2010-2011 Award

Sarah Grant Barber Outstanding Advising Award 2011


Congratulations to this year's nominees and award recipients!

Doug Kennedy (award recipient, professional advisor category)
Assistant Academic Director; Center for Exploratory Studies

Doug has “an extraordinary passion for student success and retention that is truly unsurpassed,” a colleague wrote in his nomination letter. “His sincere interest in each of his individual student’s success is evident.” The nominator also praised Doug’s ability to manage multiple projects successfully, noting that Doug receives consistently high ratings and evaluations in all of his efforts, from teaching the “Discovering UC” course and advising exploratory students to organizing A&S orientation sessions and presenting at national conferences. Students also recognized Doug’s commitment to advising. “His sincere concern for me inspired me to stay motivated,” wrote one student nominator. “When I felt isolated and hopeless because of all the red tape at the university, he was the single most important faculty member in helping me feel accepted and valued.” Another student shared that, “Over the past two years of working with Doug, I have talked so highly of him around my family, that when my brother comes to UC in the fall, he has requested Doug as his advisor too!”


Lisa Newman (award recipient, faculty advisor category)
Field Service Professor and Undergraduate & Intern Director, Department of Communication; Arts and Sciences

Lisa has been coordinating and championing advising for her department since the days of using poster boards to announce advisors’ office hours during priority registration. “Our methods have become more sophisticated, thanks to Lisa’s efforts to stay on top of new systems,” a colleague wrote in her nomination letter, “but the message has consistently been sent that we take our student advising in the Department of Communication very seriously.” The nominator also shared that, “Lisa is the most sought after advisor. . . . Even when the students have graduated, they continue to contact Lisa to update her on their achievements.”  A student nominator explained that Lisa was both an advisor and a teacher: “She has taught me what it means to go out into the real world, show everyone what you have to offer, and she has taught me what it means to be the best person you can.”


Carol Tonge Mack (award recipient, advising program administrator category)
Director of Student Retention Initiatives; McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

Carol’s interest in increasing graduation rates of African American students led her to develop two successful mentoring programs: PR1ZE (Putting Retention 1st in the Zest for Excellence) and  S.T.E.E.R (Striving to Transform, Enrich, Empower, and Reward). She also created a Cultural Competence Training Series for the academic advising staff in the College of Arts and Sciences. A faculty member who collaborates frequently with Carol explained that the mentoring programs she coordinates are so successful because she is “dedicated to student success” and has “strong interpersonal skills to facilitate positive student outcomes.” A student nominator shared that Carol’s mentoring “became a strong force behind my success. . . . It is through emulating some of her leadership styles, positive attitude and professionalism that I became well rounded in my own endeavors and recently became a recipient of a Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence."


Bruce Ault
University Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Chemistry; McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

Bruce serves as the primary advisor to all declared chemistry majors and also advises students pursuing a chemistry minor. A student nominator shared that, “Dr. Ault provides practical approaches to solving academic challenges as well as providing approaches in handling life goals. These approaches include but are not limited to the process of practicing patience and understanding that life experiences help answer future questions.” In support of Bruce’s nomination, a colleague wrote, “The idiom, ‘Action speaks louder than words’ is a true representation of Bruce’s leadership and influence and I think this effect has reverberated throughout our department.”


Russell Best
Program Coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life; Student Activities and Leadership Development

Russell advises more than 1,800 students within 35 social fraternities and sororities at UC. He also serves as the advisor for the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, and National Pan-Hellenic Councils. “Russell’s experience, encouragement and insight has made him an inspiration to the Greeks at the University of Cincinnati,” wrote his student nominators. “Without his guidance, our community would not be what it is today.”


Dominic Boccelli
Assistant Professor, School of Energy, Environmental, Biological, and Medical Engineering; College of Engineering and Applied Science

Dominic has advised undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students since joining UC in 2007. One nominator was inspired to pursue his PhD because of Dominic’s extensive advising, which included hours of discussion about research topics, techniques, proposals, and experiences. “From the beginning, he was one of the most personable, stunningly approachable professors I have encountered,” another nominator wrote, expressing gratitude that their occasional conversations after class led to a “totally voluntary” and extremely valuable advising and mentoring relationship.


Shari Coffey
Associate Director for Academic Advising; College of Business

Shari received praise from one of her advisees, who is a veteran, about her outstanding efforts to make sure that he could achieve his academic goals. He noted that Shari worked with College of Business associate deans, department heads and faculty so that he could complete his degree in June even though he was deployed to the Middle East mid-quarter. The student wrote, “I know that she has taken care of many of my fellow service members who are attending the College of Business, ensuring that they maximize their education, getting credit for their time in service and giving them advice on how best to reach their goals.” Another student nominator wrote that Shari “has proved time and time again that she is an amazing advisor. She goes above and beyond her duties to ensure a seamless transition for all of her students in every aspect of their college career.”


Cindy Damschroder
Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Art; College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

Cindy began teaching at UC in 1997 and has been serving as the Department of Art History undergraduate student adviser since 2009. In a nomination letter, Cindy’s advisee commented on Cindy’s kindness, as well as her authentic and concrete suggestions about career goals and general college success. The student wrote, “Ms. Damschroder cared enough to take time to listen and really advise me towards the best possible course of academic choice with sincerity. . . . [She] exemplifies all that makes DAAP great!”


Ethan Fletcher
Academic Advisor; College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services

A  student nominator wrote that Ethan is “the best advisor I ever had because in addition to doing his job extremely well, he goes above and beyond to help you in any way he can.” Another student praised Ethan for sharing information about upcoming events and opportunities and credited Ethan’s emails and personal contacts for helping him get more involved on campus. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Criminal Justice shared that she “cannot begin to mention the number of times students tell me what a wonderful advisor Ethan has been. He remembers their names, he remembers who they are, he will go the ‘extra mile’ for each one of them, and always puts them on the best path to graduation and academic success!”


Kimberly McGinnis
Associate Director for Student Engagement; College of Business

In addition to her advising responsibilities, Kimberly coordinates the First-Year Experience program in College of Business and, in the past year, created a Business Fellows program that provides financial, personal, professional, and academic support for minority students. “She has done the legwork to turn an idea into a program. . . . I am amazed at what she has accomplished as she works with a population who has often felt marginalized on this campus,” wrote the Director of Undergraduate Programs in CoB. “Kim gives 110% to her job and students,” according to a student nominator, who also appreciated that Kim “takes the time to get to know the students and not treat them just as an ‘M’ number.”


James Mack
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry; Arts and Sciences

In his nomination letter, a colleague wrote that students “naturally gravitate” toward James for mentoring and for guidance in undergraduate research. In fact, James worked with 11 undergraduate students in his research lab during winter quarter. His colleague also noted that James provides strong career guidance and is adept at “helping students through the pitfalls of everyday life (as well as academic life).” A student nominator confirmed this, writing that James has “been able to inspire me and give me the tools needed to grow personally [and] professionally.”


Thank you to this year's selection committee:

Ned Donnelly; Associate Director, Educational Services
Jen Lile; Assistant Academic Director, University Honors Program (Committee Chair)
Jenn Rybski; Assistant Academic Director, College of Business
Kenneth Simonson; Academic Director, Emerging Ethnic Engineering
Nayana Shah; Assistant Professor, Physics