Jacquelyn Burt Earns 2024 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

Department of Computer Science & Engineering Undergraduate Academic Advisor Jacquelyn Burt was awarded the 2024 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. Named in honor of John Tate, Professor of Physics and first Dean of University College (1930-41), the Tate Awards serve to recognize and reward high-quality academic advising, calling attention to the contribution academic advising makes to helping students formulate and achieve intellectual, career, and personal goals.

“I thought it was a trick when I got the email that I was being nominated,” said Jacquelyn. “Within the advising field, this award is a big deal; I described it to my parents as ‘the advising Grammys’. Part of what makes it so cool is the nomination process, which involves several letters of support from students and colleagues as well as putting together a kind of portfolio of some of the programs and resources I’ve helped develop. So many different people contributed to that on my behalf, so it was really powerful to be reminded of the impact of my work and the amazing colleagues and students I get to love!”

Jacquelyn is a lifelong Gopher, earning her B.S. in business marketing education in 2014 and her M.Ed. in education policy and leadership in 2019. She joined the CS&E student services team in 2019, where she quickly developed a reputation as a staunch ally and advocate for her students. In 2021, Jacquelyn received the Gopher Spirit Award, recognizing the U of M advisor who contributes to a positive office culture, is inclusive, and brings others up.

“I feel the most useful when a student or colleague is misunderstanding something, or experiencing a lot of stress, and I am able to help separate it into smaller pieces or come up with a different way of looking at it,” said Jacquelyn. “If I can shine light on something, help shift a lens or perspective, or give an idea or experience a bit of breathing room, I’m doing my job.”

When asked about what inspired her to work in advising, Jacquelyn replied, “When I first came to the University of Minnesota as a freshman, I was a family and social sciences major - I love relationships and helping, and so figured a career in marriage and family therapy sounded good. However, I’ve also always loved education and felt most at home at school - when I finished my undergraduate degree, I didn’t want to leave college because I loved it so much! Student advising seemed like a cool sweet spot between classroom teaching, advocacy, and being in a helping role. Ultimately, I’ve really come to see advising as facilitation work: I help students identify and navigate barriers to their goals, experiences, and personal development.”

As an undergraduate advisor, Jacquelyn manages a caseload of over 450 students in multiple majors, minors and other departmental programs. On top of her advising duties, Jacquelyn has undertaken a number of projects to better the undergraduate student experience, including establishing a weekly newsletter; designing, promoting, and executing departmental events and programs; and developing and teaching students through a variety of training and credit-bearing coursework. Most notably, Jacquelyn created and now facilitates mandatory implicit bias training for all 200+ undergraduate teaching assistants, as well as teaching CSCI 2915: Teaching Methods in Computer Science (a leadership and communication skills seminar) each semester.

“Within our student services team, we’ve developed a great culture of initiative and problem-solving: like, if you identify a problem and have or can create tools to help address it, amazing - you go get it!” said Jacquelyn. “We all believe that students deserve to have positive and supportive experiences while they are here, and we’ve built an advising team that trusts each of us to help bear that belief out. I definitely could not do my job without the collaboration, encouragement, and love of the whole team.”

On top of her work within CS&E, Jacquelyn has personally designed advising resources that have made an impact for undergraduate students across the entire university. Her “Explore & Expand” tool (originally developed for the college’s major/minor expo) is used widely throughout the entire University, particularly within the Center for Academic Planning and Exploration office. Additionally, her “Academic Progress Audit System Guide” resource (originally used within the departmental “Welcome to the Major” workshops) has been used in advisor training and onboarding. Above all, Jacquelyn has a keen eye for making connections, and for communicating things that can be overwhelmingly complex with both clarity and compassion.

“When I applied for this job, I had to come up with an ‘advising philosophy,’” said Jacquelyn. “What I landed on is anytime a student leaves an interaction with me, I want them to feel a little bit more seen, supported, and celebrated. I am a naturally celebratory person, which I’ve learned to embrace - and this award is a wonderful way to celebrate the work of advising!”

Learn more about the John Tate Award at the Provost website