About Us



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Message From The Executive Director

As Executive Director of the SAM Center, it is a privilege and an honor to be part of Sam Houston State's commitment to student success. The SAM Center provides centralized, integrated advising services for SHSU undergraduates across the university. Our professional advisors are highly skilled experts in student development and degree planning, and we strive to provide students with personalized, holistic, success-based academic advising and support. We strongly believe in the importance of academic advising in student achievement, retention, and degree completion.

Whether you are an entering freshman, a transfer student, or a current undergraduate, SAM Center advisors are here to provide information and put you in touch with the resources to help you on this academic journey. I welcome you to make an appointment with an advisor on your college team and visit us in the SAM Center. It is our goal to help you reach your goals.

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The SAM Center

Mission & Vision
Mission

SHSU acknowledges academic advising as a vital element of students' academic success and college experience, placing it within the university's teaching/learning mission.

The advisors and advising staff at the SAM Center promote academic advising as a shared responsibility with the student and are committed to helping each undergraduate student

  • make a successful transition to SHSU,
  • develop and implement an appropriate academic plan, and
  • engage in personally and educationally meaningful activities.

To that end, we advocate for programs, policies, and procedures that enhance Sam Houston's educational environment and promote student success.

Vision

We aspire to provide advising leadership at all levels (institutional, regional, and national) and to set "best practice" standards for advising excellence regarding student learning, academic success, retention, and graduation.

Values

We serve as models and communicators of SHSU's Mission and Goals.

Moreover, we are dedicated to upholding academic advising best practices as detailed by NACADA. We are committed to NACADA's mission to promote and support "quality academic advising in institutions of higher education to enhance the educational development of students" as well as its Core Values and follow the advising standards as outlined in the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education.

Values that Guide Academic Advising at SHSU

  • Advising merges career, personal, and academic exploration through academic planning, self-regulation, and proactive guidance focused on students' goals, interests, strengths, and values.
  • Advising depends on a robust program of advisor training with significant professional development and clear career options.
  • Advising provides the framework and opportunity for students to engage in self-authorship, learn from their experiences, and take ownership of their futures.
  • Advising is a cooperative, student-oriented problem solving process.
  • Adivsing includes
    • faculty who are expert mentors in their disciplines and professions;
    • professional academic advisors who help students navigate the institution, develop academic plans, and connect to university and community resources; and
    • a campus community (e.g., advisors, faculty, financial aid counselors) who jointly foster student development and success.
Goals & Learning Objectives

University Academic Advising Goals

  • Nurture a campus culture that believes in and promotes academic advising as a joint process between the advisor and the student vital to the student's academic success
  • Assist students in self-exploration and professional development
  • Assist in the development of students' academic plans consistent with their goals, interests, strengths, and beliefs
  • Encourage holistic engagement within the higher education experience (academically, socially, culturally, and professionally) preparing students to be life-long learners in a diverse, global society
  • Develop a unified advising framework overseen centrally to create consistent advising practices, policies, and experiences

SAM Center Academic Advising Goals

  • Develop a 1:1 relationship between advisors and students
  • Organize work so advisors feel a sense of satisfaction and belonging: highlight professional development and advancement opportunities, create a sense of community, promote equity and diversity, and develop consistent advising position descriptions with clear expectations
  • Increase student's self-efficacy, self-regulation, and sense of agency, such that the right content, supports, and tools exist for students to access service on their own
  • Promote and advocate for institutional programs, policies, requirements, and procedures that enrich the student experience, enhance the academic success, and facilitate student persistence to graduation

