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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Student being advised.
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The SAM Center

Mission & Vision

Mission

The SAM Center promotes 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.
Vision

We aspire to provide advising leadership at all levels (institutional, regional, and national) and to embody advising excellence regarding student learning, academic success, retention, and graduation.

Values

We are dedicated to upholding academic advising 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

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
  • 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 academic success, and facilitate student persistence to graduation
  • 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

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
Picture of Ann Theodori

Executive Director of Student Advising and Mentoring

Dr. John Jordan
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Director of Advising Projects

Megan St. Vigne
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Director of Advising

Mandy Carrell
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SAM Center Specialist

College of Business Administration (COBA) Team

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

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

Tracy Pratt
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Assistant Academic 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

The Woodlands Center

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

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