Threesome Earn Distinguished Faculty Advising AwardsPublished: August 16, 2010
As the undergraduate advisor for marine biology in the Department of Biological Sciences, Gwen Goodmanlowe has one goal in mind – facilitating the passage of students through the academically rigorous program in a timely fashion.
To that end, when Goodmanlowe became advisor in 2004, she created much-needed detailed records of the academic history and current situation of more than 200 students in her major. She maintains student records of courses taken and grades received for each of the majors, updating them with the most recent grades after each semester. She evaluates these records regularly, generates suggestions for each student on what they should enroll in to facilitate their progress and e-mails those suggestions to students. Goodmanlowe personally speaks with every active student, meeting with every incoming freshman and transfer student each year, and encourages all majors to see her whenever they need assistance.
Between 1997 and 2004, the average number of marine biology students who graduated yearly was 12.38, which has risen to an average of 26.8 students – a 117 percent increase. During that time, the number of years it took native marine biology majors to graduate decreased from an average of 6.4 to 5.1 years, while the rate for transfer majors decreased from 4.7 to 3.65 years. That’s accomplishing quite a lot in a very short time.
Mathematics and Statistics
Kent Merryfield’s service as an undergraduate advisor for Mathematics and Statistics has profoundly shaped his understanding of what it means to be a faculty member.
As an advisor, Merryfield is driven by data. Very early in his career as an advisor, he recognized the power of an electronic registration system, both for tracking enrollment and for advising individual students. Transcripts tell stories. He was a “power user” of the OASIS system when he was still connecting to the database through a dial-up modem. But it
taught him that when a student asks for some simple thing – a signature, perhaps – he ought to look up that student’s transcript to find the whole story and perhaps offer some advice that he or she didn’t know to ask for.
Merryfield joined the Department of Mathematics as a lecturer in 1985 and now is a full professor. At the department level, he has been an essentially permanent member of the Undergraduate Committee and of the Scholarship Committee. He was named Most Valuable professor twice by College of Natural Science and Mathematics’ Outstanding Graduates. He has been recognized with the Samuel L. Greitzer award for outstanding coaching by the American Regions Math League (ARML).
For the past eight years, Merryfield has served as coach and organizer of the Southern California ARML team composed of outstanding high school mathematical problem solvers who meet in a national competition at the end of the academic year.
Dawn Kelsey seemed to be the natural choice to become Communication Studies’ undergraduate advisor in 2002 for a lot of good reasons, not the least of which was her familiarity with K-16 education and the inadequacy of advising throughout the educational system. Additionally, Kelsey is a product of CSULB, where she earned both her bachelor of arts degree in 1997 and her master of arts in 2000.
Kelsey is one of the few advising planners advising on a daily basis, supporting students in their individual endeavors. Whether students need internships, academic advice, career information or social support, she is accessible and approachable.
Kelsey is an active member of the department’s busy Curriculum Committee and is the go-to person for any questions about the effects of proposed curriculum revision on the department’s majors and students’ progress toward graduation.
Kelsey’s experience is unique and clearly invaluable. She served for two years as a graduate teaching associate at CSULB before teaching part-time in 2001 and full-time in 2007. Kelsey not only fulfills service responsibilities in the department, she also owns a publishing company and writes children’s books (Flippy and Friends series) with her husband.
Photos by Robert Freligh