Recognizing An Outstanding Advisor

Sharon Wood-Turley honored on national stage

Sharon Wood-Turley. Photo by Kyle Spradley.

Sharon Wood-Turley may be winning an Outstanding Faculty Academic Advising Award this month, but she won’t be able to accept the award for the same reason she’s winning it – her dedication to her students.

Wood-Turley serves as the program chair of the Department of Science and Agricultural Journalism in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. She is also the 2017 recipient of the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Region VII Outstanding Faculty Academic Advising Award. The international organization’s Region VII is comprised of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

For her excellence in advising, Wood-Turley will be recognized at the annual 2017 NACADA South Central Conference. This year’s conference will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Feb. 26-28.

A Dedicated Advisor

For more than 24 years (1984-2008), Wood-Turley served as an editor and designer for CAFNR, receiving her Master’s in Journalism from MU in 1999. In addition to serving as the chair for Science and Agricultural Journalism, she is an assistant teaching professor and advisor chair for the program.

“I love being around colleagues who have the same passion I do for the success of the students and of the institution,” said Wood-Turley. “I have been here long enough to see numerous changes in leadership at all levels, and what strikes me is that the one constant is the quality of our students. They have always been, and continue to be, some of the top performers on campus. And they move on from here to be leaders in the industry.”

As the only advisor in the program, she typically oversees 45-50 students each year. Wood-Turley also serves as the advisor for the Agricultural Communicators and Leaders of Tomorrow organization in addition to managing CAFNR Corner Post, an online publication staffed by students in science and agricultural journalism degree courses.

Sharon Wood-Turley with a few of her students. Photo courtesy Sharon Wood-Turley.

“My advisor Sharon Wood-Turley – she’s one of the most supportive faculty on this campus,” said Science and Agricultural Journalism Junior Nora Faris. “Sharon is a supporter, a mentor, a cheerleader, a friend, a teacher. . .the list goes on. Her masterpieces are her students, and her continual investment in their success — on campus and beyond — is a testament to her dedication as an advisor. She is beyond deserving of every recognition.”

Wood-Turley said she was inspired by her own undergraduate advisor to provide students with the same level of respect and consideration she hopes her own children would encounter in a similar situation.

“I will always remember the day I met my undergraduate advisor, Martha Jo Martin. I had changed majors at least twice and my interactions with other advisors had not always been positive,” said Wood-Turley. “I remember sitting in Dr. Martin’s office and thinking, ‘Wow this person is truly interested in me and what I want to do.’”

She would later go on to land her spot as an editor in the department that housed the Ag Journalism Program, a position that put her in direct contact with students.

“They have given me a sense of purpose, and they always make me hopeful for the future of our world. It’s difficult to be pessimistic for long when you are surrounded by such positive energy and creativity.”

A Decorated Advisor

This isn’t the first award that Wood-Turley has won for her work ethic and passion.

Sharon Wood-Turley receives the Excellence in Advising Award from MU Advisors Forum.Sharon Wood-Turley receives the Excellence in Advising Award from MU Advisors Forum. Photo courtesy Breanne Brammer.

She also received the Excellence in Advising Award from the MU Advisors Forum in April 2016. After receiving her award from the MU Advisors Forum, a formal campus nomination was sent to the NACADA by the MU assistant coordinator of student services, Megan McCauley.

In a few weeks, Wood-Turley will be recognized for her work at the annual South Central Conference in Oklahoma.

The NACADA is an international non-profit organization established nearly 40 years ago, and today the organization has more than 11,000 members representing all 50 United States in addition to Canada, Puerto Rico and several additional international countries.

The NACADA seeks to honor and reward the individuals making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising within higher education, and the organization’s Global Awards Program aims to recognize and encourage wider support of advising personnel and to improve services offered to students. Additional information concerning the NACADA can be found by visiting their website.