Meet Your Advisor: Alicia Ganion

Meet Your Advisor - #MeetAndGreet

Hi everyone! My name is Alicia Ganion, and I am currently a Student Success Specialist for Ball State Online. I currently advise for graduate certificates in sustainability and gifted and talented education. Additionally, I recruit for several graduate programs within the Teachers College and the master’s in athletic coaching education. While I have only been working at Ball State since 2017, and more recently began my current role in 2021, I am not new to the University!

My Ball State Journey

I graduated with my bachelor’s in telecommunications with an emphasis in emerging media in 2016 and my master’s in adult and community education in 2019. During my time as an undergraduate student, I struggled to find my true passion. Figuring out what you want to do when you’re 18 is really difficult!

Luckily, in my sophomore year, a faculty advisor reached out to me and completely changed my perspective and outlook on my academic future. For the first time, I had someone sit down and ask me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Before then, I tried to please everyone around me and follow what they thought would be best for me. During these times, I realized I wanted to help students just like my professor helped me. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else but advising.

We’re Here for You

My best advice for students who are looking into online education is to reach out and ask questions. Being informed about your program and feeling confident about the support you will receive once you are a student will help you succeed long-term. For those current students, I would say to always reach out if you need help with anything. Your advisor and instructors want to see you succeed, and we will do whatever we can to help you, but we only know what you tell us. So please, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Fun Facts

I enjoy watching the theatre, reading, and writing when I’m not advising students and have some free time to spare.

Want to get to know the rest of the Ball State Online student success specialists and advisors? Then remember to visit our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Meet Your Advisor: Casey Schultz

Hello everyone! My name’s Casey, and I’m excited to tell you a little more about myself today. Educationally, I’m a Cardinal through and through. I came to Ball State’s campus back in 2007 for my bachelor’s degree in psychological science, which I earned in 2011.

I also have a master’s degree in executive development for public service (2015), a graduate certificate in college and university teaching (2018). I’m currently working toward my doctorate of education (EdD) in higher education. Although my bachelor’s was completed on campus, every program I’ve pursued since has been online, or at least primarily online.

Why I Advise

I joined Ball State as a professional staff member in 2012. I became a student success specialist with Ball State Online in 2016 and a lead student success specialist in 2020. I also teach an online capstone course for general studies students.

I don’t think anyone grows up thinking, I’m going to be an academic advisor someday! Although, I may be mistaken. It certainly wasn’t a career choice on my radar growing up. But, my academic advisor, Sarah Haley, was such an integral part of my college experience when I was an undergraduate. She not only helped me schedule my classes, but she also helped me seek out opportunities to build my skillsets both in advising and teaching. We’ve long joked that I earned a “minor in Sarah Haley” due to the number of courses I took from her (Honors College Colloquia, independent studies, a teaching assistant role, and an internship).

That “minor,” however, has served me well! It helped me figure out my passion: making sure students working toward their degrees know they have a dependable resource and information to make the right decisions about their education.

As a student success specialist, the focus is right there in the name. I want my students to be successful, and I want to be a cheerleader, and sometimes a coach, for them on that journey. I’m not here to do it for you; I’m here to make sure you have all the skills and information you need to do it on your own! The biggest thing I want my students to know is that they can come to me for anything. I may not have all the answers, but I can certainly help you find the person who does!

Now the Fun Facts

Outside of my Lead Student Success Specialist role, I’m still a student myself. With a target graduation day of May or July 2025, that will continue to be a big part of my identity. I’m also a fur parent to an adorable, white cat named Betty June and an orange foster cat named Ellen Ripley. I say foster cat, but that’s just a formality. Ripley will be an official part of my household soon enough. I’m known to my niece as Auntie Cat and my nephew as Aunt Queso (cheesy, I know).

Throughout some of the unexpected downtime that came with 2020, I learned to crochet and to cook as well, thanks to a meal kit delivery service. I enjoy way too much (seriously, too much) reality TV, and I’m always in the market for a new podcast to listen to as I do things around the house. I’m ridiculously competitive and have been grateful for Zoom game nights with my family over the last year to pass the time and keep that competitive nature alive and thriving. I have a fabulous support system that empowers me to strive to be a part of a similar support system for all of my students!

Want to get to know the rest of the Ball State Online advisors and student success specialists? Then remember to visit our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Meet Your Advisor: Ted Rankin

My academic journey has definitely taken some turns along the way. Originally graduating with a bachelor’s in biblical studies from Huntington University in 2013, I took a long break to go out and earn some work experience. This eventually led me to Ball State University, where I completed my master’s degree in student affairs administration in higher education in 2019. Since education is life-long, I enrolled in Ball State’s EdD in higher education last fall. With a target finish date around 2025, you can see that I’m in it for the long haul!

How Long I’ve Been With Ball State Online

I have been with Ball State Online as a student success specialist for a little more than a year. In my role, I advise for the entirely online undergraduate programs for those with last names A-K (except for one program). Here’s a list of all the programs I advise for:

  • Associate’s in general arts
  • Associate’s in criminal justice and criminology
  • Bachelor’s in applied behavior analysis (Only last names C-K)
  • Bachelors’ in business administration
  • Bachelor’s in criminal justice and criminology
  • Bachelor’s in early childhood education
  • Bachelor’s in general studies
  • Bachelor’s in logistics and supply chain management
  • Bachelor’s in nursing, RN to BS concentration


Why I Enjoy My Role

My desire to serve students as a student success specialist is to provide consistent support throughout their entire academic journey. Navigating an online education can be difficult, and many nuances can be tricky to work through on your own. To make my students’ experience better, I want to be someone who can be their “go-to person” and answer all their questions (in a perfect world) or can find those answers quickly. Eliminating any sort of barriers lets students know someone is on their side, that they are not just another number, and there’s always a person they can turn to when in doubt.

I stay in this role because I have experienced first-hand the tremendous impact of having someone genuinely in your corner—not just in the classroom, but in all aspects of student life—and it’s my hope to be that person for those I work with daily.

From my perspective, one of the most important things for online students to know is how to make a time management plan, and as a part of that, including time for yourself. Doing course work on top of other life responsibilities is challenging, and it can be draining. It asks you to pour your energy into a ton of different places. We often neglect to take care of ourselves during that process. I know we all have a lot of things to get done, and we only have so much time to do it, but if you are not well in your personal life, that will seep into all other areas of your life. There will be times when you’re trying to balance school and life that won’t necessarily feel like a party. But, just know that there is no need to feel shame in taking an evening to recoup and relax so you can come back stronger tomorrow.

A Few Fun Facts

Anyone who knows me personally long enough will quickly pick up that I’m fairly “nerdy.” My wife and I regularly play D&D with friends. I’m a big fan of collectible/trading card games. I currently own four different game systems, and Iron Man and Spider-Man are my favorite superheroes.

Beyond my personal hobbies, I am a husband, father of two young, strong-willed, independent children, and a dog dad to a pit bull rescue named Cisco (who we think might really be a cat on the inside). My favorite foods are breakfast and barbeque (the entire categories), and Sunshine Café in Muncie, Indiana is one of my favorite places to eat.

Want to get to know the rest of the Ball State Online advisors and student success specialists? Then remember to visit our blog, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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