Life on Campus: Interview with Missy Gillis

Sarah Kanas

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The Academic Advising office at Kishwaukee College is an office where students go to seek help when looking for their classes or when they need a private talk with a consular. One particular office to stop to when looking for classes is the office of Missy Gillis. This lady works at the Academic Advising office as an adviser for students who need advice for being successful and figuring out what classes they will take from one semester to the next. I sat down with Missy and asked her about the resources and the benefits of the Academic Advising office.

 

SK: What is your connection and history with the advising office?

 

MG: The advising office here at Kishwaukee College was already established when I started here. But when I was hired, I was hired as the director of Student Outreach. In my role as the director of Student Outreach, I was to reroute students to be put on some of our one-step events. And a one-step event is where we take different high schools that are district and offer them the opportunity for them to come for one day. And in that one day, thy do their placement testing, meet with their academic advisor and they set up their schedule. And as a result, as one of our colleagues in advising resigning, they offer me the opportunities. I believe I’ve been doing this for about nine months and I work with the career and technology student; so those are students that are in the associated applied science and certificate areas.

 

SK: What resources does the Academic Advising office provide for students?

 

MG: The resources that we provide are basically a direction for their academic; so, we have what we call academic planners and we have one for the associates of arts, associates of science and those are what we call our transfer degrees. If a student’s automate goal is to go on and get a bachelor’s degree or possibly beyond a bachelor’s degree, we have an associates of science degree planner available. I like to work with students with that planner, because what it does, is that it shows them the requirements. And in every associates of arts, and in every associates of science degree here students need to take ENG Composition 1 and 2 and speech. But then as relates to math, humanities and in social sciences, they have a certain amount of hours they need to meet. But within these hours, they have a lot of options. I like working with those planners, because students can see that they have requirements, but they do have some freedom and flexibility within those requirements to choose; so, it’s a little bit different than high school. And some other resources we provide here, I’m actually the advisor but we do have some concealers on staff as well. And the concealers are degreed professionals that actually have their degree in concealing and can help with personal issues. If students are struggling in any way, they can help them through different scenarios that they’re experiencing in their life and the advising center also helps with experiences in their life and the advising center also helps with pro-advising. We actually go out and sit at a table sometimes and we ask students if they’ve meat with their adviser yet and we also send emails out reminding students about things. So, we try to be more proactive in our advising instead of waiting for students to come to us.

 

SK: What are some of the benefits students have when they come and visit the Academic Advising office?

 

MG: I think one of the greatest advantages that I see is just the experience. For example, with myself I’ve been working at higher ed since 1992; so, with about 25 years of experience and also being a first generation college student myself. I think that we have gone through this often that we are able to help students and also maybe guiding direct students in a certain area. To give you an example, sometimes I’ll meet with students and they’ll really say that sitting in a class and hearing a lecture, writing notes and taking tests isn’t really benefiting them if they feel like they need to work more with their hands. So that’s where I come in, because I work with the career technology students. Sometimes other advisors will refer to people to me and the student really finds themselves happy being like a welder, or a diesel power technician and that’s someone who fixes vehicles that run on diesel or an auto mechanic. Another thing we have here at Kishwaukee College that a lot of students are interested in is we have misgauge therapy and statics. Statics is like working with skin care and eyebrow waxing. I think that some of the experiences we can offer is we can talk to students about everything we offer and some people are more familiar with traditional associates degrees that students can earn and transfer. But we have a much more holistic approach, because we have a lot of opportunities and we also have what’s called short-term training programs; so, we have things like phonomime which is taking blood. We have veterinary assistance, such as working at a veteran’s office and being a vet assistant. We have what’s called a stereo processing technician; so, you would be working with all the tools that may be a dentists or a sergeant’s office would use and them you are sterilizing those. So, I think of the advantages is to really explain all options that we have.

 

SK: What are some of the main reasons students visit the Academic Advising office?

 

MG: The main reasons is that they like to set up their schedule and I thinking coming to an academic advisor is a good move; because there might be something in the catalog that you’ve missed and with having those planners, I actually like to physically check off things for the students so they can see where they are towards their degrees. The second thing is if students want to switch classes, they might find they haven’t been really successful in that class and maybe they want to switch to a class whatever that may be (a humanities topics course or intro to theater). So, the top two reasons I see students most often are setting up their schedule or possibly changing their class.

 

SK: What are the academic advising hours?

 

MG: The academic advising hours are reflection of the student offices so on Monday through Thursday, we are open from 8am in the morning until 5pm. And on Thursday we’re open from 8am to 4pm. We also have an office here called the Advising Lab. And the Advising Lab is set out for students who maybe just want to walk in, but don’t have an appointment and that is set up at an effort to help students. If the student didn’t have an appointment, they don’t have to wait so we staff the Advising Lab Monday through Thursday from 9am to 2pm. And I think that’s been a great benefit for those students that may have a question, but they didn’t have time to set up an appointment or possibly something came up just on a very quick basis that they didn’t want to ask a question.

 

SK: For more information, where can students go?

 

MG: If students want to find out a little bit more about advising, they can come up to the second floor of the C wing and in the C wing is the Student Services is a big office that’s behind glass that come to the Student Services. They can also make an appointment by calling. And if so, they can call 815-825-9375. Also, students can go online to kish (kish.edu). when you go to kish.edu, you can type in advising and you could also make an appointment online now.

 

The Academic Advising office at Kishwaukee College is an office where students go to seek help when looking for their classes or when they need a private talk with a consular for personal issues. If you’re a student at Kishwaukee College and like to talk with Miss Gillis or a concealer, please call at 815-825-9375.

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