The National Association for Student Personnel Administrators recognized the university with two new awards this year. The awards were given to the Student Life Divisional Assessment Team, which won a gold award, and the annual First Amendment Celebration received a bronze award. The NASPA awards are given to honor leaders and initiatives which impact the field of student affairs.
“Each award submission includes a great deal of information about our program or service,” said Melissa Flowers, director of residential life. “In addition, we collect five letters of support from students or colleagues who feel that the program is worthy of recognition.”
The NASPA website encourages colleagues of those worthy of recognition to submit information regarding their program or initiative to be considered for the annual awards. The awards cover eleven different categories, which NASPA defines as vital to student success. Each category has three winners who receive either gold, silver or bronze awards within their category. Once the award winners are chosen, the awards are presented at an annual conference. Flowers said the awards highlight the best practices in the field, and that having won six awards across the eleven categories is very meaningful.
“I have been able to showcase the work of dozens of my colleagues who I hold in high regard,” Flowers said. “Describing their work is truly an honor.”
Associate vice president and dean of students David Tuttle explained that Student Involvement reviews potential submission material each year, and they will continue to do so. Submission proposals involve an extensive explanation of the program or service of interest, and they are written by colleagues within the university. In addition to the submission proposal, support letters must be submitted. Director of student involvement Jamie Thompson explained that submissions are written by staff members within multiple departments before they are reviewed by faculty, staff and student partners.
“If you look at what we have been recognized for, all of these programs reflect creativity and outside””of””the””box thinking,” Tuttle said. “The award for our assessment work is gratifying because the [Divisional Assessment Team] worked really hard to […] improve our programs and services for students.”
The mission of the Divisional Assessment Team, which can be found on the university website, is to coordinate assessment within Student Involvement with a focus on CAS Learning and Development outcomes. The team was formed in 2008. The First Amendment Celebration takes place every year, and in the past has involved issues of the Trinitonian dedicated to demonstrating the effects of the loss of the first amendment, as well as a showing of “All The Presidents Men,” followed by a speech by journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.
“The breadth and depth of the NASPA Excellence Awards we have received makes me proud of our work as a division and excited to continue to innovate and explore new ways to [build] a healthy, educational and vibrant student experiences at Trinity,” Thompson said.
Thompson noted that Student Involvement anticipates submitting a proposal for the work the department does with the city of San Antonio and the Martin Luther King march. Submissions are accepted through Oct. 19 of this year, and the annual conference will take place in Indianapolis from March 12 through the 16 of 2016.
“National recognition across a wide variety of functional areas and programs tells us that our work is innovative and cutting-edge,” Thompson said.