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By Brittany Shew
SUNY Plattsburgh’s 2014-2015 Outstanding Academic Adviser Award went to Dr. Mohamed Gaber, professor of accounting, for his “expertise and devotion to the educational and professional preparation of SUNY Plattsburgh students.”
“This is one of the best awards I could have received,” Gaber said. “It’s coming from people who have experienced the advising process and how it made a difference in their life.”
Dr. Jason Lee, professor of accounting, said that when it came to nominate people for the award, the first person who popped into this head was Gaber.
“I’ve never seen such a person who dedicates so much of their time to the students,” Lee said.
Gaber knows all of his advisees on a personal level because, he says, he knows the advising process is not just course selection for students –– it’s career development for what they’re looking for now and two years from now.
“Advising for me is a joy … it is something I can fulfill, something I need to give back to a student,” Gaber said.
Lee said that Gaber does not only pay attention to his students, but he takes the time to meet with most students to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
“Students pay tuition; they want to have someone who can help them with their career and their future. They need guidance, they need people who know them and help them … someone who can customize a plan for them to help them grow,” Lee said.
Gaber said that simple advice can make a huge difference in a student’s life, whether it be making sure they’re in the right degree program or if they’re having difficulty in a class or in their personal life.
Gaber’s mission for advising is making sure students find success from graduation day on, to where they are going to go in the future, whether they go into the job market or on to graduate school.
“Advisement does not end by the graduation date –– it will continue as an alumnus. I keep in touch with some alumni from 20 years ago,” he said.
SUNY Plattsburgh alumus Mohamed Rajani, who graduated with an international business major, said that although he wasn’t one of his advisees, Gaber took him under his wing while Rajani explored the idea of adding an accounting major.
“I think he's one of the most down-to-earth and one of the most respected professors on campus,” Rajani said. He said Gaber is a genuine person who wrote him a great recommendation and still reaches out to make sure he’s doing well and progressing.
“There is no one who deserves it more than him. He’s absolutely terrific with everyone,” Rajani said. “The fact that I wasn’t an accounting major and he was still my go-to source of guidance speaks volumes to his character.”
Another SUNY Plattsburgh alumnus, Benjamin Depo, now at SUNY Upstate Medical University, said that Gaber was a fantastic adviser, and they kept in contact on a weekly basis. He helped Depo with course selection, resume building, networking and beyond.
“You know he’s a friend and not just a higher authority figure,” Depo said. “You’re in there, and you’re laughing because he makes you feel comfortable, makes you glad that you're in the program –– he’s truly your friend, and he’s truly there for you.”
“I take the advising process very seriously; it’s part of our job as faculty,” Gaber said. He said that the advising here at SUNY Plattsburgh is unique from other colleges where he has taught.
“It’s a personal touch between students and faculty. I value that very much,” Gaber said.
About the Author
Brittany Shew is currently a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh pursuing a degree in both public relations and journalism. Along with interning for the Office of Marketing and Communications, Brittany serves as the FUSE editor for the award-winning student newspaper, Cardinal Points, is the event coordinator for the on-campus organization, Shine On!, and works as an admissions ambassador and tour guide.
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