Tschetter helps undecided majors take first academic steps

Tschetter helps undecided majors take first academic steps
What I Did This Summer series

Nebraska's Ann Tschetter shares a laugh with fellow marshals during commencement exercises on Aug. 11 in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Nebraska's Ann Tschetter shares a laugh with fellow marshals during commencement exercises Aug. 11 in Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Ann Tschetter has a unique view of the student experience at Nebraska.

An assistant professor of practice and student adviser in the Department of History, Tschetter is among the first friendly faces that help guide Huskers through new student enrollment. She also serves as a marshal during Nebraska commencement exercises.

“I get to see our students on two of their best days at the university,” Tschetter said. “The day you advise them is happy because they exit ready for classes. The day they graduate is a happy because they are ready for a career.

“I think that makes my job the best in the world.”

What I Did This Summer graphic

Tschetter enjoys the work so much, she agreed five years ago to help Explore Center colleagues with their work advising first-year Huskers who come to campus uncertain about an area of study. It was a decision she’s never regretted.

“Honestly, I love working with the undeclared students,” Tschetter said. “They represent a unique challenge and are among students most at risk of dropping out. But, in a lot of ways, they are some of our most interesting kids. It’s great just getting to know them.”

This summer, Tschetter worked 23 of 24 new student enrollment sessions. And, alongside her normal slate of history majors, she helped advise more than 200 Huskers who are unsettled on a major prepare for the start of the fall semester.

Through each of the one-on-one sessions, Tschetter tries to make a connection with each student — delving into likes and dislikes to identify potential areas of study. When that academic spark fails to definitively fire, advisers can alert colleagues that additional assistance selecting a major may be needed.

The advising sessions sometimes also stray into simple questions about the university.

“Many of them are worried or nervous, and we often have to explain things like how a college schedule works or how to find buildings,” Tschetter said. “We try to take time and answer all their questions to make them feel a little bit better about the transition to college.

“And, as I’m one of the first faculty they connect with, I always tell them they can come talk to me at any time.”

As most of the students do (eventually) select a major and move on to departmental advisers, Tschetter’s time with them is limited primarily to the single interaction. However, on rare occasions, a student will approach with a story about finding a major and offer thanks for the advising assist.

“Those moments make me feel like I’m on the right path, that I picked the right career,” Tschetter said. “Then, when I see those kids at graduation, there is no better feeling.”