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Friday, July 12, 2013 - New adviser welcomed to the School and Engineering and Computer Science

By Sarah Blanchette, student communications assistant

Oakland University students studying at the School of Engineering and Computer Science will be introduced to a new face in the advising office.

Jason Pennington said he is dedicated to helping students succeed in both their college careers and their lives.

“I aim to be empathetic to students and their lives and what they go through. We have all been there. I am all about seeing students succeed,” Pennington said. “It is very exciting to me.”

Growing up in Flint, Mich., Pennington said he has always been passionate about higher education. His mother, who he calls the most influential person in his life, worked on college campuses throughout his childhood.

Pennington credits his mother’s career, and his accessibility to college campuses, for the comfort that he feels when working with college students.

Pennington received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan-Flint, and a master’s degree in communication, with an emphasis on media studies, from Wayne State University.

Before coming to OU, Pennington held positions advising students at multiple institutions, including Kettering University, for approximately seven years.

Pennington said he enjoys working with engineering students the most because of the way their minds work and how dedicated they are to their studies.

“I can appreciate people thinking in a completely different fashion. I respect that (engineers) design things that make life better for all of us,” Pennington said.

Similar to Pennington, SECS adviser Carmen Etienne, who has been advising for 18 years, is also drawn toward the minds of the engineering students at OU.

“I love the way the students think. They get really excited about their internships and studies. It really motivates me,” Etienne said.

Etienne said that most advisers’ backgrounds consists of degrees in psychology, communications, higher education, or counseling.

When a new adviser begins working at SECS, they begin training by shadowing the other advisers in their student appointments. Once the department feels that they are ready, the new hire will then lead the appointment with another coworker nearby to correct any errors that they make. The new adviser will only begin leading appointments on a solo basis when they are completely comfortable.

Each adviser takes a different approach to their interactions with students. In the case of Pennington, he plans to use his sense of humor and his extensive background in higher education to best serve the SECS students.

SECS adviser Patrick Bennett said the most important qualities an adviser must have are consistency and flexibility when handling issues that may arise.

“Jason has a great resume and will be a perfect fit as an SECS Adviser,” Bennett said.

In addition to his career as an adviser, Pennington has also taught classes on communication, journalism, and writing at institutions such as Wayne State and the University of New Hampshire. Having experience as a student and professor will also enable him to assist the students.

“I hope Jason will bring fresh ideas to SECS advising,” Etienne said. “His knowledge of engineering students will be very helpful.”

Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science Advising Office is located at 159 Dodge Hall of Engineering. Advising appointments are scheduled daily Monday thru Friday. Call (248) 370-2201 to schedule an appointment. Our fax is (248) 370-2084. Walk-in times are available during the peak registration times, call for hours. To learn more visit

The School of Engineering and Computer Science's new adviser, Jason Pennington, stands at the site of the engineering center.