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2007 Excellence in Academic Advising Award Winner

Posted: June 30, 2009

Daniel D. Fritton, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Daniel Fritton, professor of soil physics, has received the 2007 Excellence in Academic Advising Award from the Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society. The award recognizes faculty for outstanding service to students in academic advising, career planning and personal counseling.

"Dan Fritton is extremely committed to the success of students," says David Sylvia, head of the Crop and Soil Sciences Department. "He places the highest priority on advising and will take whatever time is needed to help his advisees."

Fritton is uniquely focused on student goal-setting and career planning, Sylvia points out. Seven years ago he instituted a one-credit course, Soils 190 -- Professional Development in Environmental Soil Science, to address problems his advisees were experiencing preparing for the job market. Each fall semester he adjusts the schedule of Soils 190 so that all the environmental soil science majors who are new to the University Park campus can attend. The course systematically addresses career issues.

Fritton also teaches a one-credit senior seminar, Soils 490, which addresses job-hunting issues. The course allows students to raise their concerns either in the context of the course or later with Fritton in one-on-one discussions.

In addition to receiving high praise from a host of students he currently advises, Fritton -- who will receive an engraved brass plate and $1,000 honorarium at Penn State's commencement ceremonies -- got support from a number of colleagues and past students.

"From a personal perspective, I can honestly say I would not be on the faculty at a major land-grant university without the assistance of Dr. Fritton," says Keith Goyne, assistant professor of environmental soil chemistry at the University of Missouri.

"As I have moved along my career path, Dr. Fritton has always kept in touch," says Carrie Laboski, assistant professor and extension soil specialist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "He wanted to know how my training at Penn State prepared me and where it was weak. He then used that information when revising curriculum and advising students."

"I truly credit Dr. Fritton's advice as the main reason for my success as a soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service," says Timothy Daubert. "He was very helpful when I consulted him about what classes to take, where to get internships and figuring out what career option would be ideal for me."

Of Fritton, Doug Beegle, professor of agronomy at Penn State, says: "I have never met another faculty member who has done more as an advisor and friend to the students to try to assure that they will be successful in school and in life."