Georgia College gives alumna tools to energize students

Georgia College gives alumna tools to energize students

D r. Allison Hawkins Crume, ’99, ’00, associate vice president and dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of South Florida, knows the importance of bringing energy into the classroom to reach students. She learned it from Drs. Bob Wilson and Derek Alderman while studying history at Georgia College. 

Dr. Allison Crume, dean of Undergraduate Studies and associate vice president, Student Success at USF
Dr. Allison Crume, dean of Undergraduate Studies and associate vice president, Student Success at USF

“Dr. Alderman had an energy he brought into the classroom, and we were all engaged,” she said. “He could tell a story and make us feel connected immediately. We didn’t even realize we were learning and years later those lessons still resonate.”

Crume especially remembers her independent study in Alderman’s class while pursuing her master’s degree. From courthouse to courthouse, she delved into the research, exploring the geographic locations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards across the south.

“It was my first experience seeing history come alive through the intersections of politics and geography,” she said. “Conducting research was exciting and empowering.”

Alderman made sure his students knew he cared about them by connecting with them about their interests and sharing his own. 

Dean Crume meets with the United States Army and the University of South Florida ROTC leadership. Dean Crume supervises the USF ROTC programs from the nation's armed services.
Dean Crume meets with the United States Army and the University of South Florida ROTC leadership. Dean Crume supervises the USF ROTC programs from the nation's armed services.

“Care and compassion are values I carry forward into my work with students,” Crume said. “Yes, I’m the dean of undergraduate studies, but I am also a mom, volunteer at my church and football fan. When people realize you care, you are able to positively impact each other’s lives beyond the classroom environment.”

In addition to making those connections with students, Alderman demonstrated his passion for education through teaching. He made sure students knew their decisions should rest upon their interests and passions.

“I try to model that, as well,” said Crume. “Serving students and being a higher education professional is more than just a job for me. It is my vocation. I strive to help students achieve their academic goals and become active members of their community.”  

Dr. Crume and her family pictured left to right: Davis (15), Donald, '99, Allison, Dylan (13) and Donovan (12).
Dr. Crume and her family pictured left to right: Davis (15), Donald, '99, Allison, Dylan (13) and Donovan (12).

She learned leadership skills by serving as president of Phi Mu her senior year where she was accountable to over 100 women. Pledging as a first-year student and serving for four years helped build her confidence and interpersonal skills.

“I learned the importance of building a community around a shared purpose. I gained skills in financial and risk management as well as important communication strategies including how to have difficult conversations with administration,” said Crume. “My Phi Mu experience continues to benefit me today.”

Serving in the Student Government Association (SGA) as a senator proved challenging for her, as well. While she was serving in SGA, Georgia College changed its mascot from the Colonials to Bobcats.

“We had to vote on ideas for the new mascot and what the colors were going to be. I feel lucky for the opportunity to be part of those debates and discussions. We wrestled with the weight of the decisions, but it was fun too,” Crume said. “Even now as I engage in strategic planning processes, I ensure students are involved and have voice.”

One of her favorite memories are the ones she made on front campus with friends between classes and meals.

“We would play hacky-sack in front of Bell Hall for hours,” said Crume. “We spent a lot of time at the clock tower and the GIVE Center. I remember campus rec set up a zip line, it was so much fun.”

She also enjoyed her time as a member of the history club with Wilson as the advisor. Collectively, she gained transformative experiences from each student organization she participated in over the years.

“Belonging to student organizations was such a positive experience for me,” Crume said.  “Whether learning how to run a meeting, public speaking or building a workshop, my involvement at Georgia College provided me spaces to grow and learn.” 

“Belonging to student organizations was such a positive experience for me. Whether learning how to run a meeting, public speaking or building a workshop, my involvement at Georgia College provided me spaces to grow and learn.”
– Dr. Allison Crume

Today, she’s accountable for so much more, and communication is a large part of her position. Crume checks in with her team daily. She addresses student issues, academic planning, policies and brainstorms new ways to streamline processes to remove barriers. Crume also connects with students on social media every day to check-in, share congratulatory messages, as well as share resources.

“It is special when I get to meet with students during orientation before they have started classes,” Crume said. “Some students have clear ideas of their path while others are still deciding. I enjoy supporting them in their discovery and staying in touch throughout their academic experience. Helping and supporting students to achieve their potential is rewarding work.”

USF recently consolidated across three campuses of which Crume is dean of undergraduate studies. Entering into her sixth month in this new role, one of her goals is to meet and build relationships with the students, faculty and staff of all of them. She wants to listen and learn while making herself available as a resource. 

Her second goal is to identify opportunities resulting from conversations with her team and the university’s external constituents to continually provide a better experience for the students.

Ultimately, Crume is committed to student success.

“The students inspire me every day. They are so smart,” she said. “These students have the visions and ideas to make the world a better place, and that energy and excitement is something that’s contagious. So that motivates me to bring my ‘A Game’ every day to make sure I bring that energy and I’m prepared to help them with their goals.”