Get to know your new graduate academic counselor, Ryan Sims

By GradPost Staff
Thursday, March 24, 2016 01:50 PM

Ryan at the UCSB LabyrinthOn March 1, Ryan Sims became the latest addition to the Graduate Division staff. Joining us in a brand-new position, Associate Director for Academic Services, Ryan will be also serving as a Graduate Academic Counselor. For the past seven years, Ryan has worked at UCSB in the Student Mental Health Coordination Services unit of the Dean of Students Office, and for the past four years has served as Associate Director for this area.

Ryan’s transition into our new position addresses one of the most glaring needs within the Graduate Division and provides a much-needed service to graduate students, departments, and the broader campus community. Ryan will be developing, organizing, and evaluating a range of case-management services for graduate students experiencing various and complex academic or personal difficulties. He is available to assist students in developing an individual plan for successful navigation of their career at UCSB. He can meet one-on-one with students on a variety of topics including time management, work/life balance, and communicating effectively with faculty, as well as help make referrals to campus and community resources. Ryan will also serve as a point of reference and resource for faculty and staff in need of assistance in dealing with difficult student situations.

Ryan is "dedicated to helping graduate students thrive academically and personally at UCSB." From his office in Cheadle Hall, Ryan offers academic counseling appointments exclusively for graduate students. He has already developed targeted academic programming, including how to overcome "imposter syndrome" and how to develop effective communication skills. He looks forward to presenting on these topics and others, on request.

Ryan and wife Lonnie with their son Leo (3) and daughter Lola (1)Ryan earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of San Diego, his Teaching Credential from the University of La Verne, and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology (Depth Psychology emphasis) from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Prior to his career at UCSB, Ryan worked in education, teaching high-school social studies and earning his professional clear credential in 2006. After returning to graduate school to pursue a mental health-related career, Ryan worked clinically with high-risk student and adult populations in local public schools and at the Santa Barbara County Jail. His education, employment experience, and training truly make him uniquely qualified to take on this new role.

Ryan said that he "is excited about working exclusively with graduate students. In my previous DOS role, I wasn’t afforded many opportunities to intervene early on with graduate students, before their situation had deteriorated beyond repair. Too often, by the time I was in the know about a situation, decisions had already been made and steps put into motion to dismiss, place on probation, pull the student’s funding, etc. In those situations, I often asked myself what I might have been able to do for the student if I just had the opportunity to meet with them earlier on. I now get to do just that in my new role. I am thrilled I will have more of an opportunity to intervene and prevent these situations for our students. I will do whatever I can to retain our graduate students. They are most important to the status of this great university, so frankly, I feel they deserve to have someone in this role."

Ryan getting a recent tattooWhen not at work, Ryan enjoys spending most of his free time with his wife and two young children. He’s an avid deep-sea fishermen and running enthusiast, having competed in several running competitions since he got interested in the sport in 2009. Most recently, he has developed a love for playing his ukulele, however he’s been a drummer for over 20 years, having played in several punk and hard rock bands (which helps explain his affinity for tattoos). His M.A. production thesis – "Fleshing Out the Self: A Heuristic Study of Modern Tattooing" – reveals much about Ryan’s personal history, interests, and lifestyle. "I'd like to think that my path in life, having embraced a wide range of academic and non-academic/less-traditional interests, has made me one of the least judgmental people you will ever meet. That’s important for someone serving in this role, and it’s the last thing graduate students will need to worry about if they come to me for help!"

How to get in touch with Ryan:

By e-mail: Ryan.Sims@graddiv.ucsb.edu

By phone: 805-893-2068

In person: 3117 Cheadle Hall

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