Academic/Student Services Assistant
Perhaps the only thing that needs to be said about Janine Wilks is that her nomination for this year’s Presidential Award of Excellence received an unprecedented 38 letters of support. Thirty eight.
Those letters came from faculty and staff members, from undergrads and from graduate students — the last of whom, almost to a person, referred to her as “Queen Janine.” While the particulars varied, the central message of all 48 letters was the same: Janine is an indispensable member of the UNH English department and the backbone of its graduate programs.
A UNH alumna from the class of 2003, Janine returned to her alma mater in 2004 to take a role in the English department’s main office.
When she moved to the graduate office, she quickly proved her proficiency — so much so, in fact, that the current director of the graduate program turned to her to learn many of the ins and outs of the department. Students in UNH’s six graduate English programs rely on her for advice on the application process, housing, course registration issues, financial aid and graduation requirements. The first point of contact for prospective students and a consistently warm, welcoming and competent presence, Janine is credited by a number of faculty members for playing a material role in the recent uptick in graduate English applications.
And she doesn’t just support the graduate office — 20 percent of Janine’s time is devoted to helping students in the first-year writing program. It’s a delicate balance to bridge the extreme ends of the student experience, but Janine has served as an exceptional ambassador to both groups. Thanks to her undergraduate background in computer information technology, she’s also recently taken on responsibility for promoting these different programs, working on the English department’s website and designing electronic and print posters for various events.
In the words of her many and various nominators, Janine is wise beyond her years, a joy to work with, a steady and calming presence, the stable rock on which the UNH graduate English program is built.