Jo Anne Norris
2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advisor - Staff
Department: Agricultural and Applied Economics
With 240 students to advise each semester, it’s easy to assume that Jo Anne Norris has a set of one-size-fits-all recommendations for the undergraduates she counsels. But that would be wrong.
Norris’ calm demeanor and her ability to give each student her undivided attention—despite the crowd of students gathered outside her office—make a unique impact on each of her advisees.
“My general philosophy in life is that we were created to help each other,” Norris wrote in her application. “In addition to having a giving spirit, I feel that there are three keys to successful advising: individuality, diplomacy and compassion.”
Norris has been a fixture in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics for three decades and took over the role of undergraduate advisor eight years ago.
From students who just found out that they no longer have the HOPE Scholarship to students grappling with whether to graduate ahead of schedule or to add another major, Norris treats each student’s situation with time and respect.
The hardest thing about advising is helping students through a setback that they are experiencing because they fell behind academically or failed to plan, Norris said. She has learned how to read their faces and how best help those students. She can be the coach who gives the halftime pep talk or a stern voice reminding them of what they already know is right.
“Even though I don’t teach a class or have a Ph.D. behind my name, I am an educator,” Norris said. “It’s not only my job to prepare students for the workforce, but it’s also important to prepare them for life.”