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Vittone ensures students perform well

Tracy-Vittone

Academic Advisor Tracy Vittone enjoys musical theater, so when it comes to motivating students, he understands the importance of putting on a show, so to speak.

One example is the monthly email he and his fellow advisors send to remind students about upcoming dates and deadlines. Although he had hoped for a 30 to 40 percent readership rate, Vittone said the emails fell on deaf ears--until he came up with an idea.

His solution? “Tracy's Monthly Comic,” a four-panel strip incorporated into his monthly message. The strip usually consists of an avatar of him reminding students of deadlines in a humorous way. Not only did the readership rate grow to 50 to 70 percent, students have told Vittone how much they look forward to each month's email.

“It's silly, but from a visual perspective they like it,” he said. “That was nice because it shows me how much they're engaged.”

We caught up with Vittone and asked him questions about himself and his work at ECC. Here are his answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I like to think of myself as a compass for students during their time at ECC. Students come and see their academic advisors when they need direction regarding course planning, transfer plans, academic success, and information about other resources on campus.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

I am always grateful to see Dr. Sam in the hallway smiling and taking the time to give everyone a handshake. To me, this simple yet important form of interpersonal communication goes a long way.

Therefore, I would continue Dr. Sam's tradition by going up and down the hallways of ECC and giving every staff member, instructor, and administrator a yogurt parfait from the ECC cafeteria.  (If you haven't tried one, you're missing out!)

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

People often say I remind them of Cameron Tucker from “Modern Family.” So I guess I would say Eric Stonestreet.

What's one fact we should know about you?

I am a huge musical theatre fan. Recently, my husband and I went to New York City where we saw six Broadway shows in six days! Getting the opportunity to see Broadway royalty, like Patti Lupone and Glenn Close, was just fabulous!

What's something about your job that others should know?

Our department works hard to make sure we give students the most up-to-date information regarding transfer or career opportunities.

What would be your “theme song?”

“Material Girl” by Madonna.

What was your favorite class in school?

Choir.

What was your first job out of school?

My first job was at Ball State University as the assistant director of individual events. I loved teaching classes in the Department of Communication Studies and traveling to speech tournaments. I liked it so much I eventually became the director of individual events. Years later, I still keep in contact with many of the students, colleagues and friends I knew during my time at BSU.

What quote best describes your philosophy?

“You better work!” - RuPaul

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

It doesn't feel like work to me. I enjoy helping students, as well as the company of people I work with in the Student Success Center.

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