Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

School of Communication and Arts and Sciences advisors hired

Photo by Vince Smykal
Outside the University Advising Center (UAC) on the fifth floor of West Penn.

The School of Communication (SOC) has officially hired a full-time academic advisor. The position has been vacant since the beginning of the fall semester.


Nina McGuigan, who has been working part-time in the tutoring center since 2018, will assume the role starting on Feb. 19.


Currently, the University Advising Center (UAC) has 10 full-time employees and three federal work-study (FWS) students. Right now, there are no current job vacancies, as advisors were hired for these School of Arts and Sciences programs: funeral services, biological sciences, engineering and forensic science.


The position had been vacant since Jan. 12, after the add-drop period. Former Advisor, Stephanie Gallagher, who is an adjunct professor in the English department, stepped down to focus on herself and her family, according to Angelo Gargaro, managing director of the UAC and Student Conduct, said. 


Kristin Steele, an adjunct professor in the Science department, who has been at the university since 2006, will assume the advising role starting on Feb. 19.


The Globe scheduled an interview with McGuigan, which was then canceled with the request that all questions be directed to Gargaro. Steele was also contacted for this story, and questions were redirected as well. 


“[McGuigan] was such a great choice; she has been working with students and trying to get a full-time job at the university for a long time,” Gargaro said. “I think it’s also a compliment in itself that an internal employee was the best choice.”


The former academic advisor of SOC students, Emily Quidetto, stepped down from the position in early August of last year to take on the role of Coordinator of Planning & Assessment. Stepping down also allowed her to teach more communication classes. 


Academic advising was passed on to the Director of the Center for Student Success (CSS), Molly McClelland, who was fired right before winter break, along with her assistant


Lauren Viviani, a sophomore Sports Arts and Entertainment Management major, was a student in the SOC last year. With Quidetto as her advisor, Viviani said it was difficult to schedule in-person meetings, and sympathizes with current SOC students. 


“I remember being very frustrated when the advisor changed every semester,” Viviani said. 


When reaching out to these advisors, she said that they didn’t know everything she needed them to know.


“I feel like people who are advising us should have, one, advised before, or know how to advise,” Viviani said. “I think that it needs to stop changing, with them consolidating.” 


Viviani said that she thinks that consolidating roles is not a good thing because it means less time for each student.


Following the SOC advisor change, the CSS was then rebranded to the UAC. Gargaro has been overseeing SOC students since, in addition to Student Conduct. Other offices in the CSS were relocated to other parts of the university. 


“I am doing amazing; I am truly living out my career dream,” Gargaro said. “I could not be happier.”


Gargaro started at the university as an academic advisor in 2018 and became director of Student Conduct in 2021. He also teaches classes like university life and sports podcasting.


“It’s been a true honor to lead this transitional period,” Gargaro said. “I now can hire people for full-time positions with benefits.”


Gargaro said he works Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. but is always available to students.


Zach Gordon is a sophomore and SAEM major. Although he has never personally met with his advisor, he shared an opinion about the moving positions in the UAC. 


“I think it’s a positive thing to bring more people in to fill positions, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a positive if they’re just moving them around and not bringing in other people to fill their old jobs,” Gordon said. “It’s just going to be more work.” 


Gordon said that he previously had a class with Gargaro where he viewed his schedule.


“He would tell us the things he had to do and it was a lot,” Gordon said.


Hannah Lanham is a senior forensic science major. She says that she has experience with the advising center, as she is in her fourth year at Point Park. She said that at the beginning of the spring semester, her advisor was switched over from Gallagher to Gargaro and it was a seamless transition. 


“I understand that there are a lot of revolving doors opening and closing, people coming in and out,” Lanham said. “I think there are pros and cons to it but it’s beneficial because there are new positions and opportunities coming in.”


At the time of the interview, Lanham was unaware that Steele would take the role of her advisor in February.


“I’ve only had a good experience thus far with the advising department, Angelo Gargaro, he just started this semester,” Lanham said. “He’s a great person for Point Park, he can handle it, he’s done well, they give jobs to people who know they can handle it.” 


Someone was hired as the SOC academic advisor for five days in the fall, but the person left for another job opportunity, according to Gargaro. He did not share the short-term advisor’s name. 


“The School of Comm has had so much inconsistency this past academic year, so I am really glad to get someone in here that will bring some consistency,” Gargaro said. “[McGuigan] has proven her loyalty and work ethic… it was really a no-brainer decision.”


Gargaro said that “a lot is in the works” for the UAC, and he plans to advocate for more FWS positions.


“We want office assistants like Student Life,” Gargaro said. “We want students that specialize in certain parts of the advising process, so academic advisors can do the core of their work.”


Gargaro said the UAC plans to host events on campus in the remainder of the semester and create an open panel where students, staff and faculty can attend to ask questions and bring up concerns.


“We want our meetings to be similar to SGA’s where people can sign up to talk and see what we’re doing,” Gargaro said. “We want our energy and hard work to be contagious to students, get ourselves established more and remind them that we’re here.”


The UAC is located in the old CSS offices on the fifth floor of West Penn and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also email the office at [email protected]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Point Park Globe Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *