Kodish, Daniel Presented Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards


Southeast Missouri State University has presented Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards to Dr. Slavica Kodish and Dana Daniel.

The third annual Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards were presented to celebrate the efforts of Southeast’s academic advisors, most notably Kodish, associate professor of communication studies and director of internships for Southeast’s Department of Communication Studies and Modern Languages, and Daniel, a professional academic advisor. Both hold the Master Advisor designation at Southeast. They also serve as academic advisors to students and have ongoing academic advising responsibilities and currently assigned advisees.

Kodish was nominated by two students for her encouragement, support and dedication to their academic and personal success.

“The Outstanding Academic Advisor Award is a special recognition, and I feel deeply honored to receive the Award and to be a part of my students’ academic and professional journey,” Kodish said. “I also feel grateful and thankful for my wonderful advisees, supportive colleagues, the inspiring work of the Academic Advising team, and the University-wide recognition and support of advising.

“My inspiration and philosophy for helping students are rooted in the principles of genuine communication, respect, understanding, ethics, and responsibility,” Kodish said.

Kodish says she tries to listen and communicate with her advisees in a thoughtful and professional manner, while promoting student responsibility and involvement.

“I provide guidance and, when needed, encouragement, support, and inspiration. At all times, I have respect and understanding for my advisees and I sincerely care about their academic and professional success and their well-being.”

Daniel was nominated by a student for her hard work, caring and determination to provide the best guidance through her academic journey at Southeast.

“I want to express a huge ‘thank you’ to all my advisees and colleagues who nominated and selected me for this award,” she said. “I am honored to be nominated, and I am thrilled to be selected. Advising is truly a rewarding career. For me, one of the biggest rewards is seeing each student obtain their goals. I consider myself lucky to have a career where I have an opportunity to help others daily. The best part of my position as an academic advisor are the positive relationships I form with my advisees. I feel fortunate every day that I get to witness and play a small part in students’ academic success. The students are the reason I chose advising as a career. They are the reason our institution exists. Supporting their success in higher education is an investment in our future. I am happy to play a part in this.”

Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success, said, “Academic advising is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Southeast’s nationally recognized advising program helps students build their academic confidence and develop a plan for their individual success. Dr. Kodish and Dana are genuine examples of what it means to be a student-centered educator and advisor.”

Nominations were accepted through Dec. 6, 2019, from all students, faculty and staff. The recipients were chosen from 51 nominees, 14 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 comprised of Southeast Academic Advising staff members, the Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity and past award winners. Southeast now plans to nominate Kodish and Daniel 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, “Our goal of the Master Advisor program is to improve academic advising for our students by providing a forum for faculty and staff advisors to have access to training, professional development, evaluation and recognition. The annual advising celebration and the Outstanding Advisor Awards allow us to shine a light on those who do an excellent job with their students day in and day out.

“While we can only select two winners, we are certainly celebrating everyone who advises students and the part each advisor plays in the retention and support of our students. More than 50 faculty and staff advisors were nominated this year, which goes to show that advising is a priority on our campus, and we celebrate and appreciate the many great, quality advisors who are supporting our students,” she said.

“I’m excited for our 2020 winners, Dr. Slavica Kodish and Dana Daniel, and want to personally congratulate them on this honor,” Heisserer said. “They are fantastic advisors who are personable, compassionate and always put their students first. They are truly making advising a priority on campus.”

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 254 Master Advisors on campus.

During the past year, 46 faculty and staff have participated in Master Advisor Workshops and more than 200 in 14 topical workshops.

Topical workshops during the past year have covered: “Advising International Students,” “First STEP Advising,” “Advising Transfer Students,” “Success on the Spectrum (Advising & Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum),” “Building Success – Students on Academic Probation,” “Communication Strategies for Impactful Academic Advising,” “General Education/University Studies and DegreeWorks,” “Responding to Increased Demand: College Campus Counseling Centers and Disability Support Services,”  “Utilizing SupportNET for Academic Advising,” “International Simulation” and “Building Resiliency for Advisees.”