By: Diane Stirling
Students who gathered for an event recognizing their honors academic standings last week also took a few moments to honor two members of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) faculty and staff.
Students cited Associate Professor Susan Bonzi and Director of Academic Advising and Counseling Elaine Morgan as being instrumental to their academic successes. Both Bonzi and Morgan have announced plans to retire this May, concluding long iSchool careers.
The recognition, which wasn’t announced in advance, took Professor Bonzi by surprise.
“I am so amazingly surprised and pleased that the students would go to the trouble of doing this for me, so it’s just marvelous that it happened,” Bonzi reacted.
Professor Bonzi said she has had a special sense of alignment with undergraduate students over the past two decades of her teaching career. “There’s a freshness about them. They’re fun and interesting to be around. They have all kinds of things they do, and it’s interesting to be around them and hear what they have to say. In a way it’s a greater challenge to get them involved and keep them involved” than it is to do that for graduate-level students, she added.
Professor Bonzi has taught at the iSchool for many years in the area of information presentation and computer programming. Her research interests center on bibliometric, image retrieval, and linguistics applications in information science.
Morgan has worked for more than 20 years managing undergraduate advising, counseling, and student records and assisting transfer students. She also has coordinated retention activities for at-risk students; coordinated the school's peer advisor program; planned and managed advising events for undergraduates; and directed undergraduate student registration.
The students’ lauding of her efforts came as “a total surprise” for Morgan, too. Being honored herself by students at a function that was intended to recognize them, “was just an overwhelming joyous feeling, just to know that you’re appreciated and that they think enough of you to acknowledge you at an event that’s for them,” she acknowledged.
Morgan said that her approach when students come in for help is to regard them “as if it’s my own son or daughter, and I do for them what I would do for my own child. I treat them with respect and kindness. I want them all to be successful.”
The recognition was organized during the undergraduate honors recognition program and was put together by 2014 class marshals Kevin Kettell, Lauren Peters, and Courtney Perdiue.