Student Receives Excellence Award, Cites K-State Graduate Program in Success

Meredith Garrett_Charlie Nutt

Meredith Garrett and Dr. Charlie Nutt

Meredith Garrett, Student Success Specialist at Gardner-Webb University, is the recipient of the NACADA 2013 Region 3 Excellence in Advising – New Advisor Award. The award was presented at the Region 3 conference this May in Greenville, South Carolina.

According to nomination documents by Carmen Butler, Association Dean of Undergraduate Advising, “Ms. Garrett’s role has been to assist and reach out to our at-risk and underachieving population. She has taken this charge very serious and has developed and implemented an intrusive student success plan for this population. Ms. Garrett utilizes all resources available to her to ensure that at-risk students have the proper referrals and resources required for academic success.”

“Ms. Garrett is a member of NACADA and is also a student in the Masters of Academic Advising with Kansas State University. Her studies in this program have brought positive input to our program planning and outcomes. She is respected by other advisors in the center and is eager to assist others on our advising team “

Congratulations to Meredith Garrett!

Region 3 includes Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia . For more information about NACADA and other awards, please visit the website:

Ms. Garrett submitted a personal statement as part of the nomination process in which she credits the graduate program with enhancing her work with students.

Statement of Academic Advising

Meredith Garrett

In order to achieve the optimal advising experience, it is important for an advisor to determine and understand their personal advising philosophy. When an advisor decides to develop and follow through on his or her advising philosophy, it is necessary for him or her to reflect on the advising elements that constitute the framework of their personal advising philosophy. These advising elements can include: the advisor’s preferred advising theories as well as key topics and aspects of constructive advisor training (i.e., advising diverse student cohorts and defining advisor/advisee roles, responsibilities, and expected outcomes). During my time as an academic advisor, I have found a holistic approach to academic advising provides students the opportunity to explore, determine, and actualize their social and academic potentials. When advising is delivered in a group or individual setting, the advising experience can provide students the environment they need to successfully transition through each developmental stage they experience while attending college. I also believe if students fully embrace their advising experience they may find themselves to be better equipped with some of the essential tools they need to live a successful and balanced life.

During my time at Gardner-Webb University, I recall my experience working as our institution’s Director of Retention and Student Success. While I had a sincere desire to help retain our institution’s students, I felt my experience with Student Success was lacking. I remember talking with several of my colleagues, within the Retention and Student Success Committee, in hopes of obtaining feedback in order to develop the Office of Retention and Student Success. In October of 2011, I remember asking Dr. Doug Bryan about his experience with Student Success and the many elements it entails. During our conversation, Dr. Bryan mentioned an on-line Graduate Program in Academic Advising, offered through Kansas State University. With this new information, I was eager to explore the curriculum within the program, and as I completed my research, I felt confident the Masters of Science in Academic Advising would give me the opportunity to enhance and develop the skills needed to assist students throughout their college journey.

The Masters of Science in Academic Advising Program is an on-line, thirty hour, program which is offered through the Special Education, Counseling, and Student Affairs Graduate program at Kansas State University. The program’s curriculum focuses on interpersonal relationships, needs and characteristics of specific student populations (i.e., college student athletes, students with disabilities), research methods, learning principles, advising strategies, college student development, career development, and multicultural aspects of advising. It is my understanding, Kansas State University is the only program in the United States that offers such a specific Master’s of Science degree.

In September of 2011, I was given the opportunity to work within our Academic Advising Center as our Student Success Specialist. In January of 2012, I enrolled in my first two classes, Foundations in Academic Advising and Advising College Students with Special Needs. Since this time, I have completed four additional courses: Trends in Career Development, The College Student and The College Environment, Interpersonal Relationships, and Learning Principles. I am currently enrolled in the following two classes: Administration in Academic Advising and Multicultural Advising. I plan to complete my Master’s Degree in Academic Advising by July 2013, and I am proud to report I have achieved a cumulative 4.0 grade point average during my graduate studies.

So far, the classes I have taken have proven to be an excellent match for my career path and for the specific academic needs of our traditional undergraduate student population. Given the wealth of information I have been exposed to during my time with this program, I have explored and applied various techniques and principles that have been taught within the Academic Advising Program. In addition to the professional development training I have received (i.e. NACADA conference); I have created and implemented an Academic Success Plan that I am currently piloting with our fall 2012 Conditionally Admitted Students. Currently, the Academic Success Plan appears to be a helpful resource for our students as we explore each student’s learning and study skills, reasons for attending college, time management behaviors, academic expectations as well as their behaviors and outcomes, career goals and aspirations, knowledge of our on-campus support resources, and enhancing each students understanding of Gardner-Webb University’s Academic Policies and Regulations.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve our student body at a deeper level, and I am confident that with the completion of this program, I will continue to apply and improve the services our office provide our students in order to help each student succeed academically, emotionally, and socially.

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