Professional Development Opportunities Aplenty!

We are approximately half-way through the ACADAOS membership year. How far have you made it through the Professional Development Program? If you haven’t started yet, what are you waiting for? Put a little time on your calendar and make your professional development as an advisor a priority!


“Grains” by Judit Klein

If you have already completed Tiers 1 and 2, you might be looking for ways to earn more points in Tier 3. Over the past few weeks, we have been updating and adding professional development opportunities and resources to the Professional Development section of the ACADAOS web site. Most of the professional development opportunities we’ve highlighted are free (yay!) and many are asynchronous, meaning you can do them when you have time! If you have other ideas you would like to see highlighted on that page, please feel free to email or

If you do find a professional development opportunity which has an associated cost, we are also excited to announce the launch of our online Professional Development Fund Grant Application! Any dues-paid ACADAOS member is eligible to apply for a professional development grant up to $100 per membership year to support your professional development ventures. Details about the grant can be found on the application page.

Happy developing!

NACADA Region V Excellence in Advising Awards!

It is with great pleasure to announce that Peter Spreitzer (Academic Counselor, University Exploration) and Suzanne Dantuono (Director of Advising, College of Engineering) were both awarded Excellence in Advising awards on January 8th for the NACADA Great Lakes Region V.

As co-winners of the 2014-2015 ACADAOS Outstanding Advisor of the Year Award (along with Shannon Peltier, School of Health and Rehab Sciences), Peter was nominated for the Advising Primary Role Award and Suzanne was nominated for the Advising Administrator Award. OSU was the only institution in Region V with two winners…way to go Peter and Suzanne!

Both Peter and Suzanne will be recognized at the Region V Conference in Toronto.

Peter and Suzanne are tremendous assets to the OSU advising community and the profession at large. As noted by one of Peter’s advisees, “Peter is an outstanding advisor. I’m really happy that he was assigned to me. I’m 100% sure that my experience at OSU would be completely different, if I didn’t have him to lean on.”

And similarly with Suzanne, some of her staff noted that she is “encouraging, supportive, and accessible, as well as reliable, diligent, and driven. Suzanne is a true leader in our office and college, willing to take on any challenge.”

ACADAOS would like to thank Peter and Suzanne for their great work and contributions to student success and the quality of the advising experience at OSU. Keep up the great work!

Brad Fittes and Melissa Basford

Awards and Recognition Committee, ACADAOS

ATI/ Wooster Campus Visit

On Friday, December 4th, the ATI/Wooster campus hosted ACADAOS members for our annual Regional campus visit. Personally, I had never been to this campus before, and I was very excited to make the trip. Thanks to Stephanie Elliot’s great work, we rode on a fancy charter bus with plenty of room for all of us.


The Wooster campus is home to the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, (OARDC), and the OSU Extension program. The institutions all share space on the campus, but the individuals that we spent time with were from the ATI campus. Our hosts for the day were Ruth Montz, Coordinator of Student Services; Kathy Yoder, Head Librarian; and Dee Dee Snyder, Program Manager, Program Excel.

Our day started with an overview of the campus and the students that they serve. The most intriguing thing for me was how different the student body was for the ATI campus. They have a significant portion of their students who are working solely on their associate degrees, and will not make the transition to Columbus. They also have a large portion that are currently working in a full-time job, or on a local farm. This makes it incredibly difficult for them to work a schedule that most of our students in Columbus would have. They also do not have professional advisors, but, faculty advisors who help them select their classes. They do have a very strong and committed academic success program, with academic mentors and professional tutors. Their tutors specialize in certain subjects, and are available to help students in many of their classes. One thing that was emphasized for us was how closely all of their support units work with each other. It was very easy to get the sense that the students can view the campus as a second home.

Kathy Yoder, the Head Librarian, gave us a tour of her library space. The library is main hub where students go to get just about any of their questions answered. Their librarians help with everything from finding resources, scheduling classes, and answering technology questions. Kathy makes sure that the space is very inviting for students, and even keeps a blanket and pillow on a couch in one of the quiet spaces of the library. As she explained, many of their students start working on their farms or other jobs at 4:00 a.m. They come to class, and if they have a break, they want a place to sleep.



After a break for lunch, we ended our day learning about Program Excel, and the academic coaching that ATI provides for under-resourced students. They have six (6) full-time Academic Mentors and Coaches who help students determine which classes to enroll in, provide individual and group tutoring, and help students improve other “soft skills,” like self-efficacy, interpersonal communication, and time management. Each Mentor and Coach specializes in one or two key academic areas, to help students in specific subjects and courses. Program Excel has also had a very strong record of success, with over half of ATI’s 2014-2015 Phi Theta Kappa members and Outstanding Student Award winners being members of Program Excel. We were all very impressed with the outstanding work that ATI is doing with these students, and the dedication that the staff has shown to provide their students with such opportunities for success.

