February 3, 2023 | Erin Bluvas, email@example.com
Caleb Morris, an instructor in the Department of Exercise Science and an advisor within the Office of Undergraduate Services, has been honored with an Outstanding Advising Award from the National Academic Advising Association. He was recognized at an October ceremony for excellence in providing advising services to students at the University of South Carolina. The award is part of an international competition within the Association’s Global Network for Academic Advising.
“Caleb has played an active and integral role as an advisor in the University Advising Center at USC,” says Jane Bouknight, senior program manager for the Center. “He has made an overwhelmingly positive impact in a short time for students and our advising community, specifically in relation to his leadership in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.”
A two-time USC alumnus, Morris joined the advising center in 2019 after graduating with an M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs. However, his passion for this career path began several years earlier.
(Caleb) has made an overwhelmingly positive impact in a short time for students and our advising community, specifically in relation to his leadership in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
“I got started in higher education due to my involvement in admissions, the first-year experience and diversity peer education programs when I was an undergraduate student here at USC,” Morris says. “I had a transformative experience and wanted to pay that forward to students.”
Early on, he realized that he could help students make the most of their time at USC. Increased retention/persistence rates, career advancement and personal development are the key metrics through which Morris gauged his impact on student success. In his advising and teaching, he particularly enjoys encouraging students to explore opportunities and connecting them with resources to become involved with whatever they are passionate about.
“USC, and the Arnold School in particular, does a fantastic job with supporting student engagement beyond the classroom,” says Morris, whose experiential learning courses help exercise science students amass 300 hours of professional experience by the time they graduate. “This is helpful for getting a job or matriculating to graduate school. Not every major has this structured opportunity for students to really develop themselves professionally.”
Morris believes this is one reason why the Arnold School is home to the highest percentage of students who achieve Graduation with Leadership Distinction (GLD) – a program he is intimately familiar with as a GLD recipient and instructor of its UNIV 401 course.
USC, and the Arnold School in particular, does a fantastic job with supporting student engagement beyond the classroom.
“Our students in the Arnold School go on to fill critical roles in the health field, from practitioners, to researchers, to educators, to managers,” he says. “Having had family members with significant health issues, it’s really rewarding to be a small part of the development of the next generation of health care workers, who will go on to impact so many lives.”
Over the past five years, Morris has received numerous honors for his teaching and advising contributions. He is particularly known for his efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion – receiving multiple awards in this area and serving as chair for USC’s advising network’s DEI Academic Advising Committee.
Morris also specializes in helping at-risk students transition during difficult situations, such as financial hardship, major changes, hardship withdrawals and academic progress challenges. He contributes to the broader field of advising and teaching through his book chapter publications, conference presentations, panel participation and guest lectures and has completed the highest level of academic advisor training certifications available at USC.
Since 1983, NACADA has honored individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising. Our goal is to promote quality academic advising and professional development of members to enhance the educational development of students.