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Announcements Ariel Cochran July 31, 2023

Victoria Jones Howard sitting in the Plaza at Sterne in front of the East and South Science Halls.There was a scream of joy this past June in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology after Victoria Jones Howard, academic advisor for biology majors up to 74 hours, learned that she had been selected as the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding New Advisor – Primary Role.

“It was at the end of the day, and I was getting an email and I kind of screamed! I won! I was kind of freaking out, I was excited,” said Jones Howard, recalling the moment.

NACADA was chartered in 1979 and has thousands of members across the world. According to the group, their vision is the “advancement of student success through excellence in academic advising in higher education.” Jones Howard’s award is dedicated to collegiate advisors who, according to NACADA, “have demonstrated qualities with outstanding academic advising of students and who have served as a professional advisor or a faculty member with advising duties for a period of three or fewer years.”

A master’s graduate of UAB with an M.A. in Communication Management, Jones Howard has worked within the UAB community since 2019. She started her career at UAB One-Stop and, through internal circumstances and a desire to help students in a different way, she became an advisor within the College in 2021.

“Advising can be complex, however, I like to view it as learning how to ride a bike,” said Jones Howard. “The real lesson in learning how to ride a bike is trusting your own balance. Once you trust your balance, pedaling becomes second nature. Advising can be a process of getting students to trust their own balance.”

For Deborah Littleton, director of the College’s advising office, Jones Howard’s win demonstrates the care CAS Advising has for guiding the student body towards academic success.

Victoria Jones Howard's UAB Outstanding New Advisor Award displayed on her office shelf.Victoria Jones Howard's UAB Outstanding New Advisor Award displayed on her office shelf.“NACADA sets the standards for the core values used in advising. Receiving recognition from our national organization for exceptional advising is a huge compliment,” Littleton explained. According to Littleton, the NACADA awards program is competitive, only awarding nationally up to 12 people along with eight merit certificates per category.

“I was ecstatic to hear that Victoria had won one of the NACADA Outstanding New Advisor Awards,” Littleton said. “[It is] such a wonderful accomplishment for her, and I couldn’t be happier that she received this recognition.”

Given the rigorous application process, it was no easy win for Jones Howard. Applicants must submit a range of documents, including a summary of their qualifications, a personal statement highlighting their advising philosophy, letters of support, and more. In total, Jones Howard’s final submission packet totaled 40 pages worth of documentation.

Before a UAB advisor can apply to NACADA, they first must be a recipient of a UAB Advising Award. Thankfully, Jones Howard recently won the UAB New Advisor Award, so she was eligible for NACADA and had a helpful set of materials ready-to-go when she composed her packet. Jones Howard received letters of support from biology faculty, the department chair for biology, her supervisors, leadership from the Council of Academic Advisors, students, and more.

“I was really excited when I got to win the UAB award. My family and parents were able to come and celebrate,” Jones Howard noted.

As of right now, more than 10 CAS advisors are slated to join Jones Howard on the trip to the NACADA National Conference. To learn more about CAS advising, you can visit their website.

Victoria Jones Howard works with a student within her office.Victoria Jones Howard works with a student within her office.

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