Everyone needs a little help sometimes, especially college students dealing with academics. When trouble is added into the mix, students need someone they can rely on.
This is when an adviser comes into play.
A bad adviser can be why even the best student is unable to graduate on time. A good adviser gets his advisees through four years of complicated course schedules.
But a great adviser, such as Cy Rosenblatt, does all of that and more.
Students and faculty agree when it comes to Rosenblatt’s expertise in advising.
This past year he was selected as one of two recipients of the University of Missisippi’s 2010 Excellence in Advising Award, along with Erin Miller, assistant to the dean in the Patterson School of Accountancy.
As an instructor in the political science department, Rosenblatt’s journey to Ole Miss and adviser stardom was out of the ordinary.
“It was actually my daughter who got me interested in teaching here,” Rosenblatt said. “She was an Ole Miss student and told me that I should come work for the University. I didn’t think they would want me due to the fact that I don’t have a Ph.D.”
Before working as a professor at the University of Mississippi, Rosenblatt taught as an adjunct instructor at Belhaven University in Jackson and served two terms in the Mississippi State Senate.
Although he said he would have liked to spend more time in the world of politics, he has enjoyed his move to education.
“Even when I was in the state legislature, I had the idea that later on in life I wanted to teach at a major university,” Rosenblatt said.
In fall 2004, Rosenblatt was hired as a part-time instructor at UM teaching Political Science 101. The next semester, as soon as the advising position opened up, the political science department asked Rosenblatt to fill it.
“We needed someone who was an expert to help us mentor the students,” Rosenblatt’s mentor John Bruce said. “We all benefit from his presence in this building.”
According to Rosenblatt, advising students consists of two basic principles: understanding the rules of the University as they relate to graduation requirements and developing an understanding and sensitivity to each student.
Rosenblatt’s approach is simple: Take it one step at a time.
“Understanding the rules of advising is a continual learning process, and I still make mistakes,” Rosenblatt said. “In the end, it all comes down to one question: What does the student want to do after graduation?”
The type of student also directly affects the ability for an adviser to offer solutions to different academic problems that trouble students.
According to Rosenblatt, there are three categories that most students fall into: high achiever, average and troubled.
High achievers know what they need to do to get from point A to point B, and they need very little advice.
Average students have an understanding of the requirements and are on the right track.
Troubled students are the ones who find themselves on academic probation, are suspended, or in some cases, are even dismissed.
Rosenblatt was shocked when he first found out about the award. He knew he had been nominated, but never thought he would win.
He was not, however, surprised that Miller received the award as well.
“It was interesting that we got the same award because we attended the same church for a while, and our families are friends,” Rosenblatt said. “She’s an outstanding person.”
Rosenblatt said he feels blessed to be able to teach in this environment. The award, for Rosenblatt, was an added bonus.
Faculty in his field said the department would not run smoothly without him, Rosenblatt said he owes his success to their support.
“I was really humbled by the selection,” Rosenblatt said. “In the six years I have advised, I have relied heavily upon support within the political science department as well as from the College of Liberal Arts. They are the people who have held me up all these years.”
Although his staff is important, he said his job depends mostly on the students. It is his advisees’ opinion of him that matters most in the end. Students across campus speak well of Rosenblatt, so it is no surprise he walked away the victor.
“Professor Rosenblatt deserved this award, hands down,” Chip Phillips, senior political science major, said.
“He always puts his students needs before his own. His devotion makes him more than a deserving recipient.”
As one of Rosenblatt’s advisees, Phillips spoke from experience and considers Rosenblatt a friend.
Although Rosenblatt might be skeptical as to whether he deserved to win, it’s clear that students and faculty think otherwise.