Two academic veterans honored for service
Sept. 9, 2009
KALAMAZOO--Two longtime Western Michigan University employees who have made significant contributions in the areas of accreditation and academic program planning and in student advising have been named recipients of the University's 2009-10 Distinguished Service Award.
The award will go to Dr. Eileen B. Evans, vice provost for institutional effectiveness, in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Susan E. Oole, academic advisor for the Lee Honors College.
The pair will be honored Thursday, Sept. 10, at the annual Academic Convocation, set for 3:30 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The event will feature WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address as well as the presentation of several other campuswide awards honoring this year's Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Emerging Scholar and Distinguished Teaching award recipients.
As winners of the Distinguished Service Award, Evans and Oole will join a list of 46 faculty and staff members who have received the accolade since it was established in 1980. Each of the recipients will receive a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium. The two were chosen from among award candidates from across campus who were nominated for their service through innovative and effective programs or in areas that extend the impact and presence of the University into the larger community.
Evans, a WMU faculty and staff member for more than 28 years, was lauded by those nominating her for her efforts and personal example that "cause others to perform at a higher level."
"Regardless of the situation," one supporter wrote, "Dr. Evans' caring and compassionate nature is always evident. She cares deeply about the University's students, faculty and staff, as well as her colleagues, her friends, her community, the higher education field and profession and the life and reputation of the University."
"Dr. Evans embraces challenges and welcomes new opportunities to lend her talents to the University's goals and initiatives, one of the reasons for her great success," wrote another colleague. "Whether coordinating a writing lab in the Academic Skills Center or serving as vice provost for institutional effectiveness, her philosophy is well-defined. She eschews complacency and is always prepared to explore new adventures through which she can lend her skills expertise."
Evans came to WMU in 1981 as an assistant professor in the Department of Business Information Systems. She also has held posts as director of research administration, associate dean of the Graduate College and interim vice president for research at the University. In her current position as vice provost for institutional effectiveness, she advises Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Timothy Green in the areas of accreditation, academic program planning, assessment and sponsored research. She also is a tenured associate professor of English and is chair of the 2010-11 Higher Learning Steering Committee, a group managing the internal process for WMU's periodic assessment by its accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
For her work on the committee, Evans is charged with coordinating information from several University offices and preparing for a site visit and review by the HLC. Her work on this and other earlier accreditation efforts has been instrumental in the effort to establish a 'culture of assessment' at Western. This was a complex undertaking that required considerable effort," another colleague wrote.
Evan's earned bachelor's degree in education in English and French from the former Clarion State College, now Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees from Purdue University in English.
Oole was praised by a colleague who said her "caring for students, their interests and their happiness is well known…I have found that she is a tireless advocate for students, a great listener and has even been known to give out laundry money for needy honors students."
Active as a volunteer and organizer in a variety of campus initiatives, Oole was cited by supporters for exceeding all expectations. One person pointed to her work as a member of the planning committee for the annual WMU Respecting Differences diversity event.
That person reported that, "working with speakers attending the event, she naturally makes a connection with each of the speakers, putting them at ease before the presentation and often times keeping in contact with them long afterward. She even entertained one of the speakers in her own home overnight when the person's flight arrangements fell through."
"Sue gives countless hours to all of her commitments, in an effort to improve her community and make WMU the best university it can be for both students and staff," wrote a supporter. "Through her commitment to excellence, she consistently does an outstanding job in her many valuable endeavors, resulting in a body of truly distinguished service. We are so lucky to have her as a vital and giving member of our WMU family."
A 25-year WMU employee, Oole came to the University in 1983 as a staff member in Community Information System--a campus research unit specializing in surveys and data collection and analysis. She also worked for 17 years in the College of Health and Human Services' Center for Disability Services and the Unified Clinics before landing her current position in 2006 as an advisor in the Lee Honors College.
Among other responsibilities, she advises students on course requirements, general education requirements and thesis ideas, and is responsible for annual audits of all Honors College students. She developed and facilitates an Honor College research summer class that provides a fine arts day camp for children ages 7 to 15 on Beaver Island, Mich., where fine arts activities are not a part of the school curriculum.
She has been active as a member and officer of WMU's Administrative Professional Association, serving as president, vice president, secretary and chair of several committees. She also has been active with the Volunteer Center of Kalamazoo and has been and advisory board member for the annual Finals Finish event on campus.
Oole was honored by the Michigan Campus Compact in February 2008 for her contributions to community service, and she has won the WMU Administrative Professional Association's Outstanding Professional Award (2006), Service Award (1997 and 1994), and President's Award (1993). She earned her bachelor's degree in office administration from Davenport University.
Media contact: Deanne Puca, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org