2012 Tate Award Recipient

Sheryl Bolstad

Senior Academic Adviser, CFANS Student Services, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Sheryl BolstadSheryl Bolstad is a Senior Academic Adviser in CFANS Student Services in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. She joined the University community in 1995. Sheryl's current responsibilities include advising undergraduate students in Horticulture, Environmental Sciences, Policy & Management, and Applied Plant Science majors.

Her nominators state:

“As an academic advisor, Sheryl regularly serves as a liaison among the students, faculty, and staff associated with her majors and the Student Services Office. Her skill at navigating the sometimes competing priorities and values is unparalleled. She is able to turn even difficult situations into win-win opportunities and strengthen the faculty and student services office relationships.

“Advising can be a very detail-oriented position, and yet Sheryl regularly steps back to see the big picture and consider how her work is contributing to larger goals. She is a process-driven person who is always looking for ways to improve the way we serve our students. Sheryl regularly turns to the research literature on student development, student success, advising, and other student learning issues to identify best practices that CFANS and the University should consider incorporating into how we work with students. Advising can be very transactional—addressing the needs of the specific students sitting in our offices. However, Sheryl recognizes that we can improve how we work with students if we take into account and implement the findings and best practices outlined in research. This ability to not only find and identify relevant research, but then also figure out how to incorporate it into daily work flow, is critical and a rare skill to find in advisors. …Much of this work has been grounded in her understanding of the research base that supports academic advising.

“Sheryl is a talented and endlessly energetic advisor who is well-respected by her advisees and the faculty and professional staff with whom she works every day. She is an exemplary role model for faculty and staff advisors in CFANS as well as for colleagues across the University.”

In her personal statement, Sheryl added:

“An important objective of mine is student experiential learning via internships, research, community service, field experience and study abroad. The encouragement of study abroad is of particular personal interest to me. As an adult, I have lived for a year or more on four foreign continents and personally attest to the invaluable personal growth from such experiences. My participation in a program site visit to Venezuela enhanced my ability to talk to students about such experiences as well as increasing my awareness of their planning difficulties. I have made concerted efforts to facilitate study abroad by assisting students in selecting programs and helping them work through the process of determining how their courses satisfy requirements in their major.”

And one of her students said:

“…Sheryl has been a contact at the University in whom I feel comfortable being emotionally honest and vulnerable with regarding my experience as an adult learner. In Sheryl’s listening ear, I have felt validated, understood and well advised. In fact there was a period early in my transitional semester where I was seriously reconsidering my enrollment at the University of Minnesota. After speaking with Sheryl, I felt empowered and supported in moving forward.

“As an adult I have the experience of my years in recognizing excellence in performance. Excellence is exactly the word I would use to describe the level at which Sheryl performs as an adviser to the University of Minnesota students.

“I have immense gratitude for her calm demeanor and incredible knowledge base. Sheryl Bolstad is my ‘go-to’ person at the University of Minnesota and I highly recommend that she be recognized with the Tate Award.”