PNW names 2023 Academic and Student Success Advisor of the Year
Martha Jackson, academic and student success advisor at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), has been named the 2023 Academic and Student Success Advisor of the Year. This is the first year the university has handed out the award for excellence in academic advising.
“Academic advisors are the unsung heroes of PNW,” said Catharine Olsen, director of Academic Operations and Strategic Initiatives. “They work with students every day – making connections and helping them get to graduation. I think it’s important to recognize them for all the important work they do.”
“I was very surprised to receive the award,” said Jackson. “I am honored and grateful to be recognized for what I do and I’m thankful to the students who responded to the survey. It was definitely good to hear feedback from them.”
While the committee reviewed several criteria in the selection process, Olsen admitted it was the student comments that were the deciding factor. “Martha is always on top of everything,” said Olsen. “She participates in meetings and does her job well, but the comments from students really stood out and showed how much passion she has for her work.”
Student after student commented on Jackson’s willingness to listen, explain, offer advice, answer questions and help them achieve their academic goals. One student even wrote that they’d “be wandering this path aimlessly without Martha.”
The comments from students really stood out and showed how much passion she has for her work.
PNW has earned national recognition for its efforts to support first-generation college students in attaining a degree. More than half of PNW students are first-generation college students and academic and student success advisors are a vital part of providing the information and resources needed to help them be successful. “There are so many unique things to academia,” said Olsen. “An advisor is someone who is there to help break down some of those barriers, really explain what college is all about and make those connections for the students.”
As a first-generation college student, Jackson leaned on her advisor throughout her college career. “My advisor was so helpful,” said Jackson. “I remember telling her I wanted her job!” Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Education before beginning her career at PNW as an admissions advisor just over ten years ago. She is currently an academic and student success advisor where she primarily advises students in the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (CHESS).
“On a professional level, this award made me feel good and reassured me that the career path I chose is meaningful and that I am making an impact on these students,” said Jackson. “On a personal level, it challenges and motivates me to want to do more.”