Recalling the words of management researcher and author Jim Collins, Webb told faculty “greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness is largely a conscious choice” and advised them to “have tremendous faith you will move Northwestern forward with greatness and distinction.”
The Fall Faculty Institute and a university-wide luncheon are held annually prior to the Fall semester as a way to welcome faculty and staff from all campuses, present information on new programs and offer encouragement for the new academic year.
In his address, Webb also reminded faculty and staff of the positive impact they have on individual students and how that translates to retention and graduation. Enrollment and retention affect the school’s stream of revenue, which has altered significantly during the economic downtown of the last four years.
“Coping with uncertainty can be unsettling,” he said. “Adverse conditions we face in our personal and professional lives can seem daunting and this is true for our students as well. We need to be sensitive to students and their families because of the impact this has on them.
“I think we can accomplish the most good by focusing on our central mission of being a responsive, student-oriented institution. If we focus on that, we can make a huge difference.”
This year, Northwestern State will admit its largest freshman class in the seven-year history of selective admissions. Those students have an average ACT score of 21.5, above the state and national average.
“Let’s seize the opportunity and resolve this very day to lead this freshman class to be sophomores next year,” Webb said. “We must convey to them that this is the land of fulfilled dreams. The Northwestern State experience can be a life-changing experience for these students. It will be a joint effort. Our ability to recruit, retain and graduate students will define our future. Northwestern is a special and unique university and it is something that is predicated on the service-oriented minds of faculty and staff.”
Dr. Lisa Abney, provost and vice president for Academic and Student Affairs; Faculty Senate President Jack Atherton, Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for Technology, Research and Economic Development; Director of Service-Leaning Steve Gruesbeck and Director of Marketing and Branding Dr. Bill Smith also spoke during the Faculty Institute.
Northwestern State recognized outstanding members of its faculty with Excellence in Teaching Awards during the Faculty Institute. Honorees are Dr. Massimo Bezoari, Louisiana Scholars’ College; Janet Darfus, College of Nursing and Allied Health; Dr. Wade Tyler, College of Arts, Letters, Graduate Studies and Research; Dr. Nelda Wellman, College of Education and Human Development, and Dr. Lynn Woods, College of Science, Technology and Business.
Dr. Pat Pierson, head of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, was named recipient of the Excellence in Academic Advising Award. Northwestern State initiated an advisor recognition program 11 years ago to recognize faculty who are outstandingly knowledgeable, helpful and accessible to the students they advise, according to Steve Hicks, chair of the NSU Advisor Recognition Program
Faculty and staff recognized with Service Awards for 30 years of service to Northwestern State were Bill Brent, director of the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts; the Rev. Henry Edwards, custodian, and Track and Field Coach Leon Johnson. Vice President for Business Affairs Carl Jones, Professor of Theatre Vickie Parrish and Dr. Norann Planchock, dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health, were recognized for 35 years of service. Janis Davis, Student Accounting and Cashiering supervisor, was recognized for 40 years of service.
Above and Beyond Awards were presented to faculty who exceeded requirements in working with students were Steve Hicks, director of Academic Advising; Dr. Rick Tarver, associate professor of Computer Information Systems; Jim Michsler, director of the NSU Writing Center and assistant professor of English; instructors of mathematics Roxanne Lane and Melissa Kelly, Gail Kwak, Reference/Government Information librarian; Leslie Gruesbeck, assistant professor of art and Orville Hanchey Gallery director, and Associate Professor Tammy Curtis and Assistant Professor Joel Hicks of Radiologic Sciences.
Staff recognized with Above and Beyond Awards were Pam Cook and Leigh Ann Miller, administrative assistants to the university president, and Physical Plant Director Chuck Bourg.
Classes at Northwestern State begin Monday, Aug. 20.