Campus Life

Whether you’re coming to the University of Saint Francis out of high school, transferring from another college, or returning to the classroom after a few years away, the First Year Advising team is ready to help you navigate your USF experience.

Getting Started

First things first.

Getting scheduled for your first semester of classes is exciting. Once you’ve confirmed your enrollment by making your deposit, your First Year Advisor will communicate via email to arrange an advising and course registration session, according to your declared major. In your advising/registration session, you can expect to meet your advisors, some future classmates, to register for your first semester of courses and to have your questions answered. New student registration for the Fall term will begin in April and in late November for the Spring semester. Continue to use My Cougar Connection (MCC), our student portal, will connect you to the forms, resources and services you need, including Cougar Checkpoint, a checklist for required items and tasks.

About First Year Advising

First Year Advising is part of the overall First-Year Experience. Designed to help you transition to academic, social, cultural and spiritual life at USF, the FYE also includes Orientation, Welcome Weekend and a First-Year Seminar called Engage.

How We Help Our Newest Cougars

Acclimation to Our Community

A big part of the First Year Advising program is introducing you to our Franciscan values and connecting you with people, resources and opportunities across campus.

Degree & Career Planning 

Your first-year advisor gets to know your academic, professional and personal goals so they can help you develop a solid plan.

Financial Planning & Resources

Intentional academic advising also ensures you’re on track financially. Completing your degree within your desired timeline keeps your education affordable as possible.

Academic Support & Engagement

Your first-year advisor’s role is more than scheduling your first semester of courses at USF. Our team will help you develop a support network and find the resources you need to succeed.

What’s next? In the spring semester, you’ll be assigned a faculty advisor from within your area of study who will help you stay on track and mentor you throughout the rest of your time at USF. You’ll always have academic and career support services available to you as well.

Who is My Advisor?

You’ll be assigned an advisor based on your major, program or area of study. If you’re coming to USF directly out of high school or you’re transferring fewer than 30 credits from another institution, you will work with a First Year Advisor. Learn about our First Year Advising team below.

Students enrolled in Associate Allied Healthcare programs—including Advanced Medical Imaging, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Nursing (ASN or LPN>ASN), Radiological Technology, Surgical Technology or Respiratory Therapy—will be advised by faculty in their specific program.

Meet Our Staff

Our first-year advising team is excited to help you prepare for your USF journey.

Melissa Layton

Melissa LaytonWhile I have been a part of the USF community for over 15 years, always working with students, I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with new students. Advising, for me, is highly relational—a chance for students to learn more about themselves and make their own decisions. I have been working with college students almost every year since I graduated college myself. This is in part because I think college experience is a thrilling and transformational one for students. I want to help students in their transition to USF and to help them understand and make the most of their own experience.

Morgan Felkner

Morgan FelknerMy name is Morgan Felkner. I am a Fort Wayne native, raised in the 08’. I am an alumna of North Side High School, studied Music and Leadership at Purdue Fort Wayne, graduated with my Master’s in Leadership from USF in 2020, and am currently on track to earning my second master’s degree and License in Mental Health Counseling. I take a transformational approach to advising and am deeply committed to student success with a focus on Christ-integration and spiritual development. I look forward to serving my community by advising, educating, and leading students in their journey toward authenticity.

Niki Daining

Niki DainingOriginally from Michigan, where I earned my Bachelor of Art degree in English, I moved to Fort Wayne in the summer of 2013. After four years of stay-at-home parenting and four years of teaching at Lakeside Middle School (Go Lancers!), I started working on USF’s campus in February 2022 as the 21st Century Scholar Ambassador through AmeriCorps. I moved into Career Development at USF in July 2022, and then to First Year Advising in June 2023. I love working one-on-one with students to discuss their passions, hopes and goals, and to encourage the pursuit of them. I use inquiry, humor and self-reflection as a means to help students learn more about themselves and what they want from their college experience.

Chad Cussen

Chad CussenI am originally from Roann, Indiana and graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree in history from Indiana University in 2008. I then earned a Master’s in history from Eastern Illinois University in 2010. I lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area for 11 years teaching and advising at Mesa Community College and Arizona State University. I am passionate about helping students explore their educational and professional goals and to becoming well-rounded citizens of the world. I employ a transformative advising approach to working with students and strive for the success of every student I work with.

General Advising Contact Information

If you have general questions about advising, here’s how to get in touch with us:

Phone: 260-399-8065
Email: [email protected]
Campus Location: Pope John Paul II 207