InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Socha, Waters Selected to Receive NACADA Region 2 Advising Awards

A faculty member and administrator from Old Dominion will receive awards at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 2 Conference in Annapolis, Md., March 21-23.

Tom Socha, professor of communication, and Sandra Waters, assistant dean for advising and transfer programs in Academic Enhancement, will be presented awards for Outstanding Faculty Advisor and Excellence in Advising - Administrator, respectively. Both of them have also been nominated for national NACADA awards in their categories.

As winners of the Region 2 awards, Socha and Waters received complimentary conference registration. Region 2 Mid-Atlantic consists of the following: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Socha was originally nominated for an ODU advising award by colleague Fran Hassencahl, associate professor and assistant chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, who said that he was the ideal choice last fall to take on the role of graduate program director for the new M.A. in lifespan and digital communication.

She said that she and department chair Gary Edgerton were looking for a good advisor for the new program, someone with "strong interpersonal skills, who would convey a caring and helpful attitude and was familiar with regulations, policies and procedures of the department and the university."

Hassencahl added that Socha is highly regarded in his department by both colleagues and students. "I know from my 35 years in the department that Dr. Socha sees advising as part of one's teaching duties, rather than service," she said.

Waters wrote in support of Socha's nomination for the NACADA regional award: "Dr. Socha was a graduate of the inaugural class of the Old Dominion University Master Advisor Certificate in fall 2009, through which he developed an advising philosophy and syllabus. As an early adopter of a change in philosophy at ODU to the 'advising is teaching' paradigm, he has encouraged other members of his department to enroll and complete the certificate training program as well. He is not only an advocate for students but also for academic advising and the power good advising can have on the lives of our students."

In nominating Waters for the national award, Lisa Hall, director of first-year academic enhancement for advising and transfer programs, said: "Although Sandy does not advise a particular population of students herself, she supports and directs many of the advising initiatives on campus."

She cited a number of Waters' responsibilities, which include coordinating the undergraduate academic advising program, overseeing the undergraduate continuance process, partnering with Student Engagement and Enrollment Services for the sophomore success programs, and supervising the transfer advising and articulation office.

"As long as I can remember, Sandy has been a strong advocate for quality advising and advisor continuing education and training," Hall said. She concluded: "Knowing that we have someone in administration at her level advocating for us on campus has been very important as we make changes and improvements in our services for students."

As a prelude to his nomination for the regional award, Socha received a university-wide advising award in November from the Division of Academic Affairs' Office of Academic Enhancement. Also receiving campus honors were Brooke Brown (New Advisor Award) and Connie Morgan (Advisor - Primary Role Award). Brown is the assistant coordinator for the Transfer Advising and Articulation office and Morgan is the interim assistant director of the Peninsula Higher Education Center.

This was the second year ODU has presented these advising awards. Nominees must successfully complete the Master Advisor Certificate program in order to qualify for nomination.

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