student is unique and brings their own story to VT. Being able to guide students as they learn to navigate VT (whether they think they need the help of not) is what my role is all about.

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
I have been with University Studies for over 10 years. During that time, I have assisted with the development of the Pathways to Success course for our first semester freshmen as we strive to make improvements each year. I also teach a section of the course each fall. I am the liaison for the College of Science and am responsible for keeping the US Advisors up-to-date on any advising related policies or issues. I am the University Studies Orientation Assistant Coordinator. In this role, I am responsible for the promotion, hiring and training for 10-15 current VT students who assist US Advisors with freshmen orientation each summer. I have also been a part of numerous committees whose charge was to enhance various aspects of the advising process for our office. For the past 3 semesters I have assisted Dr. Kimberly Smith with the VT Advising Chats each fall and spring semester. The! Chats provide relevant and innovative topics regarding academic advising for advisors, faculty and staff members at VT.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Just be there when they need you - even if they don't know how to ask, it is my job as an Academic Advisor to ask the right questions. Accept that some students will need you less than others but that has to be their decision. Get involved in opportunities outside your office and VT to enhance your advising skills. Talking to your co-worker or other advisors for advice when you are struggling to help a student. We can all learn from each other.