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Christopher Kirchhof, Coordinator of Transfer Student Services, Selected as NACADA Mentor for 2020-2022 Class of Emerging Leaders

PITTSBURGH (June 18, 2020) — NACADA, an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators and students working to enhance the educational development of students, has named Christopher Kirchhof, coordinator of Transfer Student Services at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, as a mentor for its 2020-2022 Class of Emerging Leaders. Only ten mentors are selected internationally, and Kirchhof was selected for his commitment to the program and his involvement and leadership within the organization. 

The Emerging Leaders Program pairs 10 emerging leaders in the field of academic advising with an accomplished mentor who will help them gain skills, experience and knowledge that will help them fulfill leadership roles in the organization, and beyond. The program was created with the goal of encouraging members from diverse groups to become involved in leadership opportunities within the organization.

“Chris’ work with transfer students is instrumental. He works across departmental lines to bring students to campus and makes them welcomed as new students who need the same level of orientation to the Swanson School as our first-year engineering students,” says Mary Besterfield-Sacre, associate dean for academic affairs. “His nationally award-winning transfer engineering student transfer seminar was such a success that we made it required for all our SSOE transfer students.” Besterfield-Sacre is also Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Industrial Engineering and director of the Engineering Education Research Center.

Each year, the Swanson School welcomes an average of 250 transfer students; approximately one-third of Pitt's engineering undergraduates are transfer students.

Kirchhof has held several leadership positions within the organization since joining in 2009: He is currently serving as chair for Region 2, a two-year position that will end in October 2020, and was recently elected as Regional Division representative on the NACADA Council. He was previously chair for the Advising Community Advising Transfer Students, Western Pennsylvania Liaison, and co-chair of the 2017 Regional Conference in Pittsburgh.

“To be able to attain and succeed in leadership roles in an organization like NACADA, institutional support is needed first and foremost. Associate Director and Coordinator of Advising Jill Harvey, Director of Engineering Student Services Cheryl Paul, and Associate Dean Mary Besterfield-Sacre have been supportive of my attending these conferences and other NACADA leadership activities,” said Kirchhof.

As mentor, Kirchhof will provide his experience and expertise to the Emerging Leaders, but he looks forward to what he can learn from the next generation of academic advisors, as well.

“I believe that willingness to share one’s promising practices, network with advisors at other schools, and volunteer to collaborate is key to putting oneself out there and becoming a leader in NACADA. I look forward to working with the new class of mentees and learning more about what the next wave of academic advisors and leaders are working on at their campuses,” said Kirchhof. “This selection is not only a strong validation of my hard work in NACADA, but also validates the work we do in helping the transfer students in the Swanson School of Engineering.”

Author: Maggie Pavlick

Contact: Maggie Pavlick