Student services & organizations

WOU recognized for outstanding academic advising for sixth consecutive year

Western Oregon University is honored to have four NACADA The Global Community for Academic Advising awards, which marks six consecutive years of WOU’s faculty and staff receiving such honors. Dr. Karie Mize (associate professor of teacher education) has been awarded the Outstanding Certificate of Merit in the faculty advising category, Tamie Saffell (associate director of the AALC) received the Certificate of Merit for Advising Administrator, Osvaldo Avila (academic advisor in the AALC) received a Certificate of Merit Primary Role Advising, and Alexander Kunkle (academic advisor in the Academic Advising and Learning Center (AALC)) received an award for Outstanding New Advisor. A reception will be held to honor the award winners on Wednesday, May 29 at 3 p.m. in the University House at 386 Stadium Dr. S in Monmouth.

AALC Director Karen Sullivan-Vance, said, “WOU has a strong commitment to academic advising and NACADA has once again recognized WOU for the outstanding job our faculty and staff advisors do in supporting students.”

Dr. Karie Mize

Dr. Karie Mize

Dr. Karie Mize
Mize joined WOU in 2005 with the ESOL/bilingual education program, and served as coordinator of the bilingual teacher program from 2007 to 2012. Her career began as a bilingual (Spanish/English) teacher in Los Angeles in 1994, then in a predominantly Mexican-American community in Lake Tahoe, lastly teaching bilingual first grade in Sacramento. After a total of nine years she left the elementary classroom to teach as six different universities in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas. In December 2004 she graduated from the University of San Francisco with a doctorate in international and multicultural education with an emphasis in second language acquisition.

“I believe students are navigating what can frequently seem like a mysterious and complex system to achieve their personal and professional goals, and it is my quest to arm them with knowledge. Their time is valuable, and I endeavor to make each conversation as meaningful as possible,” said Mize. “My advisees deserve respect for their efforts, especially those who tackle all that is involved in the teaching field. Learning to become a professional who will be working with children and impacting the community is a multi-layered and dynamic process, and I hope they see me as a partner they can turn to now and in the future.”

Tamie Saffell

Tamie Saffell

Tamie Saffell
Saffell joined WOU in 2006 as an academic advisor working with pre-education, exploratory and pre-nursing students. She was promoted to assistant director in 2008 and then associate director in 2010. Committed to student success, Saffell is known for helping students to persist towards their academic goals. Her energy, professionalism and knowledge has already led to her being invited to make statewide and regional presentations. She earned her master’s in student development in post-secondary education from the University of Iowa in 2004 and is currently working on a second masters in information technology. Saffell is inspired by her job on a daily basis.

“Every day I have the opportunity to work with some of the most incredible students. I am continually amazed by their accomplishments and dreams. It is an honor to be part of their development by helping students to reach their goals,” she said.

Oswaldo Avila

Oswaldo Avila

Osvaldo Avila
Avila joined WOU in 2009 as the first bilingual academic advisor. He advises transfer, exploratory, pre-education and first-year pre-nursing students. Avila conducts presentations in Spanish to parents and students about advising, recruitment and admission programs. Avila also translates and prepares department brochures and university documents in to Spanish. Prior to joining WOU he worked with students at Chemeketa Community College, where he worked in the Office of Student Life as a student ambassador then college recruiter for the College Assistance Migrant Program. He then worked in the private sector for a few years after graduating from Portland State University (PSU) with a bachelor’s in liberal studies and a Chicano/Latino studies certificate in 2007. Avila is currently enrolled in the Masters in Postsecondary Adult and Continuing Education program at PSU.

“I’m thrilled to have been nominated and to actually be selected validates the time and effort that I put in with every student here at WOU. The work I do is not for me, but for each student and their future success,” said Avila. “Advising is an essential part of a student’s education and I have developed my advising skills from the leadership of my Director Karen Sullivan-Vance, Associate Director Tamie Saffell, and my fellow advisors in our Academic Advising and Learning Center. I want to thank everyone for the support they provided me with, this recognition could not be possible without their assistance.”

Alexander Kunkle

Alexander Kunkle

Alexander Kunkle
Kunkle started his career in higher education by joining the AALC in 2007, working as a student in the role of peer advisor. Three years later he returned as an academic advisor in the AALC, following his graduation from WOU with double bachelors in speech communication and social science, with a minor in humanities. Kunkle is currently pursuing a master’s in information technology from WOU. His role as an advisor focuses primarily on exploratory students, pre-nursing students, pre-education students and any student with general questions about their degree. He also volunteers as the NACADA Region 8 communications coordinator as of earlier this year.

“Advisors work as teachers to these students, preparing them to be successful not only at WOU, but beyond graduation. Receiving this award is important to me, because it recognizes the passion I have for helping students succeed beyond just a checking a box on a list,” said Kunkle.

NACADA has recognized WOU’s strong tradition in academic advising for several consecutive years:
-2012: Dr. Steve Taylor (chair, Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and professor of geology) received a Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit for the faculty academic advising category
-2011: Associate Provost David McDonald was named the Pacesetter Award Recipient and biology professor Dr. Bryan Dutton received a Certificate of Merit for the faculty academic advising category
-2010: Karen Sullivan-Vance, director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center, was selected as an Outstanding Advising Award Winner in the advising administrator category and was chosen among that group to receive the Gail Rola Memorial Award. Dr. Marita Cardinal, a professor of health and physical education as well as dance, was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the faculty academic advising category.
-2009: music professor Dr. Kevin Walczyk received the Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Faculty Advisor.
-2008: Dr. Michael LeMaster, an assistant professor of biology, as an Outstanding Faculty Advisor, and both Tamie Saffell (an advisor in AALC) and Bobbi Weber (an adviser in AALC) received recognition as Certificate of Merits for Outstanding New Academic Advisor and Outstanding Academic Advisor.

About NACADA
NACADA was created in 1979 to promote quality academic advising and professional development of its membership to ensure the educational development of students and is the leader within the global education community for the theory, delivery, application and advancement of academic advising to enhance student learning and development. The organization has grown to over 12,000 members around the world. Established in 1982, the National Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising.

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 Contact:
Dr. Karie Mize
503-838-8724 or mizek@wou.edu

Tamie Saffell
503-838-8057 or saffellt@wou.edu

Alexander Kunkle
503-838-8506 or kunklea@wou.edu

Osvaldo Avila
503-838-8587 or avilao@wou.edu

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