Student Success Summit Highlights Award Winners and Service Milestones

On Wednesday, August 4, Gordon State College held its sixth annual Student Success Summit. As part of GSC’s strategic plan to recognize excellence across the campus, recipients were recognized for service milestones by receiving the GSC Service Awards and other recipients were recognized for the GSC Foundation Faculty and Staff Awards. Everyone came together for a day that included inspirational discussions, workshops and recognition of faculty and staff.

President Kirk A. Nooks said he was inspired and encouraged by each award recipient and the investment of time and effort demonstrated by each presenter and participant in the summit. “Each person brings something unique to our college,” Nooks said. “I am reminded of what Gordon can accomplish when we put self aside and focus on the common goal. All of our students are counting on us.”

The Highlander EDGE are noted qualities that set GSC graduates apart: Engaged Innovators, Dedicated Scholars, Gifted Communicators and Ethical Leaders. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton discussed these qualities throughout the Student Success Summit, and he said, "Gordon graduates stand out above graduates of all other colleges because they have the Highlander EDGE. One of the ways we ensure this is that our faculty and staff come together at the beginning of each academic year to reaffirm our commitment to our students' success and to strengthen our knowledge and skills. It motivated all of us to be together today after being separated for so long."

This year’s Student Success Summit carried the theme of, “Reset and Renew.” The event’s agenda included an open panel discussion with faculty and students about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following faculty and students participated: Dr. Victor Vilchiz, Dr. Samantha Bishop, Dr. Ann Higgins-Harrell, Ms. Brenda Blackstock, Dr. Tonya Moore, Dr. Steve Raynie with two GSC students, Lindsey Leigh Aviles and Kierra Cooper-Williams. Employees benefited from a variety of training and personal development sessions throughout the day which were designed to enhance student success.

Employee Service Recognition:

Employee honored for 35 years of service included: Ric L. Calhoun

Employee honored for 25 years of service included: Nancy M. Goodloe

Employees honored for 20 years of service included: Claybourne D. Watkins, Stephen A. Raynie, Michele D. Perry-Stewart, Masound Nourizadeh, Jennie L. McCard, Barry L. Kicklighter, Susan G. Glenn, Christina J. Fermin-Ennis, Jody G. DeFore, Darren K. Broome, Kecia Bennett.

Employees honored for 15 years of service included: Dale Lucear, C. Jeffery Knighton, Brenda Johnson, Kristi M. Hayes, Candice R. Babcock, Jody T. Alford, Thomas A. Aiello.

Employees honored for 10 years of service included: Kelly G. Wilson, Mary B. Williams, LaRonda Sanders-Senu, LaTreena K. Meadows, Michael P. Mahan, Edward Curtis, Geoff F. Clement, Bernard Anderson, Robert C. Detamore.

Employees honored for five years of service included: Leangela Joy-Juanita Matthews, Tyler Pittman, Paula W. Williams, Claudia Sliwinski, Jane-Marie McKinney, Ashley S. Hursey, Alicia H. Dorton, Jeremy R. Compton, Candace L. Carroll, Valerie J. Calhoun, Amy S. Anderson, Calvin Adams.

GSC Foundation Awards:

Director of Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Dr. Anna Higgins-Harrell was a recipient of the GSC Foundation Faculty Award. A statement from a colleague’s nomination of Higgins-Harrell said, “On campus, she is affectionately known as Mama Higgins-Harrell. She makes all students, faculty, and staff feel warm and welcome. She hosts ‘Wine Down Wednesday’ during the semester where faculty can connect with each other, learn about best practices for teaching and learning, and more.”

In another statement from a colleague nomination for Higgins-Harrell said she had worked to have faculty share their research with the GSC community when the Teaching Matters Conference was cancelled. She was instrumental in the idea of creating a special edition e-Book for the conference in honor of this year’s topic, ‘Providing Engaging, Inclusive, and Equitable Instruction.’

GSC’s Instructional Designer, Mrs. Autumn (Schaffer) Moore was a recipient of the GSC Foundation Staff Award. A statement from a colleague’s nomination of Moore said, “She consistently completes tasks that are ‘outside of her job description.’ For example, she spends a great amount of time advising students and creating schedules for the new students during New Student Orientation (NSOs). Her dedication to our students is remarkable.”

In a statement from another colleague nomination for Moore said, “Autumn (Schaffer) Moore was instrumental in Gordon’s successful pivot to remote operations and online teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She developed ‘Highlander Trails-Learning to Teach Online,’ a program to prepare faculty to teach online courses.”