NatSci Office of Academic and Student Affairs promotions bolster student success efforts, leadership diversity
Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science (NatSci) has promoted three staff members in its Academic and Student Affairs Office to acknowledge their outstanding leadership and contributions, and to expand and strengthen the college’s student success efforts.
Heidi Purdy was promoted to assistant dean of academic and student affairs, Janae Lawler was promoted to director of academic advising and strategic initiatives, and Danielle Flores Lopez was promoted to director of academic advising and student success initiatives.
“I am thrilled that we can recognize the exceptional leadership and contributions of Heidi, Danielle, and Janae to undergraduate academic and student affairs in both NatSci and the broader MSU community with these promotions,” said Lynmarie Posey, NatSci associate dean of undergraduate studies. “I am privileged to work with such caring, committed, and creative team members who put students and their success first in everything that they do.”
“I am excited to be taking on this new level of leadership within the college and to build an even stronger leadership team for NatSci’s Office of Academic and Student Affairs,” said Purdy, who has been with the college for 12 years. “Having Janae and Danielle promoted to directors allows them to gain direct access to information on the larger university discussions that help us to be more strategic and bring the needs of NatSci students to the forefront.
“This is an incredible statement of support for student success in NatSci and it also speaks to the work being done in the college to increase women of color in leadership,” Purdy added.
Purdy’s primary role as academic and student affairs office lead is to support students and faculty through the educational process—making sure that they are getting to all the right resources especially in challenging times. She supports faculty members in how they work with students on a variety of issues and keeps up with enrollment data to make sure the college is staying solvent and providing enough classes and seats in labs to accommodate student numbers. She also responsible for keeping the college on track for time to degree and persistence and helping to ensure NatSci graduation rates remain high. In addition, she plays a key role in building and crafting advising guidelines on our campus and in supporting advisors overall throughout these processes.
“Advocating for students and the advisors, staff, and faculty that work closely with students is something that I am very passionate about and having the support of leadership in NatSci to do this during a time of increased uncertainty and change due to the pandemic is a privilege,” Lawler said. “I’m excited to be able to impact student success at a higher level alongside my colleagues.”
Lawler, who joined NatSci in 2008, is the lead for the internal college large-scale admissions and academic programs. She works with other advisors to coordinate things such as orientation and recruitment events and ensures that the college has a coordinated effort in outreach among all NatSci advisors so that students get a strong and equitable experience.
“It is an honor to receive this advancement alongside my colleagues,” said Flores Lopez, who has been with NatSci since 2014. “I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to continuing to serve the college and further student success initiatives.”
In her expanded role, Flores Lopez serves as the lead in NatSci for anything related to student success. This includes overseeing the college’s readmission and reinstatement process, thinking strategically about how the college can be more proactive to make sure that students are successful from the start, and training folks in the college so that they are a better support for a wider array of students. She also represents the college on university committees related to making the student experience better. Other roles include being a member of NatSci’s Strategy Integration Team and Cultural Competency Workshop training team.
“These promotions give us the ability and mobility to be at the table and a part of the conversation where critical decisions are being made for our students on a daily basis,” Purdy said.
Banner image: MSU’s College of Natural Science has promoted three staff members in its Academic and Student Affairs Office to acknowledge their outstanding leadership and contributions, and to expand and strengthen the college’s student success efforts. Heidi Purdy was promoted to assistant dean of academic and student affairs, Janae Lawler was promoted to director of academic advising and strategic initiatives, and Danielle Flores Lopez was promoted to director of academic advising and student success initiatives.