Brian Gillette Named 2012 Academic Advisor of the Year

April 19, 2012

By Erin Cushing

Brian Gillette, student academic affairs coordinator for the College of Health and Human Services(CHHS), has been chosen as Mason’s 2012 Advisor of the Year.

“I am proud and honored to have been chosen,” Gillette says. “I love advising because I get to know the students, and our students are smart, creative, kind and interesting.

“There are so many people who help me do my work, and they don’t always get the credit they deserve,” he continues. “Many times I get the credit for the work they do.  Since receiving this award, I’ve thought even more about Mason advisors who don’t always get the credit they deserve.”

Brian Gillette receives his award from Linda Schwartzstein, vice provost for academic affairs. Mason News photo

During his 16 years at Mason, Gillette, MEd ‘02, has worked in all areas of the CHHS student academic affairs office, where he currently serves as the coordinator of student affairs.

“I was lucky enough to start working for people who were empowering and allowed me to be an integral part of creating the college we have today,” he says.

Gillette began his career at Mason working with faculty and student nurses, which he considers a great experience.

“Along the way, this passion [for advising] has grown as a result of working with students and faculty from varied backgrounds, such as public health, social work, health administration and many others across campus,” he explains.

“Here [in academic affairs], you really get to know the students and follow them throughout their journey,” Gillette says. “You’re nonjudgmental; it’s not about what I think, but what they think and need. It is not always easy. You need to be supportive and believe in them, while being honest. One of the things I enjoy most is when a student shares with me. It’s a privilege when students trust me enough to share.”

An academic advisor can be nominated for the Advisor of the Year award by any faculty or staff member, student or alumnus. The recipient is chosen by a committee of peers based on the quality of the nominations, as opposed to simply the number of nominations received for that person. However, Gillette received more than 20 percent of the nominations.

The Selection Committee evaluates nominations based on the following criteria:

  • Caring, helpful attitude toward students
  • Availability to students, faculty or staff
  • Makes appropriate referrals
  • Knowledge of Mason’s regulations, policies and procedures
  • Supports student development through advising
  • Represents the spirit of Mason