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SHSU Announces 2011 Staff Excellence Award Recipients

May 12, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May

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The 2011 Staff Excellence Award recipients, pictured with SHSU President Dana Gibson (center), are (from left): Debbie Harper, Bernice Strauss, Debbie Allen and Bill Tidwell.

Four Sam Houston State University employees who have demonstrated excellence in service, proven commitment, meritorious performance and a high level of motivation have been selected as recipients of the 2011 Staff Excellence Award.

They are Debbie Allen, of the educational leadership and counseling department; Debbie Harper, of the art department; Bernice Strauss, of the Student Advising and Mentoring Center; and William Tidwell, of procurement and business services.

Staff members are selected based on nominations by their peers, supervisors and members of the SHSU faculty. In addition to a plaque of recognition, each recipient will be honored during the general university meeting at the beginning of the fall semester and awarded a $2,000 bonus.

Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen

Debbie Allen is a secretary II for the educational leadership and counseling department in the College of Education. She has been an SHSU employee for almost nine years.

Among the comments supporting her nomination for the honor were:

“Ms. Allen is devoted to the students in the department, particularly the doctoral students. They often comment that Ms. Allen was the first contact they had from the university, and she was a prime reason they chose SHSU over another doctoral program. Repeatedly we hear that comment, and at the end of the program they report that it was Ms. Allen who saved them on many occasions with regard to procedures and registration.”

“I have never met a staff member who does more to go above and beyond for our programs and department. She stays late, works through lunch, does whatever it takes when things need to get done. Our students rave about how helpful she is to them.”

“Debbie is a quick learner and frequently is asked to help others…Debbie is organized, fast and extremely efficient. She is a problem solver and influences others around her to see the possibilities rather than the roadblocks.”

Debbie Harper

Debbie Harper

Debbie Harper is the visual resources librarian for the art department. She has been at SHSU for more than eight years.

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Debbie is a hard worker who loves her job. She is a pleasure to be around and always willing to help. When she finishes a job, she moves on to the next one, and if she finishes everything she has been assigned to do, she creates a new project that always benefits the department. She never complains and is always the first person to volunteer or to assume a task.”

“She is highly motivated with lots of ‘Sam spirit.’ She always has a smile on her face and has lots of respect for the university and the Huntsville community. She assists both the faculty and guest lecturers with presentations. She is excellent with installing exhibitions in the gallery and is very welcoming to visiting artists on campus.”

“Ms. Harper’s attitude is that everyone, pulling together, can make our university a better place to work and a better place for students to get a true education. Regardless of whose job it is, she takes each challenge as her own responsibility and follows through until it is resolved. She inspires everyone around her with her dedication and caring.”

Bernice Strauss

Bernice Strauss

Bernice Strauss serves as the director of academic support for the Student Advising and Mentoring Center, known on campus as the SAM Center. She has been an SHSU employee for 17 years.

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Dr. Strauss has an uncanny ability to reach across cultural lines of demarcation, socioeconomic class lines of distinction, religious persuasions, and political leanings in an effort to bridge gaps and bring people together. From students in the Bearkat Learning Communities and Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, to honor society members and fraternal society groups, our SHSU student body has benefitted many times over by Dr. Strauss’s generosity.”

“Her contributions to students include her study skill session tutorials, one-on-one conversations with students and parents about student success, abilities to motivate single parents to remain in school, adjunct teaching duties for the department of psychology, and the tireless assistance she gives to others, including faculty and administrators.”

“Her innovative ideas have contributed to the establishment of a number of SHSU programs including First Alert, the Grassroots Speaker Series, McNair Scholars, Study Skills, Sam Houston Elite, GRE preparation, Grad School Night, Parents’ Finals Relief and more.”

“Her love for the students and her deep concern for their well-being are two outstanding traits. Not a day goes by when a student is not seen talking with her. Her office and her heart are open to all students.”

Bill Tidwell

Bill Tidwell

Bill Tidwell is a purchaser II in the procurement and business services department and has been employed by SHSU for 10 years.

Comments supporting his nomination included:

“Whenever there is an obstacle, Bill always has options for you. No matter how busy he is, he always takes the time to explain the situation and listen to your questions.”

“By coming up with ways to quickly procure the items we need for our shop personnel and project coordinators, we are able to complete maintenance, renovation and construction projects in a timely manner. This allows students to make use of the facilities provided for their benefit.”

“Bill works closely with our student workers, of which we have many. Since the majority of the students are business majors, Bill provides them with hands-on experience. He takes the time to explain the university’s policies and procedures and why they are in place.”

“Bill carries a strong heritage for SHSU. As a boy, Bill watched his father, a former football coach at SHSU, strive to make men of the youth as they practiced for the next game. From what I have been told, Bill’s father was more than just a coach—he was a mentor, friend and counselor to each of the players. I firmly believe this fostered Bill’s exceptional attitude and motivational skills. He has served as a mentor to many of our student workers. He listens to their concerns and gives guidance which sometimes helps them make their educational decisions.”

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