Leadership Changes in Academic Advising Programs

Photo of Kim DuFourAcademic Advising Programs (AAP) experienced a number of personnel changes in recent months. Most notably, the director role has transitioned. After 10 years in AAP and over 34 years at Chico State, Kim DuFour retired in December 2015.

DuFour began working at Chico State in 1981 as the director of Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE).  Over the years, she also worked as an advisor in the Student Activities Office, and served as development director for the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management and for the College of Natural Sciences.

“I have been fortunate to work with so many amazing students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administrators,” DuFour said.

The advising programs in AAP are stronger today because of several changes DuFour implemented through her leadership.

“Kim was successful in expanding academic advising outreach across campus as well as getting CSU funding to support aspects of the expansion,” said Barbara Fortin, associate vice president for Enrollment Management Services (EMS). “The AAP office is definitely better positioned to deal with the increased number of students we’ve experienced in recent years.”

Photo of Kaitlyn Baumgartner LeeThe search for an interim director during the fall 2015 semester ended with the appointment of Kaitlyn Baumgartner Lee. Baumgartner Lee has worked in the AAP office as a student services professional for 10 years and is thrilled about her new role.

Baumgartner Lee grew up in Chico, the daughter of two educators. She moved to Rohnert Park to attend CSU, Sonoma, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in business in 2006.

Her student services career began at Sonoma where she worked in Student Outreach and Recruitment as a tour guide, summer orientation peer advisor, and served as a student coordinator of the tour program.  

In 2006, Baumgartner Lee applied for and was hired as a student services professional (SSP) public contact coordinator and academic advisor in AAP. Since that time, she has worked her way up through the SSP classifications. In her new role, she plans on building upon the knowledge she has gained from prior AAP directors and her ongoing educational experiences.

“Prior leadership has provided a strong foundation in the context of developmental and intrusive advising,” said Baumgartner Lee. “My hope is to work collaboratively in defining the ongoing mission and future direction of the department in the best interest of our increasingly diverse student population. I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

Baumgartner Lee’s experience also includes working closely with orientation. Even though the orientation program has realigned with Student Life and Leadership in the BMU, she intends to maintain the close working ties that have existed between AAP and orientation. She would also like to assist with building new student service connections and collaborations.

“Our office has a great group of people and it is an exciting time in AAP with a number of new staff and several new initiatives,” said Baumgartner Lee.

Although there has been a shifting of responsibilities due to Baumgartner Lee’s appointment, with new staff and new initiatives, the focus will continue to be on serving students to the best of their ability. This involves developing and formalizing relationships with departments campus wide.

Through Baumgartner Lee’s years of serving on the Educational Policies and Programs Committee (EPPC) and the Academic Senate, she gained valuable understanding of the campus policy making process. She has also gained a number of great mentors from across campus. She values the time they invest in her as well as the feedback they have provided to her over the years and recognizes the importance of that feedback in relation to her personal and professional growth.

“I am excited about the opportunity to assess how AAP can further serve our students,” said Baumgartner Lee. “As well as how this relates to Chico State’s HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) efforts.”

In 2012, Baumgartner Lee completed her master’s in education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction at Chico State. She is currently working on her EdD in educational leadership at the University of California, Davis. Being in school reminds Baumgartner Lee of how complicated it can be for students navigating the educational system. She firmly believes being a student herself keeps her well-connected to the student experience.

Photo of Lee FamilyBaumgartner Lee is married to Darnell Lee who also works on campus in Student Financial Services. The two met on campus when Lee was referred to AAP to discuss returning to school. Baumgartner Lee evidently provided good advice, since Lee is scheduled to graduate from Chico State in spring 2016 with a degree in the social sciences with concentrations in family relations and multicultural and gender studies. The family is heavily invested in their education as Lee will complete his degree ahead of his daughter, Courtnie, who is scheduled to complete her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Texas A&M University-Commerce in fall 2016.

Stop by the AAP office and congratulate Baumgartner Lee on her appointment. She would be happy to discuss a variety of topics with you, ranging from expanding outreach to traditionally underserved populations, further developing faculty advising support, and/or considering ways the campus can build an infrastructure that provides support for every student to succeed. Guaranteed to be a great conversation.