West Virginia University is honoring its outstanding advisers with the 2016 Nicholas Evans Excellence in Advising Award.

This award recognizes exceptional advising and mentoring provided by faculty and professional advisers at WVU. Up to four recipients may receive the award each academic year in honor of Dr. Nicholas Evans, a lifelong proponent and exemplar of undergraduate advising at WVU.

The 2016 award winners in the faculty adviser category are Dr. Cheryl Brown and Dr. John Navaratnam. The award winners in the professional adviser category are Kelly Hudgins and Jennifer Mandeville.

Dr. Cheryl Brown is an associate professor and undergraduate coordinator of agricultural and resource economics. In the Division of Resource Management at Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, she is the leader of their undergraduate teaching, advising, mentoring and curriculum development.

“As an adviser and mentor, I have an important role to play in helping students realize their goals of college graduation,” says Brown. “If we can find a student’s niche in the world, he or she can succeed here at WVU and in a career they will find rewarding.”

Dr. John Navaratnam is a teaching assistant professor in biology in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Described by his colleagues as a caring, compassionate adviser, Navaratnam has built strong advising practices within the biology department and in Eberly College.

“As an academic adviser, I consider it a privilege to see that each student has access to the tools needed to succeed in their chosen degree as they seek to achieve their career goals,” says Navaratnam.

Kelly Hudgins is the director of student success programs at the WVU Institute of Technology. In the fall of 2013, WVU Tech successfully implemented a new academic advising model through Hudgins’ leadership. She is an accessible adviser with a strong understanding of WVU Tech’s curriculum and its academic demands.

“Good advising meets students exactly where they are when they step on campus and takes the time to examine their academic backgrounds and career goals,” says Hudgins. “Most importantly, good advising seeks out the person behind the student and supports his or her needs in and out of the classroom.”

Jennifer Mandeville is the assistant director of student-athlete development, focusing on students who participate in rifle, tennis, wrestling, and swimming and diving. She works to advise students to take courses that not only fulfill major requirements, but also that will help them long after they graduate.

“An adviser’s greatest impact comes via the combined effect of a million small interactions,” says Mandeville. “For students who have not had much academic success, the presence of a dedicated and skilled adviser who can help build their academic and life skills toolboxes can change the entire outcome of their college experience.”

Nominations for the award were accepted from WVU faculty, staff and students. Then, the Assessment and Recognition Committee, a subcommittee of the Academic Advising Council, analyzed the nominations. The subcommittee’s final recommendation was submitted to the Academic Advising Council and the Office of the Provost.

On April 6, award winners will be recognized at the WVU Faculty and Staff awards ceremony, which pays tribute to some of the University’s most dedicated and accomplished faculty and staff. Winners also receive $1,250 each to be used for professional development opportunities.


CONTACT: Adrianne Wyatt / Office of Undergraduate Education
304.293.6876; Adrianne.Wyatt@mail.wvu.edu

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