Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 4, Page 17
Summer 1994
Excellence-in-advising Awards

     Pam Beeman says she's gone from a faculty member who primarily
teaches to a faculty member who primarily advises. "I can't believe
how naive I was regarding advising," Beeman says. "I didn't realize
how important it was."
     A member of the College of Nursing since 1986, Beeman, an
associate professor who teaches maternal-child health, became
associate dean of student services in 1992.
     In her current position, Beeman says, she sees a large number of
students, primarily because advising in the College of Nursing is a
little different from that provided in other colleges.
     Since students and faculty spend two days a week in off-campus,
clinical programs, faculty are not always available to respond to
other students' needs. These students turn to Beeman, who has earned a
reputation for being accessible and responsive.
     Beeman, who received an excellence-in-advising award for 1994,
says nursing programs are relatively straightforward, with little need
for advisement on course selection and substitutions. Therefore,
advisement more often deals with such issues as concerns over
roommates, homesickness, time management, family crises and even
personal decisions associated with morality, ethics and values. For
seniors, immediate concerns revolve around getting a job and making
graduate school decisions.
     Helping a student resolve a personal problem without jeopardizing
his or her academic standing is one of Beeman's important goals.
      The College of Nursing prides itself on intensive advising,
Beeman says. Significant time also is spent with students from other
disciplines who are considering a transfer into nursing. In addition,
Beeman has counseled registered nurses who seek the baccalaureate
degree, as well as students with previous bachelor's degrees who want
to participate in the accelerated college program that leads to a BSN
     "An adviser's job is to guide students through the educational
process, and that can be a huge responsibility," Beeman says. "We find
there are a number of students who are misplaced in a major, in a
college or in the University. They really need to talk to someone to
get back on track."
     Returning adult students, Beeman says, present different needs,
including support and validation, since many are concerned that by
going back to school they are neglecting their spouses or children and
that their decision will dramatically change their lifestyle.
     "Truly," she says, "the contact with the students is most
satisfying, especially when a student is in need and I am able to
help. What I like best is feeling that I can enlighten someone and
erase their concern. It's nice to be helpful."

                                *  *  *

     When Roland Roth was 8 years old, growing up on a rice farm in
Stuttgart, Ark., his grandmother gave him a coffee table-style book
entitled Birds of America.
     Now a professor in the Department of Entomology and Applied
Ecology, Roth said he recalls looking at it a lot of times and being
intrigued by the pictures.
     While attending the University of Arkansas as an undergraduate,
Roth got interested in ornithology, and at the University of Illinois,
where he received his master's and doctoral degrees in zoology, he
majored in ecology and minored in vertebrate zoology.
     To Roth, an integral part of his teaching responsibilities
involves the art of advising students, and for his efforts, the
University presented him with its excellence-in-undergraduate-advising
     "Advising is one of the ways we serve our students," Roth says.
"I think there is something in my upbringing that tells me to be of
service and do a conscientious job, to do things right. Probably, I
have that attitude from being raised among an extended family of
Methodist farmers in a small-town setting.
     "Students come here to talk about a lot of different issues. A
certain amount deals with course selection, but there also are
questions about careers, internships, graduate school, jobs. I get a
lot of students who are trying to find themselves, to find a major.
Students from other majors and colleges come to talk about what we
offer. They seem to appreciate the time I spend with them."
     "I like helping students, seeing them find a direction," Roth
says. "I see students who don't know what they want to do or, if they
do, how to do it. Sometimes I tell them: 'Suppose you have to cross a
stream. You know you can't stay where you are. You have to choose what
looks like a path across the rocks, and sometimes it won't work and
you have to look somewhere else. You might fall into the stream,
occasionally, but if you don't jump on some of the rocks, you will
never get to the other side."
                                              -Ed Okonowicz, '69, '84M