Academic Advising Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate they know
    • curricular requirements, university standards, and educational milestones related to an intended/chosen degree program to graduate in a timely manner;
    • university, college, and departmental academic policies and procedures;
    • the career and professional opportunities available as well as on-campus resources for the identification and exploration of experience learning, leadership, and career paths;
    • campus resources, programs, and support systems that promote student and academic success; and
    • academic processes that lead to a success transfer (if applicable).
  • Students will demonstrate they can
    • select majors based on their interests, abilities, and career goals and be able to explain why they made their choices;
    • develop an academic plan and assess degree progress through graduation;
    • effectively use digital resources (e.g., DegreeWorks, Catalog) to assist in educational planning and course registration;
    • use tools, resources, and academic advising sessions to evaluate their interests and abilities, identify academic goals, and develop appropriate academic and career plans;
    • critically reflect upon personal, educational, and career goals;
    • develop skills and strategies for academic success that include using institutional resources, policies, and procedures; and
    • take responsibility for making decisions concerning their academic success.
History & Recognitions

The Student Advising and Mentoring (SAM) Center was the brainchild of Dr. Bill Fleming and former Provost Dr. David Payne. Breaking proverbial ground in August of 2002, the SAM Center quickly established and maintained a record of excellence receiving multiple awards from NACADA (2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2013).

As the university has evolved and grown, so too has the SAM Center. In the beginning, three advisors worked with only a small portion of the ~11,000 undergraduate students. The SAM Center has grown and now houses four teams of academic advisors who work with over 60% of SHSU's ~17.000 undergraduate students, recording over 40,000 student contacts each year!

Due to the constant growth of campus enrollment and the ever-changing needs and regulations regarding student success in higher education, SHSU is shifting from its initial hybrid Shared-Split Model of academic advising. In its place, advising leadership is adopting a hybrid Centralized-Shared Model. SHSU will have a centralized office for advising procedures, training, and advisor communication, but a shared system of advising offices around campus. This change allows for the faster and more accurate communication with advisors who then can ensure proper and timely advisement to students.

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Personnel

SAM Center Staff
Dr. Ann Theodori
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Executive Director of Student Advising and Mentoring

Dr. John Jordan
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Director of Advising Projects

Mandy Carrell
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SAM Center Specialist

College of Business Administration (COBA) Team
Megan St. Vigne
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Senior Academic Advisor,
College Liaison

Samantha Aldrich
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Patricia Lawler
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Angela Perry
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Associate Academic Advisor

Linda Sweeney
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Lecturer, Dept. of Accounting

College of Criminal Justice (COCJ) Team

Academic advising occurs at the Criminal Justice Center

College of Education (COE) Team
Chelsea Story
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Senior Academic Advisor,
College Liaison for COE & CHSS

Kendall Gragert
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Justin Matherne
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Shawnna Sandles
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Assistant Academic Advisor

College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication (COFAMC) Team
Wes Boyd
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Associate Director of Advising, College Liaison for COFAMC

Seth McAdow
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Kelsey Winn
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Assistant Academic Advisor

College of Health Sciences (COHS) Team
Justin Vick
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Associate Director of Advising, College Liaison for COHS & COSET

Dr. Laura Burleson
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Assistant Professor, Dept. of Family & Consumer Sciences

Brandy Colvin
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Casey Davis
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Dr. Brent Estes
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Associate Professor, Dept. of Kinesiology

Tracy Pratt
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Rene Harris
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Pre-Professions Advisor

College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Team
Chelsea Story
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Senior Academic Advisor,
College Liaison for COE & CHSS

Aaron Cain
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Graduate Assistant Advisor, Dept. of Psychology

Chernise Joseph
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Justin Matherne
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Betsy Stoltz

eks024@shsu.edu

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Assistant Academic Advisor

College of Science and Engineering Technology (COSET)
Team
Justin Vick
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Associate Director of Advising, College Liaison for COHS & COSET

Casey Davis
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Tracy Pratt
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Assistant Academic Advisor

Dr. Doug Ullrich
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Professor, Dept. of Agricultural Sciences

Stella Vay
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Assistant Academic Advisor

The Woodlands Center
Joanna Blythe
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Associate Academic Advisor,
Nursing Program

Kristi DeBose
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Assistant Academic Advisor (click here for majors)

Dr. Natalie Hegwood
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Assistant Professor, Dept. of Economics
COBA Advisor

Dr. Diana Nabors
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Associate Professor, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction
COE Advisor

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