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Undergraduate academic advisement chief will join national leadership team

Jackson State University’s F. Janelle Hannah Jefferson has joined the leadership team of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), which works to enhance the educational development of students.

F. Janelle Hannah Jefferson aims to give HBCUs a national voice to enhance students' success.

F. Janelle Hannah Jefferson aims to give HBCUs a national voice to develop students and enhance their success.

Jefferson is coordinator of advisement and chief academic adviser for JSU’s Undergraduate Studies. She’s also the lead instructor of University Success First-Year Experience. She describes her new national role as the HBCU Interest Group Commission Chair as a positive reflection for JSU because NACADA sets the standard for academic advising in higher education.

Because HBCUs serve a different demographic from many other schools, Jefferson said her new task is important because “we have an opportunity to be an integral part of the leadership of this organization. We will be able to share our HBCU perspectives and the positive strides we’re making with academic advisement.”

Before this recent appointment, Jefferson has been serving as NACADA’s state representative for Mississippi. Her selection to the national post resulted after JSU hosted a successful NACADA Region 4 Conference in downtown Jackson in which she was conference chair. This was the first time an HBCU spearheaded the event.

“Academic advisement is built around the student success perspective. We are some of the first individuals they interact with. We’re here to develop positive relations because when students trust their advisers they usually come back.” She and her colleagues work diligently to help students matriculate successfully throughout their college experience.

According to NACADA, the organization provides a forum for discussion, debate and the exchange of ideas pertaining to academic advising through numerous activities and publications.

“We are a sounding board and provide encouragement to students when there are challenges,” Jefferson said.

She noted that over the years the advising model has changed to allow for more input from students.

“We aim to empower students and help them make the best decisions for themselves. NACADA helps us make sure we’re abreast of all the nuances and new changes related to academic advisement,” she said.