WOU: NACADA Award Winners

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NACADA The Global Community for Academic Advising promotes and supports quality academic advising in institutions of higher education to enhance the educational development of students. NACADA provides a forum for discussion, debate, and the exchange of ideas pertaining to academic advising through numerous activities and publications.

Western Oregon University has been the recipient of numerous NACADA Advising Awards dating back to 2008. Below is a list of Western’s award winners.


Dr. Karie Mize- 2013 Outstanding Faculty Advising Certificate of Merit

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.

Tamie Saffell - 2013 Outstanding Advising Administrator Certificate of Merit

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.


Osvaldo Avila - 2013 Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit

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.

Alexander Kunkle - 2013 Outstanding New Advisor

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.

Steve Taylor
Dr. Steve Taylor - 2012 Outstanding Faculty Advising Certificate of Merit

Dr. Steve Taylor, chair of Western Oregon University's (WOU) Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and a professor of geology, has been selected as an Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit recipient in the Faculty Academic Advising category from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Taylor joined WOU after earning his doctorate in geology from West Virginia University, with expertise in geomorphology, environmental geology, and geographic information systems (GIS). Taylor's present research initiatives span a diverse array of topics including watershed analysis, cinder cone volcanism at Newberry Volcano, rapid bio-assessment of salmonid in Coast Range watersheds, and fingerprint pattern characterization. In addition to his applied technical background, Taylor is a highly experienced educator with many years of experience in the college classroom.

David McDonald
David McDonald - 2011 Pacesetter Award

Associate Provost David McDonald was named the 2011 Pacesetter Award Recipient. Since McDonald joined WOU in 2005, he has led successful initiatives to increase enrollment and retention. He instituted the Western Tuition Promise, which guarantees the same tuition rate for incoming students throughout their four years. WOU’s enrollment was 4,956 in 2005, and has grown to 6,233 in 2010. In his position, McDonald manages the Academic Advising and Learning Center, Admissions, Center for Teaching and Learning, Financial Aid, the Honors Program, International Students and Scholars Affairs, the Registrar’s Office, Study Abroad, University Marketing, and the Writing Center. McDonald worked in the Oregon University System’s Chancellor’s Office from 1999 to 2005, where he served as the director of enrollment and student services and director of Oregon GEAR UP.

The Pacesetter Award recognizes executive officers, provosts and academic or student affairs officers (i.e. vice provosts, vice presidents, deans, etc.) who exemplify a commitment to academic advising and are true advocates for advising, students, and advisors across the


The Pacesetter Award hasn’t been given to someone west of Texas since its inception in 1992.

Bryan Dutton
Dr. Bryan Dutton - 2011 Oustanding Faculty Academic Advising Certificate of Merit

Dr. Bryan Dutton received a Certificate of Merit for the faculty academic advising category. Dutton, a graduate of WOU when it was the Oregon College of Education, came to WOU in 1998 after holding previous positions at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Smithsonian Institution, and The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. He earned his doctorate in botany from the University of Maryland in 1995. Dutton has a comprehensive history of peer-reviewed publications, lectures, awards, and grants. One such grant was awarded in 2009 by the United States Department of Justice to a WOU research team that included Dutton ($685,754).The study was called “Application of Spatial Statistics to Latent Print Identifications: Towards Improved Forensic Science Methodologies.”

Karen Sullivan-Vance
Karen Sullivan-Vance - 2010 Gail Rola Memorial Award , 2010 Outstanding Advising Administrator

Karen Sullivan-Vance, director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center (AALC) at Western Oregon University, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Gail Rola Memorial Award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Sullivan-Vance was also selected as an Outstanding Advising Award Winner in the advising administrator category in May. The Gail Rola Memorial Award recipient is chosen from that group of award winners.

The recipient of this award demonstrates a passion for advising, empathy in working with students and advisors, and the potential impact on the larger field of advising through the individual’s leadership. This award was created by advising colleagues to honor and celebrate the life of Gail Rola, a former advising administrator at the University of North Texas, who led with passion and creativity.

Sullivan-Vance has been with WOU for nearly five years. She has an exemplary career in advising and has been heavily involved with NACADA, including serving as the past Region 8 Chair, Conference Chair for Portland 2005, Honolulu 2006, and Seattle 2010. She earned her master’s in education from Oregon State University and is currently working on her Ed.D. in educational leadership at Portland State University. She publishes on issues surrounded advising, students at risk and theory. In 2009 she was awarded a Dedicated Service Award from her advising colleagues in Region 8 of NACADA.

