ShannaL.Brien Academic Advisor and Program Coordinator
Staff Excellence - Teaching/Student Support 2012
Shanna Brien ’02 was not going to attend the State of the College address last month. “I need to be here for the students,” she told her supervisor, Kim Babbitt, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). It was the first day of registration for sophomores, and Brien knew there would be a steady stream of students who needed her assistance throughout the day. Nevertheless, she was told that she needed to be at the meeting, so she put up a note on her office door where she works as the Academic Advisor and Program Coordinator and reluctantly stepped away for a couple of hours.
And when the Director of the Thompson School of Applied Sciences (TSAS), Regina Smick-Attisano, announced the Dean’s staff award winners for 2012, it all made sense. Brien was surprised and delighted by the honor of a Staff Excellence Award for Teaching/Student Support. The award program, established in 2008, enables employees to nominate a recipient who demonstrates “excellence in support of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture’s teaching, research, and outreach mission through exemplary performance in their position and a record of commitment to the University community.” Brien’s contributions to her work matched the description to a tee. “The work that comes to the Academic Affairs office is a constant stream, and each task or form requires knowledge of process, signature requirement and order, routing, and documentation and filing,” says Babbitt. “Shanna is extremely competent, computer savvy, and a fast learner. She has the capacity to take on additional work and help out the team. Shanna is truly an exceptional employee and the entire college benefits from having her here.”
UNH has been like a second home to this Deerfield native. While she was an undergraduate studying Business Administration at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics (WSBE), Brien began working in COLSA’s Department of Natural Resources. This May, she will earn her Master’s of Business Administration at the University. “I’m a continuous learner,” says Brien. “I love learning new things and discovering how best to work with people.” Brien emphasizes the importance of her Organizational Behavior class in teaching her new skills for interacting with students and faculty. “I understand what motivates people,” she says, “and how to be a good leader for my staff and a good colleague to my co-workers.”
Brien especially enjoys helping students to determine the best fit for their career. “Together, we look at all the opportunities available to them,” she says. Brien derives satisfaction in working with students, faculty, and staff to alleviate academic, curriculum, and enrollment challenges. “I love to problem solve,” she says, citing her passion for figuring out which courses students need in order to graduate on time.
Brien, who was recently promoted into her current position, enjoys decorating, camping, dancing, and reading in her limited free time.