By Coria Bowen
It is the second year that an adviser from the College of Arts & Sciences has won the student nominated UK Ken Freedman Outstanding Adviser Award.
This year humanities adviser Jamie Wheeler holds the title in her fifth year of advising.
“I consider all of the previous winners and mentors as friends,” Wheeler said. “It felt like I’m really in that caliber with them.”
Wheeler said her undergraduate adviser instilled a great deal of confidence in her as a student.
She strives to give her students confidence in the same way in her role as an adviser.
“Every student that comes through the door is so different. There are different types of success and I want to help my students find that success however possible,” Wheeler said.
Justin Bridges, an English senior, said that as his adviser, Wheeler never steered him wrong.
“Every time I showed up (to an advising appointment) she knew exactly who I was, what my background was and what she helped me with before,” Bridges said.
Gregory Bocchino, director of the A&S student services, said in an email that in his 17 years of working in education, he would rank Wheeler in the top 1 percent of student affairs professionals who he has supervised or worked with.
“I am highly impressed with Jamie’s contributions to the success of students via her contact, involvement and persistence,” Bocchino said. “Jamie is a great adviser.”
Wheeler said it is important for her to be a friendly face to her advisees and be there for them.
“I think the bottom line is to be able to help people and be a role model for them,” Wheeler said.
Jack Philips, an English senior, said that Wheeler is great at communicating and keeping students up-to-date on what is happening on campus.
“Even before she gets into the classes you are going to take, she cares about you,” Philips said. “She’s good at what she does, and is very nice and polite. I can’t say enough good things about her.”
Wheeler said a common myth is that advisers just aid in schedule building and lift holds.
“A lot of us are on several committees,” Wheeler said.
Bocchino said that Wheeler’s involvement within the advising profession is both significant and noteworthy.
“She coordinates the Arts & Science Summer and Merit Weekend Advising Conferences, she was elected to our university-wide Advising Network Executive Board, she chairs the Arts & Sciences Reinstatement Committee, and Jamie was recently selected as the recipient of the University of Kentucky’s Professional Academic Adviser of the Year Award,” Bocchino said.
After expressing an interest in working with non-traditional students, Bocchino said he is sending her to the National Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education Conference this spring.
Along with other capacities Wheeler serves in, she is volunteering to teach a Freshman Seminar/UK 100 course in the fall.
“We put on programs, keep track of new classes, and work with students who go abroad,” Wheeler said. “I don’t think it’s hard, I think it’s rewarding.”