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Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising

Developed and implemented by the University Advising Office and the RIT Advisors’ Council, this award recognizes primary academic advisors who have demonstrated exceptional academic advising of students and outstanding support of students and their success.

Nomination deadline: November 2, 2016. Click here for the nomination form.

2016-17 Recipients

2016-2017 - New Advisor: Brittany Rourke — College of Applied Science and Technology

Brittany Rourke

Brittany Rourke
Academic Advisor, Civil Engineering Technology and Environmental Sustainability, Health and Safety
College of Applied Science and Technology

  • Joined RIT in 2015
  • Professional interests include advising first-generation, first-year, undeclared, or undecided students; developmental advising; and educating students on self-advocacy
  • Organized tutoring program between students in civil engineering technology program and first-year physics
  • Co-developed and managed six-week workshop series for students on academic probation or with low grade-point averages to improve career, time management, and study skills
  • MS, student affairs counseling, State University of New York College at Plattsburgh; BA, psychology, State University of New York College at Cortland

2016-2017 - Experienced Advisor: Michelle Firnstein — School of Individualized Study

Michelle Firnstein

Micelle Firnstein
Senior Academic Advisor
School of Individualized Study

  • Joined RIT in 2001
  • Serves as lead advisor for cross-registered deaf and hard-of-hearing students
  • Teaches the online section of the capstone course for SOIS students
  • Supports international students and military veterans in the enrollment and transfer process
  • Administers RIT Osher Foundation Scholarship for adult students and coordinates review process for Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Awards
  • Served on several college-level and university committees including those focusing on advising outcomes, alumni, semester conversion, and graduate satisfaction
  • Co-developed introductory course for students entering SOIS programs
  • Co-presented at National Academic Advising Association and Council for Adult & Experiential Learning conferences on topics of adult learning, enrollment, and learning assessment
  • MS, higher education and BA, political science and psychology, University of Rochester

2015-16 Recipients

2015-2016 - New Advisor: Megan Fritts — B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

Megan Fritts

Megan Fritts
Academic Advisor, Department of Computing Security
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

  • Joined RIT in 2008
  • Professional interests include career advising, peer advising and mentoring, at-risk students, and non-traditional students
  • Serves as club advisor for RIT’s Competitive Cybersecurity Club, Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, and Delta Phi Epsilon sorority
  • Serves on the following college and university-level committees: WADE (Wellness Alcohol and Drug Education), CARES- Campus Advocacy Response and Support, RIT’s On Time Graduation Committee, Golisano Curricular Pathways Committee, Golisano Student Success Committee, and Golisano Community Building Committee
  • Nominated for the Golisano Staff Excellence Award: 2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2015-2016
  • BFA, illustration, Rochester Institute of Technology, AS, graphic design, Rochester Institute of Technology

2015-2016 - Experienced Advisor: Veronika Talbot — National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Veronika Talbott

Veronika Talbott
Counselor and Academic Advisor, ASL & Interpreting Education Program
National Technical Institute for the Deaf

  • Joined RIT in 2003
  • Professional interests include first-generation students, non-traditional students, students with disabilities, coaching and mentoring, and career advising
  • Serves as club advisor and advocate for Student Interpreting Association, ASLIE Honors Program, Big Brother and Big Sister, and Back on Track programs for the department of information & computing studies
  • Certified DISC Coach and recipient of RIT Advisors’ Council professional development series certificate of recognition  
  • Serves on several college and university-level committees, including “Go Roar” Committee for NTID Counseling & Academic Advising, Counseling Services Task Force Committee, Marketplace Scanning Committee and RIT’s Freshman Registration Committee
  • Led professional development presentations for students, faculty and staff, including Promoting Social/Emotional Growth in Students, Diversity at NTID/RIT, Stress Busters, Leadership Skills, Time Management, Introduction to ASL for RIT Advisors workshop, and DISC Communication Styles
  • Presented at ASL conversational lunches, as well as the ASL & Deaf Culture Experience Program for Academic Advisors
  • MSW, social work, Syracuse University, BSW, social work, Rochester Institute of Technology, AAS, accounting, National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising Criteria:

In addition to successfully performing all aspects of their overall duties and responsibilities, nominees will demonstrate excellence in the following:

  • Supporting student success through a blended approach of developmental and prescriptive advising techniques
  • Embracing and championing the diverse cultures, experiences, and points of view of all students
  • Pursuing continual professional growth and development
  • Modeling and promoting teamwork and collaboration with all constituents (advisees, peers, campus partners, etc.)
  • Employing innovative and creative advising practices

If you would like to nominate an academic advisor who excels in these requirements, please go to the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising Nomination Form and submit your nomination by Wednesday, November 2, 2016.


  • All professional full-time and part-time staff academic advisors and NTID counselor/advisors, within the Division of Academic Affairs, with a minimum of one full year of RIT advising experience.

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising:

  • New Advisor category recognizes RIT academic advisors with 1- 3 years of RIT academic advising experience.
  • Experienced Advisor category recognizes RIT academic advisors with more than 3 years of RIT academic advising experience.

Award recipients will receive a $1000.00 taxable award and will be announced along with the Provost’s Celebration of Teaching and Scholarship awards.

For more information regarding the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising, visit the award’s website. If you have questions, contact Gary C. Johnson, associate director, University Advising Office at 585-475-2874 or