Kin-Rec advisor receives award for professionalism, compassion
Karin Nowak-Bailey (Cert.Mgt./07) of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management is the recipient of the 2018 Advising Excellence Award.
Wendy McLean was an advisor in University 1, and upon her retirement in 2017, established this award to recognize advisors for their outstanding academic and student advising achievements. Although advisors are recognized in their own units for the ways in which they engage and empower students, the larger University community may not be aware of the many connections and opportunities created by advisors in the work they do with students.
“Nowak-Bailey is a dedicated advisor who infuses compassion and awareness into her work with students,” says Brigitte Wiebe, University Advising Services Coordinator. “She was recognized for her many contributions to advising, including service within the unit, developing collaborations with University-based projects that serve all students (UM Achieve), and governance in provincial and international advising groups: the Manitoba Advising Professionals (MAP) and NACADA.”
Nowak-Bailey has found that her work can be essential in helping students achieve their goals.
“Students can read the academic calendar and surf the web, but advising often comes in the form of teaching and coaching,” she says. “Students don’t only see advisors when they are experiencing difficulty. High achieving students visit an advisor to validate their plan and confirm progress, but then conversations about awards and scholarship eligibility may arise that can shape their views and possibly identify future opportunities and experiences at the university and afterwards.”
She adds: “I’d like to think of advisors as navigators during a student’s journey through their academic program.”
However, advising students goes well beyond helping them select courses and programs. Some of her most rewarding work was much more personal.
“Issues impacting student mental health and well-being seem to be occurring more frequently in the last several years,” she explains. “I’ve sought more professional development in these areas to better handle those situations where a student opens up about a serious personal matter and requires referral to the Student Counselling Centre or other U of M student mental health resources.”
Nowak-Bailey says the result of her efforts can be very rewarding. “It’s most satisfying to watch students cross the stage whom I know overcame great odds to complete their degree program. I volunteer regularly at our convocation ceremonies to share their accomplishment, and it often brings tears to my eyes.”
Creating a more integrated advising network is something that is high on the President’s priority list.