The pressures of student life can be overwhelming at times and having the right person to talk with can make a difference. Joanne Islip is a Senior Student Advisor at the Trafalgar Campus Student Advisement office and an expert in this area. She has been providing guidance, information and support through her conversations with Sheridan students since 2005.
Drawing from her years of experience as a developmental advisor or a generalist, she assists students who come to her with academic, career, financial, medical and personal concerns. She has learned that each of these issues can affect aspects of a student’s wellbeing. “Students often come to the office with an issue that is multi-faceted,” she explains. “Really truly listening and letting a student take a moment to reflect on their life is part of figuring out what it is and why it’s there.”
“Really truly listening and letting a student take a moment to reflect on their life is part of figuring out what it is and why it’s there” – Joanne Islip
Addressing a challenge is always done in a supportive manner and with the intention to empower. Students are able to reach out for advisement by phone, email or in person. “There is a lot of information available to students but sometimes they need someone to help them connect the dots”, explains Islip. Advising students on a matter means that she will help establish an individualized action plan. That plan may involve providing clarification on school policies and procedures, reviewing program information and options or booking an appointment with another college specialist or counsellor.
In addition to her work with students, Islip – under the guidance of the Associate Dean of Student Success Joe Henry – helps coordinate a team of 12 student advisors. She leads bi-weekly meetings where they share cases and learn from one another’s experiences. Working with a strong team of leaders in a supportive environment is what she credits as keeping her at Sheridan for more than a decade.
“There’s a possibility of making a difference in a person’s life that day” – Joanne Islip
Being a pillar of support and guidance during a difficult time in a student’s journey is a big responsibility for advisors like Islip, but one that she has found to be highly rewarding. On many occasions students remark about ‘a weight being lifted’ after leaving her office. “I never underestimate the impact that one conversation can have on someone,” she says. “There is the possibility of making a difference in a person’s life that day.”
Pictured at top of page: Joanne Islip, Senior Student Advisor at Sheridan. Photo by Sheridan Photography Technologist Owen Colborne.
Written by: Keiko Kataoka, Digital Communications Officer at Sheridan.