SAM center director awarded for leadership, program implementation

William Flemming, executive director of the SAM Center, received two awards from the National Academic Advising Association.

Flemming was chosen from among 8,000 other advisors to receive the prestigious Gail Rola Award and Outstanding Advising Administrator awards.

Flemming was selected as the executive director to oversee the implementation and management of the new centralized advising center in 2002 by former SHSU President James Gaertner and the approval of the Student Government Association. Previously, students were having trouble getting advised because it was unorganized.

“Advising has become so much better this way,” Flemming said. “Students can come to one place and they can see an advisor and it’s a lot simpler.”

Flemming has been employed by Sam Houston State University for 40 years. Prior to transferring to the SAM Center, he was involved in the English department and the Faculty Senate.

Both awards are given to recognize individuals who display a passion for advising. Winners of the awards must exhibit the ability to engage in, promote and support advising grounded in sound theory, educational practice and research and demonstrated these specific attributes through their leadership and program implementation, according to the organization’s website.

Under Flemming’s leadership the SAM Center has grown from 12 faculty advisors and three full-time advisors to 18 faculty advisors and six full-time advisors.

The SAM Center also has a growing number of mentoring programs available for students. According to Flemming, since the SAM Center opened, graduation rates and student retention have increased.

“Even though I don’t think we’re completely responsible for those increases, I think that we have a lot to do with it because the programs that we have for students, the mentoring side in particular, shows students that somebody cares and somebody’s willing to help them,” Flemming said.

The mentoring services available include a study skill workshop, the first alert program, Sam Houston ELITE, GRE prep sessions, voluntary intervention program and a probation elimination program.

Flemming enjoys helping students through these programs and hopes to build upon them in the coming years.

“That’s a great feeling to have,” Flemming said. “To know that you’re helping people like that.”

The advising center and mentoring centers are located on the first floor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building.

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