Student Academic Services

Dean Jean Battle recognized the importance of advising students regarding their schedule of classes and overall plan for the completion of their program of study when he hired Dr. Bill Bott as the first advisor/faculty member in the College of Education. Dr. Bott performed that responsibility from 1959 through 1969 during which he developed the College of Education Guidance Program.

Appointed in 1971, Dr. Mel Villeme served as the Coordinator of Student Personnel Office. His staff included: Loren (Bob) Roberts, Student Activities Coordinator; Charles (Chick) Gordon, Secondary Education Advisor; and L. (Tom) Karns, Graduate Advisor. The advising team designated to assist for freshman and sophomore students included: Ruth Allen, Ruth Brightwell, Joan Colby, Bonnie Lightfoot, Marge Nesman, and Phyllis Robertson. These teams remained largely intact for the next 20 years thus providing a continuous quality of advising to undergraduate and graduate students.

In 1985, Doug Hatch was appointed to the position of Student Activities Coordinator. During this time, undergraduate professional student organizations were encouraged and supported by departments within the College. The Council for Exceptional Children for Special Education Majors and the Physical Education Majors Club are just two of the numerous student organizations that have been active during the history of the College. In addition, each program had a representative on the College of Education Student Council. The Council held regular meetings, published a newsletter, coordinated the Annual Children’s Festival, and conducted some outreach programs.

Upon the retirement of Dr. Villeme in 1991, Dean Bill Katzenmeyer merged the Student Personnel and the Clinical Education divisions. Dr. Jane Young was appointed as the director of the newly formed Office of Clinical Education. Her responsibilities included admissions, student advising, and internships. Over the years with the addition of CLAST/ACT and SAT requirements for entering students and additional graduation requirements, have increased the complexity of the advising process. The implementations of sophisticated computer programs have contributed to the quality of the advising process in the College of Education, which was always considered by students to be a strong component of the College.

In 1993, Ms Sharman McRae was assigned to the College of Education as the Project Thrust advisor. She was placed in the Student Personnel Office. Her responsibilities at that time included addressing the academic and personal support needs of students of color in the College of Education.

The name, Student Personnel Office, was changed to Student Academic Services (SAS) during the mid 1990s to more accurately reflect the responsibilities of the office.

In 1998, Dr. Jane Young retired as Assistant Dean and Director for Student Academic Services. Her positive impact on the culture, diversity, work ethic, and operating structure of the SAS office are legacies that continue even today.

In 1999, Dr. Gerald Barkholz retired from the SAS Office as the Director of Undergraduate Programs, and returned as a faculty member to the Department of Childhood Education. After a college-wide search, Dr. Paulette Walker was appointed as Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising. She had previously served for nine years as an advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Unit of the SAS office.

The complexities of University’s and College of Education’s requirements, and a tremendous growth in student enrollment led to a reorganization of responsibilities in the office. Upon the retirement of Dr. Young, Dr. Diane B. Briscoe was appointed as Director of the Student Academic Services Office after a college-wide search. This position provides day-to-day oversight for the Student Academic Services Office, and serves as the accountable officer. Dr. Briscoe also retained the title and responsibilities of Coordinator of Graduate Studies for the College of Education, a position she had held in the College for six years prior to her new appointment. Under this reorganization, Dr. Walker, in 2002, was promoted as Director of Undergraduate Programs and Internship.

The dynamic nature of a growing university campus, and the desire by the University’s administration to attain Research I status also affected the SAS Office, since all students admitted, interning and graduating from the College of Education are served through this office.

In recent years, the responsibilities of the Student Academic Services Office have increased tremendously to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the College’s growth. Since 2000, the College has increased enrollment by 23%. Much of this growth in enrollment is the result of college initiatives such as the Master of Arts in Teaching degrees, graduate certificates, the increase in cohort programs, on-line courses, etc. Today, approximately 14,000 students (duplicated count) are served each year in various ways through the five offices that now comprise the Student Academic Services Office which are: Internship, Undergraduate Advising, Graduate Studies, Certification, and Pre-Education Advising.

