The National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) has selected Chris Drewry of Willimantic, assistant director of the Academic Services Center at Eastern Connecticut State University, for its 2017 Excellence in Advising award. Drewry was the sole recipient in Region 1 for the “Advisor Primary Role” category, standing out among thousands of NACADA members from numerous colleges and universities in New York, New England, Quebec and the eastern provinces of Canada.
“There are different types of academic advising,” explained Drewry. “The advising we offer at Eastern is holistic. Only a small part of our time is spent prescribing classes and building students’ schedules. Instead we use our time to troubleshoot other issues the student may be facing.
“Everything is connected,” he continued, acknowledging the myriad factors that influence academic performance. “We look at the big picture and consider all aspects of their experience at the university.”
Explaining that students who are involved with athletics, clubs and other campus organizations tend to perform better academically, Drewry said, “We want to make sure students feel connected. So a lot of what we do is connect students with other departments to help them become more engaged on campus.”
Professional academic advisors at Eastern carry caseloads of approximately 250 students per semester. “The ultimate goal is to develop as many good relationships with as many students as possible,” said Drewry. “Being relatable and getting the students to be honest and open with you may be the most important quality of being an advisor here.”
In his nomination letter, William Bisese, director of Eastern’s Academic Services Center, said of Drewry: “I’ve worked at six institutions throughout my career, and Chris stands out as a perfect example of what it means to be a committed, student-centered academic advisor.” Regarding the Excellence in Advising award, he added: “This is one of the most prestigious awards our professional association bestows on its members in the field of academic advising.”
NACADA promotes and supports quality academic advising in institutions of higher education to enhance the educational development of students. The association has more than 11,000 members representing colleges and universities from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and several other international countries.