For the past 12 years, with the help of students, one adviser from each of Gannon University’s three colleges has been recognized for his or her excellence in undergraduate advising.
For the next 10 days, faculty advisers can be nominated for this year’s Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award. Winners are given a plaque and a monetary award.
This award is designed to recognize the outstanding contributions made by Gannon faculty advisers who have demonstrated the qualities of an exceptional academic adviser.
There are three winners for the award, one from each college: the College of Humanities, Engineering and Social Sciences, the College of Engineering and Business, and the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences.
Jeffrey Bloodworth, Ph.D., director of the history program, has been nominated and won three times: in 2008-2009, 2013-2014 and 2017-2018.
Since he won last year, he is ineligible to win for the next three years.
Bloodworth has been working at Gannon since 2007 but didn’t start advising students until his second semester.
Bloodworth said he has great students and he feels lucky enough to be nominated for the award.
“My definition of advising is knowing your students and taking the time to meet with them regularly,” Bloodworth said.
“It’s having that ongoing conversation and talking about more than just how classes are going.”
Bloodworth said that good advisers get to know their students, help them look for internships and other opportunities and ways to get engaged around campus, but also do their best to help prepare them for post-graduation.
“I’m currently trying to plan a trip to Washington, D.C., for a professional development conference called the Council on Foreign Relations, to give students who are interested in foreign policy a chance to gain some networking experience and learn more about what possibilities are available in foreign policy,” Bloodworth said.
“Experiences like internships and trips to conferences are the types of things that give students a confidence in themselves and knowing the direction they want to take their future.”
To nominate a faculty adviser, students must first be logged in to their account on my.gannon.edu.
After that, students go under the Student Resources tab and under the Student Success Center is the Academic Advising Center tab where they can then select the Excellence in Advising Award, which will bring up the page with the nomination form.
There are some criteria listed on the information page regarding the award.
The nominees are evaluated on the following criteria which are outlined by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA): strong interpersonal skills; availability to advisees, faculty or staff; frequency of contact with advisees; appropriate referral activity; caring, helpful attitude toward advisees, faculty, and staff; participation in and support of advising to build strong relationships with advisees; monitoring of student progress toward academic and career goals; and mastery of institutional regulations, policies, and procedures.
There is a selection committee that goes through all the nominations.
Sherry Tyzinski, an academic adviser in the Academic Advising Center, said that the first awards were handed out for the year 2005-2006. Awards have always been awarded in April during the spring semester.
Once an adviser is nominated, the adviser is notified that he/she has been nominated for the award. The adviser must respond with his/her advising philosophy and what he/she enjoys about advising students.
The student’s nomination and the adviser’s response are both taken into consideration when making the selection of the winners.
Anne O’Neill, an associate teaching professor of the School of Communication and the Arts and the director of the Advertising Communication program, won the award in 2012-2013.
O’Neill has been at Gannon for 22 years, starting out part-time before becoming a full-time faculty member shortly afterward.
She was hired to develop the advertising communication program and began working with and advising the students that were admitted to the program.
“My first year, we started seeing an interest in the program and getting enrollment, so I began advising students right away,” O’Neill said.
“I like working with students and helping them whenever I can, so I was really happy to find out that I was getting the Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award recognizing that what I do does help our students.”
She currently advises 15 to 20 students who are advertising communication and public relations majors.
“I also work with students who are advertising communication minors to help ensure that they are taking the right classes at the right time so they will be able to get the minor classes in before they graduate, a number of which come from the School of Business,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said her favorite thing about advising students is she gets to talk to them about all the possibilities that are out there if the students are unsure about what they want to major in and what they want to do after college.
“They find out what a career in advertising and public relations is all about, and a light bulb goes off,” O’Neill said.
“They realize that what we’re talking about is who they are and what they want to do.
“It means that what I do is helping students, and that is what all of us are here to do,” she said.
Abigail Ritchie, a senior communications major, said that she is unfamiliar with the award, but she wishes she would have known sooner to nominate her faculty adviser, David Blaetz, instructor in the School of Communication and the Arts.
“I would nominate Blaetz because he helped me discover my passions in the field of communications after coming to Gannon,” Ritchie said.
“I came to Gannon undeclared, and I chose communications after being in his Digital Audio Production class.
“Plus, Blaetz is a cool dude with cool hair,” she said.
Ritchie said it’s important for advisers to receive this recognition because she doesn’t believe that the faculty are acknowledged enough for all their hard work and dedication that they put into shaping the futures of their students.
“This is an opportunity for students to nominate their advisers so that they know we are grateful and that they’re positively impacting our lives,” Ritchie said.