The two years I spent completing a masters degree in counseling at the University of Tennessee exposed me to two things that would have a major influence on my life: mountains and college student personnel work. The former led me to California and the latter to a career. After a two-year stint at Davis I moved to my first job at Sac State in 1969, when student activism was still on the rise.
I was hired as a Student Activities Advisor, which included responsibility for new student orientation, providing the opportunity to work with departmental faculty advisors. There were some systemic problems with advising at the time, so a study group was formed to recommend improvements. Dan Decious and I co-chaired a committee that conducted a two-year study of advising on our campus and other CSUs. Our committee’s recommendations led to the creation of a faculty-based Academic Advising Center – and my next job.
I was Director of Academic Advising for 30 years, the majority of my career. During this time I had the good fortune to work with about 120 adventuresome faculty who volunteered for assigned time in the Advising Center. Helping students in the Advising Center was a good vantage point for us to identify what wasn’t working and to make needed changes in policies and procedures.
Some accomplishments that were most meaningful to me:
- Standardizing major requirements in the Catalog (with department chairs)
- Clarifying GE and foreign language requirements (with Advising Center faculty and Senate committees)
- Reaching institutional consensus on, and publishing Advising FAQ (with Jackie Donath, Greg Wheeler, and Vivian Llamas Green)
My last two years I was Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. I supervised four programs and advised the Vice President in my most strident manner, which she welcomed.
I was fortunate to have had the jobs at Sac State at the times I did. I liked going to work. I worked with competent, interesting people. I developed professionally. I believe that in some small ways my work made a difference for students and colleagues.
Nancy and I retired at the same time, in the summer of 2007. We went on a nine-day hike of the Yosemite High Sierra Camps, followed by a fall trip along the east coast in a new hybrid Camry that we picked up in Maine. We continue to travel and are finally getting around to working on our neglected 80-year-old house. We are looking forward to the wedding of one of our daughters next year.
Click here to email Tom