Alcorn hosts annual Faculty and Staff Institute

Campus excellence and leading students to educational affluence were among the topics at Alcorn State University's annual faculty and staff gathering.

The 2018 Faculty and Staff Institute was held Tuesday, Aug. 14 in the James L. Bolden Campus Union Ballroom. Dr. Charlie Nutt served as the event's keynote speaker. 

Nutt has been a member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) since 1991. In 2007, he was installed as the executive director of NACADA while serving as associate director and assistant professor in Kansas State University's College of Education. He is responsible for coordinating the work of the executive office staff as well as working with the various units on professional development issues, NACADA external relations, and the association's international initiatives.

Nutt explained the importance of advising and how proper guidance propels students to success.

"Our job is to help students define what their goals are," said Nutt. "Through advising, we craft what the student's degree will do for them and how it will benefit them in their lives. We should help them understand the path they've chosen because, in some instances, they don't understand what they're getting themselves into."

Nutt broke down key strategies for advisors to apply when describing to students what matters most on their educational journey.

"What matters most is everyone should be motivated to learn in order to create a culture of learning, not compliance. We have to research what garners success at the students' institution. Relationships with the campus community are what make college successful. Setting expectations are also important when communicating with students and colleagues." 

Nutt encouraged educators to make necessary changes that would improve the status of advising and student learning.

"Decide to be a change agent. Your changes must focus on improving student learning and success, informing future policy and practice, demonstrating effectiveness and accountability, and influencing cultural change."

After Nutt's speech, representatives from the University gave campus and departmental updates to the audience. Dr. Donzell Lee, Alcorn's interim president motivated faculty and staff to continue their exceptional customer services to ensure excellence. He also encouraged the audience to reach out and help those in surrounding communities.

"Exemplary customer service will take us across the whole university," said Lee. "We all have the responsibly to provide great customer service to our students, employees, those who report to us. We also have to do great jobs at retaining and advising out students by communicating and empathizing without students. Build relationship within and outside of the institution because we can help, especially with school districts in surrounding counties."

Tracey Cook, interim vice president for Student Affairs spoke on the incoming freshman class and its potential to be the largest freshman class in school history. He also announced plans to house the influx of students.

"We have a slight increase in freshman enrollment, but we need housing. We plan to utilize the Days Inn in Natchez, Mississippi. Students can now complete the FAFSA in October. Career closet"

Carolyn DuPre, vice president for Finance and Administration assured the campus community that the University is in good financial standing. She encouraged faculty and staff members to monitor spending for continued stability.

"Alcorn is financially stable, which is an accomplishment due to the state of other institutions," said DuPre. "Our goal is to continue to maintain our stability. Look at your departmental spending and spend wisely so that the university can stay in good financial standing."

Marcus Ward, Vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive director for the ASU Foundation provided news on the accomplishment of the Faculty and Staff Campaign and encouraged everyone to donate to the $1 Million Brave Strong Challenge by Dec. 31, 2018. He also shared information on social media representation and the use of the campus' logo.

"We want to thank you for your contributions to the campus Faculty and Staff Campaign, and we were able to raise $75,000 during the campaign," said Ward. "We've launched the $1 Million Brave Strong Challenge, which is for alumni and supporters to give $1,000 to support the university. 

Also, please be careful with your social media actions and interactions. If you create a social media page for your office, please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications so that we can be involved in that process and ensure respect for the University. Be careful when using the University logo; the logo is trademarked and registered, so the Office of Institutional Advancement has a responsibility to make sure that it is not misused. Our goal is to preserve and protect the image of Alcorn State University."