September 16, 2020

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Dr. Jane Kinney Earns VSU’s 2020 Presidential Excellence Award for Service

Dr. Jane Kinney, a professor in the Department of English, is the recipient of Valdosta State University's Presidential Excellence Award for Service.



VALDOSTA — Dr. Jane Kinney is the recipient of Valdosta State University’s 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.

Kinney, a professor in the Department of English, joined the VSU faculty in 1992. In addition to her role as teacher and mentor, she devotes her time and talent to building a sense of community on campus and tackling those behind-the-scenes tasks that allow the university an opportunity to flourish.

“I do not have anything as clearly articulated as a philosophy of service, but service is something I have always enjoyed,” she said. “My parents were excellent role models in this area of life; both were committed to serving their community through civic organizations, the church, and giving. As such, I learned the importance and the joy of service to one’s various communities from early on.”

Kinney’s first faculty position at VSU was a temporary one. When it led to a full-time offer, she was excited to join “wonderful colleagues who were very involved in service to their department, college, university, and community and who encouraged me to get involved — not just because service was needed for tenure and promotion but also because it was a good way to get to know colleagues across campus and to understand how the university worked.”

Kinney soon found herself serving on department-level committees. Within a year she was chairing departmental committees. By her third year at VSU she had earned the responsibility of heading up the Department of English’s curriculum revision during the conversion from quarter system to semester system.

“It was challenging and, frankly, a bit scary, but my senior colleagues were very supportive,” she said. “I learned a lot about how the university worked and how faculty governance worked, and I was hooked.”

Kinney has served in more than 100 service roles at VSU. Her current ones include editor of university catalogs; member of onsite review teams for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; reviewer for Omnino; a member of the Department of English Assessment Committee, Search Committee, and World Literature Committee; chair of the Department of English Executive Committee; member of the university-wide Promotion and Tenure Committee, Faculty Grievance Committee, General Education Committee, Area B PERS Committee, and PERS Advisory Committee; member of the Women’s and Gender Studies Advisory Council; member of the University Assessment Committee; and coordinator of Friday Faculty Socials. Her local community service roles include delivering guest lectures and book reviews at churches and libraries, as well as participating in academic competitions at schools.  

After nearly 28 years of service, Kinney said she has discovered a real joy for doing her part to make VSU “the wonderful institution it is.”

“I was helped and encouraged every step of the way by excellent administrators, from department heads to deans to provosts and presidents,” she added. “I have learned that working with colleagues across the university is fun and rewarding — the better we know each other, the better we can work together to make VSU a positive environment in which to teach and learn.”

The Presidential Excellence Award for faculty is an annual tradition at VSU, one that recognizes the diverse talents and contributions of the university’s innovative and active faculty. Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU, presents the highly coveted awards in five categories — teaching, research, service, online teaching, and scholarship of teaching and learning.

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