When it comes to dispensing academic guidance to college students, there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions.
But when it comes to describing this year’s winners of West Virginia University’s Nicholas Evans Advising Award, one word covers all three: outstanding.
This year’s recipients are:
Jan-Erin Miller, a graduate student advisor who mentors freshmen students, focusing mainly on those in WVU’s T.E.A.M. program, and is a practicum therapist at WVU’s Carruth Center. T.E.A.M. —Teaching, Empowering, Advising, and Mentoring is a program designed to provide both students and parents with extra support as they make the transition to college.
“Extra” is a good description of Miller’s effort. She takes a personal interest in each student’s success.
In a letter of recommendation, Matthew Ferro, a student from New York, wrote that he was ready to withdraw from school early in his freshman year. Miller helped him overcome homesickness and helped him focus on his classes and time management.
“If it were not for Ms. Miller, I would probably be home and going to some community college and believe me that would be a big mistake,” Matthew Ferro wrote in a letter of recommendation. “I thank Ms. Miller for keeping me here at WVU it’s because of people like her that I know WVU is the right place for me.”
Cindy Tanner, faculty advisor, does double duty, mentoring computer science students in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Her experience has been an asset to both.
She’s been advising for 25 years and won the College Advisor Award in 2007.
Luke Cyphert said he was struggling academically until Tanner helped him realize his strengths and weaknesses. Once at risk, Cyphert said he has improved his GPA significantly and is on track to graduate in spring 2013.
“Thanks to her encouragement, I have secured employment with the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Systems Help Desk, have found new avenues of interest in my studies and have found the confidence to actively participate in my own education,” Cyphert said.
Chris Randall, professional advisor, is also a program coordinator at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. He advises around 80 students, according to Linda Frederick, coordinator of student services at the Statler College, but he’s also the “go to” person when other students’ advisors are unavailable.
“Chris is very generous with his time, making sure that all students get the attention needed, which often requires working well beyond his normal workday,” Frederick said. “He has great rapport with the students and they are comfortable talking with him about all their academic concerns.”
Randall was awarded the Statler College Staff Employee of the Year award in 2005 and 2009.
Miller will receive a $1,000 award for travel and scholarship. Tanner and Randall will receive $2,500 in their departmental budgets for travel and scholarship.
The awards were presented April 13 at the Faculty and Staff Excellence Celebration dinner, which recognizes some of the University’s most dedicated and accomplished faculty and staff. The event was for award winners and invited guests.
Evans retired from WVU in June 2007 after a long and distinguished 40-year career at the University. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from WVU. He joined the English faculty in 1967 and also served as the department’s undergraduate student adviser for many years. He was also director of the University’s Undergraduate Academic Services Center and served as associate dean for undergraduate education in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. A lifelong learner, he was fluent in Greek and a student of the Latin, French, German and Spanish languages. He also taught British literature to scores of students over the years.
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CONTACT: University Relations News