I was born in Dayton, Ohio and raised in Champaign, Illinois. I attended the Champaign public schools and graduated from Champaign Central High School in 1984. Always an athlete, I played volleyball, basketball, and softball in high school. I attended Illinois State University and earned my bachelor degree in Physical Education Teaching (K-12 certified). During my senior year I realized that I did not want to be a PE teacher for the rest of my life.
Fortunately, my next door neighbors, Bob & Elaine Copeland, worked at the University of Illinois and encouraged me to pursue a Master’s degree in Athletic Administration and work for Bob in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as a Graduate Advisor in the Transition Program. This opportunity turned out to be one of the most important events of my life. It was my first exposure to the field of academic advising and I was immediately hooked for life. After graduating I took a position as the Academic Advisor at the Institute of Aviation at Illinois. After my first year, Dr. Tom McGreal encouraged me to apply to the Ed.D. program in Higher Education Administration at Illinois. Four years later, I completed that degree and was subsequently hired to be the Coordinator of the MD/PhD program for the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. I worked my way up the ranks and was appointed the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the Medical Scholars Program in 2004.
After completing my doctorate, I also became an adjunct faculty member in the Higher Education program at Illinois. In addition to advising students, I occasionally taught a graduate-level course on Academic Advising. I enjoyed teaching so much that I jumped at the chance to become a full-time Clinical Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina in 2007.
My time at South Carolina has been busy! I love advising all 90 students in Higher Education and Students Affairs Master’s program, teaching, and now writing. I have co-authored three books, Career Aspirations and Expeditions: Advancing Your Career in Higher Education Administration with Nancy Archer Martin, The Appreciative Advising Revolution with Bryant Hutson and Ye He, and Appreciative College Instruction: Becoming a Force for Positive Change in Student Success Courses with Bryant Hutson, Ye He, and Claire Robinson. My fourth book that I co-authored with Wes Habley and Steve Robbins titled Increasing Persistence: Research-based Strategies for College Student Success will be released in May 2012. In addition, I helped start the Appreciative Advising revolution and am having fun working with a group of colleagues and friends from around the country to spread the Appreciative Advising message. I am blessed to be asked to present my work at colleges and conferences both domestically and internationally.
As much as I enjoy my work, I love my family and friends even more! I married my wonderful husband Steve in 1998. Steve is a pilot and we live in a residential air park in Gilbert, SC. (Yes, that means that planes take off and land in our backyard!) Together we have four wonderful grandchildren: Cody, Kaitlyn, Rachel, and Rian. My grandchildren are my pride and joy and I love spending as much time with them as I can! Cody is a freshman and the University of Illinois and Kaitlyn is finishing up high school and dreams about becoming a veterinarian. My Mom moved from Illinois to South Carolina in 2010 and was married in 2011. She and her husband, Ed Morrison, live just 15 minutes from Steve and me. We love having them so close!