University Studies/Academic Advising
Every college freshman can attest to the difficulties of deciding on a major. Dana Daniel, coordinator of academic advising for the School of University Studies and Academic Information Services at Southeast Missouri State University is there to lend a helping hand. Dana began working as an academic advisor in 2002 and oversees academic advising for undeclared students who are assigned to the University Studies Advising Center (USAC).
Approximately one-fourth of all Southeast beginning freshmen start out undecided about a major. The USAC is the place for students who are interested in exploring majors by matching their skills and abilities to their academic coursework.
According to Dana, “it’s not uncommon for students to be curious about several different majors, and feel uncertainty about making a commitment to one specific program of study. I want these students to be aware there is support system in place to assist them with academic advising and career exploration.”
In addition to advising students, Dana also says she coordinates collaborative advising efforts with Career Linkages and Learning Assistance Programs and Disability Support Services, supervises the USAC staff, participates in recruiting events with the Office of Admissions and advises undeclared students at First STEP Orientations.
“My favorite aspect of my job is working one-on-one with my advisees,” Dana explained. “Every student I meet is unique. They keep my job interesting. I enjoy helping them make decisions about their future. Advising undeclared students requires general knowledge of the entire campus. Therefore, I often get the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff from various departments at Southeast, helping me to keep up with the new changes taking place all the time at the University.”
Dana’s familiarity with the Southeast campus began when she attended the University as an undergraduate. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1999, Dana decided to go to graduate school at Southeast. She finished her program in 2001, graduating with a master’s degree in guidance and counseling, with an emphasis in higher education.
Dana began her career at Southeast in 1998 as a research assistant, and continued to work in various departments while in graduate school. In addition to tour coordinator and graduate assistant, Dana completed a practicum and an internship part of her program fulfillment.
“My work experience while at Southeast has really helped with my advising responsibilities,” Dana said. “After working in so many departments, my transition into my current position seemed almost seamless. Plus, my coursework in higher education has contributed to my ability to successfully serve a diverse group of students.”
Dana’s graduate education not only helped her prepare for her current position, but it also provided Dana the opportunity to visit Europe.
“I had the chance to visit London, England and Paris, France through a course I completed in the College of Business,” Dana said. “I advise all students to take the opportunity to travel oversees or study abroad. The University offers a variety of international travel experiences which allow students to earn credit toward graduation. Many students don’t realize they can participate in international travel with any majorᾰnot all study abroad opportunities are specific to a certain program of study.”
Dana says she would like to travel throughout Europe and visit more of the remote villages and towns in order to get a better understanding of the people and their culture.
“The Europeans really know how to slow down and appreciate life,” Dana said. “I found them to be very warm and welcoming. History is such a strong part of the cultureᾰI’d like to spend more time visiting museums and historical sites. There’s so much to see and do.”
When Dana isn’t advising students on campus or traveling, she says she enjoys taking her dog for long walks, gardening and redecorating her house.
“I’m a Home and Garden television fanatic,” she said. “When I’m not taking on new design projects, I enjoy just spending time with my family and my husband, Jeremy. We are expecting our first baby in May.”
Dana says the best advice she has for future Southeast students is to embrace and welcome every new experience during your college career.
“Students need to get involved with campus activities and appreciate the University Studies coursework because it will help make them well-rounded individuals,” she said. “Your interaction with Southeast faculty, staff and fellow students will also have a large impact on your future, so be sure to make the most out of those relationships.”