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Trio Named Winners of 2009 Distinguished Faculty Advising Award

Published: July 1, 2009

A trio of faculty members at CSULB was honored recently as winners of the campus’ 2009 Distinguished Faculty Advising Awards, which is given to members of the university’s faculty for sustained excellence in advising.

Virginia Binder, Laura Henriques and Thomas Rhoads were recognized and presented with their awards at the 2009 University Achievement Awards, a special end-of-the-year celebration honoring top faculty and staff for their service and success during the academic year.

Binder became the Psychology Department’s undergraduate advisor in the late 1980s and has worked tirelessly to ensure psychology majors stay on track for graduation and are well prepared to find a job or continue their studies after graduation.

Virginia Binder

She has brought structure to the advising program, creating checklists and a handbook highlighting graduation requirements. She modified course requirements to better prepare all psychology majors for graduation and make it easier for Enrollment Services to track psychology majors. In addition, she established an online advising course that all students must take to learn about careers, graduate school, and ways to be successful as a psychology major.

In 1992, with 1,400 students pursuing psychology degrees, Binder began a peer advising program with two student volunteers who offered advice in a small office in the Psychology Building. The program quickly expanded and within a few years there were 14-16 peer advisors who were recruited from among the top students in the department. These advisors dispensed basic information about requirements and careers and served as role models. The peer advising program has been lauded as a model of advising in a large major. It has attracted interest from faculty on other campuses and been praised by external reviewers at the department’s last two evaluations.

A member of the CSULB faculty since 1967, Binder earned her bachelor’s degree from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and her Ph.D. from Indiana University.

An advisor in the Single Subject Science Credential Program and the Science Education Master’s program, Henriques has shown her dedication in helping students reach their potential and achieve their educational and professional dreams.

Henriques, who also serves as chair of the Science Education Department, began advising students in the Single Subject Science Credential program 12 years ago and started serving as coordinator for the science teacher preparation program 10 years ago. In that time, she has helped countless students navigate the cumbersome process of earning a California teaching credential and offered advice for many more who have considered a teaching career.

In fact, during the late 1990s and early 2000s Henriques was the sole advisor for the science credential program with approximately 1,000 student contacts per year. To meet students’ needs, she has often seen students outside of office hours and created an electronic advising log to track students.

Recently, Henriques began serving as the CSULB coordinator for the Math and Science Teacher Initiative, a CSU initiative designed to increase the number of credentialed math and science teachers. In order to reach out to potential students, she created a science credential program Web site and a listserv. She also works with students earning their master’s in science education. She has mentored four students through their theses, is the thesis advisor for four more and is a thesis committee member for an additional five students.

Laura Henriques

Henriques has been a faculty member at CSULB since 1998. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Massachusetts and her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Rhoads, a professor in the Legal Studies in Business Program, has been advising students in the College of Business Administration (CBA) and throughout the university for more than 30 years.

He has served as the faculty advisor to several student organizations throughout his career, including the Hispanic Students Business Association, Hermanos Unidos and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He pioneered the CBA Minority Business Students Program, which has evolved over the years into the Student Center for Professional Development. The Center, currently made up of hundreds of students, provides training, assistance in securing paid internships, and extensive experiences to prepare students for the business world.

Thomas Rhoads

Rhoads has also assisted the Associated Business Students Organizational Council where he significantly increased the size of the Meet the Industries Job Fair and served as president of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society for business students. He currently serves as the public relations officer for the CSULB chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

He is recognized by his colleagues as an excellent, dedicated advisor who is always seeking ways to help students and alumni, who say he continuously goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure students graduate and go on to successful careers. He has been named Faculty Advisor of the Year by both the Associated Students Inc. of CSULB and the Associated Business Students Organization Council.

Rhoads has been a faculty member at CSULB since 1976. He earned his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California and his J.D. from Western State University.

–Linda Fontes