Comm Department Appoints New Chief Undergraduate Advisor

Allison Butler, Ph.D.

Comm Lecturer Allison Butler, Ph.D. has a new role added to her list of responsibilities this semester. Butler is the new Chief Undergraduate Adviser (CUA) for the Department of Communication. Butler will work as part of the team of advisors who include Aaron Hoholik and Saulo DePaulo, and alongside their 2017-2018 team of student peer advisors. Butler says she’s excited for the new challenges and to work more closely with the students, faculty, and staff.

“I'm drawn to advising because I love listening to, and engaging with students. We have the best students in Comm!”

Butler has been teaching in Comm since 2011 and working as an advisor since 2014. As the new CUA she envisions great development and growth in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) and believes Comm could be a leader of that change. Butler also wants to strengthen and deepen the relationship across SBS and with other departments within the college.

“I want to be a collaborative problem solver, working with students, in order to construct a rich and engaging journey through their UMass and Comm experience.”

Each student is assigned their own advisor. And while Comm is one of the bigger majors at UMass, Butler wants the department to feel small and personal for each student.

“When students are emailing us, or in our offices for individual appointments, they are our top priority,” said Butler. “College is a tricky place to navigate and, in part because of its size, UMass can be challenging to maneuver. I see advising as a way to connect with students and support them through the process.”

And the greatest reward says Butler, is to see students succeed and overcome challenges with grace and alacrity, and to see students celebrate their ‘fabulous’ accomplishments, and solve problems with care and compassion. Of course, all of that leads to the ultimate goal, which is graduation day, when faculty and staff get to meet parents, siblings, and grandparents, and everyone can celebrate their hard work together.

“Graduating college is no easy task - seeing that celebration, those smiles, and all those photographs warms my heart!”

Many students may believe that advisors are only there for students in jeopardy, but in fact Butler says their role is to make the college process as smooth as possible for all students.

So, if a student has a question, concern, or struggle, or even wants to celebrate their accomplishments, they should not hesitate to schedule an appointment with an advisor. The university recently rolled out a new software program for appointments called Student Success Collaborative. Butler asks students to be aware that there could be hiccups since it’s a new system.

“It's brand new, which means there will probably be some glitches; please be patient as we maneuver the new system. Please keep us posted on any struggles or tips you have so we can make it as smooth as possible for everyone.”

Butler says she’s aiming to be in her office as often as possible to work directly with students.

“If I'm not in my office during regular business hours, it probably means I'm teaching. And if I'm not teaching or advising, I hope it means I'm hiking or rock climbing or hanging out with my doggo or something exciting and thrilling!”

Make an appointment with a Comm advisor here.


(Photo credit: Matthew Medeiros)