Advising Contributions

Keeping Up To Date Regarding Practices and Procedures Necessary for Academic Advising

I attended every SPACE program meeting at W&M (and every EDPS program meeting at EMU when I taught there) to better understand the programs and to be as informed as possible, as part of fulfilling my responsibilities as an advisor for my students. I often ask my EDPS and SPACE colleagues questions related to advising students. Several professors, including my mentor at EMU, helped me learn how, when, and why I advise students. In 2007, I attended a EDPS Program Advisory Board Meeting (Meeting Minutes). This meeting was attended by EDPS faculty and professionals from K-12 education in the surrounding South East Michigan area. After the EDPS Master’s Program and Educational Assessment Certificate were discussed, an intensive discussion about the "Needs of Beginning Teachers" ensued with the goal of improving EMU as a institution to better prepare teachers for the "real world." The discussion provided me with information on how to guide and advise my students to be better prepared educators.

I was a secondary school teacher, and at EMU I was in charge of, and took an active role in advising, undergraduate students who were in secondary education programs. I advised many students on their sequence of taking courses, teacher certificate testing, program completion timeliness, and other personal issues related their academic performance. The formal advising records from this period can be made available from EMU’s Department Secretary.

While I advised students, I kept current on the practices and procedures necessary for the advising. For example, Dr. Nelson was known to be one of the most knowledgeable faculty members in the Department of Teacher Education at EMU. I met with her several times and also observed her while she was advising students. I also asked for and received support from Dr. Bednar, to in an effort to further improve my ability to advise my students at EMU. I asked many questions during my meetings with her, and she was extremely helpful in improving my instructional effectiveness which made me a better advisor to my students.

Assisting Students with Their Individual Difficulties
Since I became an assistant professor, I realized that there are vast differences in individual student abilities to understand materials and in their efforts to accomplish their coursework. Some students exhibit deep knowledge and abilities, while others seem to lack even the fundamentals. Also, many students do not give the impression that they will have enough time to master the material being covered. This was a challenge to me when I taught EDPS 621, because some students did not have a basic mathematical background. Thus, I attempted to address this by matching more qualitatively oriented students with more quantitatively oriented students in class, so that they could complement each other’s weaknesses.

There were also some students who missed several classes because of their professional responsibilities. As a result, students visited my home several times during the semester for individualized assistance, which helped them learn. For EDPS 677, there was a student who could not complete her final research proposal during class. Ultimately, I worked with her for almost a year, and she completed the course with an “A.” For EDPS 340, there were several students who could not produce graphs using Microsoft Excel, tables using Microsoft Word, or who were unable to submit their CAPs and SLAs using Live Text. I invited each of these students to my office individually and taught him or her these basic background skills.

At W&M, for EDUCF 9, there was a student whose father passed away at the beginning of the semester, which forced him to miss classes. I supported him by sending a sympathy card and visiting his internship site to help with his final project. I taught another student who experienced difficulty in catching up with the content, who lived too far from the campus and my home. Although it wasn’t the ideal perfect teaching scenario, I helped him over the phone regularly with his final project.

At W&M, for EDUCF 65, several students visit my home for help every semester, either because they have time-constraining jobs or for their own convenience because they live in Newport News, Hampton, Yorktown, Poquoson, or other areas close to my home. There was a student who had a full-time job and a one-year-old baby, whose husband worked at nights. She could not find a time to visit either my office or my home. Therefore, I visited her home in the evening to assist with her final research proposal. My students' comments include:
Dr. Kim makes herself very available to all students, even being willing to meet with you outside of class at her home, your home, or some other place that is convenient for you if necessary which I really appreciated. She also is very understanding when it comes to unforeseen circumstances (W&M Research Methods class course evaluation, Spring ‘09).”

Working Beyond Regular Classroom Responsibilities to Help Students

The relationship between a teacher and a student is different in Asian countries. In Asia, this relationship tends to be life-long. I have tried to cultivate similar relationships here in the U.S., both between my students and me and between my professors and me. I treat my students as my extended family. In addition, I provide special care with economically disadvantaged students who seem to be able to relate to me because of my background. Since I became an assistant professor, I have developed this relationship with many students. Prior to each new semester, I e-mailIntroduce Yourself to Dr. Kim’s Class" form (Sample Form) to my students and encourage them to write about themselves and attach a photo. I warn my students that I will post their introductions (Sample Class Introduction) on the Blackboard course web pages so that all my students can also get to know one another. While at EMU, I asked my students to write an introduction letter to me, and I took a picture of each student and attached it to his or her letter. In addition, to understand and remember each student better during every semester, I make quick notes regarding students’ comments, attitude, and behavior (both positive and negative) on the sign-in sheet for each class. This is something that helps me with writing comprehensive recommendation letters later.

I have worked with, and continue to work with, a variety of students to support their intellectual and professional development. I supervised an independent study for a student (Mr. Hull), worked as a thesis committee member (for Ms. Tsao) as well as a dissertation committee member for three students (for Ms. Mihyeon Kim, Ms. Gayle Roege, & Mr. Anthony Washington) at W&M, and was a thesis committee chair (for Ms. Cheng & for Mr. Hull). I have presented and will present research papers at the AERA, APA, and NAGC conferences with my students at EMU and at W&M. I worked with a student (Mr. Hull) on the Faculty-student partnerships in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) investigations of the SOTL Program at EMU and helped two students (Ms. Goff & Mr. Hull) with their research studies and helped them present at the Graduate Research Fair. I have advised on the method section of many of my students’ thesis without being a member of their thesis committees. I have also advised students (e.g., Ms. Cheng, Ms. Cooley, Ms. Zhao, Mr. Hull, etc. at EMU, & Ms. Holmes, Ms. Copeland, Ms. Khara, etc. at W&M) on their selection of a Ph.D. program.

