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UW-Eau Claire Adviser Wins Excellence Award

RELEASED: Sept. 16, 2005

Rebecca Matter
Photo by Rick Mickelson, LTS

EAU CLAIRE — Rebecca Matter, an academic adviser in Advising and New Student Initiatives at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, is the recipient of the 2005 Advising Excellence Award from the Wisconsin Academic Advising Association.

"I'm happy, excited and honored," Matter said of the award, which she will receive during a Sept. 21-22 WACADA conference in Sheboygan. "It's particularly meaningful to be singled out because everyone in our office is outstanding. I'm one of many excellent advisers at UW-Eau Claire."

Jeannie Harms, an academic adviser in the office, nominated Matter for the award. In her nomination letter, Harms noted that Matter has extensive experience in multicultural and international environments, which has enabled her to understand the importance of diversity and international experiences in the college curriculum and community.

"As a result, Ms. Matter brings significant interest, expertise and commitment to all student populations that she advises and she serves as an exemplary advocate for these same populations," Harms said. "Additionally she has a unique and 'real' liberal arts perspective because she has both studied and lived the liberal arts as they apply to the world and culture."

The award recognizes Matter's interpersonal skills and caring attitude toward advisees, as well as her willingness to initiate and support advising programs that benefit students.

An adviser at UW-Eau Claire for five years, Matter works primarily with students who have not yet declared a major, but her services are available to all students.

"It's very fulfilling to help a student go from a point where they are not sure where they are going to a point where they know what they want and they know how to get there," Matter said of working with undeclared students. "Many times new freshmen have no idea what they want to do but we can guide them and help them develop a plan."

The challenge of working with new and diverse students each year is rewarding, Matter said. "Every student is unique and has a situation that is a little different," she said. "I like that diversity and the variety of the students."

Among the advising programs that Matter initiated was a contract for students on probation. The student would sign a contract that required them to meet with advisers a specific number of times in a semester and to study a specified number of hours each day.

"Our office is very, very student focused so we've done a number of things like the contract to try to help students succeed," Matter said. "That's one of the reasons our office has such a good reputation throughout the UW System and beyond."

Matter is the third UW-Eau Claire adviser to receive a WACADA award in recent years. In 2002, Deborah Gough, director of advising and academic testing, received the Outstanding Achievement in Advising Award. And adviser Jeannie Harms received the first Advising Excellence Award in 2001.

Any adviser in an institution of higher education in Wisconsin is eligible to receive the Advising Excellence Award, which recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding dedication to advising based on criteria consistent with the National Academic Advising Association. These include strength of interpersonal skills, frequency of contact with advisees, evidence of student success rate, advisee evaluations, mastery of institutional regulations, policies and procedures and perception by colleagues of advising skills.

-30-

JB

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