Two honored with Distinguished Service Award

contact: Deanne Puca
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO—A member of the faculty for 36 years and an experienced administrator have been named Western Michigan University's 2011-12 Distinguished Service Award recipients.

Receiving the award are Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua, chair of the Department of Psychology, and Dr. Charlotte Giscombe P, director of the TRIO Student Success Program in WMU's Center for Academic Success Programs.

The pair will be honored Friday, Sept. 21, during WMU's annual Academic Convocation at 2 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The convocation will feature WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address as well as the presentation of other campuswide honors to recognize this year's recipients of the Distinguished Teaching, Emerging Scholar and Annual Make a Difference awards.

As recipients of the service award, Fuqua and Giscombe join 50 faculty and staff members who have received the accolade since it was established in 1980. The two were chosen from among nominees across campus who have demonstrated exceptional service in areas that reflect innovative and effective programming, increase WMU's stature, or extend WMU's impact and presence into the larger community. Each will receive a plaque and $2,000 honorarium.

Photo of Dr. R. Wayne .


R. Wayne Fuqua

Fuqua, chair of the Department of Psychology, joined the faculty in 1976. He has served as professor, acting chair and director of graduate training for psychology. He was appointed chair of the department in 1999.  He is one of 12 appointees named this past July to the newly created Michigan Autism Council, and he was among a select group invited to the State Capitol this spring as a new autism-related bill was signed into law. Fuqua also was named Psychologist of the Year in 1987 by the Western Michigan Psychological Association.

He has made significant contributions to mental health services and also has been a leader in encouraging WMU colleagues to engage in the Kalamazoo community, according to one supporter.

"When new faculty members join the Department of Psychology, Dr. Fuqua is instrumental in encouraging them to also pursue connections with the community," a co-worker wrote. "Dr. Fuqua's leadership has certainly been a major factor in advancing the contributions our University makes to the services in our community, and one of the reasons the Department of Psychology is an outstanding example of how the University extends its impact and presence to helping others."

His community involvement includes serving and holding office on numerous boards such as being president of the Mid-American Association for Behavior Analysis in 2003. He is a current member of the Board of Directors for Residential Opportunities Inc. in Kalamazoo, and served as the organization's president in 1998.

A former colleague wrote that Fuqua "approaches the broader WMU professional community and the national and international psychology community with the same degree of commitment and efforts to build strong communities.

"He understands that effort, a calm head, and creative ideas and follow through can create amazing opportunities; and he offers exactly those things to all of the communities with which he interacts."

Photo of Dr. Charlotte .


Charlotte Giscombe

Giscombe is director of the TRIO Student Success Program, a federally funded program that helps first-generation, income-eligible college students and college students with disabilities complete their bachelor’s degree and transition to graduate school and professional life. She joined WMU in 1997 as the program's services coordinator and became director in 2009. While at the University, she also served as a delegation coordinator between WMU and Kanto Gakuin University in Yohohama, Japan.

A mentor as well as an administrator, Giscombe created a peer-mentoring program for her program and supervises up to 16 program mentors each year. She has volunteered for numerous University committees including the First-Year Experience Curriculum Committee, WMU Upward Bound and the International Festival Committee.

A WMU colleague praised her by saying she is, "very accessible and possesses a tremendous aptitude for such things as helping students fine-tune their professional skills, tailoring her instructional methods to our students' particular learning styles and allowing students the latitude to work problems out on their own."

Her efforts led to the University's successful renewal of the TRIO grant by the U.S. Department of Education through 2015. The grant will bring more than $1 million to WMU, employ four professionals at the University and serve hundreds of students.

"Charlotte dedicates herself to WMU and serves in areas and organizations that contribute to the growth and statue of the University in many ways," a colleague wrote in support of her nomination.

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