September 6, 2017

Dr. Glenda Swan Honored with Presidential Excellence Award for Service

Dr. Glenda Swan is the recipient of Valdosta State University's 2017 Presidential Excellence Award for Service. She is pictured with Dr. Richard Carvajal, president of VSU.

VALDOSTA — Dr. Glenda Swan is the recipient of Valdosta State University’s 2017 Presidential Excellence Award for Service.

The Presidential Excellence Award for Service recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated a strong and consistent commitment to service at VSU and to the local community. Swan, an assistant professor of art who specializes in ancient art history, was recognized for extensive service to the Department of Art and Design, the College of the Arts, and the entire university.

“Most of my colleagues are outstanding teachers and experts in their field of study; however, it is uncommon to encounter a colleague like Dr. Swan who also recognizes the importance of service to the success of VSU,” said Hollis Barnett, interim head of the Department of Art and Design.

“… Dr. Swan has quickly become an essential contributor to the operation of the university through her selfless sharing of her time to service activities.”

Swan’s contributions to the assessment and accreditation procedures for the College of the Arts and Department of Art and Design have become critical to the operation of the two units, Barnett said. Accreditation means that a department or college meets certain standards of excellence, as determined by an external organization.

Swan has also been a member of the Department of Art and Design Assessment Committee since Fall 2013 and has chaired the committee since Fall 2015. In this role, she is responsible for compiling and addressing the institutional effectiveness reports and institutional effectiveness plans for the degree programs offered in the Department of Art and Design.

In Fall 2014, Swan expanded her role in this area by taking on a key role as a member of the College of the Arts Assessment Committee. She even served as a guest member of VSU’s Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) Committee in Spring 2015.

“Dr. Swan is our assessment expert,” Barnett said. “She tirelessly accumulates and compares the data necessary for planning improvements to our operation.”

Swan’s noteworthy service does not end with her work in assessment procedures.

At the departmental level, Swan serves on five additional committees. She has served on the Senior Portfolio Assessment Committee and the Curriculum Committee since Fall 2013; the Foundations Committee since Fall 2014; the Recruitment Materials Committee since Spring 2015; and the Senior Capstone Development Committee since Spring 2016. She was also chairwoman of VSU’s Art History Lecturer Search in Spring 2015 and Summer 2017.

Barnett said Swan is also one of the Department of Art and Design’s most dedicated advisors.

“I am most passionate about service activities that enrich the educational experience of our students,” Swan said. “Helping students to engage with their scholastic interests and goals in a more holistic way is what I find so pleasurable about advising.”

At the university level, Swan is currently a member of five committees. She has served on the Undergraduate Research Council Committee since Fall 2013; the Honors Advisory Committee and the Library Affairs Committee since Fall 2014; and the 70/80 Task Force on Retention and its Student Success Initiative Subcommittee since Fall 2016. Additionally, she served on the Subcommittee on Academic Affairs and Book Selection for the Remnant
Trust Project in Fall 2014.

“Most of these service activities were never undertaken with a focus on — or sometimes even an awareness of — contributing to my professional development,” Swan said. “Most often, there have just been things that needed to be done, and I thought that I had the ability to help get them done, although sometimes I volunteered because I thought that I had an idea or approach that could improve a current practice in some way.

“Although I am an art historian who has had no formal training in either studio art or interior design, I’m pleased that I’ve been able to employ my understanding of assessment, curriculum, research, and writing skills to make meaningful contributions in all of those areas.”

Swan added that the entire Department of Art and Design is active in service across the university.

“When I came here, I walked into a department where everyone does a lot of service,” she said. “To be honest, I was just trying to do my part.

“You don’t do service by yourself. It’s just impossible. Maybe you set things up, but it takes people coming on board to make your plan a success. My experiences working with VSU faculty have convinced me that we are all united in our goal for student success.”

Swan, a Hahira resident, is also an active community servant. She has juried several art shows, including Deep In The Roots, a showcase of VSU student art celebrating Black History Month in February 2016; the Southeast Regional Boys and Girls Club Juried Art Show at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts in March 2014; and the Boys and Girls Club Juried Art Show at Moody Air Force Base in February 2014.

She presented “The Living Language of Greek Mythology” at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Library in February 2016. She also engages regularly with area schools through her participation in the annual high school art exhibit at the Turner Center for the Arts.

Swan, originally from Louisiana, started teaching in 2001 and joined the Blazer Nation community in Fall 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in classical archaeology and anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in classical art and archaeology from Princeton University.

Each year, VSU continues its tradition of honoring faculty excellence with five awards recognizing the diverse talents and contributions of its innovative and active faculty. Awards are given for excellence in teaching, research, service, online teaching, and scholarship of teaching and learning. The 2017-2018 recipients were publicly recognized at the fall convocation and received a monetary prize of $1000.

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