School of Social Work's Tamarie Willis receives Wayne State's first-ever outstanding academic advisor award from MIACADA

Tamarie Willis, an M.S.W. advisor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work, received the Academic Advising - Primary Role Award at the Michigan Academic Advising Association (MIACADA) state conference at Henry Ford College on May 18. Willis is the first academic advisor from Wayne State University ever to win the award, which recognizes outstanding service.

Tamarie Willis smiling outdoorsAn organization of professionals from colleges and universities concerned with the intellectual, personal, and career or vocational advising needs of students within the State of Michigan, MIACADA was founded to foster the personal and professional development of its members by promoting quality academic advising in the state. Presenting the award to Willis, MIACADA's President-Elect Rachel Pawlowski called her "an excellent example of what being passionate about student success encompasses."

A graduate of Wayne State's B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs, Willis focused her training in macro practice, with an emphasis on the community organizing and policy development. During her graduate studies, she interned with the Transition to Independence Program (TIP), where she created curriculum modules for the program for training the board and community partners on various issues facing youth aging out of foster care. She also worked for two years as a research assistant for the Center for Social Work Research.

Currently a student in the Social Work Doctoral Program, Willis has contributed to the sizeable and sustained growth in enrollment of the M.S.W. program's macro concentration under the dean's strategic plan. Her efforts to this end include the development of marketing materials, visits to other institutions to speak about the macro curriculum, informational meetings on Wayne's campus and neighboring schools, and the creation of a year-end workshop to inform macro students about career opportunities. She has also worked to develop and advise several student organizations, including the Association of Black Social Workers, the Coalition of Community Social Workers, and the Muslim Women Social Work Association.

"I work daily to marry my education and professional guidelines as a social worker to my duties and responsibilities in the role of an advisor, as well as to impress upon my students the values of self-determination, competence, and cultural awareness," remarked Willis, who has presented through the Academic Advising Association numerous times at the local and national levels as well as in England and Ireland. "I take great pride in this and strive to see value and worth in every student. As a social worker and an advisor, I have come to understand the power of kindness and advocacy, and the responsibility we all have to affect the life of others for the better."

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