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Five Questions: Jessie Martin

Jessie Martin in a garden on campus
Jessie Martin [Photo: Will Kirk]

Jessie Martin,assistant dean for academic advising, came to the position in 2018 after three years as director of academic advising at Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School. Before Hopkins, she served as an advisor in the community college system, where she still teaches courses in human development across the life span.

What is the primary mission of academic advising?

We start working with students before they arrive on campus and throughout their first year. We talk about course registration, academic interests, major and minor choices, adjustment to college life, and cocurricular experiences. When students have problems in the classroom, we do proactive outreach. We ensure students are meeting benchmarks and progressing appropriately.

What else falls under your umbrella?

We offer a suite of academic supports. We have both group and individual tutoring. PILOT, a peer-led learning group, uses group peer learning to practice concepts. During the pandemic, we started self-directed study groups where we matchmake for students who want to study in groups. The Study Consulting Program pairs upperclassmen with lowerclassmen to improve learning strategies. Arrive and Thrive courses are a one-credit, first-year seminar for building academic skills and accessing resources. 

How does your support evolve throughout a student’s career?

When students declare a major they are transitioned to a faculty advisor, but we’re still there. If they’re not performing well, we provide an academic coaching service. If they have questions outside their discipline, like about policy or academic strategy, sometimes they continue meeting with us.

How do you collaborate with other offices?

We refer students to resources like the Life Design Lab, Student Outreach and Support, contacts in their academic departments, and the Office of Undergraduate Research based on their interests and goals.

What’s your newest project?

When a student’s family members didn’t go to college or a student is facing financial challenges, we connect them to a success coach advisor who works with them all four years. The goal is t go beyond academics; the advisor steps in as the person with experience to guide them through all the unfamiliar steps to maximize opportunities, like summer internships.