Once per semester, Carla Stewart is treated to her work’s greatest reward: graduation. As the academic advisor for the School of Professional Studies, Stewart’s days are filled with the planning and realizing of goals; in many cases, graduation is the culmination of a long-term partnership.
Stewart acknowledges that her role is unique. Unlike many faculty advisors, whose student contact focuses mainly on course selection, Stewart is a professional dedicated to personally engaging and monitoring students; guiding them through their academic journey. “It’s developmental,” Stewart describes, “We go over all aspects of a student’s life to make sure [everything] is on point.”
“I feel invested in your journey. I want to make sure you are making the appropriate choices that will help you toward your end goal.”
When initially meeting with students, Stewart seeks to create an environment that will nurture a sense of comfort and trust. She characterizes her role as that of a confidante: “[Students] always know that they can ask me [anything] – whether the question is big or small – they can reach out to me.” It is this high-touch approach that Stewart credits for the high retention rate within the Bachelor of Professional Studies program. “We ensure that life does not get them to a point where it causes them to stop,” Stewart says, “We help them successfully get through the program.”
Stewart is aware of the unique challenges facing adults learners, and emphasizes the importance of making informed decisions. Whether a student is looking to transfer technical college credit or is facing financial hardship, Stewart aims to provide an ideal set of resources and information: “I feel invested in your journey. I want to make sure you are making the appropriate choices that will help you toward your end goal.” Carla Stewart enjoys getting to know SPS students, and is eager to help them achieve their goals.
Even after the most rewarding day of the semester – graduation – Carla wants students to know that she will always be available to offer support.