Professional News

2 UK Advisors Awarded National Honors at NACADA Conference

Jennifer Riggs Doerge
Heather Hardesty

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 2, 2022) — Two University of Kentucky advisors have received awards from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)

Jennifer Riggs Doerge, senior director of advising and engineering student services in the College of Engineering, was awarded the Outstanding Professional Advisor Award. Heather Hardesty, academic advisor for undergraduate students within the College of Health Sciences, was awarded the Outstanding New Advisor Award.

Established in 1983, NACADA is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators and students working to enhance the educational development of students. NACADA serves as an advocate for effective academic advising by providing a consulting and speaker service, an awards program and funding for research related to academic advising.

“I’m so grateful for this recognition,” Hardesty said. “NACADA is made up of many excellent, hardworking advisors. Receiving this acknowledgment from them is a true honor. It indicates I’m on the right track as I continue to help students on their educational journeys.”

The Outstanding New Advisor Awards are presented to individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students and who have served as a professional advisor or a faculty member with advising duties for a period of three or fewer years.

“I’m passionate about advising because I enjoy building relationships with students, helping them become the people they want to be and achieving their goals,” Hardesty said. “I’m honored to get to play a small part in their journey at UK.”

Doerge, who was last year’s recipient of the Ken Freedman Outstanding Professional Advisor Award, is thankful to both the university and NACADA for this recognition. 

“I am incredibly honored to receive this award from NACADA,” Doerge said. “It validates the work that advisors do day in and day out to best serve students. The UK Advising Network has continued to promote and advocate for advising on our campus and has set the groundwork for our advising community to grow through NACADA and I am thankful that our campus has such a strong and supportive advising community in the Advising Network.”

The Outstanding Advising Awards annually recognize individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students or outstanding academic advising administration.

For over 13 years, Doerge has served the advising community at UK. While the accolades received along the way are a great indicator that she is on the right path, Doerge believes the true reward is received when she helps a student realize their potential. 

“Being an academic advisor is an incredibly important and integral role in higher education,” Doerge said. “Advisors are tasked with partnering with students to be their support system, sounding board, confidante — ultimately, their go-to person on campus that they can rely on for support.  Advisors are one of the first people students meet when they come to campus and we remain a constant and unwavering structure of support for them throughout their time at UK. It is such a rewarding position that allows advisors to empower their students to be active in their own successes.”

Two university advisors also received certificates of merit from NACADA. 

  • Sherali Zeadally, College of Communication and Information | Excellence in Advising — Faculty Advisor Certificate of Merit
  • Casey Shadix, College of Health Sciences | Excellence in Advising — Advising Administrator Certificate of Merit

For a full list of past UK NACADA award winners click here. To learn more about advising at UK, visit the advising website here

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.