University of Georgia Professor Honored with National Award

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Each year, NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, recognizes members who are doing outstanding work in the student affairs profession. Laura Dean, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Georgia, has been awarded the Robert H. Shaffer Award for Academic Excellence as a Graduate Faculty Member by NASPA.

Award winners must be a personal inspiration to graduate students, have served on doctoral committees and have distinguished records of scholarly achievement themselves.

Dean is an Associate Professor in the College of Student Affairs Program at the University of Georgia and worked previously as the Interim Dean of Students. She has served as an advisor for 26 doctoral students and 45 master’s students. Her students say they are better scholars because of her advice.

“The classes involve significant discussion of the appropriate scope of practice for student affairs professionals, assessment techniques, and referral sources and skills,” says Merrily Dunn, associate professor at the University of Georgia. “Based on her 15 years of experience as a senior student affairs officer, she incorporated attention to crisis intervention, career development, conflict resolution and supervision.”

Dr. Dean’s scholarship is extensive. She’s authored or co-authored 23 peer-reviewed journal articles on topics of counseling, assessment, student technology use, professional development, and student psychosocial development. She’s authored chapters in six books including Advancing Higher Education as a Field of Study, Assessment in Practice: A Companion Guide to the ASK Standards, and Multiculturalism on Campus.

She’s been an integral part of the work and accomplishments of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, serving for nearly 20 years and as president from 2011 to 2014. She edited both the 6th and 7th editions of their publications.

Dean is active in the profession, presenting her research, even being a keynote speaker at numerous regional, state, national, and international conferences.

Her students say she helped them become better students and future teachers.

“Over my time as a doctoral student under Dr. Dean, she demonstrated to me time and again that she is an exceptional mentor and gifted professor,” says Bobby Woodard, associate provost and vice president for student affairs at Auburn University.

Her colleagues say her work as a professor is exemplary.

“She has taught many student affairs professionals who now work throughout the country and our field is better because of her work in this role,” Merrily Dunn says.

Dean and the other National Award winners will be honored in March at the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Ind.