It’s usually Dalton State College student-athletes that Elizabeth Hutchins assists that might make it onto an All-Southern States Athletic Conference team.
For that help, Hutchins, the executive director of the school’s office of student advisement, was named to one of those teams herself. Hutchins is Dalton State’s representative on the 2019-20 SSAC All-Faculty Team.
“It’s an honor to be recognized, but I consider it to be a pleasure to do the work,” Hutchins said.
The team consists of a faculty member from each school in the conference. Each school nominates a member of their faculty that has “gone above and beyond in support of student-athletes,” according to the SSAC website.
“She’s fantastic,” Dalton State head basketball coach Alex Ireland said of Hutchins. “She’s involved in the entire process of recruiting students, really. She helps to make sure that we are putting our student-athletes in the best position to graduate.”
Hutchins and her nine-person staff in the advisement office help students decide which classes they should take in pursuit of their degree. For transfer students, including student-athletes, the office helps facilitate the transfer by looking at the credit already earned at previous stops at other institutions.
“I work with the potential recruits that might be transferring just to give them a clearer picture of what it would look like to finish a degree at Dalton State,” Hutchins said.
Once students are on campus, Hutchins also helps to find classes that fit around busy practice and game schedules.
“She’s very hands-on in the entire process,” Ireland said. “She’s very gracious with her time to be able to help out with the athletics programs, and we’re very appreciative of that.”
Ireland and the rest of the athletic program showed that appreciation by nominating Hutchins for the faculty team.
Hutchins said she’s honored to get to do the work.
“I’m very passionate about athletics, so it’s very easy to get passionate about these athletes,” she said. “They’re representing our institution whenever they compete, so it helps for us to turn around and support them in that way.”
Someone like Hutchins can be vital to athletic programs, Ireland said, in helping students graduate on time.
“It can be very easy for students to kind of fall through the cracks,” Ireland said. “She is that point of contact and it’s great for us as coaches, but it’s invaluable for the student-athlete.”