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Barbara Boyette 

Barbara Boyette is known as a dynamo of energy and efficiency. That quality enables her to be a driving force for new ideas and approaches. She consistently develops new methods to confront first-year student challenges, helping minimize the risk of minor challenges becoming major obstacles. Boyette has created a strong cross-discipline team dedicated to effective student support. She responds to difficult student situations with outstanding judgment and relies on her ability to understand and connect with the student to provide the best recommendations. Additionally, Boyette revamped and reorganized Guilford’s first-year student seminar, introducing a peer educator program and improvements to the instructor training process. Boyette’s multidimensional approach has allowed her to signficantly impact the lives of countless students. 

 

 

 

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Peter Ellard 

Peter Ellard has developed aggressive, collaborative, and collegial strategies to draw upon the strengths of the small, liberal arts community at Siena College. He applied his transformational leadership strategies to tackle the culture of advising and worked to build healthy advisor-advisee relationships through multiple opportunities for interaction. Ellard reviews the grades and progress reports for all students at the institution, using this data to inform his processes and provide better student outreach. Most importantly, he has created widespread institutional buy-in and support. Ellard relies on his network of colleagues across campus to implement effective strategies designed for student success. 

 

 

 

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Tracy Gottlieb 

Tracy Gottlieb began her career at Seton Hall as a professor; however, her dedication and drive to improve the institution eventually led her to become Vice President for Student Services. Gottlieb has worked to add an Academic Success and Transfer Center to the University, implement the Seton Summer Scholars program, and develop the Academic Resource Center. Her continual goal is always to “serve our students the best we can.” She has been successful in this pursuit, creating numerous programs to help students feel a sense of belonging and navigate the college campus. Gottlieb’s continual devotion and tireless work to anticipate student needs has been instrumental in providing superior student service. 

 

 

 

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April Heaney 

April Heaney’s experience as an undergraduate at a small institution set the foundation for her success as an administrator. She strives to provide direct student interaction and support daily, and students describe her as understanding, helpful, effective, caring, and supportive. She works extensively with the University’s Synergy program, which is designed to provide support to conditionally admitted students. Under Heaney’s leadership, students have earned higher GPAs and experienced academic achievement. The success of the programs she is involved with is a testament to her effective communication with colleagues. Heaney’s wise and compassionate approach allows her to make a significant impact on first-year students. 

 

 

 

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April Mann 

April Mann has provided instrumental and visionary leadership toward developing a comprehensive approach to the first-year experience. She has formed a community that is aware of first-year student needs and empowered it to establish a foundation for success. Mann is dedicated to creating cross-institutional partnerships to best leverage available resources and, to this end, has organized Chapel Hill’s New Student Programs Working Committee to explore programs aimed at first-year and transfer students. She is consistently recognized by faculty, staff, and students for effectively increasing the accessibility of programs to serve the varied needs of a diverse first-year student body. Mann’s impact and influence has resulted in a culture that celebrates the first-year experience. 

 

 

 

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Colin Morris 

Colin Morris has made first-year programming a priority. He chaired a Foundations of Excellence project at his college designed to develop initiatives in support of first-year students. Morris also instituted a First-Year Program Summer Retreat to provide training to faculty members and introduce new strategies. He provided the leadership necessary to make other significant changes, including developing a first-year philosophy, establishing an early alert system, and implementing a first-year transitions course. These efforts have resulted in a 9% increase in student retention. Morris’s vision of true collaboration and dedication to first-year student instruction has propelled Manhattanville College forward. 

 

 

 

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Cynthia Mosqueda 

Cynthia Mosqueda has been an activist and tireless advocate for first-year students for the past 12 years. Each year, she teaches more than 1,200 new and continuing students how to establish and achieve ambitious academic goals. Despite the large size of El Camino’s first-year experience program, Mosqueda works to ensure all students continue to receive the services they need, and her success is demonstrated through widespread support of her programming efforts. Due to her leadership, the first-year experience program is projected to continue to increase over the next several years, allowing for an even greater student impact. Mosqueda’s unwavering commitment to excellence has yielded dramatic outcomes for students. 

 

 

 

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David Ouimette 

David Ouimette’s work is critical to the academic mission of the University of Connecticut. As the Executive Program Director tasked with all first-year programming, he is devoted to strengthening existing partnerships and collaborations, researching best practices, and involving faculty in the design and maintenance of programming initiatives. Ouimette created the University’s Academic Achievement Center to centralize academic resources and enable students to get the academic support they need. He has also been involved in implementing a one-on-one assistance program, advocating for study abroad programs, and developing strategies to accommodate increasing class sizes. The accomplishments of the programs he manages can be directly attributed to the fact that he sees himself as a student advocate. Ouimette approaches his work as if each first-year student is his direct responsibility. 

 

 

 

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Shelagh Rose 

Shelagh Rose’s energy and breadth of vision have encouraged valuable collaborations and conversations. She is experienced working with the English as a Second Language and migrant student populations, and her approach has always been characterized with a passion for equity. She works tirelessly toward the success of a diverse student population, looking for new ways to improve her practices, such as strategies to encourage active and independent reading. Rose is a sought-after collaborator on student success initiatives throughout California. Within Pasadena City College, her work has led to higher levels of student engagement and faster progressions through required math coursework. Rose is able to reach across cultural boundaries to nobly serve new students. 

 

 

 

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Phyllis Simpson 

Phyllis Simpson is an educator who believes that true collegiate learning must happen both inside and outside of the classroom walls. She has been educating first-year students for more than two decades. Simpson has collaborated with faculty, staff, and community partners to make students aware of their academic strengths and weaknesses and their potential for professional success. Her efforts to develop a retention plan have resulted in a 32% increase in first-to-second-year retention rates. Simpson has demonstrated what a difference one person can have on student success. 

 

 

These ten educators share a common goal of improving the educational experience for entering college students. They are recognized as Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates for their exceptional work on behalf of first-year students and for the impact their efforts have on the students and culture of their institutions.
 
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