On a typical day, Fran Buser interacts with dozens of students in person and by email, answering their questions about registering for classes, studying abroad, and planning to graduate. Buser is one of three academic advisors in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), a position she’s held for the past 10 years. Together, she and her colleagues serve over 1,300 undergraduates.
Prior to her arrival at Tech, Buser – who has a BBA from the University of Georgia – spent many years working for various companies. This made her a good fit for ISyE, which is sometimes referred to as “business engineering.” She and her teammates have streamlined many processes such as freshman orientation, mandatory advising, registration, and degree certification.
Chen Zhou is the ISyE associate chair for undergraduate studies, which gives him the opportunity to work closely with Buser. “As an advisor, Fran is thorough, rigorous, and maintains consistency among her advisees,” he said. “She is always seeking to increase efficiency in how the office operates and serves students. I often say to our colleagues and students that Fran deserves an honorary BSIE degree. We are fortunate to have such a creative, honest, and productive advisor in our academic office.”
Because of her efforts and her years of service, Buser received this year’s Institute-level Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advising Award, which she accepted at the Faculty & Staff Honors Luncheon on April 19, 2019.
In this Q&A, Buser shares her thoughts about the challenges of working with students, the advice she often finds herself giving, and what makes for a successful Georgia Tech student.
What do you like most about being an academic advisor?
Working with the students. I find Georgia Tech students to be very driven. They are also polite, friendly, and open. I enjoy hearing about their plans for the future, and I try to help them make a plan to achieve their dreams.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an advisor?
Registration. It is particularly hectic the first week of registration, but every semester we see improvement – both because of our academic team and because we improve processes such as listing important registration information on our website and implementing use of an online advising platform where we can answer students’ questions. For sure our students learn lessons of patience and perseverance during registration.
Do you have a personal sense of mission as an advisor?
I love what I do, which is such a blessing. My mission is – back to my business background – to be as efficient, responsive and kind to the students and my teammates as I can be.
What makes for a successful Georgia Tech student?
In my opinion, there are at least four components: GPA, work experience, study abroad, and leadership. We have a great organization, the Georgia Tech student chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, which is a perfect way for them to gain leadership experience and to network.
What does it mean to be selected for this Institute-level advising award?
It mean so much to me. I have had some great mentors. Patti Parker, Valarie DuRant-Modeste, and Professor Zhou were here when I came to ISyE. Now, the whole academic office team helps me achieve my goal of doing my best work every day.
When you’re not at work, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy traveling, reading, yoga, music, and anything outdoors. I love spending time with my family and friends. In the last few years, I’ve traveled to Singapore, Tokyo, Ireland, and Spain. In May, I’m off on an Alaskan cruise with my family.
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering404.385.4745