UWP outstanding academic advisor Lomax

August 12, 2003

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UWP professor Joe Lomax, who has taught at the University for 27 years, advises 65 students every semester. He was named one of this year's three outstanding academic advisors at the institution.

PLATTEVILLE - For University of Wisconsin-Platteville professor Joe Lomax, advising students doesn't just mean helping them develop class schedules.

Though with 65 advisees, that's certainly a large part of it. Lomax has been selected as one this year's outstanding academic advisors at UWP.

"I'm certainly elated to find that I was selected, and humbled a little bit because I know our faculty up here and many faculty members are certainly deserving of it," said Lomax, who is in his 27th year at UWP.

With so many students in the criminal justice major, advising such a large number is not unusual for criminal justice faculty.

"I'm no exception," Lomax said. "You try to be available as much as you can. You interact with your students. You see your students as individuals."

Things get hectic for criminal justice faculty around the registration period, but advising doesn't end there.

"As people have personal issues or problems - for example, difficulties with classes, or something happens at home - that is advising too," Lomax said. "We sit down with that person, and try to work it through."

Much of the time faculty members don't know what kinds of situations will arise with their students. Just last semester criminal justice students who were enlisted in the National Guard got called to active duty.

"We worked with the registrar to accommodate them as best we could," said Lomax, who also serves as department chairperson.

Colleagues praised him for going the extra step to help students. Lomax was nominated for the award by fellow criminal justice professor Cheryl Banachowski-Fuller and UWP Student Support Services disability and learning specialist Priscilla Hahn.

"He's always shown concern for students. I've seen the caring and commitment he has," Hahn said.

She remembers one student who was struggling in one of his classes. Lomax took the time to help the student and brought him to student support services.

"He wanted the student to succeed. Through the years, I've always suggested students in criminal justice talk to Joe, or even try to get him as their advisor, because I know he takes a personal interest," Hahn said.

Hahn also praised his commitment to making UWP a more diverse campus. Lomax said "getting along with others" of different races, cultures or backgrounds is an important part of any student's education.

"You go south, you go west, east or north, and what happens is the places get more diverse," Lomax said. "We are supposed to be preparing students to have an affect nationwide and use their education anyplace. If we don't teach them diversity, they may be hampered."

Banachowski-Fuller, who herself received a National Academic Advising Association Competition Outstanding Advisor Award this spring, has worked with Lomax for 6 years.

"Joe focuses on advisees' strengths and potentials rather than limitations," she said. "He cares about his advisees as people by showing empathy, understanding and respect as he helps them learn to make informed and increasingly independent decisions about their educational plans and other academic issues."

How exactly to help those students make decisions about their education is something advisors have to tailor to each individual student, Lomax said.

"If they have a good grasp of what they are doing, it is easy. If they have complications, it takes longer," Lomax said. "If they have no clue, we sit down and walk them step by step through the whole thing."

Lomax will be honored along with Max Anderson and Sue Price 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. PR#3-1554

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