McGill, Brethold Receive NACADA Outstanding Advising Awards


Dr. Jim McGill and Jessica Brethold, academic advisors at Southeast Missouri State University, have been honored at the national level for outstanding academic advising.

McGill has been named the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) national faculty advisor for 2018.  Brethold received a certificate of merit, the Outstanding New Advisor Award-Primary Advising Role.

The NACADA’s Outstanding Advising Awards annually recognize individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students or outstanding academic advising administration. The awards will be presented at NACADA’s Awards Ceremony held during the Annual Conference Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Phoenix, Arizona.

McGill and Brethold recently received Southeast’s Outstanding Academic Advisor Award during the University’s Excellence in Advising Celebration and Award Ceremony. They were honored for holding Southeast’s Master Advisor designation and for their efforts to serve as an academic advisor to students, handle ongoing academic advising responsibilities and assist currently assigned advisees. The award qualified them to be automatically nominated for the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Outstanding Advising Award.

McGill, professor of chemistry and interim director of the Jane Stephens Honors Program, received an Outstanding Advising Award in the faculty advisor category. This award recognizes effective advising qualities and practices that distinguish the recipient as an outstanding academic advisor or faculty advisor, including, but not necessarily limited to, strong interpersonal skills; availability to advisees faculty or staff; frequency of contact with advisees; appropriate referral activity; use and dissemination of appropriate information sources; evidence of student success rate; caring and helpful attitude towards advisees, faculty and staff; meeting advisees in informal settings; and monitoring of student progress toward academic and career goals.

“I did not imagine I would be selected, but Academic Advising, Carol Heisserer and Amanda Eller have been so supportive of my efforts to become an effective advisor, as has the entire advising team,” McGill said. “I owe the credit for this award to them and to my wonderful advisees who initially nominated me for the University’s award. I love using what I’ve learned over my career to help students figure out their dreams, plan for them, and reach them. I try my very best to support my students and help them to be successful and grow and develop as scientists, professionals and people. I say again and again that I can’t believe I am paid to do something I love so much. And to be recognized with an award for my efforts is just above and beyond any expectations I could dream up.”

Eller, assistant director of Academic Advising at Southeast who nominated McGill for the award, said, “Dr. Jim McGill is so deserving of the NACADA award, and I am so excited that he was able to be recognized on this global level for his achievements in academic advising and his commitment to his students. He embodies the elements of a true Master Advisor with his excellent relational skills, a true understanding of the conceptual importance of academic advising, and extensive institutional and professional knowledge base required to advise effectively.”

Brethold, academic advisor for Southeast’s College of Liberal Arts, received a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding New Advisor Award, which is presented to individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students and who have served as an advisor for a period of three or fewer years.

“I am surprised to be recognized by NACADA, and very humbled by the award,” Brethold said. “I have found advising students at Southeast to be my passion. I have undergraduate degrees in history and historic preservation, as well as a master’s in public history, but my graduate assistantship in the academic advising center at Southeast made something ‘click’ for me. Realizing I was helping students on the path to their futures was something I couldn’t walk away from after I graduated.”

Her inspiration and philosophy for helping students is displayed in a piece of artwork in her office of a stone wall with a bright teal door, added Brethold. How each student gets through this door is different as each student is unique and comes with their own set of dreams, situations and goals.

“How I help students walk through that door to success is ever-changing, and I try to meet each of them where they are to get them through the door,” she said. “I ask them questions that make them think about their future plans or to better understand their current situations so they can attain their degrees. I also encourage students to think critically, analyze situations, formulate solutions to overcome obstacles and become their own self-advocate. Hardly anyone notices the artwork that hangs on the wall behind them as they sit at my desk to talk, but it is always in my line of vision while I meet with them, reminding me to help them through that door.”

Heisserer, director of Academic Advising at Southeast and who nominated Brethold for the national NACADA award, said, “I was thrilled when Jessica was initially nominated for Southeast’s Outstanding Advising Award by her own advisees. I was proud to nominate her for NACADA’s national advising award and am pleased NACADA’s selection committee chose her to receive a certificate of merit. Her knowledge of major and career-related information and use of that knowledge during advising appointments are major factors to her success as an advisor at Southeast. Jessica demonstrates her knowledge of academic information regularly as she advises many students through their graduation semester, and she always makes herself available to students.”

Established in 1983, the NACADA Annual Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising. NACADA is a representative and advocate of academic advising and those providing that service to higher education. The Association has grown to more than 11,000 members.

**Photo caption: From left are Dr. Karl Kunkel, provost; Jessica Brethold, academic advisor for Southeast’s College of Liberal Arts; and Dr. Jim McGill, professor of chemistry and interim director of Southeast’s Jane Stephens Honors Program.