'Sensational mentor' earns college's award for academic advisement


May 16, 2017

The 2017 SUNY Oswego President's Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement will honor Sandra Bargainnier, chair and associate professor of health promotion and wellness in the School of Education.

Bargainnier -- whose program is designed to prepare students for careers in fitness, nutrition, managing worksite health promotion, and other health- and wellness-related positions -- will be recognized at the college’s annual Teaching and Learning Awards Ceremony this fall.

Senior wellness management major Ryan Coomey nominated Bargainnier, noting she has "an extremely close bond" with the students she advises and mentors.

"Probably one of her most engaging characteristics as an advisor, Dr. Bargainnier is a sensational mentor who advises on both an academic level and personal level," Coomey wrote. "She has a great passion for advising and she lights up when she speaks to students about their passion for health promotion and wellness and their future academic and career goals."

Bargainnier advises 45 wellness management majors and 193 athletic coaching minors. Dr. Pam Michel, dean of SUNY Oswego's School of Education, said Bargainnier shares her passion for advisement throughout her department.

"Sandy has worked hard to make advising a priority in her department. She has done this by encouraging all full-time faculty and the department secretary to attend the campus advising boot camp. She has had 100 percent attendance to date," wrote Michel, who noted that department enrollment has increased from 192 to 310 majors since Bargainnier arrived in fall 2013.

That increase and an accompanying boost in majors from diverse backgrounds are "reflective of the deliberate work HPW has done to make the department a welcoming and inclusive home for many," the dean said.

In a statement of her advisement philosophy, Bargainnier wrote that offering -- and making a distinction between -- both advising and mentoring is important to students who may never have had a parent go to college or come from challenging circumstances.

"Advising is for the next semester … Mentoring is for a lifetime," she wrote. "I truly believe that advising and mentoring can be life-changing. As we admit more students from under-resourced backgrounds into higher education, it becomes even more critical that students have access to quality advisors and mentors."

The "advisement" bundle for Bargainnier encompasses course selection alongside mentoring about debt load and financial aid; helping students discover their motivators and strengths, as well as driving students to graduate school testing in Syracuse; advocating for students needing classwork accommodations for military deployment; and sometimes even buying groceries and clothing for students in need.

"I also mentor students in the exploration of internships, summer jobs, graduate assistantships and realistic career paths," wrote Bargainnier. "I hope that my mentoring helps students to become good decision makers, critical thinkers and independent problem solvers for today and in their future."

For more information on health promotion and wellness at SUNY Oswego, visit oswego.edu/hpw or call 315-312-6386.

Mentoring for life -- Dr. Sandra Bargainnier, chair of SUNY Oswego's health promotion and wellness department in the School of Education, will receive the 2017 college President's Award for Excellence in Academic Advisement. "Advising is for the next semester … Mentoring is for a lifetime," she writes in a statement of her advisement philosophy.