Everyday Excellence in Student Success Award
The Everyday Excellence in Student Success Award recognizes innovative faculty and staff practices that support student success. The purpose of this award is to showcase replicable strategies which could benefit faculty, staff, and students university-wide, while simultaneously applauding the thoughtful initiative that Mercer faculty and staff take to support their students.
Nominations are accepted on a rolling basis, and awards are presented monthly. The nomination form is available here.
Above: President Bill Underwood (far left) and Mr. Bill Stembridge (far right) with recipients of February 2020 Everyday Excellence Award, Dr. Garland Crawford and Dr. Kathy Kloepper
Past Award Recipients
Drs. Crawford and Kloepper teach a CHM 241 class with a notable characteristic: no instructor office hours. Rather, the faculty decided to brand their weekly availability as “student hours,” a language shift intended to encourage students to take advantage of the resource while simultaneously reducing the jargon that can prevent students from understanding the resource’s purpose. The instructors supplement the branding of student hours by discussing the purpose during class and posting about it on Canvas.
When classes moved online in Spring 2020, Dr. Dowling leveraged web-based opportunities to provide positive reinforcement to her students. Dr. Dowling noticed that many of her students actively engaged in Canvas discussion boards when the class went online, and she wanted to let students know that she appreciated this engagement. After noticing students who contributed meaningful comments, she used the Starfish "Kudo" feature to provide positive feedback. Her thoughtful comments on the Kudos expressed her appreciation for the student's contribution and acknowledged their resiliency in the transition to online learning.
As soon as a new semester begins, Dr. Digh takes advantage of Starfish as a resource for giving immediate feedback to students who stand out. Whether a student has demonstrated exceptional participation or needs a friendly nudge to encourage their attendance, Dr. Digh writes personalized and intentional messages to students through the Starfish system. By providing the comments through Starfish, Dr. Digh not only ensures his feedback is received, but he also allows the student's academic advisor to be in the loop on the student's progress.