Last, but not least, many members of our group stopped in the floral shop. They grow poinsettias in their greenhouse, and create and sell handmade floral arrangements. Several of our members did bring home some of the arrangements for the holidays. Fearing that I would make a horrible choice, I opted not to. You can see a gallery of their arrangements here:

We all had an outstanding visit, and would recommend that anyone who wants a glimpse of staff that truly cares for it’s students take a trip up to Wooster. Thank you again to everyone who made our trip memorable, and we look forward to our next visit!


Special Thanks to:

Ruth Montz

Kathy Yoder

Rachel David

Leslie Eisberg

Dee Dee Snyder

Stephanie Elliott




Barry Tolchin

President, ACADAOS

Congrats to the Advisors who Reached Tier 2 during AU15!

I hope everyone was able to spend some quality time with their family and friends over winter break. I know I did, and it was wonderful!

As spring semester gets underway, our focus will understandably be on our students and their needs, but we shouldn’t forget to take some time to focus on our own professional development. This post has two purposes: to encourage all ACADAOS members who have not yet started the Professional Development Program to do so and to congratulated those who have completed Tiers 1 and 2 during autumn semester. These individuals have earned a letter from Dr. Carlson to their supervisor, recognizing their commitment to the field of academic advising and to their own professional development. This letter will make such a great contribution to these advisors’ personnel files!

So, without further ado, congratulations to Diana DeVol Bevilacqua, Gabe Tippery, Leslie Dowler, Lindsay Tolchin, and Sarah Howard for completing Tiers 1 and 2 of the PDP! Remember to start logging all your professional development activities in Tier 3 so you are eligible to receive all the amazing prizes that will be awarded at the beginning of Autumn 2016!

I also want to encourage the rest of you to log-in to the PDP on Carmen and complete the activities necessary to progress through Tiers 1 and 2. My New Year’s resolution for you all is to be able to set action steps for yourself so you can start (or continue) toward your next career goal, whatever that may be. Don’t delay-start your Professional Development Plan today! (too cheesy?)

Email Did Not Come with a User’s Manual

Like many people I was first introduced to email in the early 1990’s. It all began when my brother, a faculty member at another university in the southeast, started communicating with me through university servers. This saved us both a lot of money on long distant phone bills. Okay, some of the conversation was not on education, but on catching up with family gossip. (Give us a break.) No user manual was provided to inform us that this might be not proper.   Neither of us owned home computers let alone had any awareness of email servers for personal use, like AOL.

It wasn’t until about ten years later that a shift in my career from teaching to advising greatly increased the volume of my professional email usage. Again, professional email did not come with a user’s manual. I was thrown into the water to sink or swim. I knew how to write business letters, but this mode of communication seemed different. The beauty of email was that I could respond to a student or an advisor question without much effort and in no time flat as if I was talking to them. Many times I did not reread what I wrote before pressing send. It was only when I needed to send out an announcement to a group or response to an administrator that I had someone critique my work.

Finally, after over twenty years since my first email, I found manuals on the art of writing emails! There are two very good books that I would like to recommend that are quick reads. The first is titled Email, the Manual: Everything You Should Know about Email Etiquette, Policies, and Legal Liability before You Hit Send, by Jeffrey Steele. The other (and the one that I will review) is Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to do better, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe.

Send begins with the reasons to love email. One reason is exactly what I did when I began my email journey and that was/is I can reach almost anyone inexpensively. We all could list many more good reasons, but there are just as many reasons to wish we did not have it. Two such negatives would be that we can’t take the mistake emails back and there is a fairly permanent electronic record of emails.

What I liked most about Send is that the authors admitted that they have been guilty of bad email etiquette and provided actual examples of email that they have sent and received. They did more than just share bad examples with loaded phrasing. They demonstrated how to rephrase with a softened and mindful effect.

Here are some examples of loaded phrasing they suggest to avoid:

  • I can’t imagine why…
  • You’ll have to…
  • Is it too much to ask…
  • Why in the world…
  • It seems odd that…
  • Just curious, but…
  • Please explain to me…

One technique that I learned to soften the tone is to write as if I am the one at fault.

Bad example: Please explain to me why the procedure suddenly changed.

Good example: My recall is that the situation may have been handled differently in the past. Have I forgotten the procedure or did I accidentily overlook a memo changing the process?

As it turns out, Send is also an author-created acronym reminding us how to write a good email.

S=simple; E=effective; N=necessary; D=done

Emails should be simple and to the point. They should be effective in what they convey. They should contain only necessary information. Lastly, emails should contain a procedure that checks to see that a request is completed.

To summarize, “be mindful and think before you send.” “Send only email that you would like to receive.”