Season of Thanks —Matadors Making a Difference: Meet Ardis Flenniken

  • Ardis Flenniken seated in front of Cypress Hall Courtyard fountain.

    Alumna Ardis Flenniken, communications specialist in enrollment services, in one of her favorite spots— by the Cypress Hall Courtyard fountain. Cypress Hall has long been home to CSUN music students, including Flenniken. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

Before 2023 concludes, we want to share our gratitude for the thousands of CSUN staff — many of them working behind the scenes — who help us achieve our goals on campus. You may be familiar with their work, but now it’s time to meet them. We’ve enjoyed getting to know these hardworking Matadors, and we hope you will, too.

Ardis Flenniken, Communications Specialist, Enrollment Services (Student Affairs)

You know that old saying, “The devil’s in the details?” For college students, those details, particularly deadlines and rules, can prove particularly tricky and frustrating. Miss a date or deadline, and you might miss a requirement for your degree or delay that all-important graduation day.

Luckily, at Cal State Northridge, we have a few angels who keep track of those deadlines and requirements — from registration dates and final exams week to upcoming holidays — and convey that information to students, year in and year out. Ardis Flenniken ’75 (Music), ’78 (M.A., Music), ’84 (M.A., Linguistics) has served as an “administrative analyst specialist” at CSUN since 2003, but simply put, communicating with students is her mission. She’s part of the Enrollment Services Strategic Communications team in Bayramian Hall that writes the information students need to stay on track to their ultimate goal: that CSUN degree and diploma. (Hint: she also provides this information regularly to CSUN Update, the biweekly student newsletter. Check it out!)

“I’m [guiding students] to their next steps,” said Flenniken. One example is the information she and her co-workers in enrollment services provide about registration for classes through calendars, websites and tutorials:

“You’ve been admitted, here are your next steps. What you need to do, to get ready to register for the first time,” she explained. “For currently enrolled students, how do you change your major online? How do you apply for graduation?”

Flenniken notes the information shared with students is carefully reviewed — it’s a team effort. “As an editor, I rely on my colleagues — the subject matter experts in the Offices of Admissions and the Registrar — to verify what we publish,” she said.

Flenniken is not only a longtime employee, she’s also an alumna with multiple CSUN degrees. She transferred to CSUN from Grossmont Community College in El Cajon in 1972. A flautist who loved music history, Flenniken graduated with her bachelor’s degree in music in 1975 and completed her master’s in music in 1978. During her graduate studies, she landed a side job tutoring a Taiwanese family in English, which made a deep impression and led to a new career goal, she said: teaching.

“I felt much more grounded teaching,” Flenniken said. “ESL (English as a Second Language) is actually a lot like music, in the grammar and the structure and in conveying meaning. So, there was a lot I could carry over.”

That led Flenniken to study linguistics, and she earned another master’s degree in 1984. She taught English as a Second Language/English as a Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) courses in a program that serves international students at CSUN.

There’s a lot to be grateful for during this time of year, she said.

“I’m thankful for the willingness of others to collaborate,” Flenniken said. “That goes for my church and my work families.”

Flenniken also reflected on her many years on campus.

“It’s just a great place to study and work,” she said. “When we’re young people, young adults, we’re looking for ourselves, we’re searching for what our mission in life should be. And I can’t think of a better place to do that than a university,” she said. “The mission of helping students succeed is fulfilling.”


Read more from this series about the Matadors who make a difference on our campus: Tom Case and Christel Bowen.



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