Welcome to Arkansas State University!

July 2023

The PROPS program includes a monthly profile of an A-State staff member that works every day behind the scenes to improve Arkansas State University… because EVERY Red Wolf Counts!

Staff members are selected from a pool of candidates that is created from the PROPS nomination form.

Justin Gibson

Justin Gibson.jpg

Justin Gibson was nominated by Lavonda Evans for P.R.O.P.S. recognition. Lavonda said Justin “demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the university community. Often assisting with recruitment events and new student orientations, he takes it upon himself to provide exceptional support and service to returning students as well as incoming freshmen and transfer students. He discerns quickly their academic needs and moves efficiently to provide recommendations and direction. Starting as a part-time academic advisor for the Criminology, Sociology, &Geography department, he was promoted in July 2021 to a full-time academic advisor, increasing his duties to cover not only CSG students but World Languages, English & Philosophy, [and History] as well. Justin assists students on the Jonesboro campus as well as the degree centers and helps identify when a companion or hybrid section is needed to accommodate students. Justin is an excellent staff member who guides students through the bumpy road of academia, pushing them to succeed.”

P.R.O.P.S. subcommittee members Kelsey DeFord, LaVonda Evans, Stephanie Lintz, and Karen Nelson, spoke with Justin recently to learn more about him and his experience at A-State. 

My favorite vacation spot is…

I went to the United Kingdom in 2016, and I really enjoyed being there. I stayed there for about two months. And I saw Gloucester Cathedral. I would definitely go there again; the architecture is beautiful. Of course, the culture is slightly different than in America. So, it’s a little bit of a learning experience too.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

I would like to go to, probably Germany. Just to see Berlin and various locations there. Just to go somewhere that is different than England or America. Where there is a different cultural or language barrier. That could be intimidating, but I also think it would be enjoyable. Just to immerse yourself in something so separate from what you’ve been used to your own life. 

Most recent Binge Show

It was probably “The Great” on Hulu. I don’t know if anyone here has seen it, but it’s really good. It’s about Catherine the Great and it’s a satirical comedy series.

Describe yourself in one sentence.

I would say I’m generally laid back, but maybe a little neurotic.

What do most people not know about you?

I spend a lot of money on food, I mean like a lot of money. And I don’t think most people would expect that. I eat out a lot; I order take out food a lot. I snack a lot and it costs a lot of money.

What is it you like most about A-State?

I enjoy the sense of community here; I remember somebody years ago described it as being a medium sized college, but it has a small college feel. There’s a lot of personal interaction with students and I think that is true, and becoming increasingly true. It seems like every year or semester, students get more hands-on interaction with faculty and the staff. They’re always looking for new ways to help students succeed. I do like that about this institution. So, it’s one of the reasons I enjoy working here. I feel like there are people in administrative positions and faculty positions, and staff positions that actually care about the students.  

Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

This quote that I actually have on the sign behind [my desk] says: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. I think that it’s important just in general and in life. You never know what other people are going through. What they’re experiencing, why they might be acting a certain way on any given day. Especially with students who are going through a lot, and dealing with very many difficulties (not just related to class), but also personal life. The journey of trying to figure out what you want to do, or having so much to do, or trying to work. It’s good to be more understanding of them and just people in general.

What do you think makes a good staff member?

As far as staff members at this university are concerned, I think this applies to many places. It would probably be somebody who is good at working with other people and being team oriented. It’s pretty necessary. Team Player is number one. 

The best advice I’ve ever received was….

That’s a tough question too, like the quote question. (laughs) So many advices to think about. I guess it’s not necessarily advice, but something that I would think of. It’s indirect advice from a book I read one time, about the importance of forgiveness. Not necessarily being permissive of the things that people do to you or accepting of what they’ve done to you. Just letting go of things that make you upset. I feel like being able to do that in life, and encouraging other people to do that, is one of the most important things that I’ve ever learned. And, so I try to apply that in life. Be forgiving of others who do bad things to you; that would be something I’d take with me.

What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your role on campus?

The main thing that I want people to know about being an advisor is that: as an advisor, you want to be able to help the students with everything that they want. But, you don’t always have the ability or the authority to do that. There are times where students may think that you don’t want to do something, because you’re saying that it can’t be done. Usually it’s not the case, I just know that for some reason there’s a barrier to doing it. And I do try to explain as much as possible to students. I think it’s true for most advisors: you really want to see the student succeed, and you know this is their journey. You want them to get everything out of it that they want. But, it’s not always possible to give them everything.