Today: Apr 23, 2024

Professor recipient of newly established award

Melissa Chicker — News Writer

Associate professor of psychology, Kate Marsland, has been selected as the first recipient of the newly established Southern Outstanding Faculty Academic Advising Award. 

The Office of Faculty Development, according to its web page, supports teaching and learning at all levels and in all contexts in which instruction occurs at Southern.  

The award is given to a faculty member based on knowledge of the advising process, degree requirements, demonstration of a positive impact on student success and evidence of professional and positive guidance for students.

“I think she is a very fine instructor and she is very student oriented. She puts students first and it does honor to us to be able to honor her,” said Arthur Paulson, professor of political science, who Marsland personally thanked and credited.

The Faculty Development Advisory Committee members, made up of different faculty members throughout the university, chose Marsland based on her success in working with both undergraduate and graduate-level students in mapping out their academic direction along with her strong working knowledge of academic programs and degree requirements.

“We are a teaching institution so it is important to reward outstanding service in that area,” said Jennifer Hudson, Operation and Grants Manager of the Office of Faculty Development.

The voting process took place last spring, giving the opportunity for faculty and students to vote on who they believed best demonstrated these qualities. Any full-time faculty members who are currently employed at Southern were eligible for the nomination. 

“I am humbled, just to be nominated is an honor,” said Marsland. “I am also grateful that the university created the award because advising is such an important thing that we do for the students.”

Marsland joined Southern in 2003 and has participated in a variety of university programs, including the Psychology Curriculum Committee, Student Life Advisory Committee, advisor for psychology students working on their honors thesis, former advisor of the Psychology Club and advisor of Psi Chi.

“She is always here when you need her and she is always willing to help at any capacity,” said Kimberly Staiano, senior psychology major and President of Psi Chi National Honor Society. 

Marsland advises around 60 students each semester and said her job is to make students understand the curriculum and their requirements to be in the position to make good choices. Marsland said she tries to be as available as possible to discuss career planning and graduate school planning, so students are as prepared as possible.

To make advising her students simple, she has a database and takes notes on every student she advises to know what they have discussed in preparation for meeting with them. She also uses advising surveys, created by Dr. Cheryl Durwin of the psychology department, used by students to provide feedback to their advisers on how well they guide them throughout the year. Marsland said this helps her to understand her students more and helps her to know what the students want.

“I have learned a lot from other advisers and have benefited from their tips about what works and what doesn’t,” she said.

Marsland makes sure she is accessible to her students. She also said she can identity with her students and reaches out to them when they are in times of need. She said she is as fair as possible, but can also be tough when the need arises.

Marsland graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairfield University and earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University. She also attended Southern part time in the late 1980s.

Marsland also joins Deborah Caroll of the psychology department, winner of the J. Philip Smith Award for Outstanding Teaching Award and Steven Corbett, professor of English, winner of the Technological Teacher of the Year Award.

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