Buck and Supon Receive Excellence In Advising Awards

March 25, 2002
The 2002 Excellence in Advising Awards will be presented to John Buck and Stanley B. Supon.

            The award, established by the Undergraduate Student Government’s Academic Assembly, annually honors one full-time faculty member and one full-time professional adviser from any Penn State location who has at least two years of advising experience. The award acknowledges excellence in advising, academic and career guidance and assistance to students in decision-making and goal setting.

            Buck began his career at Penn State as an adviser 32 years ago. In addition to his responsibilities as assistant professor of English, which has him teaching two courses each semester, he is director of and adviser in the English Advising Center, which serves 500 undergraduate English and American-studies majors.

Buck’s approach to advising is simple: to serve his students well, he needs to know them as themselves and understand the many ways in which the University can help them “in all of their variety” to become the adults they want and need to be.

            Students praise his personal involvement, his honesty and his unique ability to see every student as an individual, which they find invaluable when discussing course load, career opportunities and life.

As an adviser, Buck says he must accommodate the University to his students and his students to the University. “We have evolved powerful definitions of undergraduate education and have specified procedures for achieving that education. I must understand our general definitions and the details of the procedures. My students come to me to make our vision of education human, responsive, and appropriate to them,” he adds.
           Administrative director for undergraduate programs in the School of Information Sciences and Technology and DUS coordinator, Supon began his 20-year career with Penn State as an instructor of petroleum and natural gas engineering.

Supon say his advising philosophy is that no two students are exactly alike, thus no two advising sessions will ever be identical. He says because no approach works perfectly all the time, active listening, experience, patience, and flexibility all play critical roles in every advising session.

            Students value his patience, involvement, and his honest interest in their well-being. They appreciate his willingness to share his life experiences and to go that extra mile.

“Every student is an individual with a unique combination of interests, talents, abilities, values, motivations and needs,” says Supon. “It takes time for the student to uncover these personal characteristics, but afterwards this knowledge becomes the basis for making sound educational and career plans.” He says that academic advisers can play a key role in this discovery process by taking an honest interest in their advisees and by patiently staying on task as the process unfolds.

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Contact: Allison Kessler (814) 865-7517 or e-mail at akessler@psu.edu