Southeast Missouri State University presented Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards to Dr. Shawn Guiling and Marcy Ball during its Excellence in Advising Celebration and Award Ceremony April 25 in Kem Statuary Hall in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center.
The second annual Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards celebrated the efforts of Southeast’s academic advisors, most notably Guiling, instructor of psychology, and Marcy Ball, a professional advisor, both of whom hold the Master Advisor designation at Southeast. They serve as academic advisors to students and have ongoing academic advising responsibilities and currently assigned advisees.
“I feel like I reach a lot of people that I teach, but it’s those individual moments (in advising appointments) where you can make the most difference,” Guiling said. “Most people need support, but they don’t always know what they need.”
Often, “they simply need someone to listen who doesn’t judge them, he said. “I just try to take them as they are.”
Ball said she was thrilled to be recognized with this honor.
“It’s just a privilege working with students,” she said. “It is just such a blessing.”
She cited her work with a number of offices on campus, including the Registrar’s Office, Admissions and others saying, “We are all in this to help our students succeed.”
Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, addressed those who attended, saying, “Retention and degree completion are heavily dependent on our success in advising students. He applauded the Master Advisor Program, saying it “has helped broaden the concept of advising across campus.”
Vargas encouraged those on hand to get “buy in” from their colleagues in understanding the level of importance and recognition that advising should have at Southeast.
“Thank you for helping students be successful in their studies,” he said.
Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success, presented remarks at the awards ceremony, quoting from Dr. Vincent Tinto, distinguished professor emeritus at Syracuse University, former chair of the Higher Education Program and a noted scholar on student retention, saying “Effective retention programs have come to understand that academic advising is the very core of successful institutional efforts to educate and retain students.”
Below added, “The advice and counsel you offer to your advisees has a lasting impact, whether you know it or not. You are influencing their professional and personal lives in ways that cannot be measured. We are indebted to you for your commitment to providing students with quality, personalized academic advising.”
Nominations were accepted through Dec. 7 from all students, faculty and staff. The recipients were chosen from 48 nominees, 18 of whom submitted documentation to be considered.
Nominees were asked to complete an application packet describing their knowledge of academic information, resources, majors and career-related information and use of that knowledge in assisting students. Nominees also were asked to detail their accessibility to students, how they make academic advising a priority and how they use innovative advising techniques, advising materials and systems. Also considered were their efforts to create positive relationships with students, their personal philosophy on advising, their development of advising materials, and recommendation letters from students, colleagues, supervisors, department heads and alumni.
Recipients were selected by an awards committee designated by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity and past award winners.
Southeast now plans to nominate Guiling and Ball for the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Outstanding Advising Award, using the information from their application packets to advance their consideration for this global distinction.
Carol Heisserer, director of Academic Advising at Southeast, said, “Outstanding academic advising significantly improves our educational environment and helps ensure students have a successful college experience. These awards acknowledge and reinforce the importance of excellent academic advising for our students here at Southeast. Improving the relationship between students, faculty and staff is vital as the University strives to advance our retention and graduation rates. I would like to sincerely congratulate Shawn and Marcy for their personal commitment to the academic success of our students. Their efforts are first rate.”
The Master Advisor Program, launched at Southeast in December 2016, is designed to improve the quality of academic advising for Southeast students by providing faculty and professional staff advisors with appropriate training, professional development, evaluation and recognition. The training offered through the program explores basic and advanced advising strategies and techniques; ethical issues related to advising; technologies and resources used in advising; academic policies and procedures; and changes to curriculum that impact advisors.
The program is creating a core of highly skilled academic advisors who provide high quality advising to undergraduate students. Upon completion of the program, participants are equipped with a variety of resources to serve as advising leaders in their home departments. The program is a step towards the University’s goal to retain at least 80 percent of all first-time, full-time students to the second year and graduate at least 60 percent of this group.
Southeast now has 237 Master Advisors on campus.
During the past year, 81 faculty and staff have participated in Master Advisor Workshops and 261 in topical workshops. Since the program’s inception, 411 have taken part in topical workshops.
Topical workshops during the past year have covered: “Advising Honors Students,” “Advising Transfer Students,” “Advising International Students,” “Preparing Advisees for Graduate School Admission,” “Building Success-Students on Academic Probation,” “Identifying and Supporting Students in Crisis,” “Cultural Humility,” “University Studies and DegreeWorks Updates,” “Utilizing SupportNET for Academic Advising” and “Success on the Spectrum.”