Get to Know HFC: Nikole Ford-Kondraciuk
HFC Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, Assessment, and Orientation Nikole Ford-Kondraciuk has a passion for helping students.
She takes after her mother, Christine Ford, who worked in higher education for almost 40 years at Wayne State University.
Her mother was an administrative assistant in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Science, particularly the Clinical Laboratory Science department. Ford-Kondraciuk, who grew up visiting Wayne State’s campus, witnessed her mother in action, seeing firsthand her compassion for students and her relentless drive to remove the barriers and cut through the red tape that sometimes takes place in a big university setting.
“My mom was a role model for student service,” said Ford-Kondraciuk, who lives in Flat Rock with her husband and family. “In the early 2000s, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought for four years, and even through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, she continued to work and serve students. She was honored as an ‘unsung hero’ for her work with students and her additional volunteer work.”
“Everything I bring stems from what she taught me”
Ford-Kondraciuk elaborates on what she learned through observation. “My mom was the glue that held everything together for the faculty and students in the CLS department. Everybody went to my mom because they knew even if she didn't know the answer, she wouldn't give up until she found someone who did. She also led EACPHS’ social amenities committee and organized the annual Christmas giving and adopt-a-family program. Wayne State has a scholarship in her name for CLS students. Everything I bring to serving students and teaching and leading staff stems from what I learned from my mom, one of the most compassionate and talented higher education professionals I've ever met.”
An excellent base for moving into other fields
While her parents did not have a college education, they wanted Ford-Kondraciuk and her two younger siblings to earn one. All three of them have earned degrees. Her brother, Christopher Ford, is an alumnus of HFC.
Born and raised Downriver, Ford-Kondraciuk graduated from Woodhaven High School in Brownstown Charter Township. She enrolled at Michigan State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism with a focus in graphic design. Ford-Kondraciuk was the president of the MSU chapter of the Society of News Design.
“Journalism was an excellent base for movement into other communications-related fields,” she said.
Ford-Kondraciuk also interned for The State News – MSU’s student newspaper – and Impact 89FM – MSU’s student radio station. She worked in Residence Life as the front desk receptionist and later supervisor in Holden Hall.
“Our dorm leadership was inspiring,” she recalled. “They cared for students and positively impacted our lives. We were valued as employees, and they modeled excellent customer service.”
Ford-Kondraciuk earned her master’s degree in organizational communications/public relations and her education specialist degree in higher education administration and supervision from Wayne State. At Wayne State, she also interned for The South End – Wayne State’s official student newspaper – and completed several grant writing classes.
She is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and is a graduate of The Chair Academy, a higher education leadership program.
She is married to Jerry Kondraciuk, who is HFC's Senior Systems Administrator for ITS. They reside in Flat Rock with their two children, Alayna and Alexia. Alayna began her first year at HFC this Fall. She is currently in the Henry Ford II Honors Program and is studying supply chain management.
18 years at HFC
Before coming to HFC, Ford-Kondraciuk was an admissions counselor at Wayne State. There, she coordinated open houses and worked closely with the orientation and new student convocation programs. She also designed recruitment materials and served as an adjunct instructor.
Ford-Kondraciuk has been at the College for 18 years. She spoke about what attracted her to HFC.
“I was interested in the opportunity to advance my career in a management role that involved both higher education and marketing. Plus, I loved the idea of working at a community college where you could get to know and collaborate with faculty and cabinet-level leaders easier than in a large university setting. My final interview for my first position at HFC was with former Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Michael Meade. I was drawn to his leadership style and passion for students, so I knew it would be a good fit,” she said.
In her current position, Ford-Kondraciuk oversees Enrollment Services teams, serving all prospective and current students and graduates of HFC. This includes the Enrollment Services One-Stop Enrollment Lab, which offers personalized help on a variety of topics in one convenient location. This also includes the Call Center, which handles approximately 50,000 calls per year, as well as the Assessment Center and Orientation Department. Her team assists students in the following areas:
“Our teams provide support in many areas of college life,” she said. “Our teams are cross-trained to offer a comprehensive one-stop enrollment service to students and can answer and problem-solve all enrollment-related topics.”
Ford-Kondraciuk has also been an adjunct instructor at HFC for 13 years, teaching SPC 131: Fundamentals of Speaking. Previously, she was the Manager of Enrollment Development, which oversaw marketing and public relations for HFC. Enrollment Development won several Medallion Awards from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations. She was also Manager of the Admissions Office before moving into her current role, reporting to HFC Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Holly Diamond.
Only person to serve as president of MACRAO and MACAC
In 2011, Ford-Kondraciuk received the HFC Women's Recognition Award. She is the only person to have served as the president for both the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO) and the Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling (MACAC). She also co-chaired the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Metro Detroit National College Fair Committee for six years.
Ford-Kondraciuk participated in the Michigan College Application Week Implementation Committee through the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). For several years, she served on the Michigan ACT State Organization and Council, as well as several Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) Michigan Center for Student Success committees.
“Being involved in state and national organizations has been essential for my professional development,” said Ford-Kondraciuk.
Always learning and improving
A point of pride for her is that eight other colleges have visited and modeled their one-stop efforts after HFC.
“Our team can serve a student from A to Z,” said Ford-Kondraciuk. “They may have a question that starts as a financial aid question that leads to a registration issue. Students don't have to visit multiple offices for assistance. It's a great feeling knowing we can serve students in such a convenient operation. We are continuously improving and seeking feedback. Year to year, we implement new technology, redesign processes or setup, and constantly make things better for students.”
A hands-on manager, Ford-Kondraciuk is willing to jump in and take calls as needed, seeing students in the trenches.
“I like to know and do the work that anyone on my team does and see for myself what they experience,” she said. “However, there's also all the planning and organization and work involved in keeping on top of so many departments. It requires a lot of juggling and organization. It creates new challenges to tackle every day and keeps me on my toes, and I have a group of outstanding managers who help keep things running on a day-to-day basis.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most challenging times in her career. She is proud of her team and the way everyone pulled together in such unprecedented times.
“We were successful in moving our services to a remote format. With the support of Information Technology Services (ITS), we accomplished what many other schools could not. We maintained the ability for students to reach us by phone and have created another 'campus' in our virtual Welcome Center for students to receive help from us online.”