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Exterior shot of the Academic Building on the Texas A&M University campus
Image: Laura McKenzie, Texas A&M Division of Marketing & Communications

Academic advisors are a vital part of Texas A&M University and the success of both its students and its broader educational mission. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to some of the best on campus, as evidenced by the fact that more than two dozen of them are among this year's Advising Awards recipients recognized this week at the 2023 University Advisors and Counselors Awards Breakfast, held Tuesday (May 10) in the Memorial Student Center’s Bethancourt Ballroom.

Arts and Sciences advisors were honored in four of the eight award categories, claiming three of this year’s five President’s Awards for Academic Advising, two Innovative Advising Awards and the Margaret Annette Peters Advising Award, along with the UAC Advising Team Award.

Amy Connolly, academic advisor III with Transition Academic Programs (TAP); Antonio Knox, former academic advisor III in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Vanessa Nordell '97, academic advisor II and manager of undergraduate academic advising services in the Department of Biology, each received the President’s Award for Academic Advising, established in 2004 to recognize outstanding individuals who exemplify the qualities and practices of exceptional academic advising and service to students

Ashley Corn '11, manager of undergraduate academic advising services in the Department of Economics, and Shelby Wallace '15, academic advisor III in Economics, both earned Innovative Advising Awards recognizing the most creative and unique uses of technology and/or advising models that support and improve academic advising.

Christine Farris '92, assistant director of advising in the College of Arts and Sciences and former longtime director of undergraduate programs in Biology, was honored with the Margaret Annette Peters Advising Award, established in 2000 to recognize and reward faculty and administrators who embody the spirit of caring, compassionate and genuine concern for the welfare of individual students.

The entire TAP team, led by Executive Director Dr. Arthur Watson '14, collectively earned the 2023 UAC Advising Team Award recognizing the Texas A&M advising team that has made notable and outstanding contributions toward student advising through support of advisor professional development, enhancement of communication methods between advisors, advisor training and development of programs aimed at improving the overall educational environment. In addition to Watson, the TAP team includes directors Dr. Russ Graves '80, Sherrice King '04 and Dr. Karl Mooney; program manager Andy Gibson ’94; academic advisors Amy Connolly, Franne Freeman '85, Brittany Hensley '09, Neva Hughes, Ali Ivins '13, Gretchen Linde, LaToya McGowen '16, Jillian Mueller '17 and Debbie Perez '96; administrative coordinator Sally Pastor; and graduate assistant Renee Jones.

“The Advising Team Award focuses on several areas, one of which is development of programs and the area where TAP makes its biggest impact on student success,” Graves said. “The TAP advising team distinguished itself by providing thousands of students in our various programs with quality academic advising, accurate and timely information, administrative support and advocacy.”

Graves notes that TAP's purview includes students pursuing every possible major at Texas A&M in five key areas:

  • General Studies, the university’s designated undeclared/transitional major;
  • the Texas A&M-Blinn TEAM Program, a groundbreaking co-enrollment partnership between a flagship university and a community college;
  • Aggie Gateway to Success, the university’s provisional admission program;
  • Explore, a program supporting the investigation of majors and careers; and
  • Aggies Thrive, a last-chance intrusive advising program for students dismissed from the university.

“An interesting thing about TAP is that we have staff with titles other than academic advisor who conduct advising in addition to their primary  duties,” added Graves, who oversees the Texas A&M-Blinn TEAM Program. “Because we consider ourselves a team, we requested that all of our staffs’ names be engraved on the award plaque, given that we all either conduct advising or contribute to the advising process.”  

To learn more about additional advising award recipients for 2023 as well as past years, visit the University Advisors and Counselors website.

Find additional information about the Undergraduate Advising and Operations Team within the College of Arts and Sciences.