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Advisors Win Award for Conference Presentation

Posted Jul. 27, 2011

By Nicole Gennarelli

Amy Wilkens, CCI advisor serving JMC, and Lorie Hopp, CCI advisor serving COMM, won the award for best presentation at the 2011 Ohio Academic Advising Association Conference in Columbus.

Their presentation, "Assisting Students Who Aren't Progressing in Their Majors: How to Effectively Reach Out and Empower Them to Find the Right Fit," informed participants about Wilkens' and Hopp's increasingly successful efforts in identifying JMC majors who aren't advancing to graduation, and connecting them with a realistic path to earning practical degrees in Communication Studies.

"I learned about struggling JMC majors through regular meetings with all of the advising staff in CCI," Hopp said. "We have a very close advising team, and we keep each other posted ohoppheadshot-_lori_hoppn what's going on in each of our schools."

Wilkens said that she met with JMC students on a regular basis who struggled to maintain the required 2.75 minimum cumulative GPA.

"Going over it individually works, but we thought it might benefit students to give them an opportunity in a group setting to meet with both JMC and Communication Studies advising at the same time," she said. "That is where the idea of having a workshop started."

JMC advisors often start the conversation with students about switching majors.

"Sometimes students feel stigmatized because they aren't cutting it in their current major and need to switch," Wilkens said. "Getting Lorie involved in the conversation definitely helps alleviate that stigma. Plus, we get accurate information to the student and really get them excited when they see what they can do with a Communication Studies degree."

Hopp said that they have been very successful with students who have switched from JMC to Communication Studies majors.

"They are very happy with our flexible concentrations and relaxed GPA requirements," she said. "They are successful, and many of them are even able to pull up their GPA and add a JMC minor as well."

Wilkens and Hopp submitted a proposal to present at the state workshop and were selected out of a record number of submissions. Advisors from all over Ohio attended the conference.

"We delivered a fun, informative, well-choreographed presentation that addressed the problem of students struggling in their major," Hopp said. "It showed a sample from our workshop along with other solutions we implemented to address this problem."

Wilkens and Hopp were asked to give the presentation again at the regional conference next April which will be held at the University of Akron.

"It felt great to win the award for best presentation," Wilkens said. "We are honored to represent Kent State University by winning this. Kent State is a great place to work, and we have great students to advise."