The following is a letter from one advising administrator to her staff in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reposted with author’s permission. Dr. Kathleen Shea Smith serves as the Associate Provost for Academic Advising at the University of Oklahoma.
I have reflected over the past several days and realized that of all professions, we are equipped to handle this emergency. Why you ask?
ADVISORS ARE PROBLEM SOLVERS. We are trained to process a situation and come up with multiple solutions to address any issue that presents itself.
ADVISORS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. We never know what scenario will unfold when we show up each day and begin each new session. We are fully prepared to handle what comes our way.
ADVISORS ARE COACHES. We are trained to find authentic connection points. We ask open questions that invite reflection. We listen to not just words, but the energy and meaning behind the words. This helps us identify the root issue that is often underneath the surface. We can then address what is really happening with our students and provide the right support.
ADVISORS ENCOURAGE. Long before Mat Talks became the trend (Netflix Cheer reference), we have given many pep talks, shared words of wisdom, and picked up someone who thought they could not go on. Our words are powerful.
ADVISORS ADAPT. We can always count on a change whether it is a requirement change, a policy change, or a protocol change. It may take us a minute to fully grasp these changes, but we are accustomed to bouncing back and rolling up our sleeves to get the work done.
ADVISORS ARE RELATERS. That is who we are. We thrive in community and we are pros at building relationships and sustaining them, especially during tough times.
We’ve got this!
Thank you for all you are and all you do.