Organization names Stone one of top first-year advocates

Jayme Stone, director of learning communities, was awarded one of the Top 10 First Year Student Advocates in the nation by the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition.
“It’s such an honor,” Stone said. “It really means one has reached a level of respectability, not just on their campus, but nationally among their peers.”
Stone said she was home sick when she learned of the award.
“My phone kept ringing and ringing and I was trying to rest,” she said. “Julia Winden Fey [enrollment management associate vice president]left a message telling me to check my email. My first thought was, ‘What did the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette print now?’ But this time it was good news.”
Stone said her mother was the first person she told about receiving the award. She said her mother has shown her a lot of support over the years.
Stone attended a five-day workshop during the 32nd First Year Experience Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.
She said the pre-conference workshops started at 8 a.m. and kept her busy all day.
“It was the top educators in the country talking about implementing first-year seminar programs,” she said. “They were discussing ways to help students such as veterans, transfer students, nontraditional students and all students have a successful transition.”
Robert Parrent, enrollment management vice president, said Stone is a big part of the reason UCA’s residential college program has grown.
“Her impact has been dramatic,” he said. “She is a key player in advocacy for residential colleges. Her ability, skill to develop relationships supports learning and engagement.”
Stone said the conference workshops reinforced her faith in UCA’s programs.
“During the conference I kept thinking, ‘UCA is doing education right,’” she said. “We’ve [UCA] adopted an approach that focuses on high-impact learning and gotten away from boutique-style teaching that only meets the needs of a few. We’ve spread out to do so much for so many. We just do good work.”
Parrent said the themed residential colleges create an ideal learning experience.
“The synergy which results from students living in residential halls with others in their field is astounding,” he said.
Stone was given a trophy Feb. 24 at an awards ceremony, which was part of the conference. Stone said nearly 2,000 people attended the ceremony.
She said some recipients made a reference in their acceptance speeches to the fact that the awards ceremony was on the same night as the Academy Awards.
“A lot of people started their speech by saying, ‘I’d like to thank the Academy,’” she said.
Stone said she talked about her first-year advocate during her three-minute acceptance speech.
“His small acts of kindness helped me stay in school,” she said. “That’s what I want for our students: for them to know people genuinely care about their education.”
She said she was nervous making her speech.
“It’s one thing to teach and do workshops,” she said. “Getting up in front of your peers and thanking them for recognizing your work is a completely different feeling.”

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