UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Tamara (Tammy) Kincaid, associate professor of social work, has been named Adviser of the Year at the University Wisconsin-River Falls.
Established in 2000, the annual award recognizes excellence in advising undergraduate students. Nominations are made by current students and alumni and reviewed by the Faculty Senate Advising Committee, which makes the final selection.
Kincaid, who also serves as chair of the Social Work Department, was formally presented with the award by UWRF Provost David Travis on August 29 during the university’s fall Opening Day.
“I am very proud of this award,” said Kincaid. “It’s a good indication that I am helping students find their way, both academically and professionally.”
Prior to joining the UWRF faculty in 2012, Kincaid worked in social services – primarily in child protection – for over 25 years. From 2007-12, she was director of Pierce County Human Services.
It’s that lived experience that makes Kincaid a good teacher and adviser said Stacy Furness, associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies.
“Students like to hear about real experiences in the classroom, and they know that she knows what she’s talking about,” Furniss said.
As an adviser, Furness said that Kincaid’s experiences “allow her to go above and beyond the academic side of things. She asks students ‘What other tools do you need to succeed?’”
Assistant Professor Courtney Wells, a colleague and former classmate of Kincaid’s, agrees.
“Tammy spends countless hours meeting with students and setting them up for success in our program and in the field,” Wells said.
“Tammy really took the time to get to know me,” wrote a recent graduate. “She took a genuine interest in drawing out my skills and strengths and guiding me in putting them to use. … I can honestly say I would not be where I am today if not for her.”
Kincaid advises 70-75 students each year, some of whom “do not fit the mold of a traditional student,” she said, including former foster youth who have aged out of the system.
“Tammy was always there for me,” said a recent program graduate and former foster youth. “Without judgement, she provided messages of encouragement and validation for my experiences. She continues to make space for me to this day.”
Kincaid’s passion for student service led her to apply for, and recently receive, a $70,000 grant from UW System for the Falcon Links/Fostering Success program which supports students who have been in foster care, homeless, or otherwise involved in the child welfare system.
Kincaid received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and master’s degrees in public affairs and social work, as well as her Ph.D. in social work from University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
Kincaid resides in Stillwater, Minn., with her two mini-Australian shepherds and a cat. She has three adult children: Sarah, Alex, and Maria who live and work in the Twin Cities area. She enjoys crafting, travelling in her converted minivan camper, and visiting small town public libraries and museums.