Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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College Student Personnel program
Alumni Spotlight: Hal DeLaRosby
Hal DeLaRosby, WIU CSP alum of 2003, is currently the Director of Academic Advising at Pacific Lutheran University. In his position, Hal works with undecided students and students who have been admitted with lower test scores than normal admission standards. Hal enjoys teaching a Career and Educational Planning course to undergraduate students because it helps students explore potential majors and career paths. As a part of his personal philosophy, and the mission of the University, Hal enjoys teaching students that “[College] is learning how to learn.” Learning is something Hal has learned to love over the years, even winning an award for his love for learning. Earlier this year Hal was awarded the Love of Learning award form Phi Kappa Pi honor society. The award helps fund post-baccalaureate studies and/or career development for active Phi Kappa Phi members.
While in his position at Pacific Lutheran University, Hal has been working on his Ph.D. in Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University. He says it has immersed him back into the theory of higher education and student development. During his program, Hal has focused on student persistence, specifically as it relates to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. Research for this population is limited as most research projects categorize AAPI students within the broad label of Asian American students. This does not place AAPI students in their own identity grouping and thus limits the amount of research on this specific population. Through the research, students have shared with Hal about how their sense of belonging contributes to their persistence. Hal says, “It’s more than simply academic success, it’s also about feeling a sense of belonging.” Hal says the biggest challenge that students face on his campus is a discovering a sense of belonging, not matter the population. The students who do not persist, or “walkaways”, are not leaving college because of finances or grades, but because they do not feel connected to their campus.
Hal still uses what he learned from the WIU CSP program in his daily practice. He remembers working with students in the Student Development & Orientation office (Recently renamed the, Student Development Office) and one specific lesson from staff member Tracy Scott. Concerned about students who were not “loving” college, Hal says Tracy helped him understand that for some students there were external factors affecting their ability to focus on college and that not everyone has the same experiences while in college. Meeting with students in SDO helped broaden Hal’s understanding of the different socioeconomic factors that impacted the student experience that were different from his own. Hal also continues to think about the lessons learned inside the classroom from faculty and his cohort. Talking about the differences of students was extremely impactful for him. He said it was important for him to understand that “my experience was not the experience.” Favorite memories for Hal include the time his group incorporated pantomiming into the final presentation with classmates in the Group Dynamics course and being mentored by faculty member and current Associate Vice President for Student Services, Earl Bracey.
When asked what advice he has for current and prospective students, Hal says, “You have your assistantship and academics, but get involved! Meet new people, get new experiences outside of your office.” It is clear that Hal did just that during his time at WIU. He also suggests that students in the employment search process should consider who their first supervisor will be to help them transition to a full time professional.
On Friday afternoons, Hal can be found teaching 180 first year students in a combined section of that Career and Educational Planning seminar course we spoke of earlier. He says that the combined seminar meeting wouldn’t have happened without his most valuable resource in his a current position – a good supervisor. Hal says having a good supervisor means different things for different people. For him however, having a supervisor being open to his ideas has been important in his successes.