Legendary Musician, John Feldkamp, Ascends to Associate Director of the Honors College at EMU

FeldkampThe National Forum is proud to announce the advancement of John Feldkamp in his career as Associate Director of the Honors College at Eastern Michigan University. With his drive and devotion to higher education, he achieved a rapid ascension from his position as Assistant Director on the technical staff to the administrative position he holds today. Having graduated from Eastern Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree back in 2007, John is honored to be back and making change happen at his Alma Mater. Before taking EMU by storm, he served at the National Forum for a year and a half while attaining his Masters Degree in Higher Education from the University of Michigan.

How is the transition going from Assistant Director to Associate Director?

You know, the first time you do something you get to try it, the second time around you get to critique it, and the third time around you really try your best to perfect it. So that’s in terms of the transition, I’d say that that’s where I’ve transitioned to. Now, it’s more about developing a program and experiences…being an office that goes beyond academic advising.

What would you say is your favorite part about the job?

There’s a few, but if I had to pick one I would say that it’s in the moment when you’re meeting with a student and hearing what their interests are. Encouraging them to take a certain class or professor, then, when that students takes that class and comes back and they say they loved it or have that professor come back and say they’re fantastic, it puts you in a place like…an offensive linemen. They’re not in the spotlight of the quarterback but the performance of the line as a whole is based on you. Sometimes the student may not know that you had a role in something and the professor may not know, but the idea that you had that role is so self gratifying. I guess what I’m saying is I like having an influence under the radar.

Where do you see yourself in future with respect to Higher Education?

I’m thinking hard. I’m currently deciding on whether to remain in administrative staff for a while or go back to school and do a doctoral program and work my way through academic affairs. That’s kind of the fork in the road that I will see in the future.

How long were you at the National Forum and what was your focus while working there?

I was there for a year and a half. The question presented in the project I was a part of was along the lines of: How can we retain Michigan students in Michigan upon graduation? Reportedly, Michigan was losing intellectuals upon graduation but ideally it would be really great to retain the talent that has been invested in. So, John Burkhardt really wanted to find a link between student service or service form among college students and increased likelihood or odds of staying in Michigan. So, the research I did was a part of that overarching question.

What would you say was one thing you enjoyed about working for the National Forum?

I got the chance to work with great people. An example is John (Burkhardt). He’s passionate about the issues, makes it very personal, and instills this sense of altruism among the staff and students. He really does care about the things that he does. It’s very powerful when making things meaningful for everybody.

Anything you’d like to tell younger generations of students in education?

Be able to relate to people you don’t know. I enjoy what I do…I think it presents challenges and excitements every day. But, that’s important. And that’s important to know. I think it should be where every moment when you’re on the job it’s something special.