Auburn advisors receive prestigious national awards

Published: June 30, 2022

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Katie Lackey, director of academic advising in the College of Human Sciences, and Branden Farmer, student services coordinator in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, were recently recognized by the National Academic Advising Association, or NACADA, for their contributions to advising, student success and higher education.

“Auburn is fortunate to have a strong community of academic and professional advisors who continue to make extraordinary contributions to our campus and who exemplify the meaningful work occurring across Auburn’s campus,” said Ruthie Spiers, director of academic advising. “Recognition from an organization like NACADA ensures Auburn remains a leader in improving academic advising for Auburn students and developing meaningful insights into the university’s approaches to fostering academic success.”

An advisor since 2005, Lackey received NACADA’s 2022 Student Research Award for her doctoral work that examined mentorship and job satisfaction among academic advisors. Specifically, her research observed the impact of student mentorship on job satisfaction, particularly among academic advisors in Alabama’s two- and four-year public institutions. Understanding the role mentoring plays in improving job satisfaction, findings from Lackey’s study highlight the need for increased mentorship as a source of job fulfillment, professional development and career confidence in developing advising structures. 

Lackey’s research reflects a broader leadership philosophy focused on developing effective programs mutually beneficial to advisors and students by assessing the collective strengths and weaknesses of institutional advising approaches.

“Mentoring has played a pivotal role in my life. When deciding what to research, it was natural to look at the connection between what meant so much to me and a career I enjoy,” said Lackey. “I’m thankful for Auburn’s employee education benefit that provided me with a path to pursue my dream of a doctoral degree.”

In addition to being recognized as Auburn’s 2022 Outstanding New Advisor earlier this year, Farmer was one of seven new professional advisors nationally awarded a NACADA Certificate of Merit. The award recognizes advisors for their significant impact on students and colleagues and for their efforts to enhance the educational development of students. Farmer has been employed with Auburn since 2012 and joined the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2020, where he serves as the primary academic advisor for more than 300 students.

“Industrial and systems engineering (ISE) has provided me with an incredible home, and I’m very fortunate to have such a supportive department that empowers me to provide the best experience for our students,” Farmer said. “The Auburn advising community is such an incredible group of talented professionals, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people everywhere I turn. I couldn’t be happier working for the students of ISE.”

Lackey and Farmer will be honored during an awards ceremony at NACADA’s annual conference this fall.