Faculty Accomplishments Faculty Advisor of the Year Faculty Awards

Faculty Advisor of the Year Award 2021

Faculty Advisor of The Year Script

Ten years ago, we introduced an annual recognition for outstanding faculty advisors – the Faculty Advisor of the Year Award. In addition to teaching students to navigate their academic success, faculty advisors play a critical role in helping students explore, develop and achieve their academic and career goals. Students were invited to show their appreciation for their advising experience by nominating faculty advisors for the Faculty Advisor of the Year Award.  This year we received a record number of nominations indicating how heavily students have leaned on their advisors.

The 2021-2022 recipient has been nominated numerous times over the years including multiple nominations this year. The nominators have shared that this faculty advisor is very patient, attentive, kind, and knowledgeable. This person also shows their advisees that they care about their personal and professional growth. One nominator shared that “it’s been a privilege working closely with my advisor throughout the last year and she never fails to impress me with her dedication and genuine care about her students. She had pushed me to pursue my interests and regularly checks in on me and my progress. I am grateful to have her!”  Another student stated that, “there were several times that I felt overwhelmed and wanted to quit, but she talked through the challenges I was having and helped me to unpack solutions. She treated me with respect and dignity and helped me to see that she genuinely cares about me as a person..” These students’ statements are a testimony to the powerful relationships being developed in the faculty advising process at Stetson, as well as this particular advisor’s commitment to supporting students.

In recognition of her exemplary leadership and service to students and the university, I would like to recognize Dr. Jelena Petrovic as Advisor of the Year.

Jelena Petrovic

Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies

Dr. Petrovic is one of the co-founders of Community Education Project, a higher education in prison program in Tomoka Correctional Institution, in Central Florida.

  • PhD, University of New Mexico
  • MA, Wichita State University
Faculty Advisor of the Year

Faculty Advisor Of The Year Goes ‘Above And Beyond’ For Students

For Mercedes Tichenor, PhD, good advising starts with “building relationships.”

“That’s what I try to do with my students, whether I’m advising them for courses or advising them about career plans or even personal matters and issues,” said Tichenor, associate chair and professor of Education. “I think building that trust in that relationship is the first thing.”

Tichenor’s approach earned her the honor of being named Faculty Advisor of the Year for 2020-21, which was announced during Convocation at the start of the Fall 2021 semester. Now in its eighth year, the honor is presented by the Advising Office in Academic Success.

Joanne Morales Bembinster, associate director of Academic Advising, shared some of the comments from students’ nominations of Tichenor.

“Dr. Tichenor has gone above and beyond through her role as an advisor to many students in the Education Department,” said student Gretchen Nerber. “She not only is knowledgeable about courses and scheduling, she genuinely cares about the students and their futures. She is willing to have conversations that are critical in a student’s academic career that will guide them in the future years, all while giving support and kindness when needed.”

“My faculty advisor is always there when I need her,” said student Kelly Chapman. “She believes in me and shows her support often. Starting college was difficult, but she made me feel right at home.”

Supporting Students At Stetson

Chris Colwell, PhD, talks about the faculty advisor of the year
Chris Colwell, PhD

Chris Colwell, PhD, chair of the Education Department, praised Tichenor for her unwavering commitment to support students.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that she knows each and every one of her students and supports them in every aspect of their educational journey here at Stetson,” he said.

Tichenor also serves as director of Student Teaching in Stetson’s Education Department. She works in area schools with Stetson seniors who are interning in classrooms.

“One of the first things we tell them is get to know your kids. Stand by the door and greet them when they come in. Talk to them about things that interest them. It’s easier to manage groups of students when you have respect for each other,” she said.

“Can you teach advising? I think we as teacher educators can certainly model it for our students,” Tichenor continued. “We are training our students to not just teach academics but to teach the whole child. This includes social and emotional learning. So advising aside, I think as teacher educators we need to model all of that.”

Faculty Advisor Of The Year Announcement

Tichenor recalled watching Convocation at home on her computer in mid-August. She listened as Provost Noel Painter, PhD, began announcing the recipient of the Faculty Advisor of the Year award.

Provost Noel Painter speaks about the faculty advisor of the year
Noel Painter, PhD

“This year’s Faculty Advisor of the Year has consistently and thoughtfully realized the Stetson commitment to creating caring and individualized relationships, and providing thoughtful guidance, offering time, resources, mentorship and career advice to students in her program,” Painter said. “Words taken from the nominations describe her as compassionate, genuine, respectful, supportive and kind.”

At home, Tichenor thought, “Oh, wow, those are some really nice things people are saying.’ ” And then, Painter announced her name as this year’s recipient.

John Tichenor, PhD

“It really was a surprise,” she recalled. “I was happy and excited, of course, that my name came up.”

Tichenor received another surprise, too. Her husband John Tichenor, PhD, chair and associate professor of management, had been named the 2018-19 advisor of the year. After his wife’s name was announced, he presented the three-dimensional glass award to her in their own home. Stacy Collins, interim executive director of Career and Academic Success, had conspired with John Tichenor to get the award in his hands for the big moment.

“It’s a very nice honor and I’m delighted to have been chosen,” Tichenor said.

— Rick de Yampert

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