As a Graduate Student Affairs Officer in the Earth and Planetary Science department, Margie Winn has years of experience in advising and has been honing her practice skills through the Advancing Practice program. This month, she reached Blue-Level certification with an amazing Statement of Advising Philosophy.

How long have you been an advisor at Berkeley? How did you start out in advising?

MW: Fourteen years, all in the Earth and Planetary Science department.  I started out as a temporary financia analyst, and moved into the advising position when it was vacated. 

What is your favorite part of advising?

MW: The long-term relationships I build with my students.  Because it’s a small department, and because my students are PhD candidates and are here for at least five years, I get to know them well.  It’s not unusual for me to stay friends with them after they graduate via Facebook and LinkedIn.

You have reached the Blue Level certification-- which session or sessions were most impactful on your advising practice? 

MW: The sessions I’ve attended have all been terrifically useful in my advising practice.  I’ll never forget this quote from Serena Chen’s session on Complex Selves:  “Self-authorship is culturally specific.” However, the session “Locating Self:  Personal Reflection” has had the most impact.  As a result of that session, I spend a lot more energy trying to be very conscious of how I do my advising, the impacts of my advising, and the perspective I’m bringing to my advising. 

You included six statements about your advising in your Statement of Philosophy below, which one is most significant to you?

It’s hard to choose just one because they all work together to provide a complete picture of how I feel about my advising practice.  Perhaps focusing on being welcoming is most significant because it’s really at the core of getting students into my office when they need me.  I try to be really open with them as a model of how they can be open with me.

Do you have advice you'd like to share with the rest of the Berkeley advising community??

MW: You never know which encounters will have a lasting impact.  Treat every encounter as a gift.

 

MARGIE WINN'S STATEMENT OF ADVISING PHILOSOPHY

My advising is welcoming

Students know that advising will be helpful and that they will be treated with respect.  Each student is treated as a unique person with unique issues and challenges.  Barriers to students feeling comfortable accessing advising are actively addressed.  I regularly ask students to evaluate my advising, with an eye toward making sure they feel comfortable coming in, along with any improvements I need to make.

My advising is trustworthy

Students know that they can get clear information and explanations from me.  They can trust that policies will be applied fairly, consistently, and accurately.  Student information is treated confidentially per FERPA.

My advising is future-oriented

Students are encouraged to explore career options, and are supported in finding their place in the larger research and academic communities.  Advising fosters self-reflection, encouraging personal growth.  Students are given advising which is comprehensive and attuned to individual, personal goals.

My advising is professional

I participate in professional development activities to enhance and improve my advising.  I am in contact with resources throughout the university and beyond such as professional organizations and scholarly journals, which support and inform my advising practice.  I am aware of how to access resources which my students may benefit from.

My advising is community-oriented

My students work both independently, but also within the context of the department, the university, and the scientific community.  Advising practice seeks to foster a sense of community and connection to each other.  Connections and professional development are encouraged both with the university and the larger research community.  Students’ awareness of their own unique contributions to their communities is fostered.

My advising is reflective

I strive to be thoughtful in my advising, recognizing that I bring to my advising my own biases and frames of reference.  I was strongly influenced in my advising philosophy and career choice by Dr. Sara Boatman, who was the director of the Campus Activities and Programs Office when I was in undergrad.  She was truly inspirational.  By putting us in positions not just of leadership but of authority, she encouraged our personal development and our sense of self-worth, and helped us live up to our potential.  I strive daily to incorporate the lessons I learned from her.