In part, some of the initiatives undertaken by the SAS Office to better serve the College’s students and faculty have included the inclusion of an internal electronic tracking system in the Graduate Studies Unit, known as the GAR Tracker. The system allows all paperwork entering and leaving the Graduate Studies Unit to be tracked so that students and faculty are better able to understand where student paperwork is in process. Eight to twelve orientations are offered each year to graduate faculty and interested graduate students on relevant and wide ranging topics. In line with the goal of continuous improvement, at least one of these sessions each year is designated as a “feedback forum” so that faculty and students can formally offer suggestions on ways in which graduate processes can be improved. The Graduate Studies Unit also participates fully in a University orientation for graduate students. This annual orientation provides new graduate students an opportunity to meet the College of Education faculty and staff who are involved in graduate education, to better understand graduate processes at the University and College levels, and to tour the College of Education. An electronic newsletter, The Graduate Studies Digest, was created in 2007 and is distributed twice per year during the fall and spring semesters. The purpose of the Digest is to provide timely and accurate information about policies, procedures and deadlines to graduate students.

In addition to regular student advising, ten to twelve advising sessions are now hosted by the Undergraduate Advising Unit to improve communication with undergraduate students about important undergraduate changes. On-line advising sessions and mock electronic registration sessions are also offered. Two workshop sessions are offered each year for undergraduate advisors from the University’s feeder institutions, including community colleges and the University of South Florida’s advising center. A peer mentoring session (PALM) is being created and will be piloted in 2007. The purpose of PALM is to match undergraduate students currently admitted to the College of Education with undergraduate students seeking admission, to better assist the newer students in navigating institutional processes. An electronic newsletter was also launched in 2007.

The Internship Unit sponsors workshops for University supervisors, school district personnel and others involved with the College’s interns. Additionally, the internship application and application procedures are now available online. Students are also provided with an Internship Handbook.

The Certification Unit has created, updates, and maintains an enviable website that lists certification requirements for most teaching areas. This unit serves as the liaison with the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Teacher Certification, and interprets most certification policies and mandates for those seeking initial certification and re-certification. Additionally, working with the College, this Unit reviews many of the printed materials and assists in identifying academic courses offered through the College’s academic departments that can be used for certification and re-certification purposes. The College’s Sharpen Your Skills brochure is one such example.

In 2004, the University decentralized the advising of freshman, sophomore and college-transfer students to the college level. The Pre-Education Advising unit was established to address this change. The decentralization allowed the College of Education through the SAS Office to begin working with students immediately after their matriculation to the University. This move allowed for a smoother transition and matriculation to the College by these students during their junior year. A staff of three professional advisors and two graduate assistants assumed these responsibilities and immediately established a strategic plan for how the 2,000 prospective pre-education students would best be served. Each advisor works with a targeted clientele, such as first time college students, or transfer students, or continuing students. The unit conducts group advising sessions for freshmen, transfer and other students who are interested, but not yet admitted to the College of Education. Over 100 information and orientation sessions are conducted each year, including fall, spring, and summer semesters. Today, that unit boasts a staff of seven. The Pre-Education Advising Office is coordinated by Mr. Barry Hubbard. An online newsletter, The Class Roster, is also distributed.

The SAS Office has benefited over the years from the expertise and dedication of a core of its long time staff: Ms. Deborah Rook has provided over ten years of service to the Undergraduate Advising Unit. has been fortunate to have the services of several long-term, dedicated staff members. Ms. Dianne Wood has rendered ten years of service in the Internship Unit, and three years prior service in the Undergraduate Advising Unit. Ms. Sherry Evatt retired in 2007 after 34 years of service, much of it in the Certification Unit of SAS. Ms. Judy Oltz has served in the Graduate Studies Unit for 17 years. Mr. Aaron Greaser has provided 17 years of service to the office as its faculty assistant, with responsibility for office management, scholarship oversight, personnel matters and other areas vitally important to the smooth functioning of the SAS office. Dr. Paulette Walker has provided over 16 years of service, and Dr. Diane Briscoe has 21 years of service in the College of Education, 15 of them in SAS.

Additional Photos

thumbnail of council panel thumbnail of student council seated thumbnail of Dr. Ray Urbanek helping a student thumbnail of a group of students sitting outside thumbnail of Jane Young thumbnail of students voting thumbnail of Doug Hatch talking with students thumbnail of Bob Roberts with two students
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