Noted for his value to the Academic Advising Department and beyond, Rick Sand received the 2022 Nancy Blane Guerra Award.

Sand started at the college as a part-time advisor 10 years ago before becoming the advising resource coordinator after two years. Since then he has implemented many technological changes to help his department while benefiting others.

A day in the office often involves problem solving. From answering questions, training new advisors and working with others around campus to helping with student issues, he termed himself a middle man for getting the work done. He maintains the advising portal page and FAQ pages, and works with IT for creative solutions. He even took programming classes to do his job better.

“Rick is an integral, invaluable part of the department whose collaborative efforts have far exceeded the boundaries of the Academic Advising Department,” said one of his nominators. “He has great vision and takes initiative to examine problems or issues with procedures, processes or policies and will invariably find a way to make significant improvements that cross department and subdivision lines.”

When the pandemic started, Sand built an online notetaking system for staff and expanded it for students to help streamline processes. He also developed an online process for orientation students to sign up for the advising portion, eliminating frequent phone tag. Sand even created a last day

calculator that quickly shows the last day to register, drop or withdraw from classes.

“He has a unique way of not only seeing possible bottlenecks in our processes, sometimes before we even realize they are a bottleneck, but also the ability to come up with a brilliant solution,” said one nominator. “He’s not afraid of taking risks and coming up with solutions that are outside the box. I also appreciate his quirky sense of humor that often brings comic relief to what otherwise could be more tense situations.”

Sand also was highlighted for his collaboration and willingness to be a team player while always seeking out improvements for students and staff processes. He was nominated several times over the years for this award and was pleasantly surprised to finally earn it.

“I guess when you stop thinking this will be the year, then it happens. I’m thankful and appreciate those who nominated me and the things they said, as well as the committee.  It’s great to win. Who wouldn’t be happy to be nominated and have their work valued?,” Sand said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve done without great feedback and support  of my colleagues and supervisor.”