As Education and Student Life (ESL) charts a new course under new leadership, we are guided by our commitment to MUSC Excellence, and we set high standards. These standards encompass the five core pillars of any successful organization. Our performance is measured by the strength of our People and Service, the Quality of that service, and the wisdom of our Growth, while remaining steady stewards of our Finances.
Our crew, the staff and faculty who daily provide outstanding education and support for MUSC students, chart our success. The division promotes high morale and productivity, and we want all who join us at Education and Student Life to realize their workplace is the right place to be.
Employee Recognition Program
Q1: Susan Fox, Christy Huggins, Michelle Muir, Janis Newton
Q2: Sharon Gilliard, Dianne Terry, Jim Tomsic, Julie Reese, Wendy Sosebee
Q3: Damon Amella, Thomas Hamm, Jeff Holt, James Johnson, Rhonda Walters
Q4: Kyle Connelly, Alicia Lockard, Dorothea Gadsden, Martha Lipton, Sandra Morris
Employee of the Year:
Therefore, we launched this year our first division-wide Employee Recognition Program, providing a means to celebrate quarterly and annually colleagues who contribute more than they have to; they are our standards of excellence.
While rewarding such accomplishment is vital to our success, we promote and teach staff and faculty excellence through a variety of efforts. Our leadership group has participated actively in the ongoing MUSC Excellence Leadership Development Institute, honing their ability to inspire and direct the staff and faculty they mentor. This group of leaders is recognized across campus among students, faculty and staff as key contributors to the excellent education available at MUSC.
Among the many endeavors that characterize this world-class education, our division has spearheaded MUSC’s adoption of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) program to embrace diversity. Students, faculty and staff have participated in and been inspired by 18 workshops held this year. These workshops help to make the MUSC workplace—in our division and beyond—more productive, rewarding and inclusive of all perspectives.
Similarly, ESL is the proud administrative home of Creating Collaborative Care (C3), our university’s ten-year interprofessional education initiative. For the third year, we planned, executed and assessed MUSC’s Interprofessional Day (IP) for all first- and second-year students. Each year, our students have rated the day more and more successful, recognizing its importance and relevance to their careers.
As in interprofessional education, our division enjoys its central role in opening and closing the school year for all MUSC faculty, staff and students.
Staff and faculty from ESL are critical to the success of Convocation and Commencement, from planning to execution. We serve on university event planning committees, confirm graduation requirements for each college and program, and draft, design and publish professional programs. Our people are committed to all MUSC students... from application to graduation.
The faculty and staff of ESL are ready to serve our many constituents across the university with compassion, respect, dignity and pride.
Among the many efforts ESL has undertaken to better serve our students are a variety of initiatives aimed at improving health education for our students in the areas of alcohol and drugs. Moreover, we have assured that our campus is in full compliance with the Department of Education’s Biennial Review mandated by the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act. Over 96% of students completed a new on-line alcohol and drug education module. We also created an Alcohol Advisory Group to learn about and target areas of need for our students. Our commitment is to lead the campus in learning about and addressing potential problems connected with a growing national concern about a culture of alcohol and drug use on college campuses.
As we strive to stay true in our service to students, their service to our community is an inspiration. Providing opportunities to serve the community is crucial in our effort to educate dedicated community-minded health care professionals. The MUSC Gives Back program has facilitated over 18,000 hours of community service to 108 agencies. Nearly 1,000 students combined efforts to offer this remarkable service. Learning from these student leaders is a humbling pleasure.
Even as we work in service to the community around us, we have taken initiative to improve access to our services for students, faculty and staff right here on campus—and from any place with access to the internet. With other key university resources, ESL staff and faculty from Enrollment Management, Education Technology Services and Communications have initiated the design of an Academic Web Portal to support shared learning and documentation capabilities for faculty, staff and students, on-campus and in distance education environments.
At our helm is an experienced academician and clinician who brings to her new task high expectations. Where work exceeds these expectations, we celebrate accomplishments. Students are our lodestar because their education is the university’s mission.
In our 2009 Student Satisfaction Survey, overall student satisfaction was 94%, up from a 93% rating in 2008.
The students offered similarly high marks in response to more detailed questions about the quality of our work: 95% of students praised the competence of our faculty and staff, and 98% told us we had met our goal of valuing diversity and cultural differences.
In this same survey, 94% of students said they made the right choice in attending MUSC.
We are attentive to students, and they acknowledged our efforts, with 95% reporting that our faculty and staff were caring and helpful. Even with such indications of our quality work, we ever refine our focus and set ever more challenging targets on the horizon.
