Outstanding advisor Price builds trust with students

September 12, 2003

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UW-Platteville professor Sue Price takes a hands-on role with her students. Advising students is just like teaching in another classroom, she said. Price was selected as one of this year's outstanding academic advisors.

PLATTEVILLE - When University of Wisconsin-Platteville animal science professor Sue Price meets with students for academic advising, she tries to do more than just aid them with their class schedules. She sums up her advising philosophy in one statement: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Price has been honored as one of this year's outstanding academic advisors at UWP.

"Advising is really an important part of what I do," Price said. "I really see it as a part of teaching. It's a classroom in a different setting."

Price, in her 17th year at the University, advises between 45-50 students every semester. A veterinarian herself, most of Price's advisees are studying pre-veterinary in UWP's pre-professional program.

"I try to teach them to investigate and research this profession, to get out there and experience it first-hand so they really know for sure this is a profession that they are going to love," Price said.

Price tries to get beyond class schedules and academic plans with her students, especially juniors and seniors. She talks to them about professional networking and internships and persuades them to get work experience in the field. Price is interested not only in all areas of her students' academics but also their lives.

Agriculture professor Michael Mee wrote in a letter of recommendation that Price is one of the most dedicated faculty members in the UWP School of Agriculture.

"She is usually one of the first to arrive in the morning and one of the last to leave at night," Mee said. "Sue cares about her students. The door to her office is always open. Students know that they can trust and confide in her."

Trust is indeed an important ingredient to a successful student-advisor relationship, Price said.

"It's only when you trust one another that you can be really honest with each other and spend meaningful time together," Price said.

Things have come full circle for Price, who did her pre-veterinary work at UWP before going to Purdue University for her doctorate in veterinary medicine. She said being an effective advisor now is a great way thank two UWP faculty members, Russell Jahn and Roy Shaver, who helped her years ago.

Price also worked on a Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona while completing her formal education in veterinary medicine. Later she worked on llamas and other exotic animal while stationed at a veterinary school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She said studying abroad is a great way for all students to learn about other cultures as well as about themselves.

"Just working with people of a different culture I realized how fortunate we are in the United States with our education system," Price said. "(In Bolivia) I actually ended up tutoring the dean of the veterinary school down there just because the training there had been so much less than what we had."

Back in the United States she practiced veterinary medicine in Plain, Wis., but a back injury forced her out of private practice and she soon returned to UWP, this time to teach.

Price lives outside of Platteville and enjoys reading and playing the piano in her spare time. Her favorite hobby, however, is motorcycling, but the same back injury is threatening that activity, despite therapy.

"I told everybody that if I have to have a second back surgery I'd give my motorcycle up," Price said. "That's why this physical therapy has got to do it."

Price was honored, along with Joe Lomax and Max Anderson, as this year's outstanding academic advisors at the Chancellor's Convocation Sept. 2. Other nominees for the award included Michael Compton, Charles Cornett, David Drury, Mohan Gill, Deb Kinder, Corinne Enright, Rea Kirk, Joe Schmalfeldt and Kim Tuescher.

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