Throughout the course of their academic careers, students will make connections with many influential people. It could be a faculty member who presents a lesson that inspires a student to pursue a major in their field of study. Or a coach. Mentors and resident advisors. Alumni who have developed as leaders in the professional world. Every single person makes a difference, but the relationships that endure the longest may be those between students and Academic Advisors.
These dedicated individuals support students as they figure out where they ultimately want to end up, and help chart the path to get there. Deeply committed to the success of all students, these are the people who keep them on track to graduate on time, offer a dose of realism when needed, and provide the overall support students need to realize their greatest ambitions. They are true cheerleaders and champions for our students, and are undeniably deserving of recognition, every single day. On Jan. 24, NC State honored five exceptionally deserving advisors from across the university during the 2020 NC State University Undergraduate Academic Advising Awards Ceremony.
New Advisor Award
The New Advisor Award is presented to an outstanding primary role advisor who has been advising for up to 3 years, including service at all institutions. Advising makes up 50% or more of the individual’s responsibilities.
Tony Shurer, Academic Coordinator for International Student Support, Academic Advising Programs and Services and the Office of International Services
Shurer arrived on campus in 2005 after graduating from Penn State University with a degree in Communication Arts and Sciences and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. He earned an M.Ed. from NC State’s College of Education in 2007. He has held positions in University Housing, Student Conduct, and now Academic Advising Programs and Services. In all of these roles, Shurer has supported students as they develop decision-making strategies for moving toward their goals. His primary focus is supporting the success of international students who join this academic community. He introduces both undergraduate and graduate international students to higher education in the United States and advises Exploratory Studies and Inter College Transfer (ICT) international students.
One of his colleagues said: “From academic progress to campus engagement, from college transition to leadership development, he cares about students as a supporting advisor and a wise friend.”
New Faculty Advisor Award
The New Faculty Advisor Award honors an outstanding faculty member who has been advising undergraduates for up to 3 years, including service at all institutions, and who spends less than 50% of their time serving as an academic advisor.
Dr. Joseph Donaldson, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Donaldson advises the Extension Education and Agricultural Science majors and the Extension Education minors. Advising approximately 40 students, he works to prepare future Extension professionals for North Carolina and beyond. He also coordinates the annual NC State Extension Summer Internship Program and works with Extension professionals and stakeholders to enhance community engagement. He worked to increase enrollment in the Extension Education minor from 2 to 13 students in only 15 months. He also coordinated the NC State Extension Summer Internship Program that provided 31 internships.
One of his students said: “‘Helping people help themselves.’ This is not only Cooperative Extension’s motto but Dr. Donaldson’s, as well. Day in and day out Dr. Donaldson strives to ‘make the best better,’ as the 4-Hers say, in every way possible.”
Advising Administrator Award
The Advising Administrator Award recognizes an outstanding individual who has oversight of an advising unit. Nominees must have served as an advising administrator at NC State for at least 3 years.
Tremaine Brittian, Director of Advising and Recruitment, College of Education
Brittian leads and administers all aspects of advising, recruitment, and admissions for the College of Education. As a member of the NC State campus community, she has served in a variety of counseling, advising, teaching, and administrative roles all focused on serving students and supporting faculty and staff to enrich and ensure students’ success. In addition to the College of Education, she has worked with Parents & Families Services, Multicultural Student Affairs, Campus Activities, and the College of Textiles. Brittian earned her Bachelor’s degree in Textile Management and her Master’s degree in Counselor Education from NC State.
Her nominator said: “As the Director of Advising, Tremaine has not only become an asset in the College of Education, but also to the larger NC State community where she has provided unwavering leadership and mentorship to other professionals. Her ability to communicate advising issues that impact the larger campus community and advocate for her colleagues is a tremendous asset.”
Faculty Advisor Award
The Faculty Advisor Award recognizes an outstanding individual whose primary responsibility is in teaching and research and who spends less than 50% of their time advising undergraduate students. The individual has advised undergraduates for 3+ years including service at all institutions.
Dr. Chad V. Jordan, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Jordan advises Plant Biology majors and connects students with faculty research programs in the plant sciences. He advises all students in the Plant Biology major, the undergraduate Botany Club, and teaches courses that range from first year to graduate-level, including Perspectives on Botany, Plant Life, Culinary Botany, Plant Anatomy, and Plant Biotechnology. He also serves as the CALS advisor to students in the dual-degree Thomas Jefferson Scholars Program. Dr. Jordan has mentored more than 100 graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants in several plant biology courses.
One of his former students said: “Whether he was writing recommendation letters, encouraging me to apply for awards, or giving me advice for the future, the role Dr. Jordan played in shaping my career is immeasurable…without his assistance I would not have known about half the opportunities I have had.”
Barbara Soloman Award
The Barbara Soloman Award is presented to the outstanding advisor who spends at least 50% of their time on direct delivery of advising to students and has 5 years or more of academic advising experience at NC State. This award is presented in honor of Barbara Soloman, whose long and distinguished career demonstrated both outstanding advising and advocacy for students as she championed student success.
Michelle Garoutte, Academic Advisor in the Inter College Transfer Program, Academic Advising Programs and Services
Since the fall of 2012, Garoutte has served as an academic advisor and coordinated programming for students in transition with their major in Academic Advising Programs and Services (AAPS). A Wolfpack alumna with degrees in both zoology and science education, she advised and served as Coordinator of Transfer Students for the College of Engineering from 1999 to 2005. After serving as a full time caregiver for her children, Garoutte returned to advising for the Poole College of Management from 2007-2012, where she also coordinated the Hamilton Scholars dual degree program.
One of her advisees wrote: “She saw my situation for what it was, a very challenging but attainable goal for a student to fulfill his dream. She told me that she would never tell a student something was impossible, and that she would support me and help advise me every step of the way.”
This article was originally published on the Academic and Student Affairs website.