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

Dance advisor Amy Kier to advise business students in recent change

Photo by Michelangelo Pellis
Outside the University Advising Center on the fifth floor of West Penn.

Dance students are now without a full-time academic advisor as of this past Friday, March 8.


Announced in an email to dance students on February 29, long-time advisor Amy Kier has moved to advising Rowland School of Business students.  Kier did not respond to requests for comment. Anthony Grenek currently also oversees business students. 


“I will be moving to a new position at the university at the end of next week; it was a hard decision for me because I loved serving as your academic advisor,” Kier said in the email to dance students. “I really enjoyed working with the Conservatory over the past 10 years, and I will miss helping you all very very much.”


Angelo Gargaro, managing director of the University Advising Center and Student Conduct, said that the interim plan is for the School of Arts and Sciences academic advisors to take on advising for dance students. Currently there are 98 freshmen, 72 sophomores, 91 juniors and 60 seniors enrolled in the dance program. 


“In this very short-term interim period, the game plan is we have two advisors who are over in the center already,” Gargaro said. “Judy Chanyi, who is a senior academic advisor with over 30 years of experience, will be covering half of the students and then Catherine Houghton, who has probably 10-15 years of experience will be taking over the other half of the students.”  


In an email on March 13, Gargaro announced to all dance majors that Kier will assist as an interim academic advisor until April 5, to ensure a smooth transition as he works to hire a replacement.


Gargaro said there is not a preference to hire someone internally or externally but that the position will be filled by whoever is most qualified. Most recent academic advisor hire Nina McGuigan for the School of Communication was working in the university’s Tutoring Center before taking on the new role last month.


“We have two tenured advisors with a combined almost 50 years of experience. At some point, if Amy stayed in the role, she would retire at some point, and the change would be inevitable,” Gargaro said. “This was by Amy’s choice. I’ve always looked up to her, and I’ve worked side by side with her. At the end of the day, to me this is exciting news.”


Garfield Lemonius, dean and artistic director of COPA, said Kier will be “greatly missed.”


“ [Kier] provided tremendous guidance and advisement to so many dancers over the years and was instrumental in ensuring their success,” Lemonius said in an email to The Globe. “While we are sad to lose her, I’m thrilled that she will remain a valued member of the university using her experience and expertise to support other students and our colleagues in the Rowland School of Business.”


Isabel Roitman, junior dance major with a modern concentration, said she is nervous to go into senior year with a new advisor. 


“It was definitely nerve racking and jarring to hear the news, especially going into senior year. I feel like there’s a lot of changes going on [at Point Park] all of the time, and Amy Kier has been a nice constant,” Roitman said. “She’s always been extraordinarily helpful. As dance majors, our schedules are so crazy and ever-changing, especially going into senior year. I was scheduling this morning and wishing I could reach out to Amy.” 


While Roitman said that she is sure the new advisors are going to get the job done, she’s saddened to lose the personal connection that Amy Kier had with her and many students. 


“Making sure that we graduate on time is not really something that can be messed with too much; I switched from ballet to modern going into this year,” Roitman said. “They both had very different requirements and there is a fear in the back of my mind that I’m not on course to graduate. Losing an advisor who knows my course needs so well is going to be an adjustment.” 


Jaden Bowen-Jean, a sophomore dance major with a modern concentration, said that she has fears about her new advisor. Bowen-Jean said that she has tried to reach out to her new advisor to set up a meeting and has not been able to yet. 


“I’m mostly just afraid of how everyone’s schedules are going to be affected,” Bowen-Jean said. “I’m not sure what the interim advisors know about the program. Also, it’s just kind of like losing an ally in a higher power since Amy was very personable with her students.” 


Bowen-Jean said that she had Amy Kier for two classes as well as advising. 


“Amy advocated hard for the dancers, and I don’t know if we’ll have that again,” Bowen-Jean said. “She supported student works and came to shows to show her support.” 


Rae Brown is a sophomore dance major with a modern concentration and a sports arts and

entertainment management minor. Brown is also a senator for the Student Government Association. 


“Amy was very helpful and accommodating to students.” Brown said. “She always tried to make sure students got what they loved in their school life. She always encouraged students to take charge of their own lives and ensure they were doing what they wanted as well as needed.” 


The position is not listed on the website yet. Angelo said the paperwork is being filled out, and it should be posted very very soon. 

“We plan to hire someone who will make Amy and the dance program proud,” Gargaro said. 


Course registration started Monday for priority students like honors students, veterans and athletes and then seniors start this Wednesday.

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