Five employees honored for outstanding student advising

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Kyle Ross
“Academic advising helps students make important connections between their education, identity and environment. Advisors use an eclectic approach to address a wide range of academic, personal, social and career issues students face during their undergraduate education and beyond.” – Kyle Ross
Phil Mixter
“I do my best to equip students with tools to learn about their program, plan their own schedule and foster their own career-development activities. I distribute important information regarding academic opportunities such as scholarship programs, summer research fellowships or service opportunities.”
– Phil Mixter
Susan Poch“It is due in no small part to the community of professional advisors that I have grown in my understanding and appreciation of academic advising. Although I am not currently advising students one-to-one, I believe that every day I am actively involved in academic advising that benefits students, advisors, administrators and the institution.” – Susan Poch
Jeremy Lessmann“I try to help my advisees discover their true interests. For instance, I almost always begin my advising meetings with a statement like ‘So, have you been thinking about where you want to go?’ and I really listen to what their goals are.” – Jeremy Lessmann
Dan Dolan“I like to use the term empowering advising. I try to empower people to evaluate their own skill set and aspirations and develop a plan of action to obtain the goals that come out of the evaluation.” – Dan Dolan
PULLMAN, Wash. – Five Washington State University employees have won annual awards for student advising. They will be formally recognized at the April 16 awards ceremony of the University College in the Lewis Alumni Centre.
Kyle Ross, Phil Mixter, Susan Poch, Jeremy Lessmann and Dan Dolan will receive Outstanding Achievement in Academic Advising awards presented by the WSU Academic Advising Association (ACADA).
“These exceptional faculty and staff members epitomize the very best of what academic advising is and does,” said Brooke Whiting, WSU ACADA awards committee chair and president elect. “Each has a guiding advising philosophy; each participates in professional development and demonstrates dedication to students’ academic success.”
The percent of working time the winners spend in advising averages 43.6 (ranging from 5 to 90 percent). They total 434 years of advising experience (from 1.5 to 23 years) and advise 385 students altogether.
WSU ACADA is the primary organization for professional and faculty advisors and student-support personnel at the university. It was formed in 2009 and is an allied member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).
The honorees are:
Kyle Ross, new advisor/primary role category. A 2011 WSU masters of arts graduate in counseling, he is an academic and career advisor in the Center for Advising and Career Development, a program in the University College, and co-chair of ACADA’s programming and events committee.
In November, he received the NACADA Region 8 Excellence in Advising: New Advisor Award. He will present a session on facilitating exploration and commitment to enhance student success at the 2013 regional conference and at the international conference in the Netherlands.
Phil Mixter, faculty category. A clinical associate professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) and WWAMI medical program in the College of Veterinary Medicine, he researches biomedical instructional research. With a biology scholars assessment fellowship in 2012-13, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, he is collecting data on student learning and comprehension.
He received a 2012 WSU Distinguished Teaching Award for undergraduate education, a Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Grant for work with Susan Wang on “The Effect of Active Learning on Microbiology Outcomes,” and, in 2010, the SMB Excellence in Faculty Advising Award for his work with students inside and outside the classroom.
Susan Poch, administrator category. The WSU alumna (Ph.D. education leadership and counseling psychology; M.A. human development; B.A. child, consumer and family studies) is an associate dean of the University College, where she provides vision for first-year student programs, the common requirements (UCORE) program and academic advising. She co-directs the common reading program and is an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology.
In May 2012, she was chosen as one of 10 experienced leaders nationwide to mentor participants in NACADA’s “Emerging Leaders Program.” She chairs WSU’s advising consultant group, which reports to the provost, and is among 11 academic advisors taking part in an eight-week appreciative advisors course.
Jeremy Lessmann, professional faculty category. A clinical assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry/Analytical Division in the College of Arts and Sciences, he is a member of the CAS advising council and represents the college on the WSU-wide advising consultant group.
In 2009, he received the College of Sciences Outstanding Advisor Award. He advises undergraduates, engages in summer research involving spectroscopy of f-block elements and teaches core laboratory courses for chemistry majors as well as the introductory chemistry course.
Dan Dolan, faculty category certificate of merit. A professor of structural engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in the College of Engineering and Architecture and a professor and director of codes and standards in the Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory at WSU, he was CEE’s outstanding student advisor in 2011 and won the university-wide Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for public service in 2007.
He teaches undergraduate and graduate civil engineering courses. His research pertains to improving the response of low-rise buildings (less than 10 stories) to earthquakes and hurricanes; most of his research is oriented toward changing U.S. building design regulations. He held a Fulbright Fellowship in 2008 and taught and conducted research on how to design and construct residential buildings to better survive large earthquakes at the Universidad de Concepción in Chile; he also advised the Chilean government and forest industry on how to update design codes and standards.

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