Brie Waddington, a senior at the University of Georgia, has been juggling both science and public relation classes during her time as a student. But thanks to advisor Victoria Cooper, she never felt overwhelmed trying to maintain her unusual schedule.
“Every single time I left an advising appointment, I never felt like I didn’t have a plan or that it wasn’t under my control,” Waddington said. “She makes you feel like you’re the special student that she’s looking out for.”
Victoria Cooper stepped down as the UGA public relations advisor on Feb. 22 after seven years on the job.
Her departure comes after making the decision to be the primary caregiver of a close family member. Despite the importance of this decision, she said public relations students will be in good hands.
“She makes you feel like you’re the special student that she’s looking out for.”
— Brie Waddington, public relations major
“I have no doubt that [the advising office] will be able to care for everyone, both the current students that I wasn’t able to advise before leaving and the 80 new admits that are coming in next month,” Cooper said.
Cooper’s friendliness and reputation for reliability are known throughout the public relations department. Kim Landrum, a professor within the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, said Cooper was always there to offer the help she needed.
“When a student is struggling in my class, I can go to her and she might be able to give me some insight or some advice to help that student learn in a particular way,” Landrum said.
Beth Rector, director of undergraduate services at Grady College, said Cooper will be greatly missed by her department.
“[Cooper] is outgoing and personable, making an impression on everyone that enters our office … She listened carefully to [the advisee’s] goals and ambitions and developed their plan of study with those goals in mind,” Rector said.
Rector and other Grady advisors will assist the public relations majors after Cooper steps down. Rector said she hopes to begin the process of finding a replacement soon.
“PR students are hugely impacted [by her leaving] because they’ve gotten to know her so personally over all these years and they know how vested she is in them. She’ll be missed for sure,” Landrum said.
Charles Davis, the dean of Grady College, earlier told Cooper how much he and the department will miss having her around. Cooper was known to go the extra mile as an advisor, finding both internships and jobs for public relations students. She also put Grady alumni in contact with current Grady students.
“Her shoes are going to be really hard to fill … She was always there for her students [and] never too busy to take time out to deal with a student’s problem or issue,” Davis said. “She really embodies everything you want in an academic advisor.”
Cooper graduated the University of Georgia in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in history and graduated in 2012 with a master’s in adult education. Beginning in 2005, she worked in student academic services for 14 years.
Cooper said some of the highlights of being an advisor is watching the growth in students, from their first advising appointment to their last. The family-oriented nature of Grady and the relationships she formed within the department are aspects she will miss the most.
“I think if students are lucky, they have an advisor that really cares about them and Grady certainly has that … and that’s why it’s so difficult to leave,” Cooper said.