Penn State advisers, directors recognized for publishing successes

Sean Yoder
October 29, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three Penn State advising professionals — two current and one former — recently earned awards from NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, at the organization’s yearly conference.

Janet Schulenberg, associate director in the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), was awarded the NACADA Leigh S. Shaffer Award for “scholarly contributions published in the NACADA journal that significantly advance the field of academic advising.” Schulenberg, along with Marie Lindhorst, former associate director of DUS, earned the award for an article the two published in 2008.

At the same conference, Hilleary Himes, director of academic advising and DUS coordinator in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, received the Excellence in Scholarly Inquiry Award. The award recognizes Himes scholarly inquiry that “addresses contemporary and emerging issues in academic advising and higher education from a wide variety of perspectives and methodologies.”

All three were recognized at the annual NACADA Conference Oct. 20-23 in Louisville, Kentucky.

David Smith, associate dean for advising and executive director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies, said Penn State is fortunate to have dedicated advisers such as Schulenberg and Himes.

“Not only because they have contributed to the scholarship on academic advising, but more importantly because they are true advocates for our students,” Smith said. “Through their outstanding contributions to academic advising they have helped countless number of students successfully reach their academic goals."

In 2008 Schulenberg and Lindhorst published “Advising is Advising: Toward Defining the Practice and Scholarship of Academic Advising,” in the peer-reviewed NACADA Journal. Here, Schulenberg and Lindhorst detail the growth of academic advising — both nationally and at Penn State — as its own separate field and call on its practitioners to develop a culture of scholarly inquiry.

“Academic advisors work at that vital junction between student self-understanding and their navigation of their educational experience,” the authors wrote about the distinctive place of advising in higher education. “In this work, academic advisors study how this process affects higher education and how the context of higher education affects the ways students construct their educations.”

“I am proud our article played a role in contributing to the field’s dialogue about the importance of scholarly contributions from advising perspectives and the seriousness of the role of method and theory in advising practice,” Schulenberg said.

Himes’ 2014 article, “Strengthening Academic Advising by Developing a Normative Theory,” calls for developing a theory independent from other academic disciplines. “Advising is a unique, interdisciplinary field; the theoretical framework should reflect the strength that this interdisciplinary foundation provides,” Himes wrote.

“This award is a reminder of the importance of scholarship in academic advising: in understanding students, institutions of higher education and the role of academic advising,” Himes said. “I’m very honored to receive this award in light of the growing body of literature dedicated to academic advising.”

Smith said these scholarly contributions improve the field of academic advising, and therefore the experience of students.

“The ways that both Janet and Hilleary have made the academic experiences of students better — through their scholarship, academic advising and mentorship of other academic advisers — is the true value of their ongoing contributions to the field of academic advising.”

The NACADA Global awards were founded in 1979 to promote quality academic in higher education institutions. The organization has more than 12,000 members in the world who work as professional advisers and counselors, faculty, administrators and students who have responsibilities that include academic advising.

The Division of Undergraduate Studies is part of the Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.

Last Updated October 29, 2019