Facilitators of UMSN: Ryan Shell

At the University of Michigan School of Nursing we believe that success is a collective endeavor. While we celebrate the unique talent and drive that propels our students and faculty to achieve as scholars, we also recognize there is a skilled network of staff who support them along the way.

"Facilitators of UMSN" is a series that will spotlight some of the 118 staff members at UMSN who use their expertise to help members of the UMSN community who are working toward their goals as scholars, educators and nurses. We hope you learn more about these talented and dedicated people through this series.

UMSN Facilitator: Ryan Shell

Academic Advisor

Hometown: Ypsilanti Township, Mich. 

Joined UMSN in August 2016

What’s the end product of your job?
Students who are on track to graduate in the timeframe they aimed to. I work with all of the non-Ph.D. graduate students to answer any questions they have about scheduling, and I act as a go-between for the faculty and students. I make sure students are registering for the right courses, issue overrides, and work with program plans for students.

An override is essentially permission to register, and in order to register for any nursing courses at U-M students need that permission. A program plan is the student’s schedule of what they take when, so they stay on track to graduate.


What are the most common bumps in the road for students that you end up working through with them?
Most often it’s babies or marriage. Life events are our biggest bump. There is a leave of absence policy that allows a student to step out of their program for two consecutive Fall and Winter semesters, and then come back to the program where they left off. Sometimes a student fails a course or has to move courses around in their program plan because they didn’t complete a pre-requisite.

Who do you work with most, at UMSN and across the campus?
Internally I work with the program leads. Those are the faculty members in charge of each graduate program. We work with them on any curriculum changes and keep them up to date on the status of their students.

Across campus, I work with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and now that Kristen Adams is embedded here that is an immense help for our students. I work with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) to track accommodations that our students need. Julie Stilber and I both refer students to SSD and we make sure we have the right paperwork from SSD. Then I work with the faculty support team on proctoring so that those accommodations are met.

What do you like most about working with graduate students?
The thing I enjoy the most is they have the focus and drive to get where they are going. They also have a lot of experience at other institutions which can be rolled in to help to improve our services.

Any good examples of challenges you’ve helped graduate students overcome?
I have students who sometimes need to take leaves of absence, and I work with them when they are ready to come back. I serve as a liaison for the student with the central registrar’s office and the office of admissions and records at the School of Nursing. It’s always a nice feeling to help students reduce the amount of stress in their lives.

Helping students come up with a plan, and in the end be successful is a tremendous feeling.