Academic Advising

OU academic advisers recognized for commitment to student success

Tiffany LeDonne-Smith and Simone Amalio-Klebba are this year’s recipients of OU’s top academic advising awards

icon of a calendarApril 2, 2024

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OU academic advisers recognized for commitment to student success
Tiffany LeDonne-Smith and Simone Amalio-Klebba

Each year, the Oakland University Professional Advisers Council (OUPAC) presents the university’s top academic advising awards to two outstanding professionals for their commitment to helping students succeed.    

Tiffany LeDonne-Smith, an academic adviser in the School of Business Administration, is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Professional Academic Advising Award, which recognizes an individual with more than three years of service in professional advising.

Simone Amalio-Klebba, an academic adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the New Adviser of the Year Award, which is open to those with less than three years of service.

This year’s recipients were nominated by students and colleagues, who praised their kindness and empathy, dedication, knowledge, diligence, motivational skills and support, leadership skills, professionalism and other admirable qualities.

Tiffany LeDonne-Smith

Tiffany LeDonne-Smith

A committee made up of (non-advising) members from across the university reviewed the nominations and selected LeDonne-Smith and Amalio-Klebba for the awards.

LeDonne-Smith has been an academic adviser in OU’s School of Business Administration since July 2017. She started the Women in Business (WIB) student organization in 2018 and serves as an adviser to the organization’s e-board. Over the past five years, WIB has become one of the most active student organizations within the school of business and currently has 354 total members.

In 2019, LeDonne-Smith developed a women’s mentoring program that connects OU alumna business professionals with current OU business students. To date, 85 students have gone through the leadership program and have been matched with a professional mentor.

“I’m proud of my work starting new initiatives and programs specifically related to the advancement of womanhood,” she said. “I am very passionate about female empowerment, and I’m lucky to incorporate such initiatives into my role as an academic adviser.”

The award selection committee was impressed with LeDonne-Smith’s professional development initiatives, her various publications and presentations, as well as her personal philosophy and dedication to her 450 student caseload.

During her tenure as an academic adviser, LeDonne-Smith has presented locally at OU, as well as at regional and national academic advising conferences. She also co-authored an article that was published in NACADA’S “Academic Advising Today” during the summer of 2022.

LeDonne-Smith was honored with the New Adviser of the Year Award in 2020, making her the only person to receive both of OU’s top advising awards. She prides herself on building positive relationships with students while helping them navigate their academic journeys. 

“I am excited to encourage students to be leaders, thinkers, and change agents in their
communities,” she said. “I value taking a student-centered approach to my work encouraging integrity, leadership, independence and confidence.” 

Simone Amalio-Klebba

Simone Amalio-Klebba

Amalio-Klebba described her journey to academic advising as “a bit of a winding path.” She worked with e-Learning and Instructional Support as a graduate assistant during her time in OU's Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership program, in September 2019. During that program, she also interned within the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Sciences Advising Office.

After graduating, she worked in a temporary position within OU’s First Year Advising Center, before taking a job within the College of Arts and Sciences. She’s been there since July of 2021 and in her senior academic adviser role since August of 2023. 

“I know it's cliché, but the thing I love most about my job is working with my students – seeing them reach their goals. I love learning about who they are and what they are passionate about,” said Amalio-Klebba. “CAS is the largest college at the institution, so I get to work with students pursuing a lot of different majors. It keeps each day new and exciting. I'm always learning and growing in the work I do.” 

The committee took notice of Amalio-Klebba’s social media engagement and letters of support, which noted how informed, connected and supportive she is as an adviser. Her interest in social justice was also appreciated, along with her "can-do" spirit. 

“It has been such an encouragement to be affirmed in the work I do by my students and my colleagues,” she said. “I am the adviser I am only because of the folks I have been able to work alongside and learn from these past few years. I think the New Adviser of the Year Award is a testament to the team that is OU Advising.”  

The OUPAC has recognized outstanding advisers each year since 2008. Honorees have also been recognized by other university departments and national colleagues for their dedication to academic advising and innovative programming aimed at student success. To learn more about the Outstanding Adviser of the Year award, including previous honorees, visit OU’s academic advising web section.  

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