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2017 Staff Collaboration Award

Leila Hernandez and Jean McGee Receive the Staff Collaboration Award from President Kerwin and Provost Bass.

Leila Hernandez & Jean McGee

2017 Staff Collaboration Award Winners

In fall 2016, personnel changes resulted in the Graduate Admissions Office in the School of Communication short-staffed with the full responsibility of serving the SOC graduate community, which included over 400 students, more than 100 faculty, and a large pool of prospective students, during a busy admissions cycle. Graduate recruiting, admissions, merit award processing, collaboration with SOC’s Marketing & Strategic Communication, and other key offices of the university community, financial budget management and working with faculty on implementing changes to curriculum were among the pressing duties that needed immediate attention.

Leila Hernandez, Graduate Program Coordinator, took on extra tasks and frequently stayed late to ensure that the office maintained the high standards the team had achieved in the past. Juggling student meetings and information sessions, new student inquiries, Ph.D. application processing, and an increased involvement in marketing, Leila never complained. Jean McGee, Director of Graduate Advising, was instrumental in ensuring the high level of advising services for 300 on-campus students and assumed the advising responsibility for over 100 online students. Jean also assisted with recruiting events to increase the number of deposited students.

During the transition, customer service remained high and processes were seamless to observers outside of the office. Student inquiries and requests were responded to on a daily basis. The team reviewed and processed 73 Ph.D. applications and scheduled 20 interviews; six Ph.D. students were selected. Applications to SOC programs continued to increase as did the number of admits and deposits. Students continued to receive admission decisions within a week of completing the application. Merit award offers increased and were sent to admitted students in a timely fashion. Tracking of offers and acceptances were streamlined so that data was current at all times. Graduate statistics continued to be reported on a weekly basis and showed continued success.

The School of Communication is truly fortunate to have such dedicated individuals who turned a challenging time into a cohesive, team-oriented effort.

In recognition for their collaborative efforts and outstanding results to run the SOC Graduate Admissions Office smoothly through a challenging period, American University is pleased to present Leila Hernandez and Jean McGee with the 2017 Collaboration Award.

2017 Staff Performance Award Winners