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The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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A Conversation with…Ashley Clifford Johnson

Ashley Clifford Johnson joined Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management this past fall as an advisor for management students. Her previous experience in student affairs at other universities brings a new outlook to Weatherhead Undergraduate Student Services with the start of new academic and extracurricular programming for CWRU students. The Observer had the opportunity to sit down with Johnson to discuss her new role at CWRU, as well as her unique perspective in her new role. 

Sam Lehnecker (SL): What was your role at Oberlin College before you came to CWRU, and how does it apply to what you are currently doing in Weatherhead’s Undergraduate Student Services office?

Ashley Clifford Johnson (AJ): At Oberlin, I was a resident director and coordinator of theme housing. I worked in residential education doing programming, advising, crisis response, and supervising resident assistants. In my role now, I also do programming and work one-on-one with students to help them register for classes and help them take advantage of opportunities on campus and in the community. The jobs are really similar in that my job is to connect with students and to help make their college experience really great. In both jobs, I try to increase student engagement and connection to the campus through academics, extracurriculars, and programming. Also, they are both really fun!

SL: How is a role in advising different from your previous role in housing?

AJ: Well, I do not get woken up in the middle of the night by fire alarms anymore and do not necessarily serve in a judicial role, but my role now connects me more with academics and faculty. At Oberlin, I focused more on the learning that went on outside of the classroom.

SL: What does your role at Weatherhead involve, and what are you most excited about as you move forward?

AJ: I do academic advising, student outreach, programming, social media, and web development. I am most excited about getting to know students on a one-on-one basis as an academic adviser. Academic advisers have a great opportunity to support undergraduates as they are making really big decisions about their futures. It is really rewarding to see that growth and development over four years. Because I am brand-new, I am primarily advising brand-new students and will be able to get to know them very well over the next four years.

SL: What kind of new programming has recently begun and what can students look forward to?

AJ: The biggest, most exciting program that we started this semester is Undergraduate Happy Hour, which I like to call an hour of awesome. It happens every Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in our new student center and is a chance for Weatherhead undergraduates to spend an hour relaxing, having fun, and taking a break from classes. At all the Happy Hours, members of the advising staff are there to answer any quick questions that students may have. The program is open to any undergraduate student and the focus is to have fun.

In addition, we have started to have more programs that help students take advantage of different opportunities on campus, like study abroad and educational services for students. Two of these programs have been “Study Abroad for Weatherhead Majors” and “Public Speaking for the Socially Awkward.” Next semester, we are hoping to have more programs to engage undergraduate students, such as a crash course in Microsoft Excel and a trip to an Indians game.

SL: You have met with a lot of different individuals across the CWRU campus. What is your goal in meeting with so many different people across the different departments?

AJ: I have met with the director of the LGBT center, the associate director for the first-year experience, and staff from Educational Services for Students, among other people, to network with others that provide resources for students. Our job is to make sure that every student is successful, and it is easier to make students successful when we work together. Meeting so many people different across campus allows me to be better at my job and to better understand the student experience.

SL: What is your favorite thing about the Weatherhead School of Management thus far?

AJ: The staff, faculty, and students have been so welcoming and supportive. They have made my transition to CWRU really easy. It can be really hard starting at a new job and every person that I have met has made it easy for me to do my job and feel valued. I look forward to continuing to work with everyone moving forward.

You can stay connected with Weatherhead Undergraduate Studies on Twitter or in their office on the second floor of the Peter B. Lewis Building.

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