Whitney Harris wins 2022 Provost’s Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award

A blinding light in a tunnel of darkness—that’s how one AHS student described Whitney Harris, academic adviser in kinesiology and winner of the 2022 Provost’s Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award.

Harris is one of only three award-winners among 120 undergraduate advisers on campus.

She joined UIC in 2018 after experience as a certified athletic trainer, an athletic academic coordinator at Chicago State University and an academic adviser in kinesiology and physical education at Northern Illinois University.

Being an academic adviser requires knowledge of both student affairs and academic affairs, Harris says.

“We can go from meeting with an associate dean about enrollment management and curriculum to meeting with a high school senior who wants to know how to submit their AP test scores to the university.”

Harris has developed two new kinesiology courses: Diversity for Health and Fitness, and Introduction to Athletic Training. She leads the selection process for a new program created in partnership with North Park University that directly admits UIC students and alumni to North Park’s master’s program in athletic training.

She is co-leader of a new scholarship program for kinesiology students, which will provide three $500 awards each fall semester.

Providing academic and career guidance to undergraduate students sometimes means finding solutions to difficult situations.

“We are constantly navigating sensitive information and relationships, ultimately trying to arrive at an ideal resolution for all parties,” Harris says.

“It’s a delicate balance that often takes someone who is patient and collaborative.”