A day in the shoes of: Dr. Bernice Strauss

Shoes: size 6 Clarks -“very

comfortable” brown slip-ons

E-mails, phone calls and requests for meetings pour into her office. As advisor of Academic Support Programs, Dr. Bernice Strauss leads a busy lifestyle helping students succeed through her various programs.

Strauss’s day begins earlier than those who live within walking distance of campus because she is a commuter.

5:15 a.m. She wakes, but has to be quiet because unlike her, her husband gets to sleep in. Strauss’s clothes are picked out the night before so she tip toes to get dressed. For breakfast, she has “whole wheat toast with peanut butter and jelly and a latte.”

“For our 28th wedding anniversary in August, my husband gave me an espresso machine,” she said.

7 a.m. Strauss meets her vanpool at the University Center in the Woodlands and commutes with about 10 other faculty and staff members.

She said it’s “ecologically sound for us to be carpooling.”

7:45 a.m. She swings open the door of her office and reads Today @ Sam and her overflowing inbox of e-mails. She also reviews her calendar to see what’s on for the day.

8 a.m. Strauss begins collecting data on the Bearkat Learning Community.

“It’s a freshmen program where students live in one of two smaller dorms, take classes together and attend the Study Skills Series,” she said.

According to Strauss, “Falls are very busy.”

Her days are full of meetings that discuss programs like Grassroots, Bearkat Leaning Community and the McNair Scholar Program to name a few.

“I’m never bored,” she says.

11:30 a.m. Lunch time, but Strauss does not leave her desk.

“I bring my lunch which are left overs from dinner the night before,” she said.

On today’s menu Strauss indulges salmon, pasta and broccoli.

Sometimes she has unexpected visits from students, as well as Houstonian staff.

“I make myself as available as I can,” she said.

Her favorite part of the job is “students without a doubt.” Interesting, absolutely inspiring and exciting is how she describes them.

After lunch the meetings, phone calls and e-mails carry on.

Strauss is rounding up last minute details for a program coming up. Next Wednesday, October 24 2007, Grassroots: “Conversations On Leadership In A Diverse Community” will present Lauren Anderson. Now retired, she was the first African American prima ballerina. She is an outreach associate and will speak at 5 p.m.

5 p.m. Strauss is attending a dinner hosted by the Bearkat Learning Community where freshmen students and faculty intermingle.

Strauss hopes to leave by 6:30 p.m. “One thing I take very seriously is working out at the gym.” She says she tries to work out five times a week.

At the end of the day she is “ecstatic to go home” to her husband and dog Rosie whom await her. She says she is “amazed” on how quickly the day flies by.

From morning until nightfall, Strauss leads a hectic lifestyle, but loves it.

No wonder she wears “very comfortable” shoes.

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