For the second straight season, the Syracuse University football team has qualified for a bowl game, the first time the Orange have secured back-to-back postseason appearances since the 2012 and 2013 seasons. After closing out the regular season with a…
Shawn Loner’s Goal: Helping Students Succeed
Shawn Loner sees his role as helping graduate students navigate their journey at Syracuse University—from transitioning to University life to considering post-University careers and everything in between.
Loner, assistant director of professional and career development in the Graduate School, has worked in the position on a part-time basis, but was recently promoted to a full-time role that includes an expansion of his responsibilities.
His expanded role allows him more time to provide services for students, with a particular focus on teaching assistants (TAs), especially in areas of programming, workshops, classroom observations and consultations. He also manages the TA Orientation and TA Program and has primary responsibility for the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency Services and English conversation partner programs. As a member of the career services team, Loner also supports master’s degree students in preparing job application materials and reviews resumes and cover letters.
“Navigating being a graduate student and a teaching assistant, and all the various hats that go along with those roles, can be quite daunting at times,” Loner says. “The Graduate School staff and I are here to make any transitions students are going through smoother and to provide support in all the roles they might be playing.”
“We see ourselves as supporting graduate students from ‘cradle to grave.’ From the time when they come in fresh as new graduate students we give them welcome and support. We provide that support throughout their graduate student career in terms of programming, professional development and the Future Professoriate Program.”
Loner facilitates several professional development initiatives, including the TA orientation program for new teaching assistants and related programming to help graduate students grow as instructors and scholars. Another major area of focus for Loner is to provide career counseling for graduate students nearing degree completion.
“If there is a higher-quality, more comprehensive TA orientation program than what we have at Syracuse University, you’ll have to show it to me,” says Glenn Wright, executive director of professional and career development in the Graduate School. “Shawn has been the driving force behind that for many years, and it’s great to be able to bring him on board full time so that other programs and services can benefit from his oversight in the same way. His expanded role will provide additional capacity for our career counseling as well as more flexibility in scheduling those services.”
Loner says he enjoys his work in part because he relates to the students. “Having been a graduate student, I know how exciting and how difficult it can be to be in that position, and in particular to be a teaching assistant. There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations, both on the outside and internally. I like who I’m serving here and I want the students to succeed.”