School of Business Administration hosts top OU advisors


Photo courtesy of Oakland University News

OU School of Business Administration advisers Denica Holzworth and Adam McChesney received awards.

Every year, Oakland University awards the top advisers at the university with the Outstanding Professional Academic Advising Award and New Adviser of the Year Award. This year, both awards were won by members of the School of Business AdministrationAdam McChesney and Denica Holzworth, respectively.

McChesney has been an adviser with the School of Business for 10 years and is an OU alumni. He was able to qualify for the award after being nominated by students throughout the year and said winning the award was “pretty gratifying.”

“Part of the application package you have to show what you’ve done to affect campus and what kind of effect you had on students,” McChesney said. “In my case, different kinds of presentations I’ve developed and delivered, different conference proposals and presentations I put together, some of the technology work, some of the communication and other student engagement campaigns that I’ve developed around here.”

OU first introduced the Outstanding Professional Academic Advising Award in 2008, with the New Adviser of the Year Award coming into fruition in 2016. McChesney is only the second adviser from the School of Business Administration to win the award — the first was Julie Demidoff in 2013.

“I felt like advising has improved on campus leaps and bounds from when I was there,” McChesney said. “Oakland’s administration and advising leadership and the advisers themselves have really advocated, and so now we have a lot more advisers, a lot more technological support, a lot more training support and a lot more faculty and administrative support.”

McChesney has given praise to Juan Carlos Mendez of the School of Business for the help in technology and showing McChesney the possibilities of data with SAIL. McChesney is still taking classes at OU to better understand the classes his students are taking and to better help assist them as to why they need to be taking the classes. 

The advising office for the School of Business Administration has transformed into a data driven advising approach, which helps point out students who may be encountering issues with registration like taking the wrong classes. The end goal is to get students the information they need to know before they realize they need it.

“Advising Director Debbie Lengyel and our office here has been really nice to give all of us the freedom to try things,” McChesney said. “I think that’s super important — higher education is all about innovation and really expanding knowledge, so having that freedom to try new things and run with ideas has been really good.”

What McChesney likes the most about advising is how it has a part in almost everything that goes on around campus. He also enjoys when he can reflect and say he was a part of a student’s journey and success, especially come graduation time and students email him.

Ryan Shiemke, a junior majoring in marketing, is one of the students who has McChesney as an adviser and has high praise for McChesney.

“Adam is a great adviser, and he always responds promptly and with solid advice,” Shiemke said. “He walked me through every single step of registration before I had to register.”

OU is going through a process called the Excellence in Academic Advising initiative which looks at how advising can improve, and McChesney feels OU will continue to get better with its advising.

“I think we’re going to have students see a much more streamlined advising experience and get all the advising areas on the same page,” McChesney said. “Looking at how to integrate advising as part of an integral part of the academic experience.”