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Rachel Quick wins 2019 Provost’s Award for Exemplary Advising

On Sept. 23, Rachel Quick, M.Ed., SPHIS Senior Academic Counselor, received the Provost’s Award for Exemplary Advising. With over 200 students enrolled in the SPHIS bachelor’s programs, Rachel and the undergraduate advising team stay busy. We appreciate Rachel taking the time to talk with us about her career and this well-deserved recognition.

Advising career and philosophy

Originally from Akron, OH, Rachel graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Communications. After graduation, she and her sister moved to Louisville and she started graduate school at the University of Louisville where she received a Master of Education (M.Ed) in Counseling and Personnel Services with a concentration in College Student Personnel. Lucky for us, Rachel fell in love with UofL and city and made Louisville her home.

Rachel started her professional career as an academic coordinator with the UofL College of Education and Human Development in 2004. She moved to the School of Dentistry in 2005 where she worked in advising and admissions for the dental hygiene and dentistry programs. Ten years later, Rachel joined SPHIS in 2015 as an academic counselor when the undergraduate program in public health was just beginning to take off. Rachel was promoted to Coordinator of Academic Affairs in August 2018.

Rachel has long been concerned that students of color do not see higher education as an option. She pursued a graduate degree because she wanted to help more students like her–an African American, first generation college student–attend college. In graduate school, she realized that getting students admitted is important, but it loses its importance if students do not graduate. Rachel explained that students need support to understand themselves and the journey for their degree. In her journey, Rachel has found “advising to be a consistent connector to students and their experience, encouraging them to persist in college and in life.”

Rachel’s goal as an advisor at SPHIS is empowering students to be informed and active members of their community, while moving towards academic and holistic success. She said the most rewarding aspect of her job is when students make connections with their degrees and life passions and have that “ah-ha” moment. She also loves graduation when students cross the first of many finish lines in their lives and when former students keep in touch post-graduation.

Her advice to students who are just beginning their studies in public health is to be open to explore the journey. For students about to graduate, she tells them to be ready to embrace this next level, and don’t forget to identify ways to give back and be of service to others. 

Exemplary Advising

Rachel describes herself as someone who is more comfortable working behind the scenes where she quietly makes impacts. This characteristic is evident in her response to the question about how she felt to be nominated for the Provost’s Award for Exemplary Advising: “To me this award represents advisors across the campus who work tirelessly to provide opportunities for our students to be successful. I love what I do and I know that it takes great partnerships across many areas to help yield our students’ success.”

What makes Rachel an exceptional advisor? The list is long. She has passion for higher education and her students. She connects with her students. She is an advocate. She is dedicated and focused on student success and timely graduation. She knocks down barriers. She keeps an open door policy for students and staff. She creates a safe space where individuals feel heard. She maintains open lines of communication. She has helped shape well-rounded young adults. Rachel creates relationships with students that endure after graduation. One student put it succinctly: “She is truly someone who has made a difference in my life.

Rachel also received praise from her faculty and staff colleagues who recommended her for the annual advising award. We extracted a few quotes from their letters submitted in support of Rachel’s nomination:

“Rachel is a welcome source of wisdom and kindness within our school–and it shows with her popularity with students and faculty.”

-- “She has positively influenced the lives of each of our students, and as her colleague, I can say that she has done the same to mine–in the process, she has made my role as an educator more effective and enjoyable.

-- “She creates a safe space where individuals feel heard which in turn has helped shaped phenomenally well-rounded young adults during their time in undergraduate school. The connections she has made with students have not just been established during their time in our undergrad program, but throughout the rest of their lives.”

Reflections

In reflecting on her career to date, Rachel said a highlight has been helping to grow new academic programs and the student service offices in dental hygiene and public health. She also appreciates the positive relationships she has been able to build. In her words, “I’ve developed life-long friendships with many partners across campus, which I value both personally and professional.”  Rachel is a lifelong learner and stays up on new advising practices by being volunteering with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and the Advising Centers Directors Council (ACDC). She also serves as the SPHIS representative to the UofL Staff Senate and was recently selected to serve on the University’s Advising Task Force.

On a more personal note, Rachel has earned the nickname “Polly Positive” because of her optimistic demeanor with friends, family, students, and coworkers. Rachel’s faith in Christ is a major part of who she is and what she does. She explains: “It’s an intricate part of me, so when people see me, my biggest prayer that they see something bigger than myself.” She also loves her huge family, which is a very important part of her life. Since most of her family are not here, she has been “blessed to expand her family through wonderful friendships.”

Rachel is a fantastic colleague and advisor. We appreciate her professionalism, commitment to SPHIS and UofL, and dedication to students’ academic progress and well-being. Congratulations, Rachel, on this much-deserved recognition!

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