Identifying and celebrating the evidence of quality we see in our students, our faculty and our staff motivates further improvement. Among the several tools we use to encourage our students to excel is the recently established Student Leadership Society. This assemblage of leaders goes beyond typical student achievement. They will command respect as they pursue their careers because they demonstrate active listening, empathy, awareness of others, persuasive skill, stewardship of resources and commitment to others. Nine students were inducted this year, each earning a $2,500 scholarship and a permanent place on the university’s Student Leadership Society plaque.
The quality of our labor is apparent within the institution and beyond. As we innovate in education and student life, we convey what we learn to others. Through publications and presentations, MUSC’s Education and Student Life programs are increasingly recognized as leaders in their fields. Our leaders have also served actively on national, state and university levels, representing the highest standards of excellence
For a list of these publications, click here.
The quality of our work, the services we provide and the people who comprise our crew are often praised by students and other constituents, but change is inevitable. Given that inevitability, we have defined the directions in which we will grow, to travel surely into areas that offer great potential. Our growth will benefit new constituents but also will strengthen our service to current constituents.
No area of growth has been more significant or timely than the remarkable expansion of membership and revenue in the MUSC Wellness Center.
The Wellness Center staff has worked tirelessly to develop new programs that attract new and invigorate longtime members. Many of these members work out at the crack of dawn in the MUSC Boot Camp. Others have been inspired to team together and accept the Weight-Loss Challenge… or give their kids an early chance at healthy lifestyles through one of our programs for children. The Wellness Center’s growth has been essential to the financial health of the entire division.
Health and wellness are not only growing in the community at large but also at MUSC specifically. Join us for the next MUSC 2-Mile Wellness Run/Walk to see what we mean.
As with the university generally, our division’s growth has taken a global course. Scholars from around the world travel to MUSC to learn from many of the best clinicians in their fields. We provide visitors the same level of service we would other constituents. When faculty and staff of the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) and the Writing Center met and consulted with visiting scholars from Saudi Arabia to help them teach scientific writing in their home country, a relationship and an opportunity for growth were launched. Since then, the CAE and the Writing Center have reached a two-year agreement to provide online writing and learning support for health sciences faculty and students of the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KAIMRC/KSU-HS), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
While CAE and Writing Center faculty and staff have honed their educational expertise over 15 years of teaching writing and learning strategies, the additional resources this agreement provides strengthen the entire division and will allow the CAE and Writing Center to expand their online infrastructure, improving services for other global education programs. This growth offers the potential for future collaborations as well as a means to promote academic excellence internationally.
These two areas of growth mark seemingly distinct approaches. Our Wellness Center has tapped potential that has long been present around us; the CAE and Writing Center have traveled around the world to provide educational resources for others that our students have found so beneficial. Yet, in both situations, new directions emerged from the combination of expert people who provide high quality service. In these areas and others, as our people continue developing their knowledge and skills, we continue to realize an educational truth—learning is growth.
In ESL, business acumen has been and will remain our ballast.
In 2009, only 10.2% of SC’s total state revenue was allocated to higher education, compared to 14.9% allocated a decade ago. South Carolina ranks 38th nationally and ranks 15th out of 16 Southern states in funding for higher education. In response to the nationwide recession, South Carolina was one of more than 40 states that made midyear budget cuts.
To steady ESL’s 7% loss in funding and ensure affordability to students, our division’s business strategy evolved to seek new types of support while containing costs. We experienced a high return on investment.
ESL grew revenue by 11.3%, primarily through promoting healthy, active lifestyles in our community. These initiatives resulted in a 30% increase in Wellness Center revenue. We also leveraged student fees more equitably, and our staff took initiative to identify and secure one-time funding awards.
Even with this increase in revenue, our exemplary faculty and staff weathered a four-day mandatory furlough (leave without pay). We left nine job vacancies unfilled, consolidating workloads among remaining employees.
Short-handed, we took other measures as well, including dramatic reductions in retention incentives, employee travel, technology advancements and planned facility upgrades in the Wellness Center.
Overwhelming evidence supports investing in education to lower state unemployment rates, health care costs and social program costs. Although additional state budgetary cuts are expected, a financial lifeline comes through support from the ARRA Education Funds in the coming year. This stimulus money will help to control education cost increases and provide a 2% tuition abatement for most MUSC students.
Without financial savvy, we could not accomplish our educational mission. As we allocate resources to meet student needs, establish tuition costs and rates, and assess the value of educational programs, we must keep at our forefront the mission of the university to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina.
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