BOONE—Two individuals who exemplify outstanding student advising at Appalachian State University are Bob Gibbard and Dr. Brooke Hester, co-winners of University College’s Excellence in Student Advising and Mentoring Award for 2015. The award is presented to a faculty or staff member for their superior performance in promoting and fostering student learning, development and self-authorship through their advising and mentoring activities.
Gibbard, a veteran of the U.S. Army and former officer in Appalachian’s ROTC program, has been advising and mentoring students at Appalachian for the past 15 years. He specializes in mentoring and advising students who are current or former service members and is the primary advisor for Appalachian’s military student population.
In her letter of nomination, Nikki Crees wrote that “Long before Appalachian was using the term ‘Finish in Four,’ Bob was helping his students create educational plans to ensure swift progression toward graduation.” Crees is director of academic advising in University College at Appalachian.
Gibbard is the faculty advisor for Appalachian’s Veteran’s Student Association and a member of the university’s Military Affairs Committee. He recently was awarded a grant from Appalachian’s Transfer Symposium to attend the Student Veteran’s Association National Conference.
Hester is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In addition to her teaching and research responsibilities, she has undertaken new and exciting programs for the advising and mentoring of students in the sciences. In 2011, she co-founded the Biophysics and Optical Sciences Facility where she works with, mentors and advises at least 20 students. Since 2010, she has been the primary mentor to 27 students who have gone on to make 35 presentations at various conferences and who have received more than 30 grants from the university’s Office of Student Research.
Nominator Jennifer Burris from the Department of Physics and Astronomy wrote, “I have never met another faculty member that so dedicates their time to serving students. Brooke mentors students in her research lab, which is one of the largest on campus, and is the primary mentor to a dozen students and secondary mentor to seven others.”
Burris added that, “Brooke goes above and beyond to teach her students professionalism, how to be a great scientist, and how to succeed as a researcher.”
One of Hester’s advisees wrote that Hester “has been pivotal in molding me into a good student, researcher, and adult.” Another student called her a “great advisor who gets to know the student and gets to know the real motivations and goals that drive the student and then offers pointed direction and real feedback on how to pursue those dreams.”
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.