Part of the Team

Collaborations between faculty, Academic Programs enhance CAFNR student experience

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is known on the Mizzou campus for an enhanced student experience. Strong relationships between faculty members and the Academic Programs Office is a key part of this.

Faculty members like Trista Strauch say the APO staff makes it easy to collaborate on advising questions and sharing Study Abroad and Career Services opportunities with students, for example.

Trista is the undergraduate advising chair for Animal Sciences, as well as the coordinator of the minor in Captive Wild Animal Management and an assistant teaching professor.

“They’re just a phenomenal resource,” Trista says about APO. “The environment is so positive and so helpful.”

Trista Strauch, left, can often be found in the Academic Programs Offices suite, chatting with Megan McCauley (middle ) and Laura Friedrich (right).Trista Strauch, left, can often be found in the Academic Programs Offices suite, chatting with Megan McCauley (middle) and Laura Friedrich (right).

Trista says she values having Student Service Coordinators Laura Friedrich and Megan McCauley as sounding boards when she needs to troubleshoot a student advising issue.

“As an adviser, I have always had that number memorized!” she says. “The experience for students would be compromised if we didn’t work together so closely.”

As for letting students know about opportunities related to Career Services and Study Abroad, again Trista says APO makes it easy – and faculty members don’t have to give up much class time, if any, to keep students informed.

“Ways to interact are not very costly, time-wise,” Trista says. For example, she will often put up a slide created by Matt Arri, coordinator of Career Services, or Shanon Dickerson, program director of Study Abroad, about an opportunity for students at the beginning of class. She has also invited Shanon and Matt into her classroom for presentations.

“Just pay attention to what they send,” she says. “The resources are there – and they’re always open to feedback about how to make things easier for us.”

Trista recommends that faculty members – especially new ones – reach out to Laura, Megan, Matt and Shanon to get to know them and see what is available from them as far as student resources.

“But it’s often them reaching out to us,” she says. “Just respond to that invite! Or if you think you have an opportunity to incorporate an international or career piece into a lecture – just let them know.”

Connections between faculty members and APO have another important component to them too, Trista says. If you see a student struggling in any way while in the classroom, let Megan or Laura know – they can follow up with the student to see what resources that student may need.

Megan says the APO team appreciates how Trista cares so deeply for her students.

“She provides excellent advising to Animal Sciences students – the second largest division in CAFNR,” Megan says. “She helps with recruitment of incoming Animal Sciences students and unofficial transcript evaluation to get prospective students on the right track. She coordinates Summer Welcome advising for incoming students. She keeps up on university policies affecting undergraduates. She shares communication with other Animal Sciences advisors.”

Trista says at the end of the day, it’s all about the students.

“We’re trying to educate the whole student – we’re not just getting them a degree,” she says. “It’s about the whole person – developing the leadership, career planning. We couldn’t provide all of that without APO.

“That’s our goal – to have a well-rounded student experience.”