I have advised not only my current and former students, but I have also advised many international students on their choices and progress in their program of study as well as on the revision of their thesis, on selecting a Master’s, an Ed. D., or a Ph.D. program. I have also advised and assisted students in the effort to present their thesis or dissertation at a conference or to publish them in journals. These experiences have been positive and appeared to result in a significant advancement for these students.

I also work closely with both undergraduate and graduate students by advising on program development, course of studies, and selecting a final project or a thesis advisor. I believe that because Educational Psychology is a foundation for any students’ program, it is essential that I recognize the skills, education, and experiences that students bring to the program, so that their full potential can be realized. I believe that one of the greatest challenges of graduate education is to balance a sense of rapport with, and respect for students. I feel that I have found this balance and am pleased to report that students routinely offer me informal feedback about how comfortable they felt with me, how respected they felt by me, and how challenged they were by my classes. Examples of such informal feedback can be found in the following hyperlinks (Cards & Letters).

Once a student finishes my class, they become a part of my family. I invite them to my home for meals (e.g., Ms. Wenson, Ms. Josh, Ms. Cheng, Mr. Levigne, Ms. Bauer, Ms. Fowler, Ms. Land, Mr. Lieberman, Ms. Rusell, Mr. Ward, Ms. Osman, Ms. Tsao, Mr. Scott, Mr. Hull, etc.). They often invite me and my family to many of their special occasions, such as a wedding (Ms. Bauer), birthday parties for themselves or their children (e.g., Mr. Graham, Ms. Fowler), and dinner parties (e.g., Ms. Osman, Ms. Cheng, etc.). Most of my current or previous students have my home and cell phone numbers, and students may visit my home or office whenever they need me. I conduct research with some of my former students (Ms. Cheng, Mr. Hull, Ms. Cooley, etc.). I advised one of my former non-international students (Mr. Cousins) on a career opportunity teaching English in Korea.

I am not only close to my former students, but I am also close to many international students at W&M, and at EMU where I used to teach. Every year, I hosted a Thanksgiving party and a Christmas party with many of the international students in my home at EMU. We shared our experiences, including our difficulties and needs as a language minority at EMU. We built family-like bonds, brought together during these holidays as people whose families and friends were far away from the United States.

Additionally, I hosted the EDPS graduate students and faculty meeting in my home. We shared information related to the revised EDPS graduate program course sequences and exchanged personal experiences in a more informal and friendly environment than meetings on the EMU campus.

At W&M, as a faculty adviser for the Korean American Students Association (KASA), I meet regularly with about seventy KASA students and advise them in various aspects of their academic and personal lives. At EMU, as a member of EMU Korean Students and Faculty Association, I met regularly with about fifty Korean students and five other faculty members. I believe these types of experiences help students’ with their emotional and psychological well being and their academic success.

I am also a faculty adviser for the 11 freshman undergraduate students. According to the W&M Faculty Advisor Expectations, I am to create an environment of mutual trust and respect for my advisees; to be accessible and responsive to my advisees; to understand and effectively communicate academic requirements, graduation requirements, and W&M policies and procedures; to encourage, support, and listen to my advisees as they define and develop realistic goals, enhance their decision making skills, and develop and assume responsibility for their educational plan; to help my advisees learn about and use campus resources to meet their goals; to encourage and provide information on out-of classroom learning opportunities, such as research opportunities, internships, study abroad, and service learning; to maintain confidentiality.

Other evidence of effectiveness in advising includes anecdotal examples received from students after each semester. To have students almost uniformly validate my teaching methods is a tremendous compliment and a great source of joy for me, though I know there is always room for improvement. My student evaluations do confirm I am able to establish mutual respect and a strong rapport with my students. In addition, my students report they greatly appreciate my 24/7 availability policy, which was also reported on in an article in the EMU student news (Article). In recognition of my dedication to being an accessible and helpful advisor, I was selected as an Exemplary Faculty Mentor in both 2007 and 2008 at EMU.

Additionally, Figure 1 (above in the Teaching Effectiveness section) confirms that I am especially strong in "(8) Available and receptive for consultation outside class," because my students have rated me far above the average of the SOE in this criterion on their formal course evaluation form. On this criterion, almost every student rated me at the highest level and one student commented:
This course was a challenge but Dr. Kim was very helpful. There was a great deal of work associated with the course for all of us, but Dr. Kim was always available to answer any questions day or night (W&M Research Methods class course evaluation, Summer ’09).”

I expect my students to work hard. They will learn early in the semester that I am willing to work hard, too. All of this is born of respect for my students. We all work hard, because their successes are worth the extra effort. My personal success is dependent on what my students achieve, and also on their critical evaluations of how I performed in educating them. I accept their feedback, and I apply it in future semesters, adjusting my teaching methods to try to be more effective as an educator. Regardless of how those teaching methods may change from one semester to the next, I know I will always work hard to bring my students successes, and when W&M students achieve successes, we all benefit.