January 10, 2023

Jacob Van den Akker Named Director of Academic Advising for Statewide Campuses


Utah State University has named Jacob Van den Akker as director of Academic Advising for Statewide Campuses. Van den Akker joins USU Statewide after having served as the associate director of Student Orientation & Transition Services.

In this new role, Van den Akker will work with Mykel Beorchia, executive director of University and Exploratory Advising, acting as a liaison between academic advising and campus partners and ensuring advisors have the resources they need to support student growth and success.

“As a land-grant university, USU is tasked to provide education in accessible ways,” Van den Akker said. “The Statewide system is specifically designed to do that. I am excited to join the Statewide leadership team that is dedicated to providing access and the supports for students to gain the knowledge and credentials they are looking for.”

Assistant vice president for Statewide Campuses, Andrea Olding recognizes that, “Jacob has a proven track record of success in all that he’s been involved in at USU. He has a great ability to be technology and data-oriented while also building a network of collaborative partnerships – strengths Statewide and the USU advising community will benefit from.”

Van den Akker joined USU in 2015 as a program coordinator for Student Orientation and Transition Services. In this position, Van den Akker worked to coordinate content for over 30 academic and student services units to build a cohesive orientation program. He was promoted to assistant director in 2019 and then associate director in 2021.

As associate director, Van den Akker worked to provide a centralized orientation vision for 31 campuses by organizing projects with stakeholders such as deans, faculty, administrators, students, and community partners. He also worked to improve processes and procedures across the department, working to identify trends in data to inform policy and establish system wide assessments to increase student yield, orientation and retention. For his efforts, Van den Akker was nominated and was named the university’s October 2022 Employee of the Month, being cited for his willingness to go the extra mile.

“I feel Jacob exemplifies the qualities that make USU a great place to work and grow professionally, and is deserving of the award,” Lisa Simmons, senior director of New Student Enrollment said in the nomination letter. “Jake is always on the lookout for ways to improve our processes and procedures, and examine why we do things the way that we do them. Our office prides itself on a culture of creativity and innovation, and supporting each other in taking (reasonable) risks. Jake is a big part of this office culture, and maintains a high level of productivity and quality of work while also maintaining a fresh view of what we should do moving forward.”

Van den Akker is a graduate of USU, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing in 2015. He would later graduate with a Master of Education degree in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences in 2019, also from USU. Having worked with students since joining Student Orientation and Transition Services, and in his time as a student himself, Van den Akker has seen how advising plays a role in student achievement. He is excited to get started in this new position.

“I have seen the significance that advising has on the positive trajectory of a student achieving their goals through my experience in orientation, enrollment management, and providing support throughout a student’s academic life cycle,” Van den Akker said. “To be involved with the people and efforts that support student success statewide is an exciting and encouraging endeavor I look forward to.”

Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications

Andrea Olding
Assistant Vice President
USU Statewide Campuses
(435) 797-5122

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