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SAU Staff Win Appointments, Honors

January 2014

The good work of St. Ambrose University staff members is being honored by national and state organizations. And that could lead to better work on behalf of St. Ambrose University students in the future.

  • Andrew Gates '11, SAU coordinator of Veterans Recruitment and Services, was appointed this month to a workgroup supporting Gov. Terry Branstad's Home Base Iowa. The program is working to make Iowa more appealing for people leaving the armed forces.

  • Sherri Erkel, director of the SAU First Year Experience program, has been elected to the board of directors of the American College Personnel Association Commission for Admissions, Orientation and First Year Experience (ACPA AOFYE).

  • Jessica Nash, an academic support specialist for the SAU First Year Experience program, attended the recent The Way Up conference (Developing Women Leaders to Enhance Iowa Higher Education), after winning the Eunice A. Dell Memorial Scholarship.

A former US Marine and a veteran of two overseas deployments himself, Gates will bring the perspectives of both a higher education professional and a veteran to Gov. Branstad's workgroup. The group will focus, in part, on educational opportunities as a means of attracting veterans to Iowa.

"It's an honor to be included as part of the Home Base Iowa education working group, " said Gates. "It also is a testament to the leadership St. Ambrose has shown over the past few years in serving military and veterans in the area. I look forward to assisting the governor in this important endeavor."

The group will submit recommendations to the governor in July.

Hired to lead the newly-created First Year Experience program in 2011, Erkel said her participation on the ACPA AOFYE national board will allow her to explore FYE best practices at other universities throughout the United States.

"It's easy to get comfortable with the 'way things are' the longer you work on a college campus," she said. "Joining a national conversation will help me to view what I am doing with a more critical eye and inspire me to continually improve the way I approach FYE-related programs and initiatives that will benefit students.

"More important, involvement like this gives SAU exposure as an institution that values the professional development of its faculty and staff."

Erkel presented along with Allison Ambrose, PhD, associate dean of the College of Business, during the Attaining a Doctorate panel discussion at the Way Up conference in Des Moines late November. Erkel also presented her research on race-based dialogues in higher education.

Nash addressed the conference as a scholarship winner. "Her speech was grounded in the reality of the challenges and successes that young women leaders face today," said Tracy Schuster-Matlock, dean of university academic programs and a conference attendee. "This and similar conferences are a great example of how investing in the future means investing in the colleagues we work with today."

Nash said being able to attend the conference on a scholarship met the stated goals of inspiration and empowerment for a young woman entering the field of higher education.

"The conference delivered fantastic sessions and networking opportunities," she said. "The insight and advice offered by women from different stages in their career provided different perspectives, which will help me assist St. Ambrose students with their college experience."

MORE LIKE THIS:AmbroseZine, Veterans Services and Recruitment

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