At first glance, Health and Behavioral Sciences College Dean Dr. Jimmy Ishee, may seem somewhat intimidating with his tall silhouette and firm handshake. But after spending just five minutes with him it’s easy to see that is not the case.
Last year he was nominated as a Fellow for the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education (NAKHE). This is the second year the NAKHE has recognized a class of Fellows.
In early January 2016 Ishee attended an annual NAKHE conference in San Diego, California where he was inducted as Fellow #15 for the class of 2016, a sign of a respected and valued person in the organization.
Ishee never expected to be nominated as a Fellow.
“This was definitely one of the most rewarding recognitions I’ve ever had,” Ishee said.
A Fellow is a respectable person with leadership skills and high expectations of themselves and their peers. Being recognized as a Fellow of this organization confirms why Ishee works in higher education, something he always wanted to do.
“Mentoring other administrators and faculty is important,” Ishee said.
His passion for helping colleagues and students succeed is a fulfilling experience for him.
“I enjoy teaching and working with students and helping them prepare for their careers.”
Ishee has been a member of the NAKHE for 26 years and several lasting friendships have manifested from it. During his professional career his biggest supporter, who is also part of the NAKHE and a fellow from the class of 2015, is Dr. Leah Holland Fiorentino. Ishee met Fiorentino when he joined the organization in 1990.
They’ve served on different committees together over the years and have always encouraged and challenged each other professionally.
Leadership and responsibility are two qualities that have remained constant in Ishee’s life.
Ishee raised his sons in Conway and was involved in several community-wide events in the past. He served as the Toad Suck Daze Chairman in 1991 and helped expand the Toad Suck Dazescholarship for incoming college students in.
He is a graduate of the Faulkner County Leadership Institute and later served on their Board in the 1990’s. He also wrote a fitness column for the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway from 2000-2002.
This is not Ishee’s first time at UCA. He previously worked as an assistant professor and later became an associate dean for the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.
From 2005-2014 he served as the Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Texas Woman’s University.
Ishee thought he would never work at UCA again, but gladly returned in 2014 to become Dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.
“Leaving and coming back gave me a new perspective,” Ishee said. “I appreciate the constant commitment to excellence that UCA had and still has today. I value that.”
Ishee has set a lasting example for his students and colleagues. His mindset of being willing to “do what you expect others to do” has led him on a humble path to success.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 27, 2016 print edition of The Echo.