Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development
2019 Outstanding Advising Award – Academic Advising Faculty category
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising
“Sustainable development majors are inspiring to me. I really enjoy the chance for connection and developing relationships with people who are going to make the world a better place in myriad and significant ways.”
Laura England, senior lecturer in Appalachian’s Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development
BOONE, N.C. — Laura England, senior lecturer in Appalachian State University’s Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development (SD), has received global recognition for her work in advising students.
England has been named as a recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Advising Award in the Academic Advising Faculty category from NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising — an organization with over 14,000 international members promoting and supporting quality academic advising in institutions of higher education.
The award honors individuals making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising within higher education internationally.
England is one of only four recipients in the advising faculty category worldwide in 2019, and she is the first faculty adviser from Appalachian to earn the award, which will be presented at the NACADA Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, this fall.
Vivek Shastry, academic adviser for the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Appalachian, said it is a great honor to have a faculty adviser win this award.
“Laura England goes above and beyond to help her students, past and current, to achieve their dreams and overcome challenges. It’s a great feeling to have a member of our faculty recognized for all the hard work and dedication to help our students graduate and become successful global citizens,” she said.
A mentor and ‘fierce advocate’ for students
The advising needs of the Department of Sustainable Development are unique, said Dr. Richard Rheingans, professor in and chair of the department. “Our graduates find professional work in an extremely wide range of fields. Laura works closely with all of her students to help them understand the right path for them, then mentors them on developing the necessary skills and professional experiences to be successful.”
He continued, “Our students are in a nontraditional field where they have to deal with challenging problems like climate change or species extinction. This can take a toll on students, and Laura is deeply committed to helping students work through this process — she is a fierce advocate for them.”
“I regularly have students tell me how Laura guided them through a difficult personal time, helped them find an internship that set them on their professional journey, mentored and inspired them,” Rheingans said.
England has developed resources used by other faculty in the department and the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Rheingans added.
England’s advising philosophies
England joined the SD faculty in 2010 after working for seven years on issues of environment and sustainability in the nonprofit sector. She employs her professional experience as well as academic expertise in advising her students.
“My path to my current position was not a traditional, linear path,” she said. “Sharing my own career path experience can help students take the pressure off themselves to find the ‘perfect fit’ job immediately after graduation. I share with my advisees the ways in which my earlier jobs prepared me and served as stepping stones for the work I enjoy so much now.”
“Bring your humanity to work” is one of England’s professional mantras, she shared. “I strive to employ my care and compassion for others — not just in my personal life but in my professional life. Modeling and mentorship are two key ways in which faculty contribute to the Appalachian Experience, and I take both of these roles very seriously.”
England said the most important responsibility she has as an adviser is guiding and supporting students in their academic planning in ways that help them clarify their aspirations. “By aspirations, I don’t mean identifying a particular job — I mean their aspirations for contributing to the world,” she said.
“Sustainable development majors are inspiring to me,” England said. “I really enjoy the chance for connection and developing relationships with people who are going to make the world a better place in myriad and significant ways.”
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About the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University prepares students to thoughtfully analyze human development while focusing on the applied practice of pursuing transformative, community-driven development and social change. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in sustainable development with concentrations in agroecology and sustainable agriculture; community, regional and global development; and environmental studies; as well as a Bachelor of Arts and minor in sustainable development. Learn more at https://sd.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The 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 to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.