Excellence in Advising

Excellence in Advising Awards Program 

We will be rolling all nominations received Fall 2020 over to the 2021 process.

The Excellence in Advising Awards Program recognizes exceptional performance and innovation in advising and student support. A limited number of awards will be made to individuals and teams who are making a significant positive impact on students, student support programs, and/or the student services community as a whole.

Student support plays a critical role in student engagement, belonging, and success, and because advising matters at Berkeley, we believe exceptional performance deserves campus-wide recognition.

Award recipients will be recognized at a virtual ceremony on Monday, December 14, 2020 from 3:00-4:30pm.

We encourage nominations of student services staff from throughout our Berkeley community, including Student Affairs, Equity & Inclusion, Undergraduate Education, Schools & Colleges, University Extension, Berkeley International Office, and beyond! 

  • Eligible nominees do not have to have the term “advisor” in their title. All student support staff at UC Berkeley may be nominated. 
  • Nominations can be made by anyone in the campus community including students. 
  • Staff can be nominated for more than one category but each nomination must have a unique nomination entry and statement. 
  • Previous winners are not eligible to receive the same award more than once. 
  • Entries within each category will be reviewed by a committee composed primarily of past award recipients. Two to three judges will independently review submissions using the criteria outlined below. 

Questions regarding our awards program can be directed to Susan Hagstrom at hagstrom@berkeley.edu or Louise Hon at lkhon@berkeley.edu

Award Categories (see specific criteria here).

  • Outstanding New Advisor or Student Support Professional (3 or fewer years experience)
  • Outstanding Advisor or Student Support Professional (more than 3 years of experience)
  • Outstanding Peer Advisor, Mentor, Counselor, or Ambassador
  • Outstanding Advising or Student Support Services Administrator, Director, or Manager
  • Outstanding Advising or Student Support Team
  • Outstanding Equity Champion
  • 2020 Virtual Advising Innovation
  • 2020 Success with Less
  • Excellence in Data and/or Research-Driven Student Support
  • Service to the Advising and Student Support Community
  • Advising Champion (faculty/administrator)

Award for Special Performance and Contributions

  • The Mary Slakey Howell Excellence in Advising Award - Our Highest Honor - For Exceptional Contributions to Students and the Advising Community 

Award Criteria

In your nomination, in addition to addressing the criteria for each particular category, please reference how the team or individual’s work is in alignment with Berkeley’s Vision, Goals, Principles and Core Competencies.

Submission process

Complete the form linked below. In the form, nominators will be asked to tell us in about 250 words (1 page) why the individual or team deserves special recognition, using the criteria outlined on this page. Please include available evidence of positive impact and/or describe in detail how this person promotes the Berkeley vision for advising and is, for example, especially student-centered or innovative (don’t just tell, show if possible). Optional: An additional statement of support may be included.

Submit a nomination

Nomination Cycle

  • Deadline to submit nominations: 9:00 am, Tuesday, November 10, 2020
  • Review: November 10-20, 2020
  • Virtual Awards Ceremony: Monday, December 14, 2020, 3:00-4:30pm


The Mary Slakey Howell Excellence in Advising Award 


Mary Slakey Howell 1962-2017

The Mary Slakey Howell award for advising excellence is UC Berkeley's highest advising award. It recognizes visionary leadership and exceptional contributions and dedication to the advising community. Mary Howell was a Berkeley alum, front-line advisor, and Director of Student Advising and Policy at the College of Engineering and she dedicated herself to Cal, a place she loved and took pride in representing. Throughout her career she distinguished herself as a knowledgeable advisor, policy analyst, trainer, program developer, and director of advising programs, demonstrating an exceptional understanding of Berkeley’s people, policies, places, and complex practices. Most importantly she put student wellbeing and progress first. The many student testimonials at her retirement party told volumes about the lasting impact her care and individual attention has had on the lives of the many lucky students she advised, coached, challenged and supported. This award is a loving tribute to all she accomplished and contributed to making UC Berkeley a better place for students, advisors and the entire campus community.

Recipients of the Mary Slakey Howell Award

2019     Elizabeth Wilcox and La Shana Porlaris

2018     Barbara Felkins and Kay Burns

2017     Susan Hagstrom and Sharon Mueller

2016     Fabrizio Mejia and Julian Ledesma

Remembering Mary's impact.

This video originally presented at Mary's retirement celebration, 2017. Created by Laura Vogt. 

Mary Howell Student Messages

Mary Howell Student Messages

2020 Event Planning Committee

Michael Cervantes, Student Services Advisor, Cal Student Central

Melissa Charles, Assistant Director, African American Student Development, Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement

Daniel Choi, Assistant Dean/Director, LEAD Center

Amber Dillon, International Academic Specialist, Summer Sessions, Study Abroad and Life Long Learning

Ivor Emmanuel, Director, Berkeley International Office

Barbara Felkins, Director Academic Affairs, Undergraduate Programs, Haas School of Business

Susan Hagstrom, Manager of Advising Strategy and Training

Louise Hon, Study Abroad Advisor, Berkeley Study Abroad

Julian Ledesma, Executive Director, Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence (CE3)

Lauren Magsanay, Student Services Advisor, Berkeley Global, UC Berkeley Extension

Sharon Mueller, Director of Advising and Policy, Engineering Student Services

La Shana Porlaris, Graduate Student Services Advisor, Department of Statistics, College of Letters and Science