Established by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising is presented annually by the Office of the Provost to a Virginia Tech faculty member who has been particularly dedicated and effective while advising undergraduate students. Recipients may be nominated by university colleagues or students, are selected by a committee of former award winners, receive a $2,000 prize, and are inducted into the university’s Academy of Advising Excellence.
Becker’s advising philosophy, she says, is best characterized as “do right by your students.” Over the past 25 years, she has both formally and informally advised undergraduate students in history and classical studies. From 2011 to 2016, she served as director of undergraduate studies in the Department of History.
Most of Becker’s advising does not take place in her office. She can be found on various sites both on and off campus, such as the Classics Club, for which she is a co-advisor, and History Club/Phi Alpha Theta, for which she is a formal advisor. When she knows a student, inside and outside the office, she says, she can offer appropriate, quality information and useful advice.
“Dr. Becker truly changed the course of my life in an indescribably positive way through her constant willingness to be available and to assist in whatever way she could,” wrote Jarrid Dulaney, an assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Virginia Tech, in a letter of nomination. “She encouraged me to pursue my passions and to better myself at every turn, believing in me when few others did.”
For the past seven years, Becker has been the leader of the Department of History’s first-year experience course. She has also been a study abroad advisor, a career advisor, and a point person for summer internships.
Among her many awards, Becker received the university’s William E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015, Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education in 2014, and Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2007.
Written by Lindsey Grooms, a public relations major and member of the Class of 2019