Friday, September 12, 2008

9/12/08 OMG The Sequel

On May 1, just a little over 3 months ago, I had an amazing Oh My Goodness moment when I was voted by students to be "Faculty of the Year" for faculty who had been at UMF for 1 to 5 years. Tonight, I had another OMG moment. How can you have a "once in a lifetime experience" twice in the same year??? Tonight was the annual "Welcome Back Dinner" for faculty and staff. It's a very fun evening with crazy games, good food, recognition of employees for years of service, and great comraderie. I went last year and had a great time (and sat at the table that won the games, beating out the table that "always wins"). So I went again this year. This time, no one else from my department was there, but now I have enough friends and colleagues in other departments (from committee work and church and on-campus events, etc.) that I wasn't disappointed to not sit with my department buddies. In fact, I sat with Clyde and Michelle of Games Night and Michelle is such a cool person to hang out with, so I knew I'd have a good time. I had just been to the dentist the day before , and my new dentist's wife was at the table, too. She had come to Games Night when it was my turn to hostess, so I knew how much fun she was going to be. So all in all, it was a most enjoyable evening. After the singing and the games and the dinner and the speeches, they gave out recognition awards for people who had been at UMF for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 years. That's always fun. Then they announced "a new tradition" where they were going to give awards for Excellence in Academic Advising. They gave a few of these at the March 2007 spring dinner and that was the first time they had been given. I'm guessing since that dinner is given by a student-led organization and the awards were not from that group, they decided to move them to this dinner. Well, you already know where this is going. I was named one of three recipients! The nomination process is that the department chair nominates people from his department. Well, I knew I'd been nominated (but frankly it was so long ago, I had forgotten) but so had at least one other person in our department and there are a lot of departments on campus. Then the dean writes a letter of support and forwards everything on to the committee. The committee then determines the official nominees and then sends email to all the advisees of the nominated advisors. And from all that input, the committee selects the winners. And there they were, calling out my name as a winner of the award! George, who is the head of the advising program and a lot of other good stuff on campus, read excerpts from the student emails as he presented each award. Here's what he read about me:

Theresa's advisees say that she takes a personal interest in each one of them, and is especially good at finding out what they really want to do, and then helping them to succeed. One student, who changed her major three times with Theresa's help, said that "She put me on the path to success--three times." She helps them find confidence when they need it. Although she hasn't been at UMF for a long time, she knows the curriculum well, and is always asking questions to find out more about how things work here. Another thing her advisees like about her is that she believes that it's important to have fun as well as work hard. Apparently she once had a conference with an advisee at a pie eating contest. One describes her as "The ultimate academic advisor."

How fun is that??!! I think my favorite part is that I had such fun quotes from my advisees. And they've actually figured out that I really mean it when I say, "It's important to have fun as well as work hard." And yes, I was attending (not participating in) a pie-eating contest and did have a quick advising session in the back row while waiting for the festivities to begin. In a personal email after the dinner, George wrote to me, "There was of course much more. Your advisees and colleagues think very highly of your advising, and of all your work at UMF. I enjoyed being a part of the public recognition of your good work here."

I'm flattered beyond belief.

3 comments: said...

I've been thinking about you a lot lately and no wonder!! Congratulations! You are one of the most efficient-at-your-job and fun-loving people I've ever met.


Lindsay said...

Congratulations, once again! You deserve it, and I can tell every time you talk about your students and your job!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Cuz!!!! We are so proud and impressed, yet not surprised.

Rebecca, Albert, Vilani, Veronica & Patricia