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Professor at MSU Billings has won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Faculty Mentor Award



Billings, Montana – Alex Shafer, Ph.D., an associate professor of health and human performance at Montana State University Billings, has been selected to receive the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Faculty Mentor Award for 2022–2023.

The Faculty Mentor Award, given annually by the GNAC SAAC, honors academic staff members at GNAC-member institutions who exhibit exceptional support for student-athletes both on and off the playing field of competition while exemplifying the NCAA Division II core values of learning, passion, service, resourcefulness, sportsmanship, and balance.

Student-athlete Aspen Tolman put forth Shafer’s nomination on behalf of the MSU Billings SAAC because of his reputation for connecting with students. Dr. Shafer is a fantastic professor because of his commitment to instructing students in his classes, according to Tolman. He creates an interesting and secure environment where children may develop and feel valued beyond test scores. Through the use of what they have learned, the athletes in his class also gain self-assurance in their identities outside of athletics. He helps students prepare for their next steps in life and explore opportunities after graduation.

While Shafer’s seminars are hard, they have a lot to offer students in the Health and Human Performance Department, according to Tolman and the MSUB SAAC nominee. Shafer is renowned for his ability to help student-athletes manage their academic and athletic passions. According to the nomination, “Many of the students who enroll in his classes are student-athletes, which can be challenging to handle due to their diverse travel plans, personalities, and demands. He makes sure that each student has access to the proper materials and gets the right extensions and assistance.

“I was honored to receive the GNAC Faculty Mentor Award,” says Shafer. “The student-athletes at MSUB represent some of the hardest working, dedicated scholars we have on campus, and I am always impressed by their ability to manage the rigorous demands of sport and academics. This award is particularly rewarding considering the nomination came from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; I cannot thank them enough for their support and recognition.”

Since 2015, Shafer has been a member of MSUB. In addition to the Walter & Charlotte Pippenger Excellence in Innovation Award in 2022 and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Associated Students of MSUB in 2017, he also got a Faculty Excellence Award in 2023.



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