Georgia Tech has named Kimberly Schurmeier as the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advising Award – Faculty. Schurmeier is Director of Assessment and Undergraduate Advisement in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
As an advisor, Schurmeier guides students from the day they arrive for orientation to the day they graduate. According to a colleague, her “intense dedication to the undergraduates in her charge” goes above and beyond her primary responsibilities. The same colleague says Schurmeier is instrumental in undergraduate retention and progression in the school.
Schurmeier’s success in this role could be attributed to her personal mission. In a culture where students often feel that success is perfection and any failure is a devastation, Schurmeier believes students should be guided to realize that success lies not in GPA, but in perseverance and resilience. “It is important for me to advise every student as a person, not as a number, and help them find their true success,” she says.
Students describe Schurmeier’s advising as empowering and inspirational. “I became a stronger and more confident student because of her guidance,” one student says.
Another student recalls coming to the first year of advising with a self- developed comprehensive plan for classes until graduation. “Another advisor might have cut our appointments short,” this student says. Not Schurmeier.
“She spent close to half an hour sitting and talking with me,” this student says, “not about course scheduling, but about my passions – what classes fascinated me, the fields of chemistry I wanted to know more about.”
Furthermore, Schurmeier encouraged this student to pursue interests outside of chemistry while still in college. “She recognized in me a desire to learn and took the time to empower me to follow that desire,” this student says. “I have never felt as enthusiastic and driven to learn as I did after that appointment.”
In her role, Schurmeier helps students design their first semester work, organizes and coordinates all undergraduate advising in the school, performs degree audits, works with each graduating student to ensure they have met all the requirements, promotes and develops educational enrichment opportunities for undergraduates, acts as a first point of contact for students looking for independent research opportunities, and manages an online resource of available project opportunities in the labs.
Faculty and students highly praise the online resource Schurmeier created. Students say the resource helped them realize successful experiences in undergraduate research.