Faculty and staff challenged to step out of comfort zone

Lilly Casolaro
Staff Writer

“Battling declining enrollments and state support for higher education” is a primary challenge facing Troy University, Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said Friday.

Confidence in higher education as a whole, especially among rising student debt of $1.2 trillion, and competition among universities are struggles mentioned by Hawkins during the annual Faculty and Staff Convocation in Claudia Crosby Theater.

The convocation recognized new and returning faculty, with emphasis on the impact of student-teacher relationships. In addition, the assembly addressed current and future goals and challenges of the university involving all campuses.

The Wallace D. Malone Jr. Award was presented to Diane Orlofsky, professor of music education and director of University Choirs. Demonstration of engaging and communicating with students and other co-workers effectively and positively influencing the lives of others are among several qualifications for this award.

Hawkins addressed several challenges for the 2014-2015 academic year. He encouraged faculty and staff to get out of their comfort zones. He prompted them to mentor students, build internships and constantly recruit new students.

He announced a two percent pay raise for faculty and staff, effective Jan. 1. Last year’s pay raise was three percent.

Other speakers included Earl Ingram, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs;  Matt Thompson, Student Government Association president; and Dionne Rosser-Mims, associate professor in the College of Education at Troy University’s Covington, Ga., site and last year’s Malone award recipient.

Frank Browning, associate professor of counselor education at the Augusta, Ga., site, commented on the attainability of these goals mentioned by Chancellor Hawkins.

“It is going to be a struggle, but I think we will do it, yes,” Browning said.

  Jeffrey Ickes, professor in the division of Counseling, Rehabilitation and Interpretive Training at the Augusta, Ga., site, said he is optimistic about the upcoming school year.

Both said Troy University is progressive because of the strong leadership.

According to Hawkins, the fund that provides students’ expense paid educational travels on study abroad opportunities is expected to triple within the next three or four years.

The university has established a fund of $120,000; half of the funding for that program comes from voluntary extra fees that people pay when they buy Troy University license tags for their vehicles.

 Richard Scott Nokes, associate professor in the English Department said there are means established for faculty to be able to lead study abroad trips, but now the goal is to provide the same means for students to attend.

Nokes said two factors that have students hesitate when considering study abroad trips are finances and little experience with traveling.

Hawkins used a famous quote by Ghandi to show the change and progress that he would like to see Troy University achieve. “We must be the change we expect in others.”

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