Meet Our Team

Our mission is to provide a personalized approach in guiding students in the exploration of majors and careers, acclimation to UALR, and holistic development of self.  We strive to continuously improve the quality of our services and our collaborative relationships within the University community.  We review core course requirements, plan class schedules, discuss policies that affect students’ college journey, and connect students with beneficial programs and support services on and off campus.

Our office is here to assist undergraduates with advising. If you are a graduate student, please contact your program coordinator, or email

Dr. Trakenya Gordon Dobbins

Interim Director | | 501-569-8430

Dr. Dobbins

Education: B.S. Administrative Management
M.Ed. Higher Education
Ed.D. Workforce Development
All from University of Arkansas

Short Bio: I have over 14 years of professional higher education experience, which includes five years of full-time teaching. I’m from North Little Rock, Arkansas and was the first in my family to go to college: I understand and can relate to first-generation college students.  I married my high school sweetheart and have a total of four girls.  Family time is my hobby!

Why I Chose Academic Advising as a Career: Academic Advising allows me to assist students in exploring their passions, declaring their major, and successfully graduating.  In short, advising helps me to help the younger me, who was truly undecided and changed my major 5 times!

Advice to Exploratory Students: Don’t be pressured by ANYONE into ANY major!  Even after changing my major 5 times, I still graduated within 4.5 years with my baccalaureate degree.  I highly recommend researching the college catalog and shadowing or interviewing a person in the field.

Carla Griffin

Academic Advisor for students’ last name – A to G | | 501-569-8251

Education:  B.A. Liberal Arts, UALR

Short Bio: I have worked in Higher Education for the last 28 years. Upon graduation from Little Rock Central High School in 1983, I began my freshman year at UALR.  I have been here every since, due to the service orientated attitudes of the UALR family that I had been adopted into.  The institution embraced and assisted me to mature and develop skills and competencies to reach my goal of graduation.  I have a passion for assisting students to learn how to navigate through their curriculum and to reach their goal of graduation.

Carla Griffin

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” —> Nelson Mandela

Why I chose Academic Advising as a career: I have developed a passion for assisting students access to higher education.  My career is very rewarding and allows opportunities to make real differences in student academic careers and lives.

Advice to Exploratory Students: Exchanges contact information with at least 2-3 people in each class, go to class, develop a good study routine, get organized, make new friends, get involved in campus activities and organizations, ask questions, talk to your professors ,read the undergraduate catalog, eat well balanced meals, exercise, sleep at least 6-8 hours a night.  Lastly, have fun and enjoy the college experience.

Yvette Palmer

Academic Advisor for students’ last name – H to P | | 501-569-8671

Education: B.A. Social Work, Louisiana College
Master of Divinity, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Yvette Palmer

Short Bio: I have worked approximately 25 years in higher education. I came to Little Rock from Pineville, Louisiana. I worked for 17 years in collegiate ministry, serving as the Baptist Collegiate Ministry Director at Louisiana State University in Eunice, and for 7 years at Louisiana State University in Alexandria. I have been in Little Rock now for almost 10 years and love it. I love walking the Big Dam Bridge, hiking Pinnacle Mountain, and teaching a ladies’ Sunday School class at New Life Baptist Church.Why I Chose Academic Advising as a Career: Upon my arrival in Little Rock, I began searching for a job. I loved my job working with college students and knew that I wanted to continue in that area. To be able to meet new college students and help guide them through the early semesters of college life is a very rewarding challenge! I really do enjoy my job.

Advice to Exploratory Students: You have a world of information at your fingertips. Be sure to take advantage of different tools online to figure out what the job possibilities are. Spend some time in self-reflection. Talk to those closest to you and get their opinion. Figure out what your SHAPE is: What are your Skills (things you have learned); Heart (Passion); Abilities (talents); Personality; and Experiences of life that have shaped who you are. The closer you can get to a major that leads to a career that utilizes your shape, the happier you will likely be in that career.

Chassidy Cooper

Academic Advisor for students’ last name – Q to Z | | 501-569-8686

Education: B.A. History, Sewanee : University of the South
M.A. Higher Education, UALR
PhD., University of Central Arkansas  (In Progress)

Chassidy Cooper

Short Bio: I have worked approximately 6 years in higher education. I am a native Arkansan! I have lived in both Tennessee and Georgia, but nothing compares to being in the natural state. I have worked at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for about six years now. I am a PhD student and I also enjoy reading, writing, and mentoring young girls.

Why I Chose Academic Advising as a Career: I have always envisioned myself working for a university, helping students gain the tools necessary for college success. Advising, mentoring and leadership are major aspects of my life. I am a huge advocate for academic advising and support programs, and helping all students be successful in and outside the classroom.

Advice to Exploratory Students:  Be present in class every day! Get involved in student organizations and campus activities, and surround yourself with other students who study. Make key connections with faculty and staff, utilize campus resources and support programs, and develop good study habits. Intern throughout the summer. Lastly, be sure to try new things and enjoy this special time in your life!

Dr. Jan C. Dannaway

Academic Advisor for Student Athletes | | 501-569-3448

Education:  B.S. Education, University of Mississippi – Ole Miss
M.Ed., University of Mississippi
Ed.D., Mississippi State University

Dr. Dannaway

Short Bio:  Born in Pennsylvania.  Graduated high school in Wilmington, Delaware.  Attended Fairmont State College (West Virginia), Ole Miss, and Mississippi State University.  Taught and coached in Atlanta, Georgia.  Director of Student Activities at a community college in Mississippi.  In my 40th year at UALR.  Married: have 2 sons and 3 grandchildren.

Why I Chose Academic Advising as a Career:  As I pursued a college education I realized the value of in having an academic advisor. Particularly as a college athlete, I saw the importance of having someone who could keep you on track when you were playing ball and dealing with practices and games that interfered with classes.

Autumn Perkins

Academic Advisor – Pulaski Technical College Liaison | | UALR: 501-569-8683, PTC: 771-6033

Education:  B.A. English, Campbellsville University
M.S. College Student Personnel, Arkansas Tech University

Autumn Perkins

Short Bio: I have worked in higher education for over seven years at Baptist Health Schools Little Rock, Pulaski Technical College, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  I am very passionate about providing students with the information they need to succeed.  When I  look at my own experiences as a student, I am a statistical anomaly.  I was a first-generation, low income, non-traditional student.  In addition to attending school, I worked and was a single parent with a limited support system.  I share this to say if I can succeed, so can you.  Not only can you succeed, but you can excel.

Why I Chose Academic Advising as a Career: I have a strong background in Admissions and Records, but chose to pursue Academic Advising because of my desire to work more closely with students.  Students are the heart of higher education and I believe every action I take should be student-centered.  I do what I do for students and because I believe education changes lives.

Advice To Exploratory Students:  My advice to exploratory students is to dig deep and think about when you are the happiest.  Consider what makes you happy, look at your strengths, and research majors that play on your strengths.  Your major should lead you to a career that sparks passion within you and supports your life goals.  My favorite quote is from Flavia Weedn who said, “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.”  I believe life can be full of obstacles, but we should not let those obstacles stand in the way of achieving greatness.