Eighth of a nine-part series spotlighting each GCU college as the fall semester begins.
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
The Student Advisory Board, a staple in creating the best possible experiences for Honors students, has been enlarged and restructured to foster more critical thought, deep discussion and collaboration while assisting with organizing events and other special memories.
The board will include President Chloe Campbell, Executive Vice President Camden Marasco and a Vice President for each of the six organized committees that align with the Honors College's foundational themes -- ethics, service, leadership and research:
- Academic scholarship and research
- Faith integration and service
- Program development
- Public relations and marketing
- Strategic alliances
“Our President and Executive Vice President are really responsible for mentoring and coaching the Vice Presidents and helping them gather and organize their ideas prior to pitching to our Honors staff,” Associate Dean Dr. Breanna Naegeli said.
Each committee also will have Naegeli or one of the Honors College program managers as an advisor. Members will discuss questions posed by Honors staff while also sharing their own ideas and suggestions, and the board will share those ideas and feedback with Honors staff in their monthly meetings.
The idea behind the Student Advisory Board is simple.
“We wanted a student group that would really work closely with the Honors administration and represent the really unique Honors College student body, but we also wanted to provide additional leadership and networking opportunities for these students to speak and engage with our professional advisory board,” Naegeli said.
“We want to hear their voice and perspective and make sure we’re addressing the needs of as many of these unique students as possible.”
Program Manager Dennis Williams was tasked with organizing an intensive interview process to help select the board leaders this year. Students also participated in the election of finalists, making the election process a collaboration with Honors staff.
“Getting to connect with each and every one of these students was a blast,” Williams said. “There’s just been so much momentum that’s been building over the last few years with the Student Advisory Board, and this has just been the most phenomenal group we’ve ever had.”
Although the board consists of a balance of upperclassmen and underclassmen, Williams was impressed to see how many of last year’s freshman Academic Excellence & Servant Leadership Scholarship recipients took the initiative and sought out positions on the board.
One of those second-year students is Campbell. She would have been satisfied to be a VP of a committee and said of being named President, "I knew that if the Lord wanted me to have the position that I would. It is just a really neat open door for me.”
This year’s board will face obstacles that its predecessors never could have imagined as the University continues with its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but Campbell is taking the challenge head-on with an optimistic outlook.
“We’re working with how we are going to be able to integrate both those who are off campus and are all online and those who are on campus while being as intentional as possible,” she said. “I think that’s going to be our biggest challenge to face, but I also think with the circumstances we get to be so much more creative than we have been in the past. There’s so much room for creativity, for innovation, and I’m really excited to see how everyone comes up with new ideas. I’m excited to see what everyone brings to the table.”
Honors staff members have been impressed with how prepared their students are to tackle such a unique academic year.
“They are on it," Williams said. "They’ve already been working this summer to get things going, so as we roll into what is obviously going to be a different semester, they’ve just been amazing. They’re really helping us to think this thing through and say, ‘Hey, how can we provide the best experience for our Honors students, given all the challenges?’ I’m extremely proud of them.”
Members of the board, Naegeli said, have been highly active in the Honors College, and she has no doubt they will find ways to make each event special despite the unique circumstances.
“We may not have the 300-person event that we typically do with our Fall Social or with our holiday celebration, but it’s really amazing to see their positivity, how encouraged they are and how willing they are just to say, ‘Challenge accepted,’” Naegeli said. “I know that it’s not going to be exactly how it’s been in years prior, but we want to make this the best experience possible for Honors students.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]
Also in the series:
GCU Today: GCU pledges its allegiance with teachers
GCU Today: CSET programs earn prestigious accreditation