December 13, 2009

Jones Named Fall 2009 Employee of the Semester

VALDOSTA -- Susan Jones was recently selected as the Fall 2009 Employee of the Semester by Valdosta State University's Council on Staff Affairs.

An administrative assistant for the Student Success Center (SSC), Jones was chosen because of her innovative ideas, dedication to team goals, problem solving skills and customer service abilities. She not only handles administrative tasks, she also works with students visiting the SSC and supervises a dynamic group of 45 student tutors.

SSC Director Chere Peguesse said she relies on Jones for organization, intelligence and absolute reliability, while the student tutors depend on her for guidance, encouragement, advice, problem solving and accountability.

"Managing three progressive levels of tutor training at the beginning of each semester is quite a challenge, but Susan has found a way to streamline that process," Peguesse said. " She has been a god send for the Student Success Center. We respect her absolutely and appreciate all her efforts more than she will ever know."

Jones was hired by the SSC in 2007, but had previously been employed as a student assistant in 2004 for both the Modern and Classical Languages and Women's and Gender Studies departments. A non-traditional student majoring in interdisciplinary studies, she focused on history, religion and women's studies, earning the 2004 History Student of the Year award.

The former machinist/firefighter began her academic career after being medically discharged from the Navy when she crushed two ribs and injured her shoulder in the line of duty. She graduated suma cum laude and with a 3.97 GPA, she served as the banner carrier for the College of Arts and Sciences at the December 2008 commencement.

Jones, who just celebrated nine years of marriage with her husband Lee and 4-year-old daughter, Morgan, said she enjoyed her undergraduate studies, and soon plans to begin work toward a Master of Arts in History at VSU. For now, she great pleasure in her role as a staff member with the SSC, which allows her to assist other non-traditional students, who she feels are often overlooked.

Human Resources Director Denise Bogart said the Employee of the Semester award is presented each fall and spring to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding performance by VSU classified staff members who have contributed to the mission and goals of the university.

The physical plant's Gary Kuhlman was selected as the first runner-up. An innovative problem solver, the assistant director for maintenance is responsible for all building maintenance on campus as well as supervision of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, auto mechanics, painters and many other maintenance personnel. His supervisor, Physical Plant Director Ray Sable, said Kuhlman is a model employee who works tirelessly every day and fully invests his time and effort in improvements to VSU maintenance and operations.

Latesha Bennett, physical plant, and Erin Salmon, coordinator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, were chosen as the second runners-up. Honorable mentions include Pamela Lesane, Adult and Career Education; Carla Coombs, Registrar's Office; Cheryl Sault and Jeff Shipley, Langdale College of Business Administration; James Muncy, Collage of Fine Arts; Michael Knight, physical plant; and Shawn Phippen, Student Recreation Center.

All winners received a monetary prize as well as a gift bag with items from the Athletic Department, the VSU Bookstore, the IT Shop and Sodexo.

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