Wayne State University

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Wayne State B.S.W. advisor named “emerging leader” by global advising association

April 13, 2016


Shantalea Johns, an academic services officer II with the Wayne State School of Social Work, is one of only 10 from an international pool of applicants to be selected for membership in the 2016-18 class of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)’s Emerging Leaders program.

Representing more than 10,000 professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students around the world, NACADA launched its Emerging Leaders program in 2007 to encourage members from diverse and underrepresented groups to pursue leadership opportunities and positions within the organization. Each year, NACADA selects 10 Emerging Leaders and 10 Mentors, pairing them together for a two-year experience in which the mentors help the young leaders develop and pursue a plan for continued involvement and growth in the association.

Johns is the first advisor from Wayne State to be named an Emerging Leader in the program’s history. In her application to the program, she described growing up in one of Detroit’s most depressed communities and knowing there was more to life than what she was experiencing.  Being the first in her family to graduate from high school and college, Johns desires as a leader within NACADA to empathize with and inspire women of color who wish to pursue higher education and those who seek to pursue scholarship in the field of academic advising. In requesting mentoring through the Emerging Leaders program, Johns said her goals within the association are to share best practices in advising as a writer for NACADA’s publications, to present at national conferences, and to serve on NACADA committees.

A licensed social worker, Johns earned her B.S.W. and M.S.W. at Wayne State and is completing a graduate certificate in College and University Teaching through the Wayne State College of Education. She advises and oversees support services for nearly 300 B.S.W. students (enrolled on main campus, at the university’s Macomb and Schoolcraft extension centers, and in the school’s online program), contributes to admissions decisions, and makes recommendations for curriculum development and policy refinement. She developed the School of Social Work’s Student Success Review Program to boost retention among at-risk students and started the Omicron Omicron Chapter of the Phi Alpha National Honor Society at Wayne State. She has also coordinated social work career workshops, served as the school’s liaison to other university departments, and coordinated student learning communities.

Julie Alter-Kay, director of the School of Social Work’s Office of Admissions and Student Services, praised Johns for her “willingness to continually explore ways to assist students in meeting their academic goals. Shantalea fully embraces student centeredness as her number one job responsibility and has time and again demonstrated leadership in tackling complex and critical student advising matters through innovative and creative approaches.”

Anita Carter, an academic advisor IV with Wayne State’s University Advising Center, served as a Mentor for the 2013-15 Emerging Leaders class, having twice served on the NACADA Board of Directors, taught at the NACADA Summer Institute, and served on the Steering Committee of its Technology in Advising Commission. Carter said the Emerging Leaders program benefits young advisors by connecting them with experienced professionals who have a more global perspective on issues of mutual interest. It also promotes diversity, which as defined by the association includes ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disabilities, and sexual orientation, as well as institutional type, size, and employment position.

“Each of these diversity types is crucial to an organization that represents advisors across differing institutional and international boundaries,” Carter said. “Our focus is on both the organization and diversity issues on campuses. It is NACADA’s goal to leave no one without representation within the association’s leadership and to grow leaders with a more robust view of diversity.”

Johns, who in addition to her advising work will join the School of Social Work’s adjunct faculty in Fall 2016, said she is humbled to be part of the small, prestigious group of Emerging Leaders and proud to represent Wayne State.

“It was an incredible moment to see my name and affiliation on the list of Emerging Leaders, because I realized how my selection to the program will raise the global visibility of Detroit and of Wayne State. For that, I am truly thankful to have been selected for the 2016-18 class,” Johns said.

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