HAC Honors Professors with Student-Nominated Awards

News Story categories: Accounting Economics, Business, and Accounting English Nursing
Cathy Staples poses with her Excellence in Academic Advising award

Each year the College’s Higgins Academic Center honors professors with awards recognizing their exceptional support of advising and tutoring. The critical support services for, Academic Writing & SpeakingSubject Tutoring & Learning Support, and the Office of Advising Resources run by the Higgins Academic Center (HAC), are a significant component of Randolph-Macon College’s high-touch student support ecosystem. The faculty selected are nominated directly by students.  

Excellence in Academic Advising

The HAC’s annual Excellence in Academic Advising recognizes faculty member(s) who have their demonstrated excellence in advising students.

This year Dr. Cathy Staples, Professor of Accounting, and Dr. Laura Vasel, Professor of Nursing were presented the award by HAC Director, LaNea Winston, Director, Office of Advising Resources.

The award was given during NACADA’s Global Advising Week, which is annually the first week in May. This year the Office of Advising received several nominations from both faculty and students. 

Comment about Dr. Cathy Staples:

“Professor Staples is the backbone of RMC’s accounting major/minor! She is known to be a great professor and with the help of instructors and adjunct faculty, she produces a large number of accounting graduates every year. Those graduates have a solid career ahead of them! As an advisor, she has 38 advisees this semester, and this is actually on the lower end compared her usual advising load! As a colleague, I can attest that she takes good care of her advisees and always find time for them in her very busy schedule. She has had the workload of 3-4 advisors throughout her career at RMC, and I can’t think of a faculty member that is more deserving of the Excellence in Academic Advising award than her!

She is an amazing advisor for accounting majors! She is knowledgeable and proactive in tackling issues and requirements for me before the last minute. Like I mentioned before, she keeps detailed excel sheets and keep both of us on track. Overall, she is helpful, kind, and my main source of support!”

Laura Vasel poses with her Excellence in Academic Advising award

Comment about Dr. Laura Vasel:

“Laura really loves and is committed to her role as an academic advisor. Her advisees trust her and seek her out often for guidance in not just registration and course planning, but how to handle class challenges or other challenges as a college student. She is an expert in knowing the fundamentals of our general education and how to guide students through the process. She serves as an advising mentor for other faculty new to the role of YJSS advisor and academic advising. Even with the expertise, she regularly attends trainings offered by the Office of Advising to ensure her ongoing competence. Based on what I’ve shared here, and my prior responses reflect why Laura Vasel is deserving of this award!”

Outstanding Tutor Advocate Award

The HAC’s annual Outstanding Tutor Advocate Award goes to a staff/faculty member who provided exceptional guidance, encouragement and support for the work of HAC tutors.

RMC tutors are recommended by faculty, attend regular training, are CRLA certified, and are an indispensable part of support and retention at the College.  They play an essential role in helping students pursue their academic potential and their efforts help improve the experience of our students. This award seeks to recognize those faculty members who go above and beyond to connect students to tutoring support and to support the tutors themselves in their endeavors to assist their fellow students.

Dr. Maria Scott, Department of English and Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, was presented the award by HAC Directors, Dr. Seth Clabough ’98, Director of Academic Writing & Speaking, and Morgan Merkel, Director of Subject Tutoring and Learning Support. 

Maria Scott poses with her Outstanding Tutor Advocate award

This award stems solely from student recommendations and letters of support. Those who nominated Professor Scott noted that she encouraged students to connect with tutoring in her classes. Nominators also noted that quite a few of their tutees were students from Professor Scott’s class and were thankful to have been put in touch early with support services in the HAC. The tutors felt not only supported by Professor Scott but encouraged when she would send her students to them, building their confidence as a tutor.    

Dr. Maria Scott 

“I am very honored to have been chosen for the award.  I would also like to praise the tutors and the HAC staff in general for providing such excellent support to our students.  I’m always grateful when I hear tutors say they have worked with my students because they will have made my job of grading so much easier.  I know students will value advice from peers that they might not appreciate as much from the stuffy old professor, and I love seeing the tutors themselves grow in confidence as they assist their clients with their work.  Thank you all!”

The Higgins Academic Center
The HAC offers resources and programming to help students succeed academically. Located on the first floor of the McGraw-Page Library, the HAC is home to the offices of Disability ServicesAdvising ResourcesNew Student Orientation & TransitionsSubject Tutoring & Learning Support and Academic Writing & Speaking.