Julie Lewis, assistant instructor of digital media production and faculty adviser for the University of Central Missouri’s student-led newspaper, the Muleskinner, is being recognized as one of the College Media Association's 2021 Best Media Advisers in the nation.

Lewis was one of three Honor Roll Advisers recognized from four-year institutions. Honor Roll Adviser Awards are reserved for professionals who have advised for five or fewer years.

The College Media Association is a collegiate media organization that strives to support student journalists and their advisers. Since 1954, the association has served its nationwide member base with educational sessions, annual conventions, networking opportunities and more.

“As the managing editor, Julie and I work closely together and my experience with her has been amazing. Her passion for journalism and empowering students is so refreshing,” said Bethany Spitzmiller, managing editor for the Muleskinner. Spitzmiller believes Lewis entrusts her student journalists to enable the staff to carry out responsibilities for producing a newspaper. “She has students lead everything and make all the decisions and she empowers them to do that, which is amazing."

The Muleskinner publishes monthly issues with ongoing online coverage published during regular academic weeks. Lewis, who took over the role of adviser for the publication last year, works with student writers, editors and designers who seek to provide consistent and engaging content covering the wider campus community.

“I can attest to Dr. Lewis' efforts to revitalize the college student newspaper, the Muleskinner over the past one-plus years. Under her leadership, the paper is now being published digitally at www.muleskinnernews.com where stories are published daily.

In addition, the Muleskinner is published in a paper format one time per month. They were awarded several Missouri College Media Association awards for reporting, including Best 4-Year Institution Publication in Missouri,” said Wendy Geiger, chair of School of Communication, History and Interdisciplinary Studies.

“There are multiple students involved in the newspaper from across campus. Her accomplishments have been extraordinary, especially given that she was able to accomplish this during the pandemic, which negatively impacted nearly every college in terms of engagement of students. I cannot express how impressed I have been with Dr. Lewis since she took over the Muleskinner Adviser role."

Zayin Barnes, features editor for the Muleskinner added on to this sentiment, “her passion for what she does is second to none and I have been blessed to have her as a mentor and as a teacher,” Barnes said. “Just the way she leads is impeccable and how she uses her own aura and her own past experience to build up the people that she is trying to help mentor is really just amazing to witness. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to help me do what I do."

Before pursuing her role as adviser for the Muleskinner, Lewis spent several years developing her skills as a university educator. Lewis obtained her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) before obtaining her Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Arts in Communication at UCM. Lewis has advanced her academic credentials by recently earning a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, focusing on Editorial Leadership in Journalism Education at MU.

Outside of her career as a student, Lewis’ life as an adviser is also distinguished as just last year she was awarded the Missouri College Media Association 2020 Adviser of the Year. Furthermore, Lewis was a recipient of the UCM Advisor of the Year Award in 2020.

Lewis and other Adviser Award recipients will be honored during an awards ceremony at the 2021 ACP/CMA Fall National College Media Convention Oct. 14-17. For more information about the Muleskinner or the College Media Association Honor Roll Adviser Award, contact Lewis at jlewis@ucmo.edu, or visit the Muleskinner website.

“I am very proud of Dr. Lewis for receiving this award, I feel that it is very well deserved. The thing that really sticks out to me about Dr. Lewis is how committed she is to her students and just talking to her you can feel a great passion she has for what she does,” Matthew Goldsmith, news editor for the Muleskinner said. “This award was very well deserved and I know that I personally have grown a lot working together and getting to know Dr. Lewis.”