Campus Celebrity: Advising Powerhouse, Tina Freeman

Tina and her husband

Tina Freeman is an advisor for the Department of Kinesiology at Boise State, and quite the campus celebrity-- especially among her own advisees. Tina's witty charm and fun nature inspire her students in their academics, making at least one aspect of it all-- the advising process-- a little less daunting. There's never a dull moment in the life of Tina Freeman-- on or off campus. You will see her in all-out Bronco gear at nearly every football and basketball game (she was even on the kiss-cam this season!). Off campus, she is a hard worker, dedicated teacher, and passionate learner herself. 

HC: Hi, Tina! Thanks for meeting with me. Let's start with something simple: what's your favorite food?

Tina Freeman: Guacamole! That’s the first thing that came to mind.

HC: Delicious! Favorite drink? 

TF: Coffee: black strong coffee, not frou-frou coffee. Why ruin a perfectly good thing?

HC: I couldn't agree more. Although a little sugar never hurt anyone... (wink wink). Tell our readers a little bit about what you do here at Boise State! 

TF: I am an academic advisor for the Department of Kinesiology. I also am an adjunct faculty member, teaching University Foundations 200 this semester. I also do all of the class management, scheduling, and contracting for the Department of Kinesiology. 

HC: How long have you been in academic advising?

TF: About three years now.

HC: What’s the 4-1-1 on your UF 200 class?

TF: The class is all about civics and ethics. We talk about a lot of controversial issues that normally are hot button subjects, including things like abortion and friends-with-benefits relationships (that last one has been a REALLY big topic lately-- I've learned a lot from it!) This week, we are focusing on ageism. We are looking at both the young side and the older side of ageism, and how students in particular aren't always taken seriously by employers or whomever-- solely on the basis of age. 

HC: Sounds like a really fun class! I guess your class is all about topics that other teachers fear covering and avoid. 

TF: Exactly! I have the greatest group of students. The class is at 7:30 in the morning, but the students are generally very engaged, willing to think outside the box, and talk about things that may seem uncomfortable. My students approach these topics very respectfully; there's never any argument. I have found in general students are open-minded and "adult" enough to see another student's point of view and respect it, even though they may not agree with it.

HC: What do you want to be/hope to be in the future? 

TF: I still don't know for sure! I wanted to be a soul train dancer before. Even at 50 years old, a part of me still wants that... I'm ready! 

HC: You can do it, Tina! If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

TF: Australia-- I read a lot of books as a young adult that took place in Australia. I’ve always had this fascination with it. I would like to go to Japan, too, now that my son is stationed there. I will go to Japan within the next year. 

HC: What branch is your son in?

TF: He is on active duty in the navy as an air traffic controller! Who would have thought? He definitely got the brains in the family. But he didn't get it from his mom or dad. 

HC: At HC Boise State, we thank him and others for their service. Answer me this: what has been the single most impactful moment in your work at Boise State? 

TF: I had a really impactful moment a couple of years ago that made me realize that I am doing the right thing in my life and career. I had a student come into my office very defensive: arms crossed. She said, “I’ve never had a good advising experience, but I need to talk to someone about classes.” She was very anti-advising, but needed help. I was just myself with her: real and caring. She graduated two years later and is now in physical therapy school. She still writes to me every month. I was able to help her out, get her graduated, and change her mind about the advising process. I think our mutual experience showed her that in the advising department, we are not ALL bad! 

HC: Any funny moments as an advisor? 

TF: I always have funny moments! I am a hilarious person. That’s why my husband married me. I’ve got one student from my island in Hawaii that I’ve kind of adopted-- he’s from the same town that I lived in. When we are around each other, we immediately slip into Hawaiian slang: Pigeon English. No one in the office can understand it, which is unfortunate, because it usually takes a few hours for the slang to wear off. I’ll go home and my husband will say, “Oh, you saw that student today, I can tell. You are not speaking English!" After 18 years with me, my husband has started to grasp my slang pretty well. Every once in a while, he will bust it out himself!

HC: Let’s talk a little about what you do outside of the office. What is something that you love to do in your free time?

TF: Run! I love to run. At the moment I can't run because of my medical boot and it's making me really mad. I'm actually new to running. I just started last May. I’ve always hated running, actually. I thought my husband was crazy for liking it. When I started, my friend and I couldn’t even run one lap in the Rec without dying. We did running boot camp at the Rec and thought, "Hey, maybe we should actually try this!" We started off very slow; we would run three laps in the Rec. Then, we decided to try a half-mile. You would have thought that we were single-handedly responsible for world peace, we were so excited! Then we said: “Let’s try a mile!” Now, we’ve run many 5k’s. My friend has run a timed 10k. I want to run a 10k but haven't yet. Our goal is to run a half-marathon by the fall!

Tina (extreme left) and her running buddies after a race

HC: That level of commitment is awesome! Any other sports/activities? 

TF: I used to be a gymnast; not a great one, but a gymnast. I loved it. I still love it, but I have a little more trepidation about doing things because I know my body’s limitations now. I definitely think twice when I look at the beam and want to do a cartwheel off of it. 

HC: What is your favorite event in gymnastics?

TF: The beam and the floor. When I teach gymnastics, I focus on the beam.

HC: Are you actively teaching gymnastics?

TF: I do for summer youth. I used to teach privately. That fell by the wayside in graduate school. I am going to be teaching K-12 instructional gymnastics class in the fall. Other activities of mine are singing and dancing. I like to sing with my sisters. I have seven little sisters, three of which live here in the Valley. When we get together, it always turns into an impromptu song-and-dance party. It's something we've grown up doing; we were all wannabe stars. We used to stand on the coffee table with wooden spoons as microphones and put on shows for our mom. We've never outgrown it. 

Tina (bottom middle) and her sisters

HC: Thank you so much for the meeting, Tina! Any final remarks? 

TF: See your advisor! Yes, you!