2016 Curtis P. Lawrence Award for Excellence in Advising

2016 Advising Award Selection Committee

  • Joshua Smith, Biomedical Sciences, Co-chair
  • Scott Handley, Honors College, Co-chair
  • Nora Cox, Communication
  • Juli Panza, Education Advisement Center
  • Regan Baker, Student Representative

Faculty: Erin M. Buchanan, Psychology

Erin M. Buchanan has mastered the faculty balancing act that makes the role challenging: she is a productive scholar, a talented teacher, and a caring advisor. Erin uses her abilities to support both graduate and undergraduate advisees. She sees advising as an integral part of her role as a faculty member and provides students with opportunities to research alongside her, to present at professional conferences, and to be published.

Dr. Russell Carney, a faculty colleague in the Psychology department, says “Erin’s office is across the hall from mine, so I have seen first-hand the amount of time she takes with students. It seems as though she always has a student in her office, whether she is advising, helping them with their statistics homework, or involving them in her research through her Psycholinguistics Lab.”

Dr. Buchanan expresses interest in all students, regardless of their level of current academic achievement. She loves serving as the Honors College and pre-law advisor for her department. With regard to this population, she says, “I have always been a strong supporter of the honors program, as it attracts some of the best students and promotes the university to others.” As much as she enjoys working with this population, Erin is also sensitive to the needs of students who have difficulty in college. Erin works with the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) program and is a member of the advisory council for the Bear CLAW. When discussing probationary students, she said, “I try to help them find new ways to write or study to keep them on track. We discuss the realities of education—what courses work well together, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to put things together to be successful.”

Staff: Darren Wienberg, Academic Advisement Center

Darren Wienberg has served Missouri State University in various capacities since 1998 and has been an academic advisor in the Academic Advisement Center since 2009. His primary advising responsibility is for students who hope to enter a health profession but have not chosen a specific major. He has the largest number of advisees in the Academic Advisement Center and he communicates frequently with his advisees and monitors his calendar to open up new appointment times to be sure he can serve all of his students. He contributes to the success of new students by serving as a SOAR advisor and by training other SOAR advisors.

His colleague, Susan Martindale, describes Darren’s help with the Jump START summer bridge program, “Observing my struggle with the complicated technical aspects of the program, Darren graciously volunteered to help. He designed several time-saving and user-friendly spreadsheets and developed a very effective way to streamline the registration process. Because of his efforts during the past five years, the advising and registration experience for these students has been seamless. Everyone involved is amazed and the students have a very positive experience. I appreciate Darren’s generous spirit and his willingness to give of his time and talent to help others.”

Darren designed and regularly updates the general education worksheet for advisors and students that clearly explains the general education requirements. This worksheet is used at trainings, SOAR sessions, and advising sessions campus-wide. Darren has helped to publicize the new requirements through departmental presentations and advisor forums. Faculty and staff contact him regularly with questions, viewing him as one of the general education authorities on campus.