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Kevin Thomas, EdD, has been selected as an Outstanding Advising Administrator Award winner by the National Academic Advising Association: The Global Community for Academic Advising.

thomas kevinThomas is the director of Retention and Student Success at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

The organization also selected Thomas as a mentor for its 2018-20 Emerging Leaders Class. He is one of 10 selected internationally for this role in “engaging and inspiring diverse NACADA leaders.”

The Outstanding Advising Administrator Award is presented to nominees who have demonstrated qualities associated with superior academic advising administration including overwhelming support of NACADA’s core values on their campus. They exemplify the best professional and administrative practices in academic advising and utilize the power of academic advising to transform their institution.

Winners in this category have documented and developed advising-related initiatives on their campus that have positively affected students and their colleagues at the highest levels.

“I was shocked and honored to receive this wonderful honor through NACADA,” said Thomas. “Academic advising is a critical part of the work we do in student success and retention at SIUE. I am fortunate to work with fantastic advisors and advising administrators throughout campus, as we work to support students on their journey to graduation.”

SIUE improved freshmen retention from fall 2017 to spring 2018 by 2 percent to reach a record 92 percent. A 4.25 percent increase in African American retention led the way as African American retention matched overall student retention for the first time.

A variety of impactful strategies have factored into SIUE’s record retention rate, including the Fifth Week Freshman Assessment, Caseload Advising Systems, Learning Support Services Supplemental Education Opportunities, Taking Aim Program, GRASP Program and Student Academic Success Sessions.

“Advising, integrated with SIUE faculty and staff, is essential to our students’ success and retention,” Thomas continued. “Our recent growth and success continues to highlight SIUE’s commitment to academic advising and its role in our students’ experience. R.J. Light said that ‘Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience.’ At SIUE, however, I don’t think that many meetings or conversations occur without a full understanding of the impact our advisors have on student success and the experience our students have on campus.”

Thomas will be honored and presented the Outstanding Advising Administrator Award this fall during the NACADA Annual Conference in Phoenix.