The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham University staff voices: Carrie Pierson

Director of Undergraduate Advising shares her favorite parts of academic advising
Carrie Pierson
Carrie Pierson, director of undergraduate advising

Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising Carrie Pierson has only been working at Chatham University since January 2022, but she has had a very encouraging and versatile career. Connecting with students through scheduling, stress management and finding student’s unique interests, Pierson shows a strong commitment and love toward working with the Chatham community. 

With the Chatham reorganization, the academic advising department has been holding strong. Following Dr. Lisa Lambert’s transition into vice president of academic affairs, Pierson stepped into Dr. Lambert’s prior role as director of undergraduate advising. 

“What she had done was really lay the groundwork for me to be able to step into the role that I’m in now. And so, honestly, compared to some other departments that might have seen more change, my day-to-day really has not changed,” Pierson said.

As students filter in during the start of a semester, there is typically a lot of confusion and learning to find what works for each individual student. Registering for classes, assessing majors and minors, transferring credits and many more adjustments can be the bane of a student’s existence. A large portion of these concerns are handled by academic advising. 

“The primary goal of advising is to make sure that students are set up really solidly from the start, because that’s going to be a big predictor of success, both for us as a university that wants to keep students here, but also for students. You’re going to be happier, you’re going to feel more engaged, you’re going to get more connected if your schedule supports your life,” Pierson said.

While it may not appear so, there is behind-the-scenes work that dictates a student’s arrival to Chatham. Pierson emphasizes that between looking at transcripts and reading college essays, there is a particular fit for each student and their needs, which partially involves encouraging a student’s life outside of academics.

“We don’t want students to hate their schedules and make it a struggle for their life, you know, obviously, we want school to be everyone’s primary focus. But the fact is like, you’re still humans with lives with commitments.”

Another aspect of connecting with students is finding the more niche interests that can potentially be explored within specifically oriented courses for less common callings. 

“I love hearing people talk about their special interests. And that’s kind of what these really, you know, kind of nuanced and specific classes are,” she said. 

With these specific courses also comes the people — fellow classmates, professors and advisors who shared common interests and passions rooted in coursework. Pierson spoke on behalf of seeing students find a chosen family at Chatham University. 

“Just seeing students around campus and seeing how they’re thriving or seeing who they’re hanging out with, you know, seeing people who I know are from completely different parts of the country, completely different backgrounds, just finding each other and becoming really good friends. I love that.” 

Looking into the future, Pierson additionally stressed that academic advising is in a very flexible position right now. 

“I always want students to be honest with me and tell me what they like and what they hate and what they would want to change,” Pierson said. “If there’s things we can be doing differently, a different approach that we can be taking or different standards, I want to know to see how we can start to implement those kinds of changes.”

Those who would like to voice feedback to Academic Advising can do so at the [email protected] email.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Naccarato
Sarah Naccarato, Digital Editor
Sarah Naccarato ‘27 is a communications major with a concentration in journalism. A Pittsburgh suburb native, Sarah accidentally discovered Chatham on a school trip and has since been finding more people with similar and equally weird interests. Sarah enjoys writing a little bit about everything. Outside of the Communiqué, she enjoys nature, reading, driving with music and the windows down, making weird art and watching a little too many movies. For inquiries, Sarah can be best reach via email @[email protected] or on Instagram @sarah.n.17.

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