This article was first published in BU Today on February 26, 2021. By Rich Barlow. Questrom’s Jeffrey Allen and CFA’s Brian Dudley help students with emotional as well as academic problems in their role as advisors. They will be honored in a virtual ceremony.
Brian Dudley has been advising CFA theater students, ”formally and informally,” since coming to BU in 2014. What started as a small interest blossomed into a passion as he discovered that advising, like theater, is a collaborative pas de deux.
“The more I worked with our students and the more I got to know them,” Dudley says, “the more I was pulled towards more direct advising and mentorship work. From the beginning of my career as a theater artist and educator in Boston, I have found joy and success in roles and experiences that are rooted in collaboration and teamwork. As advisors, the best thing we can do is to be on the same team as our students and create a space in which we have the capacity to be the right person for them.”
He offers the CliffsNotes version of his years on the job in three best-advice tips: “One, that no one will know how good you are at something until you tell them, so you’ve got to brag about yourself, and two, that there is no one right way, one right answer, one path forward in our lives as students, artists, and people, but many. I love to celebrate failure, missing the mark, or realizing when something isn’t a right fit. We learn more from trial and error than from never trying.
“And last and probably most importantly, everything feels a little bit better when we’ve had enough sleep.”
The Undergraduate Academic Advising Awards are given each year to advisors “who have engaged students in the collaborative process of advising and have had a significant impact on students’ academic careers.” The awards are given in two categories. Dudley won as a “professional academic advisor,” a BU staff member whose main job is advising. Allen took the award for “faculty academic advisor,” given to a faculty member whose main focus is teaching and/or research, but who devotes part of their time to advising.
A committee—comprising undergraduates, a representative from the Office of the Provost, two previous winners, and faculty/staff from the Provost’s Advising Network—chooses the annual winners from nominations made by students, faculty, staff, and alumni.