Q & A with UM-Flint Elementary Education Academic Advisor

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Joel Maidens, the UM-Flint Education Department's new elementary education academic advisor.
Joel Maidens, the UM-Flint Education Department's new elementary education academic advisor.

Joel Maidens, elementary education academic advisor with the School of Education and Human Services, is eager to help future teachers reach their goals at UM-Flint.

Joel has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from Central College in Iowa, a master’s degree in Chinese Studies from Valparaiso University, and a master of arts in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan. Joel has experience in K-12 education, having worked both at the elementary and middle school levels in public and private schools, and in higher education as a research analyst for the School of Education at U-M.

Describe your main duties as an elementary education advisor.

As the elementary education advisor, my goal is to assist and guide students in their journey through the elementary education program here at UM-Flint. I consider my advisor role as a hub that not only provides students with necessary information, guidance, and resources in the education department, but also reaches outward to connect students with additional opportunities and resources that are integral to attaining their educational goals.

What can students expect from you when they meet with you?

When students meet with me, they can expect to either gain or reinforce their knowledge of how they are progressing through the program. I want students to feel empowered to take ownership of their education. That ownership comes from a better understanding of what is expected of them in the program and in their preparation of learning the teaching practice.  Advising meetings are intended to be a dialogue in order to determine how best to meet program expectations and the role myself and other faculty and staff can play in helping you prepare for future semesters.

Do you have a preference in how you would like students to set up an appointment with you?

When you need to set up an appointment with me, you can either email or call me. This way I can effectively prepare and be well-informed. I look forward to doing some walk-in advising in the future so stay-tuned for announcements about those times. I encourage students to contact me whenever they have questions about anything regarding their program.

What tips do you have for students to move successfully through the UM-Flint education program?

The first tip I would give is to take ownership of your program; be inquisitive, be aware of the expectations, and be as proactive as you feel is appropriate for you and your life. My second tip would be to interact with your classmates and peers in the program; they can help challenge (in a good way!) and support you.

Throughout SEHS there is a clear emphasis on creating spaces to foster your growth as a professional educator. So my third tip would be to take advantage of the resources available throughout SEHS, such as the Center for Educator Preparation. In addition to preparing for success on the PRE and MTTC tests, there are many opportunities to engage in discussion about issues and events that are at the heart of education in today’s society.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that has inspired you?

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” –Rumi

“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.” –Vaclav Havel


Joel can be reached at 810-762-3299 or by email (jmaidens@umflint.edu).

Christy is communications coordinator for the School of Education and Human Services. Contact her with comments, questions, and story ideas.