In 2019, the Division of Student Affairs introduced the Courageous Change Leader award created to to honor the individuals who have embodied the commitment statements outlined in our strategic plan. This year we introduced a new award, the Rising Star award, recognizing a professional newer to the field (3 years or less) who shows strong potential for excelling in the field of student affairs.
The division established six commitment statements identifying how we expect staff to approach their work holistically supporting students in the development of meaningful lives. These commitment statements are the overarching expectations for our work in this student-centered environment.
- Is actively employed by the Division of Student Affairs at the time of recognition.
- Was marked as meets or exceeds overall on their last performance evaluation cycle.
- Must not have been placed on any step of performance correction within the last year.
- Must not have been a previous recipient of the award in which they’re nominated.
2022 Award Recipients
Courageous Change Leader
The Courageous Change Leader award is the highest honor bestowed on a staff member within the Division of Student Affairs. It was created to honor the individuals who have embodied the commitment statements outlined in our strategic plan. This recognition is awarded annually to one or two staff members within the division who have exemplified at least two of these commitments and are selected by VPLT.
Matt Nadler is committed to a culture of intellectual curiosity and innovation to develop, with student input, new strategies and implement new programs to move effectively serve our entire campus community. He has served in multiple departments within the division and has been instrumental on committees, searches, and special projects for his departments and the division. As co-chair for the Engage Dallas Offsite & Risk Management team, Matt has played a pivotal part in establishing community partnerships for each of our Residential Commons. One of the distinguishing factors defining good team members from excellent team members is the ability to step into an organization, assess and anticipate needs, and then begin taking immediate positive action – Matt has been able to do this in both of his roles within RLSH and Hegi. Matt’s coworkers say he is a joy to work with and brings an element of positivity to all work projects and added that he does exceptional work without needing to be asked and in doing so elevates the work of those around him.
Bonnie Pickett embodies the Division’s commitment statements every day in her work – much of that work is done behind the scenes through her work in Student Affairs Administration. Although her days are hectic, she always finds time to answer a question or help out. Bonnie is known for her willingness to step up whether that is handling technical difficulties at major divisional events or stepping in during staff vacancies – she epitomizes what it means to be a selfless leader and a positive agent of change. While her role is not student-facing, she is determined to make a difference in the lives of the students and staff on the Hilltop. In an interim capacity, Bonnie has taken on supervision of a team of student workers with such attention to their growth and development, it rivals a career student affairs practitioner. Her coworkers see the appreciation from the students for her leadership and guidance. Bonnie has a passion for people that is quiet and peaceful, and there is not a day that goes by that someone is thanking her for assisting them in some way.
This award recognizes a professional newer to the field (3 years or less) who shows strong potential for excelling in the field of student affairs. This employee is courageously engaged in their new role and provides strong demonstration of the student affairs commitments. The recipient is selected by an ad-hoc committee.
Jermisha McCoy has quickly established herself as someone who exemplifies what it means to be a Courageous Change Leader inside the Division of Student Affairs here at SMU, in addition to showing strong potential for excelling in the field of student affairs as a whole as a newer professional. Jermisha’s presence at SMU not only helps students but also the division in its commitment of Breaking Down Barriers because her personal background, positionality, and talents allow her to serve as an inspiration for anyone on campus to see themselves in her so that they can feel more able to “break down the social, physical and emotional barriers that may inhibit their success”. Jermisha, without a doubt, has demonstrated our division’s commitment to Innovating Our Work by introducing many fresh ideas and approaches to the table through her work in such a short amount of time. Jermisha continues to learn and evolve as a young professional as well as in her current studies in pursuit of a doctorate degree. While she is new to the field of student affairs, it is clear Jermisha has the potential to be a rising star.