Those who know Brent Kane were not surprised when he was announced as the recipient of the 2019 Herb Sanders Award for Outstanding Academic Advisement earlier this semester. The honor recognized his devotion to helping the students he advises in the Department of Accounting.
“We are very proud, and fortunate, to have Brent represent the COB with this high honor. Brent continually exemplifies the qualities that this award signifies and is a true asset to our advising team. Our students are better served because of his attention to detail and compassion,” said Ginny Smith, coordinator of academic advisement for the College of Business.
“No one is as deserving of this award as Brent Kane,” said accounting student Ryan Ponton. “Academic advisors everywhere should strive to emulate the advising standards set by Brent and his ability to relate to and communicate with students.”
The Herb Sanders Award is named for a dedicated ISU faculty member who served on campus from 1949 until his death in January 1980. Sanders was the assistant chairperson of the School of Music and worked in the Academic Advisement Center.
Kane has worked for Illinois State University for more than eight years and served as an advisor in University College prior to becoming the accounting advisor in 2015. He currently works with more than 600 undergraduate and graduate accounting students in the College of Business, and much of his time is invested in face to face meetings with students to discuss their academic schedules, career goals, and on campus involvement opportunities.
“In my interactions with students I hope to provide support, encouragement, accurate information, and guidance to help them make more informed academic decisions as they move throughout their college career,” Kane said. “I have the amazing opportunity to watch our students grow from freshmen to ISU graduates, sharing in their successes and their challenges. I get to be their point of contact on campus, someone who is there to provide answers and resources as they pursue their profession.”
As part of his efforts to help students make the most of their time at ISU and find success in their academic endeavors, he developed curriculum for an independent study called the Accounting Transfer Seminar. It is geared toward helping transfer students make the transition into the Accounting program.
Dr. Deborah Seifert, accounting department chair, applauded Kane for being invested in his students and caring about their success in the classroom and beyond.
“Brent is not just concerned about the courses that a student takes but also about them personally,” she said. “He provides a listening ear to our students and helps with whatever needs they may have. He advises students to focus on not only their academic studies but also on their overall growth and learning as an individual in the university setting.”
Seifert also referred to him as “a valued consultant … on student needs and curriculum recommendations … He is at the forefront with regard to making sure that our students have the courses that they need to pass the CPA exam. We are highly regarded in the state for our pass rate, and Brent contributes greatly to that success.”
Senior accounting major Allison Murawski credited Kane with going above and beyond to make her feel welcomed in the COB and to help her develop a course plan.
“Even with all the chaos of advising hundreds of accounting students, he is organized and always remembers what I need,” she continued. “He pushes us to be the best that we can be, and he is fully involved in what we are all doing. He also cares deeply about us, and I’m always excited to share my news with him on what is going on. He is very caring, understanding, and is always reassuring me that I can do it. I greatly appreciate him and his passion for helping students achieve their goals.”
Deanna Kennedy, a senior accounting and information systems student, agreed Kane is “an invaluable asset to Illinois State.”
“He is deserving of recognition for his service to students and the energy he contributes to the University,” she said. “I am humbled by Brent’s compassion and empathy for students of all backgrounds. He takes time to understand a student’s history, which allows him to tailor curriculum recommendations to that individual student.”
In addition to his advisory duties, Kane teaches BUS 100: Introduction to Business and serves as advisor for the American Marketing Association chapter on campus.
Kane studied both marketing and management as an undergraduate and earned a master’s in College Student Personnel Administration from the University in 2015. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations at ISU.
“I had an amazing support network when I was an undergraduate at ISU, so having the chance to make a positive impact on another person’s life gives me great joy. I get to share in (students’) accomplishments and celebrate with them as they walk across the stage to receive their hard-earned degree,” he stated.