President’s Award for Academic Advising – Sally Walker

BOWLING GREEN, O.—When Sally Walker meets with students as the academic adviser for Bowling Green State University’s College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, she takes time to learn about and appreciate each student’s talents and backgrounds. Her connection to the students and her expertise at helping students through the advising process were among the reasons she earned the President’s Award for Academic Advising this spring.

Walker, who has been an adviser at BGSU for 15 years and at the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering for 11 years, has an advising style that is “friendly, informative and honest,” according to nominator Laney Fugett, interim assistant dean for undergraduate affairs in the college.

“She has a positive attitude with the students, but she doesn’t sugar coat about the challenges or tough goals that they must achieve to be successful in their majors,” Fugett said.

The college has had many administration changes in the past three to five years that directly affected the quantity of personnel in the college’s advising office, Fugett explained. “Stability and familiarity with undergraduate student support in a college is essential for students’ success.”

As the only professional academic adviser for several years in the college, “Sally Walker has provided that consistency and guidance, and has been a familiar face and valuable sounding board for students,” Fugett added.

For Crosby Simms, a construction management student who transferred to BGSU from another university, “She was my first impression of the university and has made it clear she will be the key component in my college success.”

He recalled driving to BGSU in a snowstorm to meet with Walker over winter break to discuss his plans to transfer. “After conversing with Sally for three hours, I realized I wasn’t nervous anymore,” he said. “I also realized it was 7 p.m. Instead of rushing the process along, she stayed on task and paid no attention to the darkening outside. Her organization and forward-thinking mindset put me in a position to succeed.”

In addition to her personal approach to advising, she also has been instrumental in re-establishing the Technology Ambassadors program. Creating a sense of community within the student organization is paying off in retention efforts also. She and the ambassadors held an event to help freshmen prepare for the selection of classes.

“There are so many students who need help and support through this time, and the event helped facilitate that,” said Emily Schnipke, one of the Technology Ambassdors. “She is working diligently with other students to make the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering a better experience for those that are a part of it.”