Keni Zenner receives Tate Award for advising

Sue Dieter

Keni Zenner is sure she has the best job on the University of Minnesota Morris campus. Zenner is the learning assistance coordinator in the Student Success Center and

A head shot of a young woman with short dark hair, wearing a black top.

 TRIO Student Support Services and a 2012 UMN Morris graduate with majors in psychology and liberal arts for human services.  She is also a 2024 recipient of the University of Minnesota John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. 

The award, established in 1986-87 in honor of John Tate, professor of physics and first dean of University College, calls attention to the contributions advisers make in helping students formulate and achieve intellectual, career and personal goals. 

Zenner works with students at various points in their academic careers and in different capacities, but admits that she thinks of all Morris students as her students. 

The nominations from her colleagues point to Zenner’s work as an exemplary and caring adviser who has made significant contributions to the improvement and development of UMN Morris student support programs and campus activities that enrich academic advising and student success. She is recognized as an ally, advocate, and cheerleader for all students, and an adept relationship builder who seeks to create effective and supportive relationships with students, faculty, and staff. 

Zenner believes that it is important to allow students to be the authors of their own stories. 

“If anything, I think the most important thing I can do in an advising meeting is to try to expand a student’s imagination of what might be possible for them–studying abroad, becoming a tutor, pursuing graduate school. I do this by identifying students’ strengths, resources on campus, and people from our amazing network at the University of Minnesota Morris that can help them realize their dreams.”

Zenner will received the award in a ceremony at the he John Tate Professional Development Conference and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, February 29, 2024