AcAdv, nacada

#UNT InHouse: Portrait Gallery

A couple weeks ago I was featured in the UNT InHouse Portrait gallery for my one of many hats I wear on campus. Here’s a bit more about the Portrait Gallery and my interview for the online publication:

It’s not possible to know everyone on a big, busy campus. So InHouse periodically publishes Portrait Gallery features to help us learn about our colleagues and their contributions to the university’s success. Send suggestions for Portrait Gallery subjects by email to InHouse with “Portrait Gallery” in the subject line.

Portrait Gallery: Laura Pasquini, Academic Counselor
Laura Pasquini helps students find an academic home as a mentor for undeclared majors. She’s also the first UNT representative to be chosen for the Emerging Leader Program with The Global Community for Academic Advising.  

What is your official title, and how long have you been at UNT?

I am an academic counselor and instructor for the Office for Exploring Majors in Undergraduate Studies and I have been working at the University of North Texas since June 2009.

What is your background?

I have been supporting students as an academic advisor/counselor with major or career decision-making since fall 2003. I have been fortunate to support a variety of student populations at Niagara University, Miami University, University of Toronto Scarborough, University of Texas Arlington and UNT. Before joining the new office for exploring majors team, I was an academic advisor with the College of Business Advising Office.

What will you do as a mentor?

I was selected as a mentor for the Emerging Leader Program with The Global Community for Academic Advising for the 2012-2014 class. As a mentor, I will collaborate with other advising professionals and faculty within the association from other institutions. I will help emerging leaders develop their connections to the advising profession, encourage leadership opportunities, assist colleagues in working toward their professional goals and give back to the professional association that has helped me thrive personally and professionally.

Has any of your experience at UNT helped you prepare for this position?

Both as an academic advisor in the College of Business and in my current role, I have been fortunate to connect with students, staff and faculty to support my own personal and professional development. As a former executive officer and member of the University Counselors Advisors Network, I was able to collaborate, learn, and connect to a wide variety of ideas that will enhance my mentoring. Most recently, I had the opportunity help coordinate the Spring 2011 Advising Retreat, the UNT Advising Conference and the Advisor Spring 2012 training day. I appreciate interacting with and learning from a variety of staff and faculty who love working with students on a daily basis.

Are you the first UNT representative to be a mentor for the Emerging Leader Program?

I am the first person at UNT to be an ELP Mentor; however Carol Pollard, senior counselor in the College of Music, was part of the inaugural ELP cohort in 2007-2009 as an Emerging Leader.

What do you do as an academic counselor for undecided majors?

The Office for Exploring Majors supports students in their journey to learn more about their major/career options. As a counselor, I help support students who are undecided, undeclared and uncertain about their degree options. We often work with new students who want to learn more about their academic choices; however we frequently work with students who want to change their major or transition to another path. I enjoy providing academic/occupational resources and information to empower our students to make choices, and support them in their exploration.

What commonalities/differences do undeclared majors share?

Our undeclared/undecided students are very intelligent, bright and interested in a number of options. These students often have too many choices and are undecided to allow some time to explore majors, meet faculty, understand degree requirements and discover more about their own interests. Over the last year, I have come to really appreciate the interest and enthusiasm that our students bring to the First Year Seminar, during workshops, or  counseling.

Lisandry Ortiz, left, and mentor Laura Pasquini, academic counselorDo you have success stories?

A recent one would be with Lisandry Ortiz, left, who was in my First Year Seminar class Fall 2011.

Lisandry came into the class with different ideas about her major/career from her family, friends and others. During the course of the semester and in her first year, Lisandry went out to interview professionals, research occupational trends, and tried out a few classes to help her find her direction that would be best for her. She was interested in Biology, English, Creative Writing, Journalism, Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Studies with a double minor in Kinesiology and Addictions.

Although she had a challenging second semester at UNT, Lisandry managed to stay on top of her studies and credits the connections to friends and resources from the first year seminar class.

I am happy to say that Lisandry has earned junior class standing and has officially declared Rehabilitation Studies as her major with the College of Public Affairs & Community Service.

Along with her academic progress, Lisandry is working on campus as a housing ambassador in Maple Hall and she is now an Office for Exploring Majors Student Ambassador who will support undecided students with their major/career journey.

Higher Education, Learning Technologies, Web Design

Backward Design with TED-Ed

Beginning with the end in mind. This is the philosophy of instructional design method backward(s) design.  A few weeks back Kevin Guidry shared his thoughts on backwards design, and it got me thinking about how I approach my curriculum and lesson plans.

Image c/o <http://www.recordholders.org/images/backwards-cycling1.jpg>

For the Office for Exploring Majors, I am currently reviewing/updating modules for our first-year seminar class – UGST 1000. The goal is to offer an “engaged” format (we cannot use the term blended or hybrid, but there will be mixed components of online, in-class and active requirements) for Fall 2012.  Last semester our department offered a couple of sections of the NextGen course; however, the class focus was on “well-being.” Since our office t works with undecided students, the engaged sections for Fall 2012 will need to be directed towards major/career exploration and academic success.

Image c/o <http://kids.esc13.net/curriculum/3stages.gif>

In reviewing the current curriculum, it was apparent that a backward design approach would be the most effective method for this instructional design project. In Understanding by Design, Wiggins and McTighe (2005) identify three key stages for  backward design:

  1. Identify desired results (learning outcomes) – What should your learners know, understand, and be able to do?
  2. Determine Acceptable Evidence (means to assess if learners have learned) – How will you know if learners have achieved the desired results, achieved those learning outcomes, or met the standards? What is the evidence of learner understanding and proficiency?
  3. Plan learning experiences and instruction – What will be the procedures or methods to reach these outcomes? This includes a definition of knowledge; definition of skills and procedures learners need to master; definition of materials; and definition of learning or instructional activities.

Here is an example of an engaged learning module that I will include for the Time Management unit. This session will have the backward design steps and one of three classes that students will be required to complete outside of the in-class meeting time.

1. Learning Outcome(s)

Learners will be able to:

(a) identify the differences between tasks, objectives, and goals.

(b) create a smart and effective to-do list of tasks.

(b) assess their weekly schedule to identify how time is being utilized.

(c) select priorities, understand where time is lost, and accurately adjust for effective time management.

2. Evidence of Learning

Learners will demonstrate their understanding of learning by:

(a) drafting a to-do list of tasks for the day/week and identify 5 top priorities.

(b) mapping out a one week schedule of their activities to identify where their 168 hours are allocated.

(c) creating a visual representation of how the 1 week period time is accounted for in terms of activities and responsibilities.

 (d) writing a 250 word minimum blog post/online journal about their 168 hours and weekly schedule. This reflection will include the visual representation of 168 hours, account for time wasted, and offer ideas how to effectively manage time to balance their schedule.

3. Learning Experiences & Instruction

This section of the time management unit will be housed online. We have some modules created on Blackboard Learn; however, I thought I would also create a mock up on the new TED-Ed website. This is a rough draft of a module (to be edited) I designed by “flipping the video” from YouTube into a lesson. [Side note: there are already a number of lessons available for educators to use for the experience section of lessons. Instructors can use the same module or “flip” it.]

TED-Ed | Time Management: How to Write a To-Do List & Know Where Your Time Goes

College Success – Chapter 2: 2.3 Organizing Your Time

References:

Beiderwell, B., Tse, L., Lochhaas, T.J., & deKanter, N.B. (2010, August). College success. Flatworld Knowledge. Retrieved from http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/catalog/editions/54

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed). NJ: Prentice Hall.