October 24, 2019

Keisha Roberts Honored with Presidential Excellence Award for Service: Classified Staff

Keisha Roberts (right) with VSU President Richard A. Carvajal

VALDOSTA — Keisha Roberts is the recipient of Valdosta State University’s 2019 Presidential Excellence Award for Service: Classified Staff.

The Presidential Excellence Award for Service: Classified Staff recognizes a staff member who exhibits high standards of service and an exemplary and innovative job performance. Roberts, a data warehouse information analyst in the Division of Information Technology, was chosen for her untiring work ethic, her pioneering software development, and her involvement in the majority of VSU’s successes regarding student retention and access to data in the last decade.

“Keisha is one of the most valuable employees at VSU for both academic and administrative support,” said Brian Haugabrook, chief information officer for IT. “She has one of the highest impacts to the organization of anyone I have ever seen employed at VSU. Her daily job role and team provides value to almost all faculty, staff, and students.”

Roberts began working at VSU in 2008 as an IT programmer analyst associate. She became a programmer analyst specialist in 2013 and assumed her current role the same year.

Roberts performs a wide range of duties, including providing leadership and guidance to the data warehouse team; collaborating with stakeholders across campus — including students, faculty, staff, department heads, deans, and vice presidents — to build innovative applications that promote the university’s strategic plan; and designing, constructing, and implementing innovative IT solutions for faculty, staff, and students in colleges and departments across campus.

Roberts also developed the VSU Success Portal, which allows faculty, advisors, and student support staff to easily assess student performance and risk indicators that may contribute to or hinder students from being successful in their programs. The portal has been a key solution in improving student retention, progression, and graduation and has also saved VSU more than $150,000 annually, Haugabrook said.

Roberts also provides support for DegreeWorks, Student Opinion of Instruction (SOI), the Sullivan Scholars app, and many other strategic applications used across campus.

“Anyone who knows Keisha understands her talents and skills,” Haugabrook said. “Keisha not only is an expert at the technologies she supports but also fully understands the business processes and how technology can be properly aligned to solve a problem.”

Roberts and her team created and launched the new MyVSU in 2018 and are already working on new innovations that include artificial intelligence and new features to the Success Portal.

Additionally, Haugabrook praised Roberts’ productivity and positivity.

“She always meets her deadlines and accomplishes a tremendous amount of work each week,” he said. “She is one of a few employees that will follow up and get a job done with no supervision. She is able to gather information and facts and ask questions to accomplish a goal. 

“She is also always friendly and works with anyone. She goes the extra mile to find a solution or connect to someone who can address an issue. For questions that are not in her area, she will ensure the right team is contacted and a response sent. Her reputation across campus is always positive.”

Roberts, who was named a Model of Excellence for Student Success in the 2015 Langdale College of Business Magazine, said her priority is creating applications and reports that are beneficial to users and that help instead of hinder.

“It is great to have an employee who can take a broad task or goal and have the initiative to put all the pieces together and ensure success,” Haugabrook said. “Keisha frequently listens to ideas mentioned in groups and committees and makes them a reality.”

Roberts holds a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems from VSU and a certification in data science from Johns Hopkins University.

Each year, VSU continues its tradition of honoring faculty and staff excellence with awards recognizing the diverse talents and contributions of its innovative and active employees. Awards are given for excellence in teaching, research, service, online teaching, and scholarship of teaching and learning. The 2019-2020 recipients were publicly recognized at the fall convocation and received a monetary prize of $1,000.

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