Gail Jacky

Director, Huskie Academic Support Center

Gail Jacky

What year did you start working at NIU?
1984 as a TA, 1988-1996 as an instructor, 1999-present with the University Writing Center/Huskie Academic Support Center.

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
I grew up in South Holland, Illinois. I now live in DeKalb

Select your affiliated college/division
Division of Academic Affairs

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
Purdue University, Calumet campus, B.A. in elementary education 
Northern Illinois University, MA in English, emphasis in literature

If you attended college, were you a first-generation student?
Yes. Although my mother had attended college for 3 years, she never completed her degree work 

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
Every day is different, so there is no typical day, particularly with the newly formed Huskie Academic Support Center. I am currently collaborating with departments/colleges across campus to simplify finding tutoring services as well as expand recruitment efforts. I am meeting with entities across campus to promote the new tutoring services. I oversee the daily operations of the University Writing Center and the Peer Academic Coach programs. I coordinate the hiring and payroll documents for the UWC, PAC, and Supplemental Instruction. I collect the usage data on UWC and PAC sessions/activities. I work with clients and faculty on their writing projects. 

What do you like about working at NIU?
I love working with the students, the Huskie Academic Support Center staff and NIU staff. I love the fact that each day is a new adventure and am really excited about a lot of the changes being enacted to provide more support for students. 

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I encourage all students to take advantage of the resources offered on campus. Students should feel comfortable looking for opportunities to strengthen their skills and developing a support system. 

What is your favorite campus event?
I love the increase in energy that happens during move-in and the first week as everyone settles into the new year. 

In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
This past week I have been so impressed by the advisors who joined the Peer Academic Coaches' training sessions to help them learn about what advisors do and how to talk about those services with the students they will work with. I am so excited by programs like Dr. Elizabeth Wilkin's graduate school professional development program that hosts workshops, courses and events to help graduate students understand programs, policies, requirements, etc. Dr. Kimberly Johnson is working to re-envision how supplemental instruction can support 100- and 200-level courses. 

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
Having been affiliated with NIU since 1984, there are too many memories to just have one. However, I think the highlight of my year is watching the UWC coaches and the students we work with graduate and move on to whatever is next or receive an award for excelling in what they do. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher. As a matter of fact, if the weather was too bad to play baseball or ride bikes in the summer, I always encouraged my friends in the neighborhood to play school. They were less enthralled than I was. Although I am not currently teaching courses, I am still teaching through the writing support I provide and the mentoring/training I am doing for the Huskie Academic Support Center. 

What do you do to relax or recharge?
This is a hard question to answer during COVID and working from home when the computer keeps dinging! My favorite way to recharge is hanging out with my granddaughter. It is an amazing experience to see the world through her eyes. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I have a suspicion my Huskie story is much like other Huskie staff and alumni. I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

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