University of Central Missouri: Garver’s Commitment to Academic Advising Results in Statewide Recognition

Demonstrating his commitment to helping students succeed in their education at the University of Central Missouri, Matthew Garver, Ph.D., has received the Missouri Academic Advising Association (MACADA) Outstanding Academic Advising Award for Faculty Academic Advising. Garver was honored Sept. 17 at MACADA’s 2021 virtual conference.

The MACADA Outstanding Academic Advisor Award for Faculty Academic Advising provides recognition for individuals whose primary responsibility is teaching and who spend a portion of their time providing academic advising services to students. Garver was initially recognized as the university’s nominee for this award during the spring 2021. He is now eligible to be considered for national recognition. Jacqueline Carter, a UCM academic success advisor working with students enrolled in programs in the Schools of Technology, Aviation, Communication, History and Interdisciplinary Studies, was nominated for the MACADA Academic Advising, Primary Role. Because she is a member of the association‘s board she is ineligible for state recognition, but may be considered for a national award.

“UCM has a history of strong showing for awards at the Missouri Academic Advising Association for both advisors and faculty,” Garver said in describing what the award means to him. “I think this is a testament to the intentionality that we have here at UCM in offering students purposeful guidance toward academic success and career preparedness. I am humbled to be recognized among my fellow UCM affiliates who have been honored at the state level.”

A resident of Blue Springs, Missouri, Garver joined UCM in 2016 and currently serves as interim chair and associate professor in the School of Nutrition, Kinesiology, and Psychological Science. He is a faculty mentor to students in the Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Kinesiology. He previously served as coordinator of both programs.

In the process leading up to his university nomination, one student wrote a letter of support noting that Garver “routinely goes above and beyond for his students. He is extremely flexible, accommodating, and personable, which always puts students at ease.”

Letters of support recognized Garver as someone who is eager to assist students with research, and has a willingness to help students succeed in gaining grant funds to pursue projects that have led to presentations at national conferences. He also was praised for his contributions to a smooth transition in advising structure by participating in training sessions, and developing tools such as advising sheets in five different areas of kinesiology to help students and advisors to better understand curriculum updates.

“Helping a student take their vision and passion and turn it into an actualized plan to move toward a desired outcome is a great start in the advising role. Watching a student overcome trepidations, missteps, and challenges to make the plan a reality is most fulfilling,” Garver said. “In essence, advising means you have a front row seat in setting plans to empower the learner for their tomorrow.”

Throughout his career at UCM, Garver has been nominated for or earned a number of additional honors. This includes being named the university’s recipient of the Missouri Governor’s Excellence in Education Award in 2018; nominee for the Learning to a Greater Degree Award in 2019; and nominee for the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award in 2020.

MACADA is an organization dedicated to promoting excellence in academic advising while supporting professional competencies associated with students’ academic achievement, retention, and persistence to graduation. It provides opportunities for professional development, developing connections, and leadership for a diverse body of higher education professionals throughout the state. It also promotes the overall awareness of academic advising as a profession and supports the core values of its national organization, NACADA.

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