Monday, July 01, 2013
Take 5 with Sara Webb
By Katie Land, news editor
Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News at OU website presents a special interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.
Take 5 with Sara Webb
Sara Webb is the director of the First Year Advising Center at Oakland University. The innovative center serves as the central advising office for all first-year students and undecided or re-deciding students. In addition, the center provides orientation and first-year programs to help students connect to university resources at OU. Sara has been at Oakland since 2002, when she came on board as coordinator for student leadership development in the Center for Student Activities. Since that time, she has served as coordinator of new student programs and as assistant director of orientation and new student programs, before taking on her current role. Sara earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and master’s from Eastern Illinois University. Sara currently lives in Lake Orion with her family.
1) The First Year Advising Center was launched in fall 2012. How has the center evolved over its first year in operation?
When I took on the First Year Advising Center about a year ago, we only had a few staff members and the empty space to begin. Now, we have a full staff that is trained, creative, and dedicated to our students. We have taken the charge to advise all incoming freshman students, and have had the flexibility to define our office and our policies and programs. We are taking an intrusive and holistic approach to advising and are making changes to our orientation programs and how we communicate with students. It is exciting to build close partnerships with the academic and campus resources available and connect our students to those departments and the community.
2) Why is it important to target students early in their academic career?
First year students are in a critical point of transition and benefit from having a place on campus that helps them learn how to navigate the college experience, while empowering them along the way. By frontloading our services, we ensure new students understand the expectations OU has of them, and the resources available to them. As the cost of education goes up, we feel a great responsibility to help provide the support and information to help our students succeed.
3) What is your family like?
My husband Dan and I have been married for seven years and we have a daughter Marin, who is four and a half, and son Beckett, who is almost three. They’re crazy and wonderful kids, and family is super important to us. We’re big outdoor people, so you can usually find us in the yard, or at a park or beach. We take walks, go out for ice cream and make weekly trips to the library.
4) Do you have any special hobbies?
I’m a runner, and have run a few marathons and half marathons. I like to get up at 5:20 in the morning so I can run before anyone else wakes up. This year, I’m registered for the 10K race at the Brooksie Way and Warrior Dash -- a 5K obstacle race -- with my husband.
5) The university is in the midst of a lot of change. How do you think it will grow in the next five or ten years?
I think that Oakland is becoming a more student-centered campus all the time. As I look at all of our new construction projects, students are at the forefront of how the campus will look and feel. It is also fun to see our enrollment grow and to watch us become a larger university, where you still know your neighbor. If you’d asked me this ten years ago, I never would have imagined that we’d be where we are now. I’m excited to see how OU continues to grow!