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Faculty, staff honored for excellence in advising

excellence in advising 2021
Pictured left to right. William (Hal) Gorby, Sharon G Tenenholz, Emily Roush and Vivian G Céspedes.

Each year, the WVU Academic Advising Council, at the direction of the Provost’s Office, selects honorees for the Nicholas Evans Awards for Advising Excellence in recognition of outstanding advising and mentoring provided by faculty and professional advisors at WVU. The awards are in honor of Nicholas Evans, a lifelong proponent and exemplar of undergraduate advising at WVU.

The 2021 recipients of the Nicholas Evans Faculty Advising Excellence Award include:

  • William (Hal) Gorby, teaching assistant professor and director of undergraduate advising in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of History

  • Sharon G Tenenholz, teaching assistant professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology

The 2021 recipients of the Nicholas Evans Professional Staff Advising Excellence Award are:

  • Emily Roush, undergraduate advising coordinator in the Reed College of Media

  • Vivian G Céspedes, counselor with Student Support Services’ TRIO Program

Gorby’s advising philosophy includes meeting the “student where they are academically and emotionally.” In addition to teaching a variety of history courses, he serves as the director of undergraduate advising in the History Department and co-coordinates and advises students in Eberly’s Social Studies/Secondary Education major. Students describe him as an incredible professor, person and friend. He listens and advises them based on their unique personalities and situation. Students noted that they feel as though he cares deeply about his profession and helping them to be successful. To fellow advisors and to his students, he is “the man with all the answers.” 

Tenenholz serves as a teaching assistant professor and academic adviser in the Department of Psychology. She plays an integral role in teaching research methods and analysis and advises students as they move through and beyond these milestone courses. She embodies many of the traditional characteristics that make a good academic advisor: patience, understanding and empathy. In addition to these qualities, the committee also found that Tenenholz exudes a level of authenticity and compassion that provides an overwhelmingly positive experience for her advisees. According to her advisees’ surveys, Tenenholz is instrumental in helping students achieve their academic and professional goals and prioritizes their mental health and wellness.

Roush has been advising students in the Reed College of Media since 2010. She now serves as the undergraduate advising coordinator and teaches a section of the college’s orientation class each year. According to her surveys, students know they can count on Roush to “provide honest feedback and direction as they navigate their studies.” Roush has also been noted as “a key component in raising student satisfaction and degree completion rates.” She is known as caring, personable and always willing to offer encouragement and guidance. Another nominator said that while Roush’s work is exceptional, “her heart for her work is even more impressive.”

Céspedes is a counselor with the Student Support Services TRIO program, a federally funded program that provides targeted services for undergraduate students throughout their post-secondary education. Céspedes often establishes and maintains student-mentor relationships with many of her advisees, helping them to “gain confidence in writing their own college story.” She has been known to regularly go above and beyond by attending special milestone events, such as awards and graduation celebrations, long after students have left her advising responsibility. Céspedes helps to demystify the college process for first-generation students, many of whom say they “would be lost without her.” Céspedes is grateful to all who have contributed to her achievements and for the support of her family.

All four Nicholas Evans award recipients will be awarded $1,250 for professional development.

Read more about these and other awards on the WVU Faculty website.