MAILED: May 11, 2000
Recently Dr. Harvey Gunderson experienced one of his favorite moments as an academic adviser at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Gunderson, professor of management, was teaching his regular Friday morning class when one of his students, also an advisee, came up to him with results from a professional certification exam that Gunderson had encouraged him to take.
"When students have passed an exam like that and bring me the results, I can see the joy in their face," Gunderson said. "I love being able to see that sense of 'I did it' in them.
"The joy of seeing them reach that level is my favorite part of advising. When my students accomplish something like that, I can rest assured they will be successful in life."
Encouraging his students to take professional certification exams is only one of the many things Gunderson does to try to ensure his advisees are well prepared for college and the rest of life. And it's this extra effort that helped Gunderson win the Academic Adviser of the Year award.
The award, which is presented by Student Senate, is based on student nomination. A committee of Student Senate members and administrative staff makes the final selection from the nominations received.
Criteria for the award include good interpersonal skills; being available to students; demonstrating knowledge of academic policies, procedures and requirements; giving appropriate referrals and use of information sources; and actively participating in life planning. The criteria must be addressed in the form of an essay written by a student.
This year, 10 nomination essays were received and six were for Gunderson.
"We're really glad Harvey got it," said senior Ben Licht, selection committee member. He said the selection committee blacks out the name of the nominees so they don't know the identity of the individual about whom they're reading until after the winner is chosen. "From reading all the essays about him it seems he's a truly amazing adviser. He cares about his students' futures and their careers here."
Junior Joaquim Carvalho, Eau Claire, was the author of the winning essay.
"The love and dedication he shows in helping all his advisees succeed is unmatched," said Carvalho, who said Gunderson even agreed to meet with him at 10 p.m. once because there was no other time they could meet. "He treats his advisees with care, dignity and respect. He is passionate with what he does and always believes in our abilities and what we can do."
Gunderson said what he does differently is constantly encouraging students to do things that will help them.
"Without constant encouragement they'll let things slide, such as getting internships or studying abroad," Gunderson said. "Deep down students appreciate the advice. If anything, it helps them to think things through."
The award has been given for three years. This year it was renamed the Owen Marshall Award. Student Senate made the decision to change the name after Marshall died Feb. 8.
"Owen Marshall also was a really good adviser and had been nominated the past two years, so it was fitting the award be named after him," Licht said.
Gunderson knew Marshall and said he was one of the nicest people on campus.
"There are two things I appreciate about this award that students do the nominating and that it was named after Owen. I held him in high respect," Gunderson said.
Gunderson was honored at the Student Senate banquet and was given a plaque. The Senate also is purchasing a plaque to be displayed in Davies Center and that will have the names of all Academic Adviser of the Year recipients added to it.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 11, 2000