By Rachel Williams and Tiffany Robinson
The Southern Association of College Student Affairs Conference, held in November 2013, honored several University of West Georgia faculty members, staff and graduate students. Thirteen representatives from UWG were in attendance. The conference was held in Norfolk, Virginia.
Dr. Melanie McClellan, UWG vice president Emerita and current interim CSA program director, won the Dr. Melvene Draheim Hardee Award for Exceptional Contributions to Student Affairs. In addition to advising and mentoring young student affairs professionals, she has also increased the academic rigor of UWG’s College Student Affairs graduate program, implementing a comprehensive written exam to assess students during their final semester. Throughout her 11 years as UWG’s vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and dean of students, Dr. McClellan created a vibrant campus environment, improved student engagement and success and established procedures to assist students in crisis.
“I was very honored to receive this award,” Dr. McClellan says. “I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great people over the years, and they’ve really been instrumental in this. I was particularly pleased to receive this award, because it allowed UWG to get recognition for our new College Student Affairs program, which is a really excellent program.”
Dr. Matt Varga, another professor in the College Student Affairs program, was elected as the SACSA vice president for Marketing and Outreach. He also presented on UWG’s Ignite Summer Transition Program, along with Sarah Jones, assistant director of First Year Experience, and Dr. Helen Diamond Steele, director of First -Year Experience. Dr. Steele presented her research and was one of two recipients of the SACSA Dissertation of the Year: Racial Identity Development of Mixed Race College Students.
Spenser Norman, president of the Graduate Student Affairs Professionals organization on campus, won second place in a case study with a partner from the University of Louisville. Other presenters from UWG included Terri Ducker, a campus counselor; DaShan Axson-Lawerence, resident director of Arbor View Apartments; and Michael Ucci, resident director for Bowdon Hall. Jonna Greer, graduate assistant, was appointed as the committee chair for Social Networking.