Honors College’s Audri Adams named National Academic Advising Association’s Region 7 award winner for Excellence in Advising

by | Feb 26, 2024

Adams was recognized in the New Advisor category, for advisors who have been in their role for less than three years.
Audri Adams

Audri Adams, a senior academic advisor in the Pierre Laclede Honors College, was recently named the recipient of the National Academic Advising Association’s award for Excellence in Advising in Region 7. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)

When Audri Adams interviewed for an advising position in the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri–St. Louis in November 2021, Dan Gerth felt it was the strongest interview he’d ever seen.

Needless to say, Adams got the position, and Gerth, the college’s director of Student Services and Alumni Relations and an associate teaching professor, has remained impressed with her work. And he’s not alone.

Adams was recently named the recipient of the National Academic Advising Association‘s award for Excellence in Advising in Region 7, which consists of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Adams was recognized in the New Advisor category, for advisors who have been in their role for less than three years.

Audri Adams and Dan Gerth

Audrey Adams, with associate teaching professor Dan Gerth, received NACADA’s Excellence in Advising Region 7 award at a ceremony on Feb. 26 in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Audri Adams)

“I was honestly flattered that my colleagues thought to nominate me for the award,” Adams said. “It was great winning it, but it was more so wonderful to know that many students, faculty and staff in the Honors College signed on to it, wrote letters and really tried to make sure that I received that award. Hearing their kind words and recommendations was really sweet.”

In his recommendation letter, Gerth wrote that he has never met a more impressive academic advisor at this early stage of a career.

“The way that Audri treats students is the ideal that I think everyone in higher education should aspire to when working with students,” he told UMSL Daily. “She is patient, thoughtful and kind. She knows when to support and when to challenge, when to assist and when to empower. We are lucky to have her.”

But Adams wasn’t initially set on advising. After transferring to UMSL from community college in 2015, she graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history in 2017 and 2020, respectively. She was heavily involved on campus from the jump, participating in several student organizations, working in the Honors College as a student worker and later working as a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of History for her first year and a half of grad school. During her final semester, she started working full time in the Honors College and quickly found a home for herself.

“I always loved UMSL,” Adams said. “I felt very welcome and made so many wonderful connections on campus. Originally, I was going to school to get my PhD and potentially teach, but while I was a student here, I realized my passion was working with students and being more involved in their academic careers.”

In addition to her main role as a senior academic advisor in the Honors College, Adams is the advisor for Bellerive, the college’s annual literary publication, and teaches a corresponding course as an adjunct instructor. She also assists with recruitment, meets with prospective students and serves as the college’s success coach, meeting with students who need additional support and connecting them with resources for time management, reading strategies and more. She feels that her different responsibilities allow her to get to know students in many ways.

“With advising, since they’re in your office at least once a semester – but oftentimes a lot more than that – you really get to know not only what courses they like but also what their passions and future plans are for after graduation,” she said. “And since I get to teach, I get to know what they’re like inside the classroom, too. It’s fun that I have that dichotomy. Since I also help with interviewing students for admittance into the college, I meet them before they become Honors students, and then I get to work with them all four years to graduation and oftentimes stay in touch with them after they graduate as well. It’s really nice to see them progress through their programs.

“I have been at UMSL for a long time, and I truly love what we’re doing for our students. I love working here and am very appreciative of being able to serve our students in this role.”

Heather Riske

Heather Riske