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Meet the 2023-2024 Advisor Award winners

The Center for Advising, Retention and Completion (formerly Office of Advising), recently recognized six of its team members when it announced the 2023-2024 Advisor Award winners.

Three departmental and three national awards were presented based on values from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and values from the Division of Enrollment, Marketing and Student Success (EMSS). 

Three departmental awards were presented for Excellence in Collaboration, Excellence in Customer Service and Emerging Leader, while three NACADA Awards for New Advisor, Advisor and Advising Administrator. 

National Academic Advising Association Awards

The NACADA Awards are based on overall excellence at various career stages, and the winners of these awards will not only be put forward for national consideration but will also receive travel funding to a conference of their choice for the 2024-25 academic year. Applicants were asked to provide an advising philosophy and references that would speak to their excellence in these values.

Outstanding New Advisor Award: Natasha LaBalle

Natasha LaBalle received the Outstanding New Advisor award, which goes to someone who has been in their role for less than three years. 

“Advisor LaBalle is VERY friendly and comfortable to talk to,” said LaBalle’s nominator for the award. “Advisor LaBalle is outstanding and goes beyond what is asked to make sure students have everything they need throughout the semester. For example, sending reminders and helpful tips before the semester and finals. Advisor LaBalle provided everything when I had to register for classes and made everything simple, and straightforward to understand. Best Advisor I’ve had so far!”

Outstanding Advisor Award: Rachel Gibbs

Rachel Gibbs received the Outstanding Advisor Award, which goes to someone who has been in their role for three or more years. 

“Rachel is an outstanding advisor and has grown in her role substantially over the past five years,” said Gibbs’ nominator for the award. “She is seen as a leader for advisors on the Armstrong Campus as well as GS's dual enrollment team. She is consistently looking for ways to improve processes for both students and advisors and truly has the heart for the advising profession.”

Outstanding Advising Administrator Award: Caysi Warren

Caysi Warren received the Outstanding Advising Administrator Award, which goes to someone in a leadership role. 

“Being an advisor at Georgia Southern University is one of the best jobs I have ever had, and Caysi is a big part of that,” said Warren’s nominator for the award. “Caysi supports the success of her employees by communicating info from her supervisors, sharing deadlines, going over processes with us, and creating documents to help us track priorities. However, what I appreciate most about her management style is her trust in me as an employee. Caysi does not micromanage - she trusts me to complete required duties on time, and she allows me to do my job in a way that works best for me. She is also open to new ideas, and willing to try new things. 

“Caysi is a good listener - she is always willing to listen when I have a problem - whether that is a work issue or a personal issue,” the nominator continued. “She isn’t afraid to let us know when she is also overwhelmed or frustrated. It helps me to know that I am not alone when I am having difficulties with the job. At times when I have struggled, she has always been there to help as needed. I feel that Caysi stands up for her employees and for students, and she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks and share what she feels is right - especially when it comes to student success and the wellbeing of her employees. I appreciate knowing that she has my back and that she has the best interests of students at heart. Caysi is always here when we need her, and when the students need her. She is definitely an Outstanding Administrator!”

Departmental Awards

Excellence in Collaboration Award: Megan Bowen

Megan Bowen received the Excellence in Collaboration award. This award is presented to the advisor who best exemplifies this divisional value. They use their unique abilities to collaborate with a fervent focus on providing personalized and seamless service to colleagues and students. 

“Megan is extraordinary. She is committed, conscientious and passionate about her work as an advisor,” said one of her references for the award. “I've been particularly impressed with her excellence in terms of collaboration. She is proactive and reaches out as she anticipates problems or obstacles or sees them arise. Notably, she served on our Undergraduate Studies Transition Team as we were building a new department and, thus a new curriculum. This was a tremendous amount of work, and her contributions were instrumental in terms of our success. Her structures and practices should be models for all advisors across the University.”

Excellence in Customer Service Award: Jackson Hopkins

Jackson Hopkins received the Excellence in Customer Service award. This award is presented to the advisor who leads with a heart for service, putting the needs of our students and their experiences first.

“I think Jackson is a wonderful academic advisor who receives glowing reviews from his students on a regular basis,” said one of Hopkins’ references for the award. “He has earned the right to be celebrated and recognized for the work that he does for his students each day.

“Jackson's key strength lies in his ability to establish meaningful connections with his students. He actively listens to their concerns, aspirations and challenges, creating a supportive and non-judgmental environment where students feel valued and understood,” the reference continued. “Jackson exhibits exceptional communication skills, effectively translating complex academic requirements and policies into clear and accessible information for students. He proactively reaches out to students to provide timely updates, reminders and resources, ensuring that his students stay informed and on track toward graduation. Jackson understands that academic success is intertwined with personal well-being, and he offers holistic support and referrals to support students' overall development. He does a wonderful job connecting students with campus resources such as tutoring centers, academic workshops and extracurricular activities to enhance their academic and personal growth.”

Emerging Leader Award: Cory Hall

Cory Hall received the Emerging Leader Award. This award was established to recognize an academic advisor who provides admirable academic advising and leadership skills in the profession. The award acknowledges advisors who exhibit strong interpersonal skills, a caring attitude, collaboration with colleagues across campus, and a drive for continued professional development. The Emerging Leader Award celebrates those who, in the early stages of their career, have already made significant strides in shaping the future of academic advising and have the potential to become influential leaders in the field.

“Cory works collaboratively with his students by getting to know them, learning their goals and guiding them to appropriate resources and opportunities,” said one of Hall’s references for the award. “He also works closely with the political science and international studies department for which he advises their students. He is active in their curriculum process as a non-voting member and serves as an advocate for student needs and identifying areas of concern. He has alerted them to a few problems with course pre-requisites and other curriculum issues. Having his proactive assistance has helped promote student success, retention and progress toward graduation. Cory has a desire to lead and has requested additional duties as well as sought learning opportunities so that he can serve and lead. This has not interrupted his service to students but rather has enhanced it. He provides excellent customer service by being incredibly responsive and available. He quickly responds to emails, has stellar communication skills, and is very thorough. Students appreciate his guidance and support, and they know they can count on him.”


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