For Shari Freyermuth, advising students is a labor of love. It’s a passion others have recognized, too. Freyermuth has received multiple awards for her achievements as a faculty adviser in the department of biochemistry.
On Sept. 24, Freyermuth was recognized as an Outstanding Academic Advisor Award at the Missouri Academic Advising Association’s annual conference in Camden, Missouri. Each year, only one of these awards is given to faculty advisers at Missouri post-secondary institutions. In May, Freyermuth was honored with a 2015 Excellence in Advising Award from MU’s Advisor’s Forum.
“Having many, many, faculty including Dr. Freyermuth, who really care about the students, and therefore spend time with them, not only in formal issues, but also for informal guidance about life and careers and futures, is really part of the reason we’re here,” said Gerald Hazelbauer, chair of MU’s department of biochemistry.“Students just need to know that they’re somebody that they can go to. Students have to have somebody who’s basically going to be an advocate for them, and I think advisors, good advisors, can really fill that role.”
Advisers can play a crucial role in the academic lives of students. Freyermuth said she has received thanks from students and parents alike. She was honored to be nominated for the Excellence in Advising Award by the students she serves.
“Students just need to know that there is somebody that they can go to,” Freyermuth said. “Students have to have somebody who’s basically going to be an advocate for them, and I think advisors, good advisors, can really fill that role.”
Freyermuth became the director of undergraduate advising in the department of biochemistry in 2011, following in the footsteps of her mentor, Virginia Peterson, who also won the MACADA award. She also serves as assistant dean of academic programs in the College of Agriculture Food and Natural Resources.
Freyermuth’s advising goes beyond helping students plan their schedules. She adds a personal touch that can make a student even more successful.
“A student’s education at the university is far more than just the classes that they take,” said Bryan Garton, associate dean of academic programs in CAFNR and professor of agricultural education. “Good advising can also help with ensuring that the student is ready for the type of career they want to go in to. It’s not just about taking classes. It’s also about internships, doing the extra-curricular activities, like student clubs and organizations, doing the different scholars programs that the college offers.”
As a mother of two college students, Freyermuth knows the impact a good adviser can have.
“You leave your kids at college, and you want to know somebody is looking out for them there, because you’re not there,” she said. “There’s somebody you could go talk to if you need to. Even if you don’t need to talk to them very often, just knowing they’re there is a big deal.”