November 28, 2007
07-172

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

OASIS, Bernstein Awarded by USG Chancellor

VALDOSTA - Two Valdosta State University teams were recently recognized by Chancellor Erroll B. Davis of the University System of Georgia for outstanding success in the areas of customer service, positive attitudes and commitment to excellence. OASIS Center for Advising and First year Programs as well as Odum Library’s Alan Bernstein, as part of the USG’s Library Services team, received gold awards in the USG’s first customer service award program.

OASIS serves more than 1,500 students and is home to the very successful Freshman Year Experience program. Led by Dr. Pat Burns, the team works together to advise students in academics and other challenges they may encounter during their university experience. The success began when OASIS changed its organizational structure several years ago to allow for more interactive communication among the staff, allowing for a more productive flow of information.

“Our paradigm of college changed six years ago when we cancelled staff meetings and started holding team meetings,” Burns said.

The OASIS team works together to ensure student needs are met in a fast, friendly and reliable manner. The group leads students to be accountable and successful. Unparalleled support received in the office, located in the University Center, has lead many students to return for advising even after their freshman year and after declaring a major.

Alan Bernstein and the USG Library Services team were honored for the work performed on GIL Express, a universal catalog that links together the libraries in all 35 USG institutions. With the responsibility for processing and maintaining records, Alan Bernstein serves as the VSU point person in the project, which was initiated in 2004. He also served on the original committee that created the concept. GIL Express allows students and faculty to order books from and have them delivered to any USG institution, which is especially helpful for research.

“These awards were given to units that exemplify the highest ideals of service to students, faculty and staff,” Dr. Louis Levy, vice president for Academic Affairs said. “Our entire institution is enhanced by the service orientation of key individuals within units such as OASIS and Odum Library. By their positive attitudes and actions, they help to make VSU a wonderful place to study, learn and work.”

Teams from USG institutions across the state submitted nominations for the annual Customer Service Team Award. Each was rated based on its ability to demonstrate outstanding service to its internal and external customers over the last year. The selected teams exemplified the state’s customer service attributes, each being considered courteous, helpful, accessible, responsive and knowledgeable during daily interaction.

In addition to employing hardworking, driven individuals, VSU’s success in these areas can be attributed to “Partners for Campus Excellence,” a campus-wide initiative which rests the responsibility for the process of improving services and student retention on the shoulders of everyone in the VSU community. Initiated in October of 2000, the program embraces Governor Sonny Perdue and the University System of Georgia’s statewide “Customer Service Improvement Initiative,” which calls for a united effort in making Georgia the best-managed state in the country. “Partners for Campus Excellence” has allowed OASIS to set up new programs for first year students, which promote retention, and other student support programs, which truly promote customer service and positively impact VSU students.

For more information about the Chancellor’s Customer Service Awards, visit the Web site at customerfocus.usg.edu or call Becky Murphy, VSU’s Customer Service Champion, at (229) 259-5106.