Rebecca Fallon Named A&S Advisor of the Year

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Debbie Cutler
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Colleagues nominate her for variety of achievements

Rebeca Fallon, undergraduate advisor for political science (since 2014) and economics (since 2018), recently was named an Advisor of the Year during Arts and Science Week 2022, held March 7 – 13. The award was presented to her at a celebration at Jesse Hall Auditorium on March 11.

Colleagues noted in nomination letters that Fallon is “incredibly bright, efficient, and effective as an advisor,” teaches her nearly 500 students to become “independent and make best decisions for themselves,” and provides a “consistent level of support” to all her students. They also said she is “honest, empathetic, and compassionate – and is a master of being tough but kind,” is “passionate about first-generation college students,” and has won several other awards, including the 2020 MU Excellence in Advising Award and the 2020 MACADA (Missouri Academic Advising Association) Outstanding Academic Advising Award.

 

From the Classroom to the Workforce

Fallon, who received a BJ in journalism from Mizzou in May 2010, has been working for the university ever since. Her first job was with the Missouri College Advising Corps, a program that places recent college grads into partner high schools to help empower students across the state to go to college.

After two years, she switched to a job in Financial Aid, which she did for two years, before coming onboard as an advisor in political science, which is now a part of the Harry S Truman School of Government and Public Affairs. (She also now is an advisor for undergraduate students interested in public administration and policy.)

 

Letter from the Dean

The A&S award, nominated by political science colleagues and students within the Truman School, was one of two advisor awards given. The other went to Pablo Serna, School of Languages, Literature, and Cultures.

“I knew I had been nominated for the award,” Fallon says. “Then I got an email from Cooper Drury, interim dean for the College of Arts and Science, the week before it was announced. I was excited. It made me feel really good.”

Fallon, who says she must stay “super focused” and “efficient” to do her job, says her job duties vary, depending on the time of year, but the bulk of her time is spent replying to undergraduate student emails (averaging about 40 a day), hosting drop-in zoom hours, and, of course, student advising by appointment. All are currently done virtually.

“It can be crazy,” she says. “You never know who is going to drop into your zoom room during drop-in hours, and what kind of issues they are going to have. But I think it’s kind of exciting to not know what is coming up. I’m a planner, so I like to plan for appointments, but I am available for students just dropping in if they have something quick to talk about.”

I think in political science and economics, we have some of the brightest minds on campus. I truly think I’ve worked with and advised future presidents, future leaders of the federal government. That can turn your day completely around. I’m just glad that I could be here for them. - Fallon

Benefits of Virtual Advising

She says the virtual side of advising is different than she is used to but has its advantages: it’s more convenient to students, and she can share her screen to troubleshoot issues with programs students may be having.

She says the new students, fresh from high school, come to her nervous and with anxiety, at times. “They are asking ‘how am I going to do this whole class thing?’ and ‘how am I going to do this whole college thing,’” she says.

“So, I try to preface the meetings with, ‘here is what we are going to do today,’ and ‘here is our agenda.’ And then once they’ve gone through the first advising appointment, it usually calms their nerves, and they know what to expect later on.”

 

Love for Work, Students

Fallon says she loves what she does – working with students, being a listening ear, helping them, even figuring out the questions they need to ask when they are not sure what to ask.

“You know, I think in political science and economics, we have some of the brightest minds on campus,” she adds. “I truly think I’ve worked with and advised future presidents, future leaders of the federal government. That can turn your day completely around. I’m just glad that I could be here for them.”