Meet Online Coordinator for Psychology Robin Vansacik
This year, UIS is offering Psychology as an online undergraduate major for the first time. On hand to help the first ten students in the program: online advisor Robin Vansacik (van-sass’-ic), who has worked at UIS as an advisor for on ground psychology students for two years and who this fall begins advising students in the online program as well.
Ten things to know about Robin:
- Robin’s a UIS grad—BA Social Work 1996. She knows the on ground experience at UIS from the ground up and knows what the best resources are and where to find them.
“I’m excited about everything UIS has available for online students.”
- She used to be a social worker with programs related to preventing violence against women and children.
“As a social worker, I spent a lot of time involving the community on behalf of women and children. In higher education, my job still involves working together with a community—this time with a campus community—to serve our students.”
- Working with students makes Robin very happy.
“I truly love—love, love, love—what I do. It’s not often you meet someone who can say every single day that they love what they do, but I really do.”
- “Triple C” summarizes her goals for every encounter she has with her students. She wants them to feel CONNECTED, CONFIDENT and CARED FOR.
- She’s a little nervous—but recognizes the value—of using Skype with online students. In face-to-face meetings with on ground students, she can constantly adjust what she is saying because she can see in students’ faces whether they understand her. Skype will allow her to have the same visual contact with online students—but she hopes (1) that she quickly figures out the technology, and (2) that students will be patient as she does so.
- Robin’s as passionate about where her students will be in ten years as she is about what class they will be in next semester.
“There are so many possibilities for psychology students. My role is being able to listen to them and find out what their long-term plans are, and then help them understand that what they are doing now is going to have a big impact on what they will do in the future. Only then can we begin to really plan out what their college program will be about.”
- She loves to stretch her students’ idea of the classes that psychology majors might take.
“As a psychology major, students will need to look at issues from so many different perspectives, so I try to encourage students to branch out. If they want a class on addictions, how about taking one through Public Health? That will help them see the issue differently.”
- One way Robin measures success is by how students feel after talking to her. Tacked up above her computer are two quotes that she uses to guide her interactions:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” Mother Teresa
- A fun fact: After living in Florida for almost nine years, she’s always ready to go back.
“If you want a personal tour of Universal Studios in Florida, give me a call. I’ll go with you!”
- A glimpse into her personal life: Robin has a hard time saying “no” to her two boys when they ask for something.
“Fishing at 5 a.m.? Okay. Going to Dave and Buster’s to play video games for hours on end? I’m in. I love really being there and being able to say yes. These times go by so fast, so we’ve learned to take full advantage of the time.”
Robin’s hoping her students will also take full advantage of all that she can do to make their experience at UIS profitable and satisfying.