As we begin another school year, the Communications Committee thought it might be nice to share with you some words of inspiration from past Outstanding Advisor Award winners. We asked them, “What trait makes an advisor successful?” We hope their answers will motivate you to be just as outstanding this year!
Truda Strange, 2012 Winner
It is difficult to name just one because there are several. But after thinking about it I would say that I like to use humor. However, one must be careful and not overuse it or use it inappropriately. The use of humor with my advisees has helped me build a positive relationship with them. It has made me more approachable, interesting, fun, and human. I like to smile too.
Mary Beth Lencke, 2011 Winner
I think one of the traits (because there are many!) that makes an advisor successful is the ability to save somebody. And by that, I don’t mean literally saving a person from a fire or from drowning or something like that… I view my students as needing saved from “something” every single time they come in to see me. I envision myself as sort of their superhero, willing to swoop in, fight their battles, lift them up when they are weary, BE ON THEIR SIDE… basically save the day. I empower them, to be sure; but I also want them to know – very clearly – that I am with them in this journey. Because, very often, we advisors are saving them from themselves. And the best part? Sometimes all it takes is a hug.
Sharon Kraebber, 2010 Winner
I can’t just answer one thing!!! But as a short answer…An outstanding advisor has to convey a passion of education and learning through a caring, helpful attitude using strong interpersonal skills. This advisor would cultivate a relationship and rapport with advisees helping them integrate their undergraduate education, curriculum, and experiences into their overall personal and professional journey/goals.
Mark Diekman, 2009 Winner
I think one of the most important traits of being a successful advisor is to be accountable in a timely fashion—let the advisee know what you are going to do and then do it.
LeeAnn Williams, 2008 Winner
I think an outstanding advisor truly cares or has passion about his/her students’ success. This passion drives the advisor to engage with students in developing individual academic plans that not only meet graduation requirements, but encourage academic options such as minors, study abroad, certificates, etc. An outstanding advisor uses this same passion to guide students as they make decisions about internships and career options, promotes personal and professional development through co-curricular activities, and serves as a sounding board when students are walking through the decision making process. An outstanding advisor doesn’t need to have an answer to every question, but a desire to assist students to find the answers and introduce them to the correct resources.
Debbie Landis Bearden, 2007 Winner
Wow! “What trait makes an advisor successful?” That is a hard question. So many things come to mind. Since I have to pick just one trait I would have to say “compassion for students”.
Jamie Schoenbeck Walsh, 2006 Winner
For me the key to being a successful academic advisor is always remembering who I’m doing this for: the students. They have been my best teachers the last 12 years. I feel I can only measure any success I’ve had as an advisor through the success of my students.
Nancy Kester, 2005 Winner
It is important to be yourself and use your personality, strengths, and passions to develop a connection and trust with your students. Listen and ask follow-up questions. They need to know you care about them as individuals as well as for their academic and professional success. Make suggestions and send them information about classes, minors, volunteer, professional, student organization, and study abroad opportunities that might be pertinent to their career goals and dreams. Follow up with additional information and resources when you say you will or, like me, when you think of it after they have left your office. Teach and coach them to become independent learners and owners of their own educational and professional paths.