Awards from national professional organizations highlight achievements of SU Division of Student Affairs staff
Awards from national professional organizations highlight achievements of SU Division of Student Affairs staffMarch 27, 2007Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
The Division of Student Affairs at Syracuse University has a distinguished history of professional excellence, with about 50 state, regional and national honors garnered since 1997. Recent months have been a noteworthy highwater mark, as division staff have garnered five major national and regional honors since last fall.
Colleen O’Connor Bench, director of the Parents Office; Patricia A. Burak, director of the Slutzker Center for International Services; Adrea L. Jaehnig, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center (two awards); and Mariana L. Lebron, director of the Office of Orientation and Transitions Services, have each been honored by major professional organizations in their respective fields. Their individual success is in addition to SU’s unsurpassed showing in the 2006 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Excellence Awards, in which three Division of Student Affairs units were ranked among the best programs in the nation.
“This unprecedented showing sets a powerful example of how Scholarship in Action propels all Syracuse University staff to new heights of excellence in our service to students and to the learning mission of the University,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “Our success is the natural result of the Division of Student Affairs’ 2001-2006 Strategic Plan, which placed heavy emphasis on the division’s role as an international knowledge leader, and it positions the University to gain maximum benefit from Chancellor Cantor’s shared vision of Syracuse University as a world-class institution of learning.”
Bench is the 2007 winner of the Susan E. Brown Award for Outstanding Contributions to Parent Services, the highest national honor presented by Administrators Promoting Parent Involvement (APPI). APPI is a national organization for parent and family services offices in institutions of higher education; it focuses on sharing knowledge and best practices across professionals in the field. Bench was given the award on March 7, following her keynote address in Boston at APPI’s Ninth Annual Conference for Parent and Family Programs. Named in honor of Susan Brown, who directs parents programs for Northeastern University, the award recognizes an individual who demonstrates special, unique or extraordinary efforts on behalf of services to parents and family members of college students, and makes outstanding contributions to the field. NAFSA: Association of International Educators (formerly known as the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) Region X presented Burak with the 2006 James O’Driscoll Distinguished Service Award at its November 2006 annual meeting in Rochester. The award is presented annually to the individual in the region who best exemplifies service to the field of international education, does the most to further the interests of international educational exchange and demonstrates exemplary leadership in regional activities and programs. NAFSA has more than 9,000 members from all 50 states and 78 countries; Region X includes all members in New York and New Jersey.
Jaehnig was selected for two awards: She is the 2007 Public Service Award Recipient, an honor bestowed by the Standing Committee on LGBT Awareness (SCLGBTA) of the American College Personnel Association — College Student Educators International (ACPA). She is also the winner of the NASPA GLBT Issues Knowledge Community’s Service to Student Affairs Award. NASPA and ACPA are the two largest student affairs professional organizations, representing some 19,000 total members; Jaehnig was selected for both awards within a span of one week’s time, and she will receive the awards during this year’s joint annual meeting of NASPA and ACPA, to be held March 31-April 4 in Orlando, Fla. She is being honored on the basis of public service to improve the lives of LGBT individuals on their home campuses, in the surrounding communities, and in local and national organizations; her work in this area includes service as co-chair of the National Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education.
The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition has honored Lebron as one of the nation’s top 10 Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates for 2006. She received her award at the Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience, held in Texas in February. Now in its 15th year, the award honors college faculty, administrators, staff and students for their work with first-year students and the impact their efforts have on students and the culture of their institutions. This year’s recipients were chosen from a pool of 116 nominees.
“In more than 30 years in higher education, I have witnessed a national transformation in the practice of student affairs, in which student affairs professionals have become full partners in students’ most important learning experiences. Nowhere, nor at any time, has this been more evident than at Syracuse University in the last few years,” says Wells, who is leading the creation of the division’s 2007-2012 Strategic Plan. “Signature successes like these position Division of Student Affairs staff to take on the challenges of the next several years with a powerful sense of momentum and collaboration, both with our students and with our partners in the University community and beyond.”