Throughout the course of their academic careers, students will make connections with many influential people. It could be a faculty member who presents a lesson that inspires a student to pursue a major in their field of study. Or a coach. Mentors and resident advisors. Alumni who have developed as leaders in the professional world. Every single person makes a difference, but the relationships that endure the longest may be those between students and Academic Advisors.
These dedicated individuals support students as they figure out where they ultimately want to end up, and help chart the path to get there. Deeply committed to the success of all students, these are the folks who keep them on track to graduate on time, offer a dose of realism when needed, and provide the overall support students need to realize their greatest ambitions. They are true cheerleaders and champions for our students, and are undeniably deserving of recognition, every single day. On Jan. 25, NC State honored five exceptionally deserving advisors from across the university during the 2019 NC State University Undergraduate Academic Advising Awards Ceremony.
New Advisor Award
Recognizes a faculty advisor or primary role advisor who has been employed as an advisor for *three or fewer years. Advising should make up 50% or more of individual’s job duties. Nominees show a strong commitment to promoting student success through developing relationships with students, becoming aware of policies and procedures, referring students to resources for assistance, and demonstration commitment to professional development as an advisor.
Michael Lee is an academic advisor in the Life Sciences First Year (LSFY) Program. Prior to returning to LSFY, he served as academic advisor in the Wilson College of Textiles. Michael began his undergraduate education at NC State in the First Year College in 1996. That did not go quite as planned. After completing his associate’s degree in architectural technology, he earned his bachelor’s degree in construction management from East Carolina University. His work in residential project management led him back to NC State in 2005 working with the College of Natural Resources. Michael earned his master’s degree in counselor education from NC State in 2012. He then spent over 3 years as a stay-at-home dad with his son, Joseph, before returning to work in 2016. He is proud of coming full circle at NC State and thankful for the wonderful people he has worked with across this campus.
New Faculty Advisor Award
Recognizes an academic advisor who has shown exemplary service, and has worked as an advisor for *three or fewer years. Primary responsibilities include teaching and/or research, with a portion of time dedicated to providing academic advising services.
Dr. Gene Melton is Senior Lecturer and Academic Advisor in the Department of English in NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He teaches courses in LGBT+ literature (ENG 267), American literature (ENG 265), African American literature (ENG 248), British literature (ENG 251 and 261), science fiction (ENG 376), studies in fiction (ENG 208), and first-year composition (ENG 101). As an advisor, he works with approximately 60 students majoring in literature, film, and creative writing. In his own research, he explores 19th- and 20th-century American and African American literature through the lenses of queer theory and masculinity studies. His current book project is a study of the depictions of race, class, and sexuality in male friendships in 19th-century U. S. narratives of nation building. In addition to teaching, advising, and research work, Dr. Melton has been active in NC State’s chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute since 2016.
Faculty Advisor Award
Recognizes an advisor whose primary responsibility is as a teaching/researching faculty member. The recipient exhibits a strong commitment to student success through availability to advisees, commitment to guiding students in career and academic paths, and awareness of policies and procedures.
Dr. Russell Gorga is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor and Professor of Textile Engineering at NC State University. He is also the Director of Undergraduate Programs and Associate Department Head in Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science. He has affiliate appointments in both Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Gorga was a TH!NK Faculty Fellows (2016 – 2017). He focuses his classroom on an active learning platform, where students are actively participating in the classroom to solve problems, evaluate decisions, and brainstorm solutions to engineering problems. He is currently involved in creating novel approaches to produce nanofibers. Publication highlights include more than 45 peer reviewed journal articles, one patent, and several book chapters. Dr. Gorga received the Outstanding Teacher Award and was inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Teachers (2007). He has also received the Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award (2016), and the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate
Professor award (2017).
Advising Administrator Award
Recognizes an administrator who has oversight of an advising unit. Nominees have served as an advising administrator at NC State for at least three years. They show advocacy for advisors in their charge, a commitment to understanding the advising process and student learning, and a commitment to using assessment to continuously improve their unit’s advising process.
Dr. Tarek Aziz joined NC State’s Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering as a faculty member in 2010 and in 2013 became the Coordinator of Advising for the department. As the Coordinator of Advising, he directs 50 faculty and serves as primary advisor for approximately 750 undergraduate students across three degree programs. In addition to serving as an advising administrator,
Dr. Aziz is a passionate teacher and researcher; in 2014 he was awarded the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award. Dr. Aziz has found ways to blend his passions for teaching and learning with administration and recently led a reimagining of his departments advising model in an effort to better empower students and faculty mentors. To accomplish this, Dr. Aziz worked to integrate advising in his department’s curricula and developed online advising video resources. Since implementation in fall 2017, his efforts have come with unanimous praise from both faculty and students.
Barbara Soloman Advising Award
Recognizes a primary role advisor (academic advising makes up 50% or more of job duties), who has demonstrated dedicated service to students. Nominees are professional advisors who contribute to student success by going the extra mile to provide involved, holistic, and developmentally sensitive guidance and have five or more years of academic advising experience at NC State.
Dr. Andrea Atkin has been an academic advisor and instructor in Exploratory Studies (program formerly known as First Year College/FYC) for twenty years. Before coming to NC State University, she was a visiting assistant professor of English at Wake Forest University, where she taught courses in writing, American literature, and women’s studies. While at Wake Forest, she also advised first year students and thus began her career in advising students in transition. She grew up in southern California and attended Mills College and Pomona College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She subsequently earned her master’s degree and PhD at the University of Chicago. She has been very involved in developing the curriculum and textbook in FYC/Exploratory Studies. She has often served as a mentor for new advisors in Exploratory Studies, and currently mentors new instructors.