President's Commission on Student Centeredness

Advisers honored with Students First Award

Two UT employees who were honored with the Students First Awards for the month of January put their hearts into making the experience of students as full and enriching as possible.

Dr. Linda Smith, senior lecturer and adviser in the University Honors Program, and Beth Gerasimiak, adviser in University College, were chosen from among many strong nominees.

“It was very gratifying to receive the award because it shows that my efforts on behalf of the students are noticed and appreciated,” Smith said. “I don’t do it at all for the recognition or awards, but it is important to me that the University really shows that it cares about the students as people. I really care myself and that’s why I do whatever I can when students need help.”

Smith approaches student centeredness from both sides of the desk: She received her master’s, law and doctoral degrees from UT and is pursuing a master’s degree in community counseling in the College of Health Science and Human Service while advising and teaching in the University Honors Program.

She serves as co-adviser for UT’s Student Honors Council and organizes events for students and parents. She has reviewed and assessed the Honors Program’s first-year readings courses, and helped establish UT Alumni Association honors affiliates in Toledo and Columbus.

In addition, Smith is the UT liaison for the Washington Center Internship Program and is the adviser for UT’s Society for Environmental Education.

This year she said she will lead 24 students as they “walk in the footsteps of Socrates, Plato and Sophocles” in a course that will take place in Greece.

“She is a great adviser, friend and confidante to our honors students. She does it for no reward but the love of her students and the desire to see them succeed,” said Smith’s nominator, Dr. Tom Barden, director of the Honors Program.

Gerasimiak has worked in University College in several capacities for a number of years, and now serves as an adviser.

She believes that there is no such thing as a dumb question, and does her best to give students the answers and information they need to pursue their programs successfully. She puts students first, treats them with sensitivity, and makes herself available to them above and beyond the call of duty.

Among the students that Gerasimiak helps are older students seeking financial assistance in UT’s Program 60.

“I was very happy and humbled to receive the Students First Award. It is so nice that the University and students recognize us,” Gerasimiak said.

Her nominator, Sean Robertson, a student seeking to complete a degree from out of state through a UT distance-learning program, praised her dedication and patience.

“Beth ensured that I got enrolled, scheduled classes and developed a plan to graduate,” Robertson said. “She has made me feel that this is something I can do and put a plan together to make it happen. She is always there to answer questions, no matter how many times I ask the same one.”

Smith and Gerasimiak both received a $75 gift card from Barnes and Noble and a $25 gift card from Starbucks. At the end of the academic year, one winner will be chosen to receive a $1,500 prize.



Nominate a Peer

  • The President's Commission on Student Centeredness is now recognizing University employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to help students and ensure their success.
  • The contest winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to the UT Bookstore, a $25 gift certificate to Starbuck's and a specially designed pin.
  • They also will be eligible to win $1,500 as the student-centered employee of the year.
  • Nomination Form
Last Updated: 6/26/15