Kris Brye, Lucas Simmons From Bumpers College Earn U of A Outstanding Advising Awards

Kris Brye (left) and Lucas Simmons, both in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, have earned the top advising awards on campus from the U of A's Academic Advising Council.
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Kris Brye (left) and Lucas Simmons, both in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, have earned the top advising awards on campus from the U of A's Academic Advising Council.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Kris Brye and Lucas Simmons from the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences have been named University of Arkansas outstanding advisors for 2018-19 by the university's Academic Advising Council.

Brye has been named Outstanding Faculty Advisor and Simmons Outstanding Primary Role Academic Advisor.

Brye is professor of applied soil physics and pedology in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences. Simmons is the advisor for Bumpers College students in the departments of agricultural education, communications and technology; agricultural economics and agribusiness; horticulture; and for crop science students. 

The awards are based on criteria established by the National Academic Advising Association. Nominees for the primary role academic advisor award must spend at least 50 percent of their time advising students with at least three years experience. Nominees for the faculty advisor award must spend at least 50 percent of their time teaching or on research with a portion of their time dedicated to advising, and have at least three years experience.

Since 2001, Brye has advised 90 environmental, soil and water science majors. Sixty transferred into the program and 30 were incoming freshmen. He has advised three honors program students, two foreign exchange students from the Scottish Rural College, and advised/coached 98 undergraduates in 15 Region IV, and 45 in nine National Soil Judging Contest competitions. He has also served as the major professor for 23 master's degree and five doctoral students who have successfully defended their thesis/dissertation and graduated.

Brye has earned U of A Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta (2008), National Association of College Teachers of Agriculture (2013), John W. White (2013) and U of A Teaching Academy (2012) teaching awards; and the alumni society Outstanding Advising Award in 2017.

Simmons provides academic and career advising to current, new and transfer students through completion of 60 hours; is the first point of contact for transfer and change of major students regardless of credits earned and provides pre-transfer advising; and makes recommendations for appropriate course substitutions, organization memberships, research opportunities, mentorship, study-abroad focus areas and honors student opportunities. He also partners with departmental administrative assistants and faculty to transition and guide students; utilizes UA Success for flexible scheduling, following student progress and processing student communications; and facilitates student learning experiences through course planning, career planning and program progress review.

Simmons, who joined the staff in 2014, has taught 14 sections of University Perspectives; serves on the U of A Academic Advising Council and the college's Prospective Student Recruitment Committee. He serves as one of the leaders for the college's new freshman/transfer/international student orientation programs, and represents the college at on-campus recruiting events.

Other NACADA criteria for the awards are strong interpersonal skills; availability to students, faculty or staff; frequency of contact with students; appropriate referral activity, and use and dissemination of appropriate information sources; and evidence of student success rate, by advisor or department. In addition, individuals must also monitor student progress toward academic and career goals, master institutional regulations, policies and procedures, and participate in and support advisor development programs.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


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