Many of the 400 undergraduate Huskies Kristie Crane advises in the College of Liberal Arts and Science’s sociology department call her their school mom.
On more than one occasion, she’s uttered phrases like, “Is that the best you have to offer?” or “See what happens when you more time into studying.”
This personalized approach, she says, is what works to help her students succeed.
“I hold students accountable for their successes and failures — I let them know when I am proud of them or when they need to work on something more,” Crane said. “I have always advised with a tough-love approach. Some may think it could come off as abrasive, but the students appreciate it and respond well.”
Crane was once an NIU student, and knows what kind of approach can motivate students. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s in sociology from NIU. She first started advising while a graduate student, and was hired in 2009 as undergraduate advisor and the assistant to the chair. She said it’s been an honor to continue her career at her alma mater.
In addition to advising, she does other parental things for her students — planning department socials, starting mentoring programs and creating experiences where students and faculty can connect. She tries to connect with each of the students she advises, talking not just about academics, but also about them personally.
“For the ones who see me regularly, and that is a lot, I get to know them so well that it’s easy to remember to ask how their grandma is doing or did they get that new puppy,” she said. “If I spend 5 extra minutes with a student just to listen to them complain about their boss or their crappy car, then that is what I will do.”