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Faculty, staff honored for excellence in advising

Welsh, Yang, Camden and Tylka

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

The 2022 recipients of the Nicholas Evans Faculty Advising Excellence Award include:

  • Amy Welsh, associate professor in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design’s Division of Forestry and Natural Resources

  • Fang Yang, teaching associate professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Mathematical and Data Sciences

The 2022 recipients of the Nicholas Evans Professional Staff Advising Excellence Award are:

  • Cathy Camden, senior academic adviser in the School of Nursing

  • Alexander Tylka, assistant director of advising in the School of Medicine

Welsh is known for taking a very individualized approach to her advising efforts and ensuring that each student has time to “voice their goals, dreams and concerns." While she is well versed in University policies, Welsh also uses her role as adviser to inform her teaching and curriculum development efforts. Specifically, she noticed a need for real-world application among her advisees and began to identify study-abroad and internship opportunities for them. Welsh utilizes her role as an adviser to support both her students and her peers. Committee members noted that she is an “adviser’s adviser” who mentors and celebrates the successes of her peer advisers. 

Yang created the certified actuarial science program and advises all students, tracking multiple success measures and helping them to achieve academic and personal balance. Her commitment to student achievement is evidenced by the developmental support she provides. 

In addition to her roles as a faculty member and academic adviser, Yang oversees the student Actuarial Club, guides students in their capstone course, provides weekly actuarial exam practices and assists with job and internship placement. Committee members noted her “hands-on approach” to advising, including her support of students’ “successful competition for scholarships.”

Camden is valued by her students, their families and her colleagues – as evidenced through the “glowing” letters of recommendation. One such letter was even submitted by a parent. She makes herself readily available to her students and does so with care and compassion for their overall well-being. Camden has also made significant efforts to work collaboratively with the School’s faculty and honors program. Committee members noted her “desire to help students” and approach to advising as being “developmental rather than transactional.” 

Tylka is known for creating a “happy space” in his unit and for his students and for his “mentoring” approach to advising. His commitment to advising is so strong that Tylka left a teaching position to assume advising duties in a full-time capacity. His mentorship extends beyond his students to his colleagues, with whom he regularly shares training, guides and resources – helping them to become more self-sufficient. Committee members noted Tylka’s ability to “identify with many of the same struggles as students” and his “focus on positive guidance.”

All four Nicholas Evans award recipients will be awarded $1,250 for professional development. Recipients will be recognized by Provost Reed and President Gordon Gee during a faculty and staff awards reception at Blaney House on April 20.

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