Having been on Western Carolina University’s campus less than two months, new director of advising Travis Bulluck is still getting accustomed to being at a new school with new policies and new faces.
Bulluck’s biggest adjustment to Cullowhee, however, has been getting used to the informal relationships.
“Where I came from it was, ‘Dr. so-and-so,’ or ‘professor so-and-so,’ ” Bulluck said. “Between the faculty and staff (at WCU), everyone is just on a first-name basis. Referring to the provost and chancellor by first name is going to take a little bit of getting used to for me. But it’s really nice that everyone here is so friendly and it has that small, hometown feel to it.”
Bulluck began his new position on Sept. 2, after spending the last 12 years at East Carolina University, where he most recently served as the associate director of advising for ECU’s College of Business. It was his progression through the ranks at East Carolina that helped groom him for the move to WCU.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, Bulluck knew he wanted a career in education, with the intention of becoming a middle school counselor. But while studying for his master’s degree in counselor and adult education at East Carolina, Bullock worked with an academic transition program that helped students who were on a conditional admission to East Carolina, which planted a seed. “That was my first real taste of advising,” Bulluck said.
After graduating from East Carolina, Bulluck landed a counseling position at Tucker Creek Middle School in Havelock in 2003. But after a year on the job, he quickly realized where his passion was. “It was a good position to experience because it also then made me miss advising at the higher ed level,” Bulluck said.
It was at that time that East Carolina started the Academic Advising Collaborative, which was comprised of professional and faculty advisers whose mission is to guide and help students by partnering with academic departments and support services, promoting diverse educational experiences, and fostering professional success and responsible citizenship. “It was a calling and it was drawing me back to (advising),” said Bulluck, who began as an academic adviser for the College of Business.
As he advanced to assistant director and then associate director, Bulluck was on the orientation committee and worked with students in their first-year experience. He worked closely with the registrar’s office, as well as with community colleges and students who were looking to transfer to East Carolina in helping them to make a seamless transition.
Those are all skills Bulluck now utilizes at WCU. In his short time on campus, he said he has been impressed with the advising center’s level of communication. He hasn’t noticed any major areas in need of improvement, but he would like to implement a survey for students to express what they feel the center does well and what they would like to see improved.
Despite being centrally located in the Killian Annex, Bulluck said he wants the advising center to have a bigger presence on campus.
“Advisers aren’t just a resource for attaining a PIN for registration,” he said. “We’re really there for connecting students with services on campus, and working with the career center, and things like that. I just want to make sure we have a presence on campus and that faculty and students come to us if they have questions or concerns.”
Bulluck said he is looking forward to attending his first WCU Homecoming game Saturday when the Catamounts host Samford at 3:30 p.m.