Dr. Abbe Finn, Counseling Director & Associate Professor, Reflects on Career at FGCU
When I left Ole Miss with 155 years of tradition to come to six-year-old FGCU, many of my friends and colleagues were concerned that I was taking a risk with my career. 17 years later, I am amazed at the many opportunities that I have had at FGCU that I would not have had at an older, more traditional and established University.
What are your proudest contributions to FGCU?
I was able to participate in faculty leadership and governance, work on a committee that developed the first doctoral program at the University, and to be innovative with the courses and Counseling Program development.
While serving in the Faculty Senate, I loved taking part in the dialogue that impacted the growth and direction of the University. It was fascinating to see how the academic expertise of various faculty became the lens through which they perceived problems and solutions. I also had the opportunity to take several leadership roles as Associate Dean of the College of Education, and leadership roles within the Counseling Department as Program Leader and Program Director.
I have also represented FGCU in one and two-week deployments with the Red Cross in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Earthquake in Haiti, and the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. I was able bring these experiences home with me to share with students in Counseling and Educational Leadership.
What will you miss most about FGCU after you retire?
My real passion is teaching. At FGCU I have been encouraged to be creative and innovative with my interactive teaching style. For example, when teaching the counseling supervision course, I have conjured an alter ego named “Wanda” who is the worst possible student to supervise. When role playing supervision, I become Wanda, and challenge the budding supervisors to work with her. Last year in the student’s final semester, they brought a cake to class that said, “We’ll miss you Wanda”. I know that the class has been a success when I have more energy at the end of class than when we started.
At FGCU I have had the benefit of many opportunities I would not have had at other universities that function more on tradition than innovation. I had a chance to play an integral part in building programs and taking leadership roles. As I look back on the decision to leave an old established university to come to be a fledgling Eagle, I realize that coming to FGCU was the best career choice of my life.