UNI faculty member receives Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate award

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – University of Northern Iowa faculty member Deirdre Heistad, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, has been selected as a recipient of the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates award.

Deedee Heistad

The Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate awards are presented by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina. Each year, presidents of American higher education institutions are invited to nominate an educator on their campus for exceptional work in the areas of students learning, development and success. The nominations are reviewed by a national panel of distinguished educators and select 10 individuals for the award. 

“UNI students benefit from the strong foundation our first-year programs provide, but it takes so much more than one person to create and sustain this work. While my name may be on this award, I am only one of many ‘Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates’ at UNI,” said Heistad. “To have our work recognized by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is indeed an important national honor for UNI. Personally, I am most proud to have been nominated by my UNI colleagues whose commitment to and compassion for student learning inspires me on a daily basis.”

Heistad and the other recipients will be honored at the 36th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, Feb. 11-14, in Atlanta, Georgia. Heistad will also participate in an advocate’s session on Monday, Feb. 13, to discuss best practices, instructional methodologies, stories of student success and the challenges of teaching college success. 


Deirdre Heistad, director and associate professor, UNI Undergraduate Studies, 319-273-2633, deirdre.heistad@uni.edu

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761, lindsay.cunningham@uni.edu