The walls in Jeff Harrold’s office are covered with graduation announcements and thank-you cards from students he’s worked with over the years. As an academic standards adviser in LSA, he works with a variety of students their whole college careers, and often builds lasting relationships.
“Every student that comes here comes here with the intention of being successful. Sometimes they just get off track, and what we help to do is get them back on track. Getting a student to graduate, and having the motivation when they leave to pursue a successful career, that’s why I do this,” Harrold says.
Harrold says the job suits him because he wants to help students reach their potential. He also empathizes with the challenges may be going through. “We think that everybody is just breezing along and everyone isn’t,” he says.
Harrold spends his days helping students in some capacity. That help can involve talking to an instructor about a problem with the student, or the student with the instructor, counseling a prospective student on admission, checking degree credits for someone ready to graduate, or helping students who need to withdraw for a time. “I’d say we’re quite efficient. If it lands in a week, it’s out that week. We give students quick turnarounds.”
Harrold also was a student at U-M, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and met his wife, Monica. After graduation, he continued on to divinity school at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Harrold served as the director of minority student development at Trinity College-Deerfield, Ill., while pursuing his degree.
“I felt a calling into pastoral ministry, helping people incorporate their faith into their daily life,” he says. In 1991 in Ann Arbor, Harrold started the New Beginnings Community Church, and began getting more involved with the community as a pastor, a job in which he continues to serve.
Today, Harrold also chairs the Family Learning Institute, which focuses on supplemental education in math and reading for grade school children, and is a member of the steering committee for the Inter-faith Council for Peace and Justice. He’s also director of the African Heritage Network of the Free Methodist Church-USA, volunteers at a county jail where he leads Bible study classes, and works in his community with struggling students and children.
“I like seeing folks succeed over difficulties, whether educational or in life,” he says, “especially those who have the least amount of resources to do it. We deal with each student as a student that deserves my full attention.”
At home, Harrold’s attention is devoted to his wife Monica and five children, “three of birth and two adopted by love. They keep me grounded.” His youngest child is autistic. “This has brought a deeper understanding of the challenges folks and families face.”
One of his most satisfying experiences on the job happened in December. That’s when a student who took 12 years to graduate finally earned her degree. “She was a single parent who basically had to work to support a family. She was persistent and I was able to keep working with her. Now she has a management job. Having the college degree helped her advance her career,” Harrold says.
The weekly Spotlight features faculty and staff members at the university. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at email@example.com.
Jeff Harrold, academic standards adviser, LSA, on his professional and personal work: “I like seeing folks succeed over difficulties, whether educational or in life.”
Music in the Arb concert with chamber ensemble Arborata, 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 22, Nichols Arboretum amphitheater.