Psychology department academic administrative assistant Jill Uland retires Nov. 1, 2023. Uland shares some of her favorite Denison memories in this Q&A.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Denison has been a very special place where I have had the privilege of meeting and hearing incredible speakers, taking classes, and being in the presence of people from all over the world. It’s incredible to be in the mix of so many different languages every day. It has made me a better person as I am more cognizant of our broader world.

Working with our support staff, which I am a part of, has been a lot of fun. I have become friends outside of work with many. From a student perspective, it’s been great to share in four years of their academic career and watch them launch into careers. The daily walk through campus to Knapp Hall past Swasey never gets old. It’s beautiful.

What is your most memorable moment with a student or a favorite memory you have while at Denison?

There are many that culminated into a monthlong trip to Ecuador. It began with the International Friendship Program, where I met Isa Lara and her family (Quito). I was taking Spanish classes on campus and decided to visit Ecuador under the guidance of her family. They assisted with a homestay in Cuenca, where I attended the Amauta School in 2015.

While in Cuenca, my “host mom,” who was my age, politely corrected my Spanish daily. She was deaf and an excellent lip reader. I attended the Amauta Language School and met other students of all ages from the United States.

I befriended a junior in high school from the West Coast. One day, we were discussing his plans for college and he mentioned that he was interested in liberal arts colleges. It was an easy entrance to tell him he should plan a visit to Ohio and take a look at Denison. He stopped and said, “Isn’t the president’s name…Adam?” I was floored and responded with a confirming yes! He was pretty low key and said (how wild is this?) that he had met Adam recently, as his dad was a friend.

I was stunned. How can an employee of Denison, in Cuenca, Ecuador, at a Spanish language school, have a random conversation that ends with the mutual acquaintance with Adam Weinberg? It is indeed a small world.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received throughout your career — or what piece of advice would you like to share with others?

I often refer to Denison’s “Great Eight” values, and am grateful to the engagement and communications committee for all of the work that goes into making Denison a great place to work.

My advice: Get involved. Take classes. Both will add to the Denison experience. It’s a challenge to balance, but I learned so much. First, Denison is a rigorous school. I had to write papers and give presentations in Spanish. It was rewarding to work side-by-side with our students. Taking classes broadened my thinking and helped me relate to the student experience. I became aware of the challenges our students face when English is a second language.

October 27, 2023