Ling, Hussey receive Excellence in Advising Award

University Park, Pa. -- Moses D.F. Ling, associate professor of architectural engineering in the College of Engineering, and Ruth B. Hussey, senior undergraduate studies adviser in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), have been selected to receive the 2011 Penn State Excellence in Advising Award.

The award, established by the former Undergraduate Student Government's Academic Assembly and sponsored by each college, annually honors one full-time faculty member and one full-time professional adviser from any Penn State location who have at least two years of advising experience. Selection criteria are based on excellence in general advising, academic and career guidance, enthusiasm and assistance in decision-making, and goal setting.

Ling, who serves as undergraduate program officer for the Department of Architectural Engineering, has developed an advising manual for faculty advisers and issues Advising Notes to students several times a year. "Recognizing that advice is most welcomed when it is needed," he said, "the Advising Notes provide information 'just in time' for the students in different stages of the program. The publications are intended to reduce the time spent on routine matters, allowing colleagues and students to concentrate on more productive work."

He believes the key to being a good adviser is to be the students' advocate. "I constantly have to remind myself to shed the self-appointed disciplinary role and listen to the students," he said. "Imagining oneself in the other person's shoes can be very powerful motivation."

A member of the University faculty since 1981, Ling holds bachelor's and master's degrees in architectural engineering from Penn State. In 2009 he received the Penn State Engineering Society's Outstanding Adviser Award.

Hussey, who retired in January after 34 years as an academic adviser at Penn State, joined the University staff in 1976 and was named a senior undergraduate studies adviser in the Division of Undergraduate Studies in 1987.

She has been active in the National Association for Academic Advising (NACADA), serving as chair of the Commission for Undecided/Exploratory Students and the Committee for Professional Development, and as the representative from the Administrative Division to the NACADA Council. In 2003 she received the NACADA Outstanding Advising Award.

Hussey feels the primary purpose of academic advising is to assist students in the development of meaningful plans. "This process starts with developing an honest, open relationship with the student," she said, "I try to be a critical listener and questioner to become fully aware of a student's interests, values, fears, hopes and expectations. Advising is not just telling a student what courses to schedule to meet the requirements of a degree. It is teaching students to become informed decision makers."

One student described her as someone who "is there for you through thick and thin with both academic and life advice."

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Last Updated March 31, 2011