Academic Advisor of the Year

Congratulations to Robert Yi of the School of Art, Recipient of the 2018 Academic Advisor of the Year Award!

Dr. Bethany Usher (right) and Dr. Jeannie Brown Leonard (center) present Robert Yi (left) with the 2018 Academic Advisor of the Year Award

Friday, March 30th, 2018, Dr. Jeannie Brown Leonard, Dean of Student Academic Affairs, Advising, Retention, and Transitions, and Dr. Bethany Usher, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, presented Robert Yi, Academic Advisor in the School of Art, with the George Mason University 2018 Academic Advisor of the Year Award.  This honor is given annually to recognize excellence in advising across campus and this year 661 nominations were submitted for a 110 different advisors representing every undergraduate Mason college/school!

Here is just one example of the many comments that led to Robert’s selection this year:

Robert has taken an incredible interest in my future career as an artist. To say that he has been with GMU for under a year, he is an active member in the AVT Building and has made himself available to students. When one of my classes was cancelled due to low enrollment, Robert had meeting hours set up over break so that I could get my semester in order. He offered multiple paths for my academic success, each with a personalized course load fit to my interests/needs.Robert is also an active art supporter in the community. The arts are a binding practice. It is extremely encouraging to see him at openings locally in Fairfax, as well as openings in DC. He has been a tour guide on the DC Artsbus trips in the past and has sparked interesting conversation about relevant art topics of today. He encourages all of his students in and outside of his office.

Without the support and encouragement from Robert, I would not be as motivated as a student. I take pride in my classes and am confident in my career choice. He has helped me look into several promising internships, residencies, and full-time positions for the future. I greatly appreciate his help throughout my undergraduate program here at GMU. Robert deserves to win the Academic Advisor of the Year Award!

Academic advisors are a vital part of student success.  Since 2005 students, faculty, and staff have an opportunity 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
  • Makes themselves available to students, faculty, and staff
  • Makes appropriate referrals
  • Has knowledge of George Mason University regulations, policies, and procedures
  • Supports student development through advising

    Academic Advisor of the Year Nominations 2017-2018

College or School or Program                                                   Advisors Nominations
Athletics 1 1
CAART 5 12
College of Education and Human Development 7 44
College of Health and Human Services 7 33
College of Humanities and Social Sciences 20 77
     School of Integrative Studies 5 39
College of Science 15 65
College of Visual and Performing Arts 4 72
School of Business 9 68
Volgenau School of Engineering 25 161
Bachelor of Applied Science 1 10
SCHAR School of Policy and Government 3 45
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution 3 13
Honors College 5 21
Totals: 110 661


NavigateMason News and Updates

Turn Manual Tasks into Automated Ones to Help Your Students Achieve Academic Success

By Janet Ha Poirot

Student athletes have particularly demanding schedules.  Not only are they expected to attend practices, competitions and team meetings, they need to keep up with their academic demands and meet GPA requirements as well.  This is where George Mason’s Athletics Department steps in to support students and helps them stay on top of their academic expectations.

In addition to attending their classes, student athletes are required to attend weekly study hall and tutoring sessions.  As Cynthia Dowd, Athletics Department Academic Coordinator, states, “The department is committed to their student athletes and ensures they build in time to get their academic work done.”  She regularly uses SSC-Campus to track study hall hours and tutoring appointments.  Prior to the implementation of SSC-Campus, study hall hours were recorded manually on a sign-in-sheet, which was time consuming to search through.  Now, the hours are recorded in SSC-Campus where they are instantly accessible to anyone who needs the information.  Cynthia appreciates how quickly she can create accurate reports through the software.  Before George Mason’s Athletics department adoption of SSC-Campus, many hours were spent on manually intensive tasks.

The Athletics Department also uses SSC-Campus to collect and track progress reports from tutors and professors.  To support student athletes, the department asks professors and tutors to submit comments about the student’s progress in their classes around week 11 and in their tutoring sessions.  In the past, these forms were not easy to collect.  Tutors were given forms to fill out by hand which were not only time consuming but wasted paper.  Professors received an email for each student-athlete in their class which was a burdensome process.  With busy schedules, professors and tutors were sometimes negligent in submitting these reports.  Now professors and tutors can fill out progress reports online using SSC-Campus where their comments are stored.  As a result, the rate of return for progress reports from both tutors and professors dramatically went up.  The tutor reports have an 85% rate of return, which is much higher than when they used paper feedback.  And the Athletics Department received 700 responses from professors from their most recent SSC-Campus initiated progress report request which is unprecedented.

After reviewing these reports, the department can flag students who are having trouble with a particular class or subject.  An Academic Coordinator in Athletics can get in touch with the student, the student’s coach or academic advisor to find out more about the student’s situation.  This early intervention process has helped students improve their grades.  Michael Ouellette, Athletics Department Academic Coordinator, reports that coordinators have identified problems after reviewing progress reports in SSC-Campus.  The more information they have on their students, the better they can aid them.  Michael, who also works with tutors says, “SSC-Campus allows for earliest possible intervention to take place.  If that information wasn’t available, we couldn’t intervene.”

It is well-understood that to create a change in behavior, we have to make the new task easier to do.  In this particular case, the new improved change was to increase the rate of return of progress reports and to more easily track students’ study hall hours.  This is what SSC-Campus can do for your department as well.  SSC-Campus allows for users to capture and collect student data and allows users to input information about their students instantly.  And through a platform like SSC-Campus, administrators, faculty, and staff all across the university are able to identify students who may need additional support.

Overall, the use of SSC-Campus by the Athletics department has helped improve communication between students and professors.  “We can close the loop and communicate with tutors, students and professors more quickly and with more accurate information,” says Michael Ouellette.  Just another example of how leveraging technology can further Mason’s overall commitment to provide a transformational learning experience for its students.