Not sure where to start on the honors thesis? Wondering if you can go pre-med and major in classics? You’ve got questions … Jason Blankenship can help you find the answers.
Blankenship brings 14 years of experience to his role as Honors College director of retention and student advising, a new position created to help honors students map out their academic career plans and prepare for the future.
Honors College students receive academic advising through their specific disciplines, but Blankenship’s “360-degree mentoring” program fills the gaps where students tend to stumble. These include the undergraduate research project requirement and the required 3.5 GPA. Blankenship also encourages students to apply for study abroad and continue their commitment to community service.
Individualized success plans “help students envision all they can do – and maybe even some things they didn’t know they could be,” Blankenship said. He also works with honors directors in the various colleges, helping them structure their programs to meet their goals for honors students.
This fall, Blankenship will teach two sections of University Perspectives, a required course for all incoming freshmen. He worked with Fulbright College to develop honors sections of the course, and is working with Bumpers College to launch its Honors Peer Mentoring Program this fall.
Blankenship has served in several key roles since he started with the university in 2001, including mentor for the Nationally Competitive Awards Office, and advisor and associate director for the Fulbright Honors Program. He has also taught English at NWACC and served as a RazorCoach, readying high school students for college and/or the workforce.
Blankenship completed a counseling degree along the way, intending to go into private practice. He missed the day-to-day interactions with students and realized student mentoring might be the best fit, he said.
“Honors students, for the most part, work very hard. They have big goals. They deserve somebody to work with them and for them,” he said.
He recognizes that the focused care he provides has an impact, both on students’ experiences at the university and in the larger world.
“I’m not going to be a doctor or go to work writing global policy, but I am going to make a difference in the lives of people who will be agents of change.”