ACTP Thursdays – Meet the Member: Michael Giannetto
Our members are our greatest asset at ACTP and we love to highlighting the work that they do and the resources they are proud of on a weekly basis. On ACTP Thursdays, we put the spotlight on a member of the week, a resource of the week, or a best practice of the week. We’re a community of learning. We work best when we share our passions and practices.
Today, we bring you the work of Michael Giannetto — an ACTP Member who has previously presented at ACTP’s annual conference! Michael is the Peak Performance Bridge Program Coordinator in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Northern Arizona University (NAU). Here’s Michael!
ACTP: What drove you to the field of academic support and coaching?
Michael: I’ve always tutored. I was a sophomore when I started tutoring. I was a private chem tutor, then I became a writing tutor, and then a math tutor. I was always doing that throughout my undergraduate. When I was in graduate school, I was a Teaching Assistant (TA). Part of that job was academic support. My field was statistics and part of the discipline is consulting, which is similar to tutoring. You really have to understand the person you’re dealing with to help them with their goals. In general, I’ve just been drawn to interactions. I’m looking for on-going opportunities to learn things and be a better service to others, especially in teaching and in challenging subjects – statistics, skiing, fantasy football, etc.
ACTP: What do you love the most about your job?
Michael: It would be seeing the development and growth of student employees. I see my role as someone who trains them to be professionals through this job. From the interview process onward, I love seeing them grow through giving them more responsibility.
ACTP: What’s a big challenge that you are facing at your center?
Michael: Outreach. We have a summer bridge program that is only for incoming students – someone whose first semester at NAU is the Fall Semester. This population is first-time freshmen and transfer students. How are these students going to know about this program in May to participate in a program over the summer, especially since they are not in the throws of NAU?
On the other side of this is the staffing. The interviews transpire now in November for a job that starts in May because of our training course. These are all systemic problems that kind of go with the territory.
ACTP: What’s one piece of advice you would give to your colleagues?
Michael: Be patient. The ideal is not real. You might be fixated on creating a program or whatever and may not feel quite ready. Then you don’t do it. You’re actually missing the information you gain from implementing change. Even if your ideal is “half-baked” or not quite where it needs to be, actually going through it gives you information to make change subsequently. You’ll plan better because you have information about the change – the next iteration will be better because you’ll have better information.
ACTP: What’s a fun fact (not related to coaching/tutoring) that we should know about you?
Michael: I’m a certified alpine ski instructor. There is a ski area that is 30 minutes away from campus, so I do that on the weekends and holidays.
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