Marita Cardinal
Dr. Marita Cardinal - 2010 Oustanding Faculty Academic Advising Certificate of Merit

Dr. Marita Cardinal has beenawarded a Certificate of Merit in the faculty academic advising category. Cardinal is a professor in both the Division of Health and Physical Education and the Division of Theatre and Dance and was the 2008 recipient of the Mario and Alma Pastega Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Her background is in dance and she has spent her career combining her love for dance with her dedication to dancer wellness. Cardinal believes that student dancers often face unique problems including musculoskeletal injuries, stress management, and how to maintain the stereotypical dancer’s lean bodyweight without neglecting proper nutrition and she wants to help dancers make better choices so they can stay healthy.

Kevin Walczyk
Dr. Kevin Walczyk - 2009 Oustanding Faculty Academic Advising Certificate of Merit

Western Oregon University music professor Kevin Walczyk has been awarded the Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Faculty Advisor from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Walczyk is one of only 13 in the nation to receive this recognition, being judged by a committee of peers representing 11,000 NACADA members among 26 countries. NACADA is the leader within the global education community for the theory, delivery, application and advancement of academic advising to enhance student learning and development.

Walczyk was originally selected as the recipient of the student-driven Western Oregon University Outstanding Faculty Advisor for the 2006-2007 academic year. The NACADA nomination was the follow-up to the university award. Only one other university in the entire northwest region of five states, two Canadian provinces and one territory received this NACADA honor, exemplifying the personal connection that Western provides its students. Walczyk, a professor of music at WOU for 14 years, serves as the graduate music advisor and coordinator. He created the comprehensive music department student handbook, detailing program requirements that assist students in developing a plan for degree completion. Specializing in jazz arranging, concert composition, film scoring and electronic music, Walczyk believes he has a dual role at WOU as professor and mentor, guiding students through the university experience, stating “If I demonstrate genuine interest in each individual’s collegiate welfare then I inculcate a quality trait that, I hope, permeates their future relationships so that they can, in turn, become model experts - mentors, educators, advisors, parents and citizens.”

Bobbi Weber - 2008 Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit

Roberta (Bobbi) Weber has received an Outstanding Advising Certificate of Merit. Bobbi Weber has only been with WOU for a couple of years, but she’s been advising since 1982, mostly with the University of North Dakota and the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She’s honored by the award, and appreciates the recognition of her dedication advising.

The majority of her career has been spent advising students who have not chosen a major. “It’s fun to take all of that interest and unknowingness, and funnel it to help them find a direction,” said Weber. She’s also enjoyed advising non-traditional students who are fearful that they can’t be successful at the university. Weber’s mantra is to tell them they aren’t too old, it’s never to late to achieve your dreams.

Tamie Saffell
Tamie Saffell - 2008 Outstanding New Advisor Certificate of Merit

Tamie Saffell, assistant director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center (AALC), received an Outstanding New Advisor Certificate of Merit. Tamie Saffell earned her master’s in student development in post-secondary education from the University of Iowa in 2004. She joined WOU in 2007 and her energy, professionalism and knowledge has already led to being invited to make statewide and regional presentations. Saffell is inspired by her job. “Every day I 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.”

Michael Lemaster
Dr. Michael Lemaster - 2008 Oustanding Faculty Academic Advising Award

Michael LeMaster, assistant professor of biology, was recognized as an Outstanding Advising Award Winner in the academic advising faculty category. Michael LeMaster joined WOU as an adjunct in 2001 after earning his doctorate in zoology from Oregon State University. In 2003, he moved into a tenure-track position. Since he began teaching, he has considered advising to be an important part of his role and credits the interest to the excellent advisors he had as an undergraduate, who directed him toward earning a doctorate degree.

For further details of these awards and NACADA guiding principles, please visit NACADA's webpage by cliking the icon below.

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Academic Advising and Learning Center 503-838-8428 | or e-mail: advising@wou.edu
Location: APSC 401

The Academic Advising and Learning Center engages students in identifying and pursuing their educational, career, and life goals through personalized learning experiences. The AALC serves and supports students in developing collaborative relationships that foster student success.

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