Faculty voice:

Sekhar Chivukula: Recognizing advisers

Oct. 11, 2017

Sekhar Chivukula is the associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies.

On Sept. 21, I had the opportunity to speak at the first MSU Adviser Recognition Ceremony. Advising is a unique academic role on campus, in which advisers need to carefully balance giving students accurate and realistic advice on academic options, while simultaneously honoring students’ hopes and dreams. Advisers empower students to make life-altering decisions for themselves, armed with the best possible information. And, on occasion, they advocate for students who legitimately have a grievance with the system.

Advising expert W. R. Habley once said, and I agree, “Academic advising is the only structured service on the campus in which all students have the opportunity for on-going, one-to-one contact with a concerned representative of the institution.”

This is especially true and important at a large public institution like MSU.

At MSU, we believe that all our students have the ability to learn, persist and graduate. In many cases, however, our incoming students have no idea in what field they will find their calling. Others come in believing there is only one true path to success, and become disillusioned if that becomes untenable. In these cases, most often, advising is the difference between persistence and graduation or disappointment and a departure with debt.

Advisers also play a crucial role in student success efforts. In particular, they are responsible for MSU’s shift from reactive to proactive advising, as evidenced by the adoption of the Student Success Dashboard and for the implementation of Enhancing Academic Success Early early warning reports. Advisers also provide the guidance needed for our incoming students to establish “credit momentum” (see the Go Green, Go 15 campaign), which increased the number of first-year students registered for 15 or more credits in the fall semester from 28 percent in 2016 to 42 percent in 2017.

The nominations and selection of the award winners were done by peers, meaning the honorees have earned the respect from those closest to them who know what they do and how they help both students and MSU.

The categories of awards and this year’s recipients are:

New Adviser Award: Recognizes an outstanding MSU advisor who has been in the field of advising for three years or less. Awardee: Erika Crews, Honors College

Established Adviser Award: Recognizes an outstanding MSU advisor who has contributed to the MSU community for more than three years. Awardee: Jonglim Han Yoo, Dow STEM Scholars Program.

Faculty Adviser Award: Recognizes an outstanding MSU advisor who also serves as a member of the faculty. Awardee: Gary Schnakenberg, Deptartment of Geography, Environmental and Spatial Sciences.

Advising Administrator: Recognizes an outstanding MSU advisor who also serves as an administrator. Awardee: Dorcia Chaison, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

While these awardees are highly deserving, I recognize that many others in our university advising community work tirelessly in support of our students – and I look forward to recognizing many more of them in the coming years.

Story repurposed from Spartan Ideas.