Beth Stephan named ‘Outstanding Advisor’
A Clemson University faculty member who is credited with helping form well-rounded students will head to a conference in October to be honored as Tau Beta Pi’s 2015 Outstanding Advisor.
Dr. Beth Stephan, the chief advisor to the engineering society’s SC Alpha chapter, said the best part about the honor is that her students helped make it happen.
“Students have to start the nomination package,” she said. “They had to get the nomination letters. It feels great that they would put so much work into it.”
Stephan will be honored at Tau Beta Pi’s 110th annual convention in Providence, Rhode Island. The society has chapters at 244 engineering colleges in the United States and active alumni chapters in 41 cities.
About 200 Clemson students are members of the SC Alpha chapter. Juniors must be in the top eighth of their class, and seniors must be in the top fifth to become members.
Members learn leadership skills, do community service projects and make connections that often follow them into their careers. The SC Alpha chapter’s activities include a year-long food drive and a T-shirt sale that benefits the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation.
Stephan said she strives to impress upon members that they are the intellectual and technological leaders of the future and that they have an obligation to help take care of those who didn’t have the same support they did.
Among those congratulating Stephan was Joe Watkins, the director of the Department of General Engineering.
“I do not believe I have ever met a person that is more committed to her students than Beth,” he said. “Her dedication to understanding the learning process and the development of the individual has made an impact far beyond Clemson University. Tau Beta Pi could not have picked a more deserving advisor.”
In addition to her Tau Beta Pi duties, Stephan serves as the academic director for the Department of General Engineering.
She is one of the few faculty members who works with students when they are freshmen and sophomores in the general engineering program and when they delve into their majors as juniors and seniors.
“I get to see how much they grow and develop,” Stephan said.
Stephan emphasized that her work with Tau Beta Pi is a team effort. Her co-advisors are John Minor and Steven Brandon. She also credited Mary Beth Kurz, who recently stepped down as Tau Beta Pi advisor to become president of the Faculty Senate.
“I wish this were a team award,” Stephan said.
Stephan received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and her Ph.D. in engineering, both from the University of Akron. She was initiated into Tau Beta Pi as an undergraduate and became president of the Ohio Kappa Chapter.
Stephan served as the TBP District 7 director for five years and joined the College of Engineering and Science in 2002. After arriving at Clemson, she served 13 years as TBP District 5 director and has been chief advisor to the SC Alpha chapter since 2006.