Vice President Mason and Student Affairs staff win awards at national meeting in Indianapolis

12/04/12 ks

HAYS, Kan. -- Fort Hays State University garnered several honors last weekend during the national meeting of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, including a top award for Dr. Tisa Mason, vice president for Student Affairs.

Mason won the Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Award. She was recognized for her commitment over many years to the profession of higher education administration and the specialty of fraternity and sorority advising. She is involved in the fraternal movement through AFA, NASPA, CSCF and Sigma Kappa.

This award was created in 1985 and re-named for AFA's second executive director, Sue Kraft Fussell, in 2006. The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals who have exhibited outstanding achievements in one or more of the following areas: service to AFA; programming and/or service that reaches beyond the recipient's campus/organization; development and research activities; and/or service to the college and fraternity/sorority communities.

The Awards and Recognition Committee noted: "Tisa seeks out opportunities to make a difference and serve others. Her service has impacted many and her commitment reaches far and wide. Tisa got involved early and continues to serve in so many ways to advocate for the fraternal movement and the profession of fraternity and sorority advising."

The awards were presented on Saturday, Dec. 1, during the AFA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. In addition to the award for Mason, FHSU won a second award, for Vinay Patel, director of McMindes Hall, and an honorable mention for a student project.

"I am proud of the very talented and dedicated staff of the FHSU Division of Student Affairs," Mason said. "Every day our extraordinary team provides services and creates opportunities for students to connect, engage and succeed. We do this by 'walking our talk' through a relentless focus on our vision, mission and values. That focus helps us work collaboratively with the faculty, resulting in students who earn regional and national recognition through initiatives such as Feed Mee Now. From our newer professionals such as Vinay Patel to our senior level staff such as Shana Meyer, the core of our division is the enthusiasm for professional development and service."

Patel received the Outstanding New Professional Award. This award is presented to an individual who has been in the profession less than five years, is a NASPA member, and has made significant contributions to his or her campus, the regional organization and the profession. The winner of this award is recognized at the NASPA Awards Luncheon at the national conference. Every region has one award winner in this category.

"Vinay is known for his out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving approaches," said one of the nomination letters. "His familiarity with computer systems and technology trends makes him the unofficial guru for the division. … As director of the largest residence hall on campus, Vinay has a direct and measurable impact on the daily lives of his students. … Vinay is a shining example of how to make the most of those first years in the profession."

In addition, the FHSU Division of Student Affairs won a second place honorable mention in the Innovative Program Award category for a program that encourages healthy eating. The award is presented to professionals and their institution for developing and implementing a program that results in improved educational activities, services or management for an individual campus community or group of campus communities.

Mason said the category had the most nominations in recent history, so the awards committee opted to select three honorable mentions in addition to the winner. She had seen a capstone presentation by students in the FHSU Department of Informatics and thought it was perfect for the Innovative Program Award category. The student team connected with Residential Life and the FHSU Wellness Center to create a media-rich website, called "Feed Mee Now," that provides information for students on how to prepare nutritious, quick and cost-effective meals as an alternative to fast food.

In another recent development, Mason and Dr. Shana Meyer, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, contributed to a just released book, "Building a Culture of Evidence in Student Affairs: A Guide for Leaders and Practitioners." The book, which is an interactive tutorial that illustrates how to document with hard data the significant contributions Student Affairs Divisions make to students' access, persistence and completion of college degrees, was published by NASPA and funded by a grant from the Lumina Foundation.

Mason and Meyer co-authored Module 4, "Using Outcomes and Rubrics in Student Affairs.

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