College of Nursing Student Advisors Honored for Excellence
Two University of South Florida College of Nursing student advisors were honored on Nov. 14 for their excellence, innovation and effectiveness in working with students. Julie Tierson and Gregory Wance received the Outstanding Academic Advising Award at the 2018 USF Faculty Honors and Awards Reception at the Marshall Student Center.
Each was recognized by their peers as going above and beyond their assigned duties and was described during the selection process as “dedicated” and “innovative.”
Both also described the recognition as an honor, but viewed it as a larger victory for the College of Nursing, because supporting the college’s mission is the driving force behind their work.
“Being able to bring back this award to the College of Nursing at USF, I feel like it’s not as much for me as it is for the other people I serve and bringing it back to them,” Wance said.
Tierson echoed that sentiment, lauding her colleagues’ overall efforts to create the most successful students possible.
“I think the biggest thing is just being recognized for what academic advising is, not only in the College of Nursing, but as a profession,” Tierson said. “I think sometimes we get overlooked in the scheme of things, so it’s nice to see that the university sees the impact we have as a contribution toward their mission.”
This year, six awards were designated for outstanding undergraduate advising, with 17 total awards for undergraduate teaching and advising. Tierson and Wance nominated themselves, submitting 25-page portfolios, including a description of their philosophies, as well as evidence of student success.
Wance noted his strides toward innovation in the advising community over the past year.
During that time, the USF alumnus spearheaded an effort toward pre-advising enrolled students before orientation. Wance created a survey that allowed advisees to choose their preferences in class types so that advisors could customize schedules before each student stepped on campus.
The process was so successful that other institutions called to ask for information about the program, Wance said.
In May, Wance gave a presentation at the University of Florida titled “Survey Says: Using Data to Create Faculty-Student Interactions,” detailing efforts to improve events in the pre-nursing Living Learning Community which he oversees.
The ability to continue to look for new and exciting ideas is derived from a philosophy of appreciative advising, Wance explained.
“The last step in appreciative advising is ‘Never settle.’ I don’t like to settle, especially if I know I can keep making it better,” he said. “So looking at that, it’s something I normally do as part of my job responsibilities.”
Wance said he often asks himself certain questions, such as “What things I can change? How can we better meet our student population? And what can I do to be on the cutting-edge of the advising community that would benefit everybody, both students and staff?”
Tierson, who advises the RN to BS, HCC/USF concurrent and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital programs, could have been considered for the honor on her workload alone.
During Fall 2017, Tierson was tasked with managing all 650 of the RN to BS, HCC/USF concurrent and JHACH students in the college after her co-advisor moved on to a new opportunity.
During the staffing transition, Tierson also overhauled the RN to BS program’s online orientation process.
As busy as she was, Tierson was lauded for how quickly she responded to students and the depth of information in those responses.
“You really have to prioritize what has to get done when, and you have to stay on top of the cyclical nature of this particular role,” Tierson said.
Both winners will receive a one-time cash bonus of $2,000.
Story by Alex Hooper, USF College of Nursing