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Seminole State College
Did you know...Seminole State is the 20th largest producer of A.A. degrees in the nation.
Spotlight on Knowledge: Molly Dykes
Continuous personal development and service come naturally to Molly Dykes, administrative program support specialist. If you have spent any time at our Oviedo Campus, you surely know this kindhearted soul who has worked tirelessly to create a fun place to work and to promote our College.
Molly has served as the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) chapter president three times, as the membership chair, and as Region III director. Last year she completed our Leadership Academy and received the AFC “Pat Barriteau Unsung Hero Award.”
“By giving to the College and my colleagues, I receive a lot in return, like learning how our college system works and making great friends,” Molly says. Recently, she claimed another achievement by being the first person from Seminole State to be accepted into the AFC’s Certified College Professional Education Program. Her nomination included an enthusiastic recommendation from Dr. McGee.
Robert Ledford, interim campus provost at Oviedo, says, “Molly is a tremendous contributor and a great example of a lifelong learner.”
Spotlight on Excellence: Laura Dickinson
Inside and outside the classroom, communication Professor Laura Dickinson models excellence in all that she does. For the past 10 years, Laura has played a key role not only in escalating the level of our students’ communication skills but also in making our College a fun place for employees and students.
Laura recently championed our College’s role in the Florida Communication Association’s state convention, where we had participants in eight panel discussions, more than any other college. Later this month at the National Communication Association’s convention, Seminole State will again be a standout because both of our proposals to present were accepted.
Believing that students who are involved with school are more likely to graduate, Laura regularly invites Student Government representatives into her classroom to keep her students informed about events and opportunities to volunteer.
"Laura’s array of contributions to our College community are numerous and punctuated by her optimism," says Paul Luby, associate dean of arts and communication.
Spotlight on Respect: Dr. Travis Suits
Years ago and at a community college not to be named, Travis Suits attended an Introduction to Psychology class that left him thoroughly disappointed. Years later, as Dr. Travis Suits, professor of psychology, he vowed never to let that happen to one of his students. In pursuing this goal, Dr. Suits embraces our College’s core value of academic freedom.
"Academic freedom allows me to customize my teaching and provide a more meaningful learning experience for my students,” says Dr. Suits.
Rather than follow a standard script, Dr. Suits adjusts his teaching approach based on the personality and dynamics that students bring to each class. This can mean transitioning between theory and application or between lecture and classroom discussion.
In addition, “academic freedom allows me to pose controversial questions to our students and facilitate a safe debate where different views are exchanged in a civil manner,” Dr. Suits says.
Seminole State enjoys a very diverse student population, and students benefit from learning about the ideas, beliefs, cultures and viewpoints of others. Dr. Suits’ passion is to teach students to use critical thinking skills and the scientific method to know the world around them and, as he says, become better consumers of information. What a great idea.
Spotlight on Respect: Roy King
Roy King is possibly one of the best-known people here at Seminole State. This might be because his role takes him to every campus every week. Or it could be because his smile and friendly demeanor make him an instant friend to all who meet him.
For 25 years, Roy has brought his down-to-earth, modest way to our College.
David Hobbs, our new director of Facilities, quickly recognized Roy’s qualities. “Roy is a man of traditional values,” Davis says. “He is great to work with.”
Roy respects the diversity and individuality of our employees and students. Over the years, Roy has dedicated himself to many key roles involving the maintenance and expansion of our College.
He has staff at Heathrow, Altamonte Springs and Oviedo and currently manages 14 employees in the areas of grounds maintenance, building maintenance and custodial.
Spotlight on Integrity: Sherry Wilson
Sherry Wilson exemplifies a high-performance employee not only by her willingness to do more than expected but also through her dedication to serving our students, faculty and staff with a “can do” approach.
“Sherry is the type of person who never sees a stranger and always goes the extra mile to help,” says Lynn Colon, provost of the Altamonte Springs Campus. “If something needs to get done, Sherry is the first to jump in.”
For example, when the copy center staff was not available, Sherry learned to operate the printing machine and helped faculty with copy requests for tests. And, thanks to Sherry, Point the Way is not just a fall event at Altamonte. Sherry recognized the need to provide the same service for students at the start of Summer Term and made herself available to students to point the way and to answer their questions.
Sherry arrives at work each day expecting the unexpected. “In my role, I wear many hats and I get to learn something new every day,” she says.
Sherry is a great ambassador for our College, whether from her desk, where she soothes and reassures frustrated students, or out and about town, where she encourages people to take advantage of the many life-changing programs offered by Seminole State.
Spotlight on Excellence: Patty Elliott
Have you ever asked yourself, “What does it look like to increase efficiencies or productivity in the workplace?”
One person who has answered that question time and time again is Patty Elliott, research specialist in Institutional Effectiveness and Research. Patty's willingness to learn new things, combined with her personal initiative and know-how, has resulted in a long list of process and product enhancements.
"Patty is excellent at spotting opportunities and creating innovations," says Dr. Mark Morgan, associate vice president, Institutional Effectiveness. "For example, Patty took the initiative to analyze how we did student end-of-course surveys, led the effort to redesign the survey, linked the data to an Access database, aggregated the data and generated multiple reports for multiple audiences and purposes. The process went from taking almost three months to just a few days."
Patty also played a key role in implementing efficiencies in the College’s processes for conducting annual program reviews, setting FTE targets and completing annual plans using SPOL. Extracting data from SPOL, Patty was instrumental in allowing the Executive Team to relate annual plans and department objectives directly with the College’s Advance 2016 Strategic Plan.
Patty also has completed both the Leadership Academy and the Leadership Academy Advanced Program. She served as the interim president-elect and is now the president of the Career Service Employee Council.
