Robert Gordon

Robert Gordon

Academic Advising Coordinator, Student Academic Affairs

Author: Kristyn Sonnenberg
Photographer: Photo courtesy of Robert Gordon

After a great 8 years working as an advisor and being impressed with the student Academic Peer Advisors (APA’s) who spend their summers orienting incoming students to UM, Robert Gordon jumped at the opportunity to work more closely with them and the orientation programs. Robert has enjoyed his position as Coordinator of First-Year Programming & Orientation as much as his coworkers and the APAs have enjoyed working with him. Robert says that “As educators, [he and the APAs] want to explain to students at orientation the wonderful opportunities that they have at their fingertips and to help them find their passions and their place in the world.”

Tim Dodd, director of the Newnan Advising Center, explains that “superbly trained and reliable APAs are indispensable to the work of the Newnan Center and Rob is indispensable in the hiring, training, and supervision of those students.” Robert describes this role as tremendously rewarding. He is generous with his time and gladly supports the APAs in every way he can. They meet weekly as a group to discuss experiences and further their training. “The peer advisors seem to grow in their advising role under Rob’s supervision and have become an integral part of the advising team,” writes his supervisor Carmella Brown.

The Academic Peer Advisors similarly laud Robert’s work. Their nomination letter accentuates Robert ‘s great communication skills and his availability and guidance, saying that he is able to communicate even overwhelming things with a laid-back style that makes students feel assured and engaged. He goes above and beyond his supervisory role. The students described a time when one of the APAs got into a bike accident and Robert walked the student to University Health Services and then back home to make sure all was well. “On countless occasions, I’ve seen Rob enact his student-first philosophy,” writes Kari Schueller, Assistant Director in the Office of New Student Programs. “From making complex special accommodations for a student or simply helping a lost student find their way, Rob shows each LSA student respect and kindness.”

Robert’s work with students and young people does not end with his job here at UM. He coaches his two sons’ baseball teams and teaches the occasional history course at Wayne State University. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and their sons and channels his love for baseball into his part-time work as a baseball writer.

Robert handles many other tasks in his position here at UM as well, including handling payroll and hiring paperwork, advising current students and orienting new ones, holding co-advising sessions with Career Center Professionals, and assisting with overall planning and coordination within the Office of New Student Programs. He does all this with good judgment, attention to detail, an upbeat presence, and a warm and generous attitude. It is these qualities (along with his great work!) that make him more than worthy of the spotlight.

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