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Georgia Southern professor named national outstanding faculty advisor merit recipient

Georgia Southern University College of Education Assistant Professor Steven Tolman, Ed.D., was recently named the 2019 Georgia Southern merit recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Advisor award for the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

Institutional merit recipients are recommended for nomination to NACADA’s national awards. Criteria and scoring for awards are based on a culmination of qualities and practices including interpersonal skills, availability and frequency of contact with students, monitoring student progress toward academic and career goals, and attitude toward students, faculty and staff.

Tolman joined the University in 2017 and teaches online and hybrid graduate-level courses in educational leadership.

“I utilize an online platform, so that students can easily make appointments with me,” explained Tolman. “Students know they can at any point schedule an appointment with me via face-to-face, phone or video chat.”

He also travels to Atlanta for advising sessions and offers opportunities to meet students while traveling for conferences.

“I am happy to meet with any student, not just those that are currently taking my courses,” said Tolman. “I think it is important to provide our online students with the opportunity to meet face-to-face and discuss courses, career paths, research or educational leadership in general.”

On any given day, Tolman reaches out to students individually and collectively to share career opportunities, research articles, networking events and professional development opportunities based on their respective interests and career paths. While students may not ever meet Tolman in person, he promotes an open-door policy that allows students to feel comfortable emailing or communicating with him whenever necessary.

“I firmly believe advising and teaching is my primary focus as a faculty member,” said Tolman. “I would argue these roles are inextricable — you cannot have one without the other. I am invested in the success of every student in our program. Their success is my success.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit



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