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Atkinson and Grubaugh Will Receive U of M Advising Award April 21
For release: April 14, 2006
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For the fourth year, the University of Memphis will present Distinguished Advising Awards during its annual Faculty Convocation. Katherine Atkinson will be named outstanding professional staff advisor, and Dr. Jack Grubaugh will be recognized as outstanding faculty advisor. Each will receive a $2,000 award during Convocation at 2 p.m. April 21 in the Michael D. Rose Theatre.

Atkinson is the academic advisor in the Herff College of Engineering. She has served students at the University since 1992, first as an academic advisor to adult students, then as coordinator of the University's undergraduate scholarship programs, and since 2002 as academic advisor to the Herff College. Atkinson is usually the first point of contact for incoming engineering students. She works with them until they graduate, and often stays in contact with them long afterwards. Atkinson is responsible for their initial academic advising, for certifying that seniors have met guidelines for graduation, and for planning and implementing the Herff College's recruitment and retention programs. She provides academic advising and counseling to about 250 students each semester.

Her accomplishments include the establishment of a Living Learning Community for Women in Engineering and the creation of an introductory seminar designed specifically to fit the needs of aspiring engineering students. Colleagues and students praise her knowledge, dedication, and concern for those she serves as students and as individuals. One colleague said, "Kathy likes people and it shows in everything she does."

Grubaugh, an associate professor of biology, has served as a professor and an academic advisor to more than 100 undergraduate students during his 11 years at the University. In addition to his official advising assignments, Grubaugh is known for his active role as a mentor to undergraduate students in biology, whether they are assigned to him or not. He also serves as director of the Meeman Biological Station.

For Grubaugh, advising is just an extension of his teaching and mentoring of students. He has won the Distinguished Teaching Award, the Professor of the Year Award from Mortar Board Society, the Faculty Mentor Award, the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, and the W. Russell Smith Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Students testify to his sound academic advice and the crucial role he plays in their choice of a career and in learning how to achieve their academic and professional goals. He also shows concern for them as individuals. One student wrote, "He was truly the best advisor I could ever ask for. He actually cares and makes an effort to touch the lives of each and every person he comes in contact with."

Grubaugh's colleagues recognize him as a valuable resource of knowledge and as a leader in undergraduate curriculum matters and advising. They agree with another student who wrote, "I not only consider him the University's most distinguished advisor, but also one of its greatest leaders and directors as well."

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