Monday, November 1, 2010
SECS academic advisor receives national merit awardBy Dave Groves, staff writer
Oakland University’s longest serving academic advisor has gained national attention for more than 24 years of exceptional work in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.
The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) honored SECS Academic Advisor and Program Coordinator Pat Bennett as an Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit recipient during its recently held 2010 Annual Awards Program.
Whimsically humble regarding this notable achievement, Bennett said, “I think it’s kind of like the Susan Lucci award. If you’ve been here for more than 20 years and done a decent job of it, I think they figure they ought to give you something.”
On a more serious note, however, Bennett was deeply appreciative of Oakland’s Professional Advising Committee for nominating him and of NACADA’s decision to count him among its most successful members.
“I was pleased and very honored to be selected for this award, especially because there are so many other great people who deserve it for the good work they’re doing,” he said.
Bennett noted that what he most enjoys about his profession is meeting and working with ambitious students, many of whom he can help sort out complicated degree requirements, manage schedules, meet with faculty, find academic support services and even make important decisions about specific career paths they’ll pursue.
“It’s fun to see them come in and the excitement they have about the careers they’re interested in,” he explained. “It also fun to see them succeed. Even if they are struggling, say, in the first year, it’s great to see them work their way through that and make it to graduation. Those are the rewarding times that I enjoy most about this work.”
The veteran advisor also sees his role and that of other academic advisors as a critical link in university efforts to boost student retention and academic success. Toward these ends, he embraces opportunities to learn about the benefits of new technology, innovative approaches and best practices in the advising profession.
When it comes to convincing prospective students that the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Oakland University is the place to be, however, Bennett said a lot of his work is already done for him. A quality academic environment sells itself, he explained.
“This is a great place to be, and I think a lot of that is because we have great faculty,” Bennett said. “They’re very engaged with the students – more so than a lot of places – and I think that’s a very big advantage for the students who come here.”
With the goal of enhancing the educational development of students across the country, NACADA promotes and supports quality academic advising in colleges and universities. To honor the work Bennett has done in pursuit of this goal, the organization recognized him at a national conference reception held in Florida this fall.