First-Year Experience Faculty & Staff


Your first year sets you up for success, so get ready to meet your personal group of success advisors. Your team is a hand-selected group of people dedicated to helping you navigate it all at Illinois College.

Your FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR INSTRUCTOR & FACULTY ADVISOR is a professor who will get to know you well in your first year. In your First-Year Seminar (FYS), they will guide your small class in exploring an engaging theme and will provide opportunities to learn together about important aspects of college life. As your Faculty Advisor, they’ll help you set goals, plan courses, an explore academic opportunities until you declare your major.

Your ACADEMIC MENTOR is a peer who wants to help you make the academic transition to college as smooth as possible. You’ll see them weekly in your FYS, where they will share their perspective. As a fellow student who’s been there, they are able to answer all your tactical questions about homework, office hours, and class.

Your ACADEMIC COACH is a professional coach dedicated to your success. They will share personalized tools, tips, and tricks to be successful in college and help connect you to resources. Your Academic Coach is your advocate and is ready to help you to be your best self.

Your INVOLVEMENT LEADER is a peer who will lead you through your first important days on campus. During Welcome Week they introduce you to the campus and its resources. They specialize in helping you connect with others and serve as a resource throughout your entire first year and beyond!

Faculty & Staff

Gwendolyn Gillson

Assistant Professor of Asian Studies
Kirby Hall, Room 208