Whether students, faculty or staff, those tied to The University of Toledo know just how important the role of an adviser is.
Melissa Gleckler, senior specialist for prior learning and credit assessment, was recognized for her achievements in advising by the Ohio Academic Advising Association June 16 at its annual conference held at Cleveland State University. Gleckler was presented with the Advising Excellence Award, which she was nominated for by Deb Sobczak, director of student services for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and DeMya Wimberly, success coach and pre-major adviser for exploratory studies.“It is an honor to be recognized by my peers as an exemplary adviser for the state of Ohio,” Gleckler said. “It is important that we not only support our students, but also support each other. Receiving the state advising award is a wonderful way to celebrate my 10th year in higher education here at UT.”
Gleckler, who completed both bachelor’s and a master’s degrees at UT, said she hadn’t planned on working in higher education.
“Higher education is actually my second career, and an accidental one, at that. My bachelor’s degree is in broadcast communication, and I worked in TV production for many years. I often found myself in teaching and training situations, which is what led me to pursue a master’s degree and commute my career to higher education.
“I’m currently pursuing a PhD in educational technology, which I find to be a marriage between my two careers, both of which I have enjoyed immensely,” she said.
Wiona Porath, who at the time was president of the Ohio Academic Advising Association, sent Gleckler the notification of her award. She transitioned to past-president at the conference.
“I have known [Gleckler] since 2007, when I worked at UT. I was so pleased that the awards committee selected her to receive the Excellence in Advising Award for the Ohio Academic Advising Association,” Porath said. “It was such a joy for me to let Mel know she would be the recipient of the 2017 award. It was even more exciting to be able to present the award to her at our annual conference.”
“Universities can be large and hard to navigate. Higher education is so different from high school. Advisers are a lifeline for students. While academic success is our main goal, I, like so many of my colleagues, believe in holistic advising to promote student success in all facets of life, well beyond the books,” Gleckler explained, when asked about the importance of good advising.
“I’ve actually had students ask me about my career path and how to become an adviser — which is a great compliment in itself. The desire to pay it forward reminds me of the impact we have on students. The best advice I have for them is to always remember their own student journey — what helped them, what they needed to know, what they know now that they wish they had known then. Sometimes a student might not know the right questions to ask, but we still have to be able to give them the answers they need. By staying in touch with the student experience, I know I can better understand and serve my students’ needs.”