Top Honors, High Praise for History's Academic Advisors
Posted: February 1, 2012
The 2012 Spring semester has begun with great energy and promise, most notably with top University honors for two History staff members: Graduate Program Coordinator Marilyn Lehman and Senior Undergradaute Academic Advisor Tom Griffith.
Each year the Graduate School presents the Outstanding Graduate Coordinator Award to recognize the exemplary service of a UT Graduate Coordinator. Both students and faculty know the extraordinary service Marilyn Lehman has given to History graduate students and their numerous faculty advisors. And this is not the first time that Marilyn’s contributions to the History Department have been recognized, nor will it likely be the last. In many ways, she is the lynchpin that holds the department and the graduate program together. As Jacqueline Jones, professor and current Graduate Program Advisor, puts it, “Marilyn is the consummate professional – knowledgeable, organized, efficient, pro-active” who consistently goes above and beyond “to make sure things run smoothly—even if that means pouring over datasheets or sending emails in the evenings and on the weekends.” For graduate students, Marilyn is the most important person in the department. Whether patiently reminding graduate students of annual deadlines for the umpteenth time, sorting out problems with registration or tuition or health care enrollment, or simply lending a sympathetic ear, her tireless efforts make navigating the graduate program possible. Equally as important, noted Sarah Steinbeck-Pratt, are "her warmth, patience, and genuine concern for the success of all graduate students make Garrison a more welcoming home for those who pass through its halls." The graduate students in the History Department are lucky to have such a strenuous advocate, adviser, and friend.
Tom Griffith was one of the five recipients of the 2012 James W. Vick Texas Excellence Award for Academic Advising. These awards are presented annually to honor campus advisors who have had an effective, positive influence on the educational experience of university students. Recipients are selected by nominations from current students. When the Texas Exes’ student representatives came to Gebauer on January 19th, the entire History staff and Tom’s wife, Lydia, were on hand to congratulate him. Tom will be presented with a plaque and a check for $500 from the Texas Exes at a luncheon in the Alumni Center this spring. Regarding the honor, Tom said, "This award is really meaningful to me because it originates with the students. It's good to know that the work I do makes a difference in students' lives.” In addition, this spring, Tom will receive an award for 15 years of service to UT and he has been an advisor in History since 2004. He helps students from the time they first visit campus through graduation. He sees students on a daily basis, coordinates freshman and transfer orientation for History majors, manages registration for History courses for all students at the university, and assists in training new academic advisors in the college. Other History advisors who have won this prestigious award are Associate Chair Virginia Burnett, Academic Advising Coordinator Nancy Sutherland, and current Graduate Coordinator, Marilyn Lehman.
Said History Chair Alan Tully, "In an era of steep budget cuts and ever-increasing loans for most students, the quality and effectiveness of advising is recognized to be more crucial than ever. This high praise for our advisors is but one more affirmation of their focused professionalism, as well as the value of your working on behalf of, and contributing generously to, the Department and the university."
Graduate School Professional Awards for 2012: