Adviser of the Year

2003 - Terry Ferriss

Terry Ferriss

Horticulture Professor Terry Ferriss has been named the top academic adviser at UW-River Falls for the 2003 academic year.

Ferriss will be recognized as the fourth recipient of the honor during the annual awards ceremony on April 22.

Chancellor Ann Lydecker announced the award and noted the importance of active student advisers:

"Good advising helps our students to select the right program; to choose the best courses to meet their interest areas while helping them to progress toward a degree; and that all-important assistance in lining up the right internships and then finding the right job after commencement."

"It's so important to us that we poll those most affected--our graduating seniors and recent graduates--to tell us who's doing the best advising on campus. This year they said that honor belongs to Professor Ferriss," Lydecker said.

Among the comments graduating senior and recent alumni offered about the Hastings resident are:

"I couldn't have asked for more. She was always willing to lend an ear, offer research suggestions, make phone calls, and give encouragement for the future. Even though she was always on the run she tried as hard as possible to make time for students who needed her."

Said another: "Terry has supported me through everything, from academic advice all the way to personal support. She is very caring, knowledgeable, and is nearly like a second mother to me. She'll help with everything. You can cry and laugh with her. She understands we all have personal lives. She is great at setting up internships because she knows many people."

A third added: "Terry is very accommodating for students who intend to graduate in four years. She makes sure students receive the necessary classes that fit their goals and major, but also allows them the opportunity to graduate on time."

As an adviser, Ferriss assists up to 45 students per year; serves as the internship coordinator for horticulture, coordinating up to 25 students each year; and she is the adviser to the Horticulture Society and Pi Alpha Xi. Ferriss also is an active mentor, assisting students in research projects, selecting and applying to graduate schools, pursuing scholarships and graduate teaching assistantships.

Ferriss has coached the UWRF Floral Evaluation Team for decades, leading the team to five national championships and capturing five honors as coach of the year. Each year the team is comprised of all new students.

In her twenty-two years at UW-River Falls, Ferriss has taught 14 different horticulture courses ranging from introduction to plant science and introduction to horticulture to upper division courses in greenhouse management and floriculture.

Department Chair Robert Baker notes that Ferriss has received five previous University and national awards for teaching excellence: the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Outstanding Teacher Award in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences in 1988, the American Society of Horticulture Science outstanding undergraduate horticulture educator national award in 1989, the UW-River Falls Distinguished Teacher of the Year award in 1996, and the USDA North Central Region national excellence teaching awards.

"To say Terry Ferriss has been an effective, dedicated, and popular instructor would be an understatement," Baker said.

Ferriss said of the recognition, "I have the privilege to work with a fantastic group of students here at UWRF. I thoroughly enjoy working with them, encouraging and facilitating them to become who and what they want to be. Often this includes providing opportunities and challenges to stretch them to their true potential and opening their eyes to all that the world has to offer.

"It 's important to me to treat each student as an individual, listen to all that they have to say and facilitate their personal and professional growth including establishing professional networks.

"This award is a tremendous honor. It is a humbling experience. Shouldn't we all get awards for doing what we love to do? I am fortunate to work in an academic environment , where students come first and advising is recognized as an important part of the undergraduate experience."