Student Legal & Mediation Services Recognized As Office Of The Year
Feb. 1, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd
The Western Region of the University Student Legal Services Association awarded Student Legal and Mediation Services (SLMS) at Sam Houston State University the J. Raymond Schiflett, III Award for Office of the Year at its annual conference in New Orleans in January 2024.
“I’m honored and humbled that our professional organization recognized us for the high-level services that our office provides for SHSU students,” Gene Roberts, director of SHSU SLMS, said.
Nominated for this award by another university, the office of the year award honors outstanding training, advocacy initiatives, customer service and leadership roles.
“The high-level services provided by this team are outstanding because of the care, consideration and dignity given to each student,” Chelsea Smith, SHSU’s dean of students, said in recognition of their work. “Roberts and the SLMS team are the industry standard for providing pathways for academic and student success. This award recognizes the magnificent work and contributions they continue to achieve.”
Smith explained that students turn to SLMS when they are facing their toughest challenges. This can come in the form of conflict resolution, preparing documents for personal needs and other matters requiring legal advice. Her praise of Roberts is echoed by campus leaders and students alike.
“In my work with Roberts and the SLMS team, they have gone above and beyond to bring incredibly unique and impactful learning opportunities to our campus. They add such value to our academic mission and embody excellence in serving our students,” Amy Salazar, associate vice provost for student success, said.
This is the third time that Sam Houston’s office received the award, also earning the honor in 1996 and 2016. SHSU has also previously been recognized by the association with the Jim Aldridge Award for Special Project of Excellence in 2002, 2006, 2015 and 2019.
“This award validates the collaborative efforts made by our office to work with partners in the university and the community for the benefit of our students, all consistent with the university’s strategic plan and priorities, including prioritizing student success and access, embodying a culture of excellence, elevating the reputation and visibility of SHSU and expanding and elevating our service to the state and beyond,” Roberts said.
SLMS developed many presentations and events for students, faculty, staff and the greater SHSU community in the past year. In October, SLMS had a record number of attendees for the 11th Annual Conflict Resolution Month, including collaborations with SHSU Campus Activities & Traditions and the Montgomery County Dispute Resolution Center.
Other educational presentations included Top 10 Leasing Tips and 60 Laws in 60 Minutes delivered by Roberts. He has also assisted Residence Life with conflict resolution training for both new and existing resident advisors. In addition to collaborations performed on SHSU’s main campus, SLMS has provided services and programming to students studying at The Woodlands Center as well as the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
SLMS received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from students throughout the 2023 academic year.
“Our students tell us that, before seeing us, their issues were causing them stress, affecting their academic focus and they even considered leaving school. After meeting with us and receiving our counsel, students tell us that their stress is reduced, they can better focus on their academics, are less likely to leave school and feel satisfied and more connected with the university,” Roberts said.
For more information on the services offered by Student Legal & Mediation Services, please visit shsu.edu/slms or contact 936-294-1717.
The Western Region of the University Student Legal Services Association includes the University of Texas, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley, Colorado State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, University of North Texas, University of California San Diego, University of Illinois, and West Virginia University, Texas A&M University, Texas State University, University of Oklahoma, among others.
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