Student Senate vice president Austen McFarren is proposing a new “adviser of the term” award in hopes it will motivate advisers to be the best they can be.
The secondary English education senior is looking for five to 10 students to join a committee that will meet biweekly and review student nominations for the adviser of the term honor.
“Hopefully we can get a system where students send in a couple paragraphs about why they care about their adviser, promoting good advising,” McFarren said. “I don’t want it to be a popularity contest, so that’s why were going to do it based on best response voting process.”
The creation of the award in still in the process, and McFarren hopes the committee will be fully formed by mid-October.
McFarren’s idea to create the program was in reaction to the mixed responses given by professors to the new LEAD Adviser Program, a leadership development opportunity for faculty members. He said not all of the faculty members were on board with the program. Many professors travel to get to school and do not want to make the extra trip on off days. There are also several advisers that are doing their jobs correctly, and the classes are just a repeat of what they already do.
The LEAD Adviser Program was developed to identify one faculty member per department that would attend all advising and update sessions. This LEAD adviser will serve as a mentor to the department and is responsible for bringing information back to the department to present to fellow advisers. LEAD advisers will also be a member of a collaborative advising team, composed of department chairs and peer advisers.
LEAD is the acronym that identifies the structure of the program. L stands for lead; E, engage; A, advise; and D, develop. A daylong LEAD Adviser training workshop will take place on Oct. 14.
McFarren said ideal nomination entries would be a personal story where an adviser gave a student great advice or helped them through a tough academic time.
“We want to point out the positives,” McFarren said. “So that the advisers that are struggling can see that and see what other advisers are doing that students like.”
As of now, the award is known as adviser of the term, but once the committee is formed, it will decide an official title for the accolade as a group. The criteria for the award will also be decided during the first committee meeting. It’s important that there are a variety of students across all majors on the committee to make sure that a voice is heard from each department. It’s a collaborative effort between students.
“I don’t want to control everything, I just think it’s important that it’s student run and the students decide it,” McFarren said.
Most importantly, McFarren would like to make it known that it is not a popularity contest. The winner is not chosen based off a voting system, but by written first-hand accounts. The overall goal of the award is that it will serve as an incentive to advisers to be the best they can be.
Anyone interested in joining this committee can contact McFarren at firstname.lastname@example.org or watch for the Student Senate table in the CMU tabling area.
BY MEREDITH WATHNE