Many Activities, Simple Philosophy Earn Professor Advisement Award

Submitted article

Dr. Rebecca BurchDr. Rebecca Burch, recently named winner of SUNY Oswego’s 2008 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement, said her advising philosophy is not complicated.

“I try to figure out what students need and I give it to them,” said Burch, an associate professor of psychology. That simple approach, and the results, also earned her Adviser of the Year honors during the Student Involvement Awards the past two years.

Burch advises about 40 to 50 psychology majors every year, about half of them first-year students. She also advised the Psychology Club and Rainbow Alliance the past four years, started advising the International Film Club last year and became adviser for Code: Unity this year.

She serves on the student advisement and development committee for the psychology department, where she works on a number of programs for first-year and other students on such topics as career services, graduate schools and why students should become involved in research projects.

“I also put together a graduate school preparation handbook and a ‘getting involved in research’ handbook,” Burch said.

Her advisement work is not limited to office hours or attending meetings of clubs for which she is an adviser. As a Hart Hall faculty-in-residence, she sees and helps students regularly in that setting as well.

“I do a ton of programming over in Hart,” Burch said. “This past year, I know I did more than 50 programs and organized the first-ever Hart Hall Global Awareness Conference.”

She especially likes the interaction in Hart “because you get to see them in their natural habitat,” Burch explained. “They’re not trying to impress you and you get to see them as people.”

Burch, who joined Oswego’s faculty in 2003, has a familiarity with the SUNY system from her educational background. She earned her doctorate at the University of Albany, her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Brockport, and an associate’s degree at Adirondack Community College.

As to why she takes on all the advisement opportunities, that answer is simple as well.

“I genuinely enjoy it and genuinely enjoy spending time with students,” Burch said.