Associate Dean of Advising, Transfer and Career Development Services Peggy Gundrum, remembers the challenges of being a college student and recent graduate. Her passion for serving students at Elgin Community College is fueled by her own experience.
“After college I struggled to find a job that I was passionate about,” Gundrum says. “I tried a number of jobs, but none of them satisfied the requirements I expected in a career. I turned my lack of focus into a mission to find direction for myself. It took some time, but I have a career that I have a passion for—that is stimulating and rewarding—where I can help others avoid or overcome some of the challenges that I faced along the way.”
Through leadership and collaboration, Gundrum oversees a team of dedicated professionals who provide innovative services that assist, inform and empower students in making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. These decisions include identifying a future career, choosing a degree to pursue and selecting a school to transfer to.
We caught up with Gundrum to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
Most definitely, it was leading and managing the restructuring of academic advising services back in 2014. In less than four months, 12 new academic advisors were hired and trained, and the implementation of a caseload model of advising was established.
What’s something about your job that others should know?
All students are assigned an academic advisor on the tenth day of the semester. If you work with students in the classroom or elsewhere on campus, please encourage your students to meet with their academic advisor. Self-advising often causes a student to enroll in the wrong classes resulting in tuition charges that could be avoided and added time to complete their degree.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
Institute a year-round 4-day work week option; 10 work hours a day, of course.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
Hands down, Diane Keaton.
What’s on your “bucket list?”
I’d like to take a spiritual journey on the Way of St. James to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The route is about 500 miles long from France to the cathedral, and I am guessing it would take approximately one month to complete. Some people believe completing the pilgrimage guarantees you a place in heaven.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e. hobbies/interests)?
My favorite hobbies are reading and working jigsaw puzzles at our lake house. But, I would happily give up everything to spend time with my granddaughter Amelia who turned one this year.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to? Or, where would you like to visit?
I would really like to tour Ireland—on foot, bike and car. While there, I would like to experience a traditional Irish musical pub crawl.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“Life is not a dress rehearsal.” — Rose Tremain. It’s a great reminder to live for today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
If you work in a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.