Debi is calendar driven, yet is adept at balancing personal and professional priorities, always putting first things first, whether it be meeting with a student on academic dismissal, or attending one of her children’s sports activities at the end of her business day.
Win-win is always at the top of Debi’s list of considerations. Will a proposed solution benefit both the student and the team? Advisors used to work extended hours in the weeks leading up to and immediately after the start of the semester for the benefit of students, who sought advising before, during, and after normal hours of operation. However, Debi recognized that this practice tended to compromise the health of exhausted staff. Rather than continuing to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, Debi made the decision to maintain normal hours of operation throughout the semester. The result? Advising staff were much better able to maintain good health despite the rigors of registration.
Debi doesn’t just thrust ideas upon the team for implementation though. She seeks first to understand a situation then to be understood when she proposes a solution. For example, the Advising Welcome Center used to be staffed with part-time Student Success Specialist 1s, who had limited access to SIS and limited knowledge and information regarding Advising Services. They therefore had no choice but to sign students in to see an advisor. After analyzing the situation, Debi realized that having professional advisors staff the Advising Welcome Center made more sense, because advisors would be able to nip various student issues in the bud right then and there at the counter rather than having the student wait for an extended period of time to see an advisor. After discussions with Advising Services, the new practice was implemented. Sure enough, wait times to see an advisor improved significantly.
Debi personifies synergy. We have truly become a team under her guidance and leadership and no longer have constant turnover. She excels at finding the right fit for the right job and draws on people’s strengths to make the team even stronger. When one area of the team needs more resources, for VA for certifications for example, the other areas take up the slack or lend support.
As busy as we are though, Debi recognizes the need to sharpen the saw. In order to provide top-notch service and keep up with the latest information and changes, she recognizes how vital it is to provide training and development. In order to accomplish this, FACTT is held weekly and an intensive two-week training session is provided for new staff. Our best practices have been recognized not only at regional but at national levels.
Change can be unsettling. Yet Debi embraces change and what’s more, is able to successfully impart her energy, drive, enthusiasm, and motivation to her team, allowing her vision to become a reality time after time. This is especially laudable given that staffing has remained fairly constant despite an ever increasing student population.