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Four WVU employees honored for excellence in advising

A portrait of Nithi Sivaneri

Each year the WVU Academic Advising Council at the direction of the Provost’s Office selects honorees for the Nicholas Evans Awards for Advising Excellence in recognition of outstanding advising and mentoring provided by faculty and professional advisors at WVU. The awards are in honor of Dr. Nicholas Evans, a lifelong proponent and exemplar of undergraduate advising at WVU.


The 2020 recipients of the Nicholas Evans Faculty Advising Excellence Award include:

  • Renee K. Nicholson, teaching associate professor and coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Studies Program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

  • Nithi T. Sivaneri, professor in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The 2020 recipients of the Nicholas Evans Professional Staff Advising Excellence Award are:

  • Jennifer Clutter, program coordinator in the School of Pharmacy

  • Amber D. McLaughlin, senior director of academic affairs in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design

Nicholson is a faculty advisor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and oversees advising for more than 500 students. She teaches courses in creative writing, business and professional writing and dance. In a nomination by her colleague, Dominique Mick wrote, “Renee has stepped into her new role with the Programs for Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies and still balanced her administrative, teaching and advising duties with spectacular skill and aplomb.” Additionally, one student said, “Knowing that she is always available to help out when I feel stuck or need guidance is very comforting.” Another said, “Professor Nicholson always takes time to get to know all of her advisees and any students that she has in her classes.”

Sivaneri has been an integral part of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources for 38 years and is a faculty advisor for dual mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering students. In his nomination letter, Victor H. Mucino said this about his colleague, “Dr. Sivaneri has been and continues to be an advocate for students, through standards of academic excellence, which instills professional values in his advisees, several of whom have returned to WVU to be inducted into the department’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.” According to Sivaneri’s supervisor, Jacky Prucz,” He would never turn away a student who comes to him for help and always takes the time necessary to ensure that the student receives sound advice from him.” In the words of a student, “I have truly not met another professor who cares about his students’ welfare as much as he does.”

Clutter has served West Virginia University for over 25 years and advises most of the incoming students in the School of Pharmacy and coordinates the PHARM 191 and 199 programs. Mary Euler, professor and associate dean for admissions and student affairs at the School of Pharmacy wrote, “She is a shoulder to lean on and always has hugs readily available. She is a champion for first-generation students, as that too is her legacy.” A former student credited Clutter with encouraging them to stay in the program, saying, “Today, I am a faculty member in the WVU School of Pharmacy, but I would not be where I am today had she not convinced me to not give up.” One student, who met Clutter at New Student Orientation, was impressed from the start. “I was amazed at how much she cared about Pharmacy. I was also amazed at how she already knew who I was.”

Amber McLaughlin has worked with students in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design for 12 years. Haley Moore, one of McLaughlin’s colleagues, wrote, “Amber goes above and beyond for students. During my time working with her, she always took an individual approach to each situation . . . When students would come to the 4th floor of Ag Sciences with concerns and worry she would sit down and talk to them and make sure their situation was handled before they left her office.” Todd Petty, McLaughlin’s supervisor said, “Students tend to feel immediately at ease with her and are able to discuss their academic (and sometimes personal) situations without hesitation or fear of judgment.” One student commented, “She also acts as a life mentor aside from scheduling assistance. She can help mediate most life issues I bring to the table.”

All four Nicholas Evans award recipients will be awarded $1,250 for professional development.

All of the 2020 award recipients will be recognized by President Gordon Gee and Provost Reed during a faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House, which has been postponed until Fall 2020 due to the University’s closure and COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about these and other awards on the website.


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Phone: 304-293-4135