LAWRENCE — The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas recognized six faculty members for outstanding student advising. All winners were nominated by the students they have served in mentoring or advising relationships, demonstrating the impact they have in shaping the entire experience of their students.
Advising awards were presented to several recipients in surprise presentations during classes or departmental faculty meetings this spring.
Three faculty members received the 2013-2014 J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award honoring exceptional commitment to undergraduate advising. Students nominated the professors for guiding them in educational and career goals through advising. The honor comes with a $1,000 award.
The J. Michael Young awardees:
- Evangelia Chrysikou, assistant professor of psychology, was praised by student nominators for her dedication to advising each student individually to best address their needs and goals. She provides advice to students both in and out of the classroom, encouraging them to dig deeper into their questions to discover new opportunities for growth. As one of her nominators said, Chrysikou’s knowledge, determination and encouragement have stimulated their interest in science and academia and reassured them about their life’s direction.
- Victoria Corbin, associate professor of molecular biosciences, was nominated for her excellent advising and compassionate attitude. One nominator said their experience at KU has been a joy due in no small part to Corbin’s involvement in their life. Her nomination letter said she possesses an understanding of how to get students interested in their fields and support their decisions. She not only guides students’ paths, but also communicates funding and research opportunities to students and provides weekly meetings to give students an opportunity to practice conference presentation.
- Kyoim Yun, assistant professor of East Asian languages and cultures, was nominated for her dedication to the Korean program at KU and its students. She has created study abroad opportunities by collaborating with Korean universities and established a four-year program of Korean language courses at KU. Yun also works tirelessly with individual students, according to her nomination. She prepares students for graduate studies, academic research and opportunities abroad. She works outside of class to support students, writing letters of recommendation and teaching students how to write and win grants. One nominator said Yun's dedication and persistence have been instrumental in furthering their knowledge of Korean language and culture in preparation for graduate study.
The Byron Alexander Graduate Mentor Award has been given to faculty in the College since 1993. The purpose is to recognize faculty mentors who regularly enhance the experience of graduate students in their departments, programs and centers. Winners have helped graduate students make the most of their experience and opportunities at KU and receive a $500 prize.
The Byron Alexander awardees:
- Steve Egbert, professor in the Department of Geography, was nominated for his personal involvement in helping students amplify their knowledge base, especially in matters of physical geography, remote sensing science and genocide studies. His nomination said he uses clear and insightful guidance to teach students how to approach scholarly communication. Egbert’s students describe him as personable, enthusiastic and a brilliant faculty member who directs his students with a positive and friendly attitude.
- Ric Steele, professor of applied behavioral science and director of the Clinical Child Psychology Program, was nominated for being a true mentor in a research university by integrating his research, teaching and advising skills into a single role: academic advisor. Nominators said when Steele meets with his students his decisions are based on his or her best interest, which creates a relationship where students feel comfortable bringing any questions, concerns, successes and challenges. One of Steele’s most important mentorship gifts to his students is his ability to guide them into the future they desire. From day one Steele helps his students form a picture of their ideal position after graduate school, and he works tirelessly over their time in graduate school to make that picture a reality for students.
The John C. Wright Graduate Mentor Award has been given to faculty in the College since 2002. The award recognizes faculty mentors who regularly enhance the experience of graduate students. Recipients are nominated by their students and receive a $750 prize.
- Michael Roberts, professor of psychology and applied behavioral science, was awarded the Wright Graduate Mentor Award for serving as an outstanding advisor and mentor for many students. Roberts demonstrates care for his students by engaging in their career planning and providing references, advice and continued research participation opportunities once they graduate. Roberts ensures his students are exposed to as many opportunities as possible in graduate school, so that they will gain professional experience and exposure to benefit them once they reach the job market. Nominators said whether it is a question of professional guidance, academic advising or puzzling over a research problem, Roberts is always available and eager to offer his help and support to any student who seeks it.
Funds for the awards are managed by KU Endowment, the independent nonprofit foundation serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning. The College is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit.