SRU recognizes Micsky and Willford with 2022 President’s Awards for Outstanding Academic Advising
The Slippery Rock University President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Advising recognized SRU faculty for their roles as academic advisers, which includes meeting with students before they register for classes each semester.
April 8, 2022
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Academic advising by a professor is crucial to college students' success, which is why each year Slippery Rock University recognizes its faculty with the President's Award for Outstanding Academic Advising. There are two winners of the award in 2022, one in the Emerging category, for faculty members with fewer than three years of advising experience, and the Established category, for those with three or more years. Tami Micsky, an assistant professor of public health and social work, is the Emerging winner, and Jennifer Willford, associate professor of psychology, is the Established winner.
"I am honored to be recognized for dedicating my time to encouraging and guiding social work students," said Micsky, who joined the SRU faculty in 2020 and is advising 53 students this academic year. "I enjoy supporting students throughout their college journey and what's great about this award is that I was nominated by students. It's a wonderful reminder of my purpose as an educator and to stay focused on the students."
The SRU President's Award for Outstanding Academic Advising is based on student nominations that are reviewed by an awards committee, which is organized through the Provost's Office. The president selects the recipient based on the committee's recommendation of finalists. Winners receive a plaque and $1,000 in professional travel funds.
"I'm thankful for the recognition that this award affords, but I'm mostly honored to be recognized for advising as I view the work that I do with students in advising and mentoring as one of the most rewarding and meaningful aspects of my work," said Willford, who joined SRU in 2012 and advising between 45-65 students each year. "Students come to advisers for advice about what classes they should take, practicalities of navigating life on campus, and how to prepare for their careers. Advisees also want to talk about what is going on in their lives and how to manage stress and uncertainty."
In their roles as academic advisers, faculty meet with students at least once per semester before students register for classes for the following semester, or multiple times to ensure they are on the right track for academic and professional success.
"Ultimately, I hope to engage students in a conversation, in learning, and in reflection that will cultivate strong, empathetic, informed social workers," Micsky said. "When I create a safe environment for students, by building rapport and creating a welcoming physical environment, students are more likely to share concerns, seek assistance in finding resources, and collaborate to create goals."
Both Micsky and Willford are also active in other administrative work outside of meeting with students. Micsky is the program director for SRU's Bachelor of Science in social work program, and Willford is the program director for the psychology-neuroscience concentration and the pre-professional psychology programs in pre-physician assistant and pre-occupational therapy programs, as well as SRU's affiliated programs with Chatham University. Still, advising students remains a priority.
"Academic advising is important because as advisers we help students set the course for their future and navigate what psychologists have termed 'emerging adulthood,'" Willford said. "The foundation of good advising is being present for students, positive communication and a belief that every student matters and has the potential to succeed. For me, it is essential that my advisees understand that they matter to me and that I will be their advocate, link them to opportunities that will help them reach their goals, and help them to develop coping skills so that they can be resilient when 'life happens.'"
Micsky and Willford were presented their awards at SRU's Celebration of Achievement ceremony, April 5. More information about SRU's President's Awards is available on the SRU website.
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