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Academic Advisor of the Year

Congratulations to Smriti Kansal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Winner of the 2016 Academic Advisor of the Year Award!

Picture Right to Left: Dr. Jeannie Brown Leonard, Dr. Ken Ball, Smriti Kansal, and Dr. Janette Muir.

Dr. Jeannie Brown Leonard, Dean of Student Academic Affairs, Advising, Retention, and Transitions, announced that Smriti Kansal, Academic Advisor for Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named as the George Mason University 2016 Academic Advisor of the Year.  This award is given annually to recognize excellence in advising across the Mason campus.   This year we received 683 votes for 115 different advisors across campus (record numbers for both votes and nominated advisors). Ms. Kansal received a total of 74 votes (7 from faculty/colleagues, 3 from alumni, and 64 from current students). Click here to see a complete list of our 2016 nominees.

Academic advisors are a vital part of student success.   Since 2005 students, faculty, and staff have been able to nominate an undergraduate academic advisor who has had a positive impact on students through academic advising. The recipient of this award embodies the following characteristics & skills:

  • Demonstrates a caring, helpful attitude toward students
  • Provides accurate information regarding university academic requirements
  • Is available to students, faculty, and staff
  • Makes appropriate referrals
  • Has knowledge of George Mason University regulations, policies, and procedures
  • Supports student development through advising

Comments from Students:

I have dealt with many advisors across several departments.  Nobody demonstrated that they were an advocate for me like Smriti Kansal.  Many people have been pleasant, some not so much; many have been helpful, some not so much; many have followed through on their promises, some not at all, many have tried to be thorough, none more than her.  I have always appreciated her dedication and humility.  She has my complete trust.

When I transferred from NVCC, I struggled immensely in the ECE department courses… A year ago I was at my breaking point in the ECE department and was suspended and apart from my parents. Mrs. Kansal was the one who helped me through it all.  Not only did she help me appeal my suspension (which I won!) she even sat down with me occasionally over that summer to choose another major based on my strengths. I am so proud of her and hope she gets this academic advisor of the year award because she helped me through such a tough time for me and for that I am greatly appreciative!

Smriti Kansal is incredibly kind. She cares about her students and it shows in her work. I always walked out of her office feeling better about myself and my academic standing. She made it easy to understand what I have to do to complete my required courses and the GPA I need to succeed. If there is anyone in this university that deserves this award, it would be Smriti Kansal.

Comments from co-workers: 

Smriti has been very knowledgable and helpful to the students in the ECE department. She is able to effectively direct students to the proper source of information and get them in touch with the resources for any additional support they may need. She is on top of the latest curricular issues and is actively involved in departmental improvements to make the learning experience a better one for them. She is very caring and follows up with them regularly.

Comments from faculty:

I am a faculty member in the ECE department.  Faculty members in ECE generally do some advising of students, but when there are difficult issues, Smriti is always available to answer my questions in a prompt and helpful way.  Of course, students can go to Smriti directly, and many do, but ECE advising is set up so that students have to meet faculty members for some things, e.g., signatures.  As an advisor, Smriti is always on top of the latest rules and regulations, and is an invaluable resource to the ECE department.

Comments from alumni:

I graduated in Spring 2015 and Smriti was my advisor throughout my time at GMU. I always had a lot of questions and Smriti was always there with a quick and helpful answer. She’d always go the extra mile and was willing to meet with me when I needed help. I have a previous Bachelor’s degree at another university and I went to community college between degree, so I’ve had quite a few advisors in my academic career. Smriti was by far the best. I wish I could take her with me to my next university!

Comments from her supervisor:

Smriti is an advisor who goes beyond the call of duty, and is one who takes student issues and concerns to heart.  She always greets them with a smile, and is always available for help.  Feedback from students that she advises is always superb.  She takes her job very seriously, and is committed to excellence.  Her commitment to advising is evidenced in her going to conferences and workshops to learn more about how to be an effective advisor.  Ms. Kansal is one of those special employees who deserves all the honor and recognition the University can give.  She deserves it all.