Connections – Episode 21

In her years at the University, Jodie would often take her friends to see her professor. None of them had a faculty mentor. While there were campus service units, these were rarely helpful. What he was able to do was to provide useful connections. He would also follow up with my friends to see that they were ok. When she read the memory below, she realized that she wasn’t the only one who brought friends to him.

Thank you for everything you did to help guide and support me, not only academically, but also through Student Government and in life in general. One of my most cherished memories in undergrad was when you stuck that giant congratulatory post-it note on the window outside of your office when I won the student government election for the whole college to see. I was so excited, and could not wait to see you after the election. You were just as excited and we talked for well over an hour about all the things that could be improved.

I fondly treasure our conversations and friendships. Whether we were talking about University issues, the stock market, or the general status of higher education, you always taught me something. I greatly appreciate that you continued to reach out to me after I graduated and continued to share advice and different perspectives on things.

One of the single greatest things you taught me is that relationships are the most important component of learning. Working in IT for the University, I am frequently involved in projects to optimize retention or improve education delivery through technology. Unfortunately, these efforts rarely seem to focus on helping students build a personal connection to people at the institution. I try to preach this oversight whenever possible, often times by referencing my experiences and the stories you shares with me. Unfortunately, what you did doesn’t fit the factory model of higher education.

As further testimony to that, I am still amazed by how frequently I discover that you had helped advise someone I know outside of your college. Most students always seem to know who you are and have been helped, either directly or indirectly, by you in some way. Thank you for the years of mentorship and selfless service you have given to students. 

Ryan – Class of 2014

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