Lapétra Bowman, Ph.D., is the kind of woman who will tell you she’s nervous to be on a Zoom call, then start talking about her job with such unapologetic passion that you wonder how she could be nervous about anything.
Officially, as Trinity’s director for academic advising, Bowman has turned Trinity’s academic advising model on its head. Unofficially, Bowman is a champion for student success and a great conversation partner. Her door is open for advising questions and Netflix commentary, and she’s not afraid to shake things up to create positive change.
That last quality is exactly why she was recognized as this year’s NACADA Outstanding Advising Administrator.
After Trinity’s Quality Enhancement Plan identified first-year advising as an area needing improvement, Bowman was hired to restructure the model. In the summer of 2020, Trinity officially shifted from a faculty advising model to a total-intake advising model. Professional academic advisers began to onboard and advise first-year students, working with them until their major declaration (at which point the students will be reassigned to faculty advisers in their academic areas of interest).
Not only has Bowman been the cornerstone for the recent overhaul of the first-year advising process, but she also outpaces everyone in passion.
“We hope that the advisers are oftentimes one of the first people a student might trust on campus,” Bowman says. “Academic advising is so many things. It’s not just about picking classes, but it’s also about understanding who the student is academically, who the student is personally, and making the connections between those two spaces. Helping students pivot when they need to, helping students troubleshoot and rise from the ashes when they have had a moment where they just felt really beaten down. We’re there to remind students about how amazing and resilient they are.”