Utah State University’s Advising Awards Committee announced the 2021 USU Advisor of the Year award recipients. Tami Spackman, advisor in Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences (ADVS) was named Professional Advisor of the Year and Dawnetta Mahnken, advisor in Jon M. Huntsman School of Business was named New Advisor of the Year.
Spackman and Mahnken were selected by the committee based on the advisors’ accomplishments and service providing academic advising centered around student needs, implementing tools and technologies and contributions to advising colleagues. Each advisor will receive a monetary award from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, as well as nominations for the 2022 National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 10 awards.
Over the 19 years Spackman has been advising ADVS majors, she focused on working with students to achieve goals such as graduating or being accepted to veterinary school. Her rapport with students moves beyond the student’s academic careers, often turning into lifetime friendships developed with her student alumni.
“This is outstanding and well-deserved recognition for everything Tami does, specifically in advising our students; and more broadly the department, such as course/room scheduling every semester, serving on the ADVS Curriculum Committee, keeping track of USU catalog updates and so much more,” said Dirk K. Vanderwall, department head of ADVS. “These activities require a Herculean effort in any year, but the magnitude of Tami’s contributions became even more evident in the face of the upheaval to academic instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tami’s knowledge and academic advising skills allowed us to navigate the pandemic in a manner that best served the needs of our students.”
Mahnken, an advisor since 2019, focuses on helping students create a purposeful college pathway. She utilizes software and tools such as Degree Works and takes advantage of professional development opportunities offered by University Advising.
“My favorite resource is Degree Works,” said Mahnken. “I can help students build personalized plans to graduation to maximize their coursework and understand how different choices will impact their college plans. Not all students engage in college at the same speed or focus and Degree Works helps to build conversations for students to personalize their college pathway to success.”
University Advising offers professional development and training for advisors to train them on how to best implement online tools, advising techniques and reach academic goals for their students.
“I am so proud of the hard work that all of our advisors do throughout the year to help our students succeed,” said Mykel Beorchia, director University Advising. “I am particularly proud that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, USU students were able to receive the same, award-winning guidance provided by our team, as the infrastructure and procedures were already in place to offer remote advising to statewide students.”