Caring is key

by Matt Jardin  |   

Caroline Venuti
(Caroline Venuti / Kachemak Bay Campus)

“I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything else,” said Caroline Venuti of being a teacher. Presently a Learning Resource Center coordinator, writing tutor and Student Association advisor at the Kachemak Bay Campus, Venuti was named one of three Staff Make Students Count award winners at the Board of Regents meeting on June 5.

The annual award is given to University of Alaska staff who exemplify what it means to provide outstanding service to UA students, from providing emotional support to helping navigate the financial aid application process. Venuti embodies this spirit of heping over her lifelong career as an Alaska educator.

Born in Kodiak and an alumna of both UAF, B.Ed. Elementary Education ’72, and UAA, M.Ed. Public School Administration ’91, Venuti has taught all grade levels across the Kenai Peninsula Borough, in Fairbanks and even a brief stint in Quebec.

Venuti is also affectionately known as the “snack coordinator” due to her regularly providing homemade baked goods, granola bars or peanuts to help hungry students stay focused and stay on campus. It’s a proven technique that stems from her time as an elementary school principal with a pot of tea always on in her office to help students and staff open up. Such a small gesture, she believes, goes a long way to letting students know that someone cares. 

“If they know they’ve got somebody who has their back, they work harder, they try harder and they realize they’re not alone,” said Venuti. “That is the key.”

According to Venuti, the award isn’t recognition for only her dedication to students, but her colleagues as well — a fact she would have pointed out to the student who nominated her for the award had the student not been so secretive. During the application process, he interviewed her under the guise of working on a paper for a class.

“This award is for the whole college, because we have a wonderful campus full of great professors, wonderful students and a caring administrative staff,” she said. “To me, it was a real honor and recognized that small campuses have great people too. It’s a group award in recognition of how well the Kachemak Bay and Kenai Peninsula campuses do.”

Congratulations as well to this year’s other Staff Make Students Count award winners: Carol Hoefler from UAF, administrative assistant for the Art Department, and Louis Scott from UAS, Title III academic advisor.


Written by Matt Jardin, UAA Office of University Advancement
Contributions by Michelle Saport, UAA Office of University Advancement

Creative Commons License "Caring is key" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.