2012 Outstanding Professional Academic Advising Award recipient to be named mid-December

By Kevin Graham

The nominations for the 2012 Outstanding Professional Academic Advising Award ended Oct. 26.

Nominees were selected based on building strong mentoring relationships with students, their leadership skills and creation and support of advising programs, among other criteria.

Winners are given a plaque and a $1,000 stipend courtesy of the Provost’s Office.

Last year’s winner Lorin Wright, an academic adviser in the School of Education and Human Services and chair of this year’s selection committee, said a good academic adviser is one who creates a personal connection with their students.

“One common theme for every recipient of this award is that the students feel a personal connection with their adviser,” Wright said. “Students believe the adviser knows them as an individual and takes a true interest in their problems, as well as, their successes.”

Most advisers are eligible for the award, with the only stipulations being they have to have been employed at OU for at least three years. Winners of the last five years are ineligible.

Nichole Moninger, chair of the professional advisers council and director of teacher education advising services at OU, said  nominees are not disclosed publicly in order to protect the integrity of the process.

She said at least one adviser from each academic area has been nominated this year.

Of the initial 30 nominations, 11 are finalists considered for the award.

The winner will be announced in mid-December, and will be nominated for a National Academic Advising Association award.

According to the award criteria, a good academic adviser should encourage students to explore the many options available to them, guide students toward attaining their academic and career goals and refer them to the right place when more information is needed.

Wright said a good adviser serves as a guide to the students.

“As an adviser, I am committed to assisting students in discovering their talents, skills and interests, and guiding them on a career path that will most fully utilize these attributes,” Wright said.

According to Wright, advisers play an important  role in student retention and future success.

“To the students, they are the face of the university. That is, advisers are the ones that every student will interact with throughout their college experience,” Wright said.