Spotlight on Excellence: Dr. Jordan Camenker
Dr. Jordan Camenker may be Seminole State’s closest thing to a “Renaissance man.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a Renaissance man as “a person with wide interests and an expert in several areas.”
As the professor/program manager for Legal Studies, Dr. Camenker brings expertise in a wide variety of areas to the table, as well as an impressive list of accomplishments. However, it’s his passion for helping others expand their horizons and succeed that makes him a favorite of students and co-workers alike.
Dr. Camenker’s curricular and extracurricular efforts have yielded extraordinary results. For example, under his leadership, his students won the state Phi Beta Lambda Business Law competition eight of the last 10 years and the national competition two of the last four years. These hard-won victories were not against community colleges but against the big guns, including Penn State and Rutgers.
Dr. Camenker has truly changed the lives of many students who, inspired by him, chose to pursue legal careers. Some of his students practice law at the state and federal levels, and some even have argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
When not challenging his students, Dr. Camenker can be found sharing his knowledge with various community and civic groups, helping others perfect their oratory skills – or hiking and camping with his family.
Spotlight on Respect: Chris Lemm
Have you ever heard the expression "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"? It's this simple bit of wisdom that guides Chris Lemm's daily approach to his role as maintenance supervisor at our Altamonte Springs Campus. As the on-site supervisor for maintenance and custodial services, Chris knows that it's his team that creates a first impression of our campus as new and returning students visit.
"Each and every day we have the opportunity to showcase our great College," Chris says. With the acquisition of 25 acres and three auto dealership buildings, Chris and his teammates already have met the challenge of preparing new and very different spaces for events that will shape our College's future.
Chris holds himself and his staff to high standards. He regards his supervisory role as providing "super vision" in the short-term, day-to-day operations and in the longer-term planning, such as extending quality services to new buildings and spaces.
Facility Plant Manager Roy King says, "Chris is attentive to detail, and he has earned the respect of his team by working side by side with them."
Spotlight on Excellence: Jackie Meadows
Sometimes it’s those people with quiet persistence who can make all the difference in the world. It’s that quiet persistence of service excellence that sets Jackie Meadows apart.
For more than 25 years Jackie has not only performed her work well but has persistently offered her open heart and sincere caring for everyone.
“Jackie always has a smile on her face, and her positive attitude is contagious!” says Mae Kline, associate vice president of Human Resources. “She goes out of her way to make people feel special by remembering their names and details unique to each individual.”
Her warm smile and unwaveringly positive attitude lighten up the most stress-filled days.
“Jackie is a true team player and is always a pleasure to work with,” says Sandra Keith, supervisor, Custodial Maintenance.
Spotlight on Knowledge: Angel Nater
Committed, professional and innovative are just a few of the adjectives that colleagues use to describe Angel Nater, Professor/Program Manager, Emergency Medical Services. Very busy might also be an accurate description. Angel is a natural leader and is always busy leading initiatives that enhance learning by bringing real-world situations into the classroom.
Angel spearheaded a recent initiative that won grant funding for a collaborative initiative with Harvard University’s Institute for Medical Simulation. Through this program, Angel visited the Harvard campus and worked with simulation experts to refine teaching strategies when using patient simulators.
“Some of the most teachable moments happen after the simulation exercise and we are using a method called advocacy inquiry to debrief students,” says Angel. This method is a departure from traditional methods that focus on feedback that can be perceived as negative and demotivating.
In addition to leading innovation for paramedic training, Angel is busy contributing to the College in other ways. He is a 2011 graduate of the College’s Leadership Academy and now serves as an Academy advisor for the 2012 class. He is a member of the College’s Curriculum Committee and has served on the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) team and on search committees. James Lee, Associate Dean, Center for Public Safety, adds: “Angel is very competent and confident as well as humble. We value his contributions greatly.”
Spotlight on Excellence: Rori Hoppe
"Servant leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don't work for you, you work for them." -- Ken Blanchard in "Servant Leadership," The Management Forum, Vol. 4, No. 3
Rori Hoppe has served the College in several important roles, including bursar, student financial analyst, and now as the associate director for Enterprise Systems. Throughout her career, Rori has aided her colleagues and our students to make our College a better place. Her caring and humble approach is matched by an insistence on excellence that makes her and everyone around her perform at a higher level.
“She always has in mind how she can positively impact services for our students,” says Rori’s supervisor, Pilar Acosta-Blanco, associate vice president for Information Technology and Resources.
Dick Hamann, vice president of Information Technology and Institutional Resources, adds, “Rori consistently seeks excellence in all she does and is a great asset to our team.”
Rori is quick to say that she is just one of many great teammates who collaborate to achieve the College’s goals.
Spotlight on Integrity: Pamela Ocasek
Dedicated, motivated, inclusive, steady, supportive and friendly are just a few of the words used by Pamela Ocasek’s colleagues to describe her contributions to the College.
As coordinator of Special Projects, Career & Technical Education, Pamela works closely with administrators and faculty on initiatives, including development of student learning outcomes, budget management for Perkins Grants and coordination with career program advisors.
“Pamela is extremely conscientious, and I can rely on her to address issues swiftly and accurately,” says Angela Kersenbrock, associate vice president, School of Career and Professional Programs. “Pamela seeks out the facts and is always well prepared for meetings.”
Craig Simpson, senior analyst, Institutional Effectiveness & Research, works with Pamela regularly to prepare and report student data to the state of Florida. “Pamela is dedicated to doing a top quality job and recently played a role finding the cause of a data mismatch that was resulting in an error in the state’s reporting,” Craig says.
The College appreciates Pamela for her persistent pursuit of high standards in service, quality and productivity.
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