As assistant director of learning support, Gail Barksdale is on a mission to help students, faculty and staff succeed by providing a wealth of resources and services.
"I lead the Learning Support New Student Orientation sessions, advise and register students, train advisors and stay informed of University System of Georgia Learning Support policies," Barksdale says. "I love problem solving and challenging students to think critically about their situations and the results of those actions. I assist students in establishing their academic goals while helping them recognize their own unique qualities. Also, one of the most interesting aspects of my field is the opportunity to work with diverse student populations."
For Barksdale, service is a key activity for her position, and it shows in her devotion to attending a variety of professional development conferences and workshops to help her stay on the cutting edge of support strategies. She feels that bringing this information back to her campus and implementing it is a critical source of inspiration.
"Students need to know that I truly care for them and I am available to listen to them whenever they need me — even if it means coming to campus early or staying late," she says. "Collaborating with other departments at UNG to identify barriers that may impede students' progress and then brainstorming solutions are always highlights for me, as well as celebrating with students when they reach their academic goals."
Barksdale has also presented at the National Academic Advising Association conference, where she talked about "Connecting the Dots between Academic Advisement and Satisfactory Academic Progress."