Day of the Advisor recognizes excellent staff

From left to right, Wes Null, professor and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education; Laura Scott, Manager of Professional Development in University Advisement; Donna Kennedy, Senior Systems Analyst; Ida Jamshidi, Director of Advising; and Sinda Vanderpool, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Enrollment Management, pose for a photo after the Day of the Advisor celebration recognizing outstanding staff at Baylor. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

Baylor’s advisors gathered to celebrate the Day of the Advisor on Wednesday to recognize the importance of academic advising and to show appreciation for the individuals who serve Baylor students as academic advisors. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the annual Day of the Advisor celebration.

This year, the Day of the Advisor added a new element to the celebration by giving Academic Advising Excellence Awards to recognize the achievements of members of Baylor’s advising community.

They gave awards for Contributions to the Academic Advising Profession, Contributions to Advising Excellence at Baylor and the 2016 Outstanding Professional Academic Advisor of the Year.

Linda Johnson served as the chair for the Academic Advising Reward and Recognition Work Group to help select the award winners from the nominations.

“Every single person we looked at was amazing and works so hard,” Johnson said. “These awards help us set a standard for what we should all strive for. These award winners open our eyes to all the things advisors should be doing.”

Ida Jamshidi, winner of the 2016 Outstanding Professional Academic Advisor of the Year award, had no intentions of becoming an advisor and even says she accidentally fell into the career.

“I fell in love with advising and have a passion for this profession and want to pursue it as a career, not just my first job,” Jamshidi said.

Jamshidi has been working as an advisor for five years. While she was at Baylor working on her master’s in higher education, she took an internship at Baylor working at a summer camp for juniors in high school interested in computer science.

“I found myself putting everything I had into these high school students,” Jamshidi said. “I was so fulfilled helping these students find what they’re passionate about. When I heard about an advising position open, I knew I had to apply.”

Jamshidi knew she was nominated for the award but was still surprised when they called her name at the luncheon.

“The whole advising community works so hard and care so deeply about the students, so to be honored and acknowledged in front of such an amazing group is a huge honor,” Jamshidi said.

Laura Scott, who recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Texas Academic Advising Network, was awarded for Contributions to the Academic Advising Profession.

“Laura has done amazing work for the advising department at Baylor,” Johnson said. “A few years ago she brought the Texas Advising Association to Waco for the first time ever. That was huge for us.”

Margaret Lemon and Donna Kennedy were recognized for their aid to the advising community through the Contributions to Advising Excellence at Baylor.

Lemon and Kennedy developed a unified advising system back in 2008 to help advisors link their information.

“It is so exciting to be able to play a part in what advisors do and how they help students,” Lemon said.

The system they created eight years ago is still used today and was described by Johnson as significantly affecting all advisors in their day-to-day lives.

“I love that we can help students and advisors, and this award means so much to us,” Kennedy said.