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Cameron University Announces Winners of ‘University Choice Awards’

Choice AwardsFive members of the Cameron University faculty and staff have been selected as this year’s recipients of Cameron’s University Choice Awards. Dr. Theresa Billiot, Megan Canfield, Dr. Jenel Cavazos, Sarah Collins and Marty Sherman received their awards during a ceremony tonight on the Cameron campus. Each received a plaque recognizing his/her achievement as well as a $1,000 stipend.

The Cameron University Choice Awards were created in 2009 to recognize members of the campus community who exemplify the goals of the university for the 2009-2013 strategic plan. Nominations were made by CU students, faculty and staff. In order to be eligible, nominees must have been employed full-time at Cameron for at least one year.

“I was truly gratified to read the many Choice Award nominations that were submitted,” says President John McArthur. “The number and the quality of the nominations are evidence that the Cameron faculty and staff take pride in every aspect of college life that we provide to each Cameron student and to the support we provide to our community.”

The University of Choice Award

The “University of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron the “University of Choice” by providing students a top-quality education. Dr. Jenel Cavazos, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, and Sarah Collins, Instructor, Department of Communications and Director, CU Speech and Debate, are the 2013-2014 recipients.

“Dr. Cavazos has met the needs of the citizens of the region by providing instruction of the highest quality, performing research with students to improve instruction, and worked tirelessly sponsoring student organizations and serving on departmental and university committees to make Cameron University the University of Choice,” the nominator wrote.

Among the many specifics detailed were Cavazos’ work in developing new resources and tools for the PSY 1113 General Psychology class, which serves more than 500 students each semester, her development of two online classes, and her role in developing a test to assess the General Education Ethics Student Learning Outcome that is now used in all general psychology classes. The nominator also cited Cavazos’ inclusion of students in her research efforts, which provides opportunities for students to present posters at various research conferences.

Collins’ nomination referred to her as a “superstar,” noting that she has “transformed the Department of Communication’s historic forensics program. Sarah effectively juggles a full-time teaching schedule while coaching a national award-winning forensics team. She recruits from all over the U.S. and engages both her in-class students and team members in critical, research-driven speech and debate activities. Her ability as a top-notch forensics coach brings the scholarship students to campus and her abilities as a classroom teacher keep them here.”

Also cited was Collins’ dedication to Cameron’s annual Summer Speech Camp, including her development of a new web portal and website that facilitates registration.

The College Experience of Choice Award

The “College Experience of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward providing students the “College Experience of Choice” by fostering a traditional collegiate atmosphere. This year’s recipient is Megan Canfield, Student Activities Specialist. The nominator praised Canfield for her commitment to ensuring that Cameron students have a voice in non-curricular activities. “Megan talks with students all the time about the programs they want to see on campus and then works to engage them to actually attend those events. She wants every student to have the fullest experience possible and know that the only way to make that happen is to engage them early with things in which they are interested.”

One example is her involvement in intramural sports. Canfield has worked to double the number of sports offered in order to provide more avenues for student engagement and a broader base of experiences.

“Megan has been a champion of ideas and change,” the nominator wrote. “She works with each event, program and activity to figure out how to make it an experience the students will remember when they look back on their time at Cameron. Her willingness to think outside the box and make each event special is a true asset.”

The Location of Choice Award

The “Location of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron University the “Location of Choice” for community and regional events. Marty Sherman, Custodial Supervisor, is the selected recipient. “He has worked for the university for more than 25 years and is both knowledgeable and professional. Marty has been instrumental in saving the university thousands of dollars in preventive maintenance and cleaning maintenance expertise by spotting potential issues, reporting problem areas and cleaning areas that without his experience would have to be sub-contracted at great expense,” wrote one nominator.

Multiple nominators wrote of Sherman’s supervisory duties of the largest student workforce on campus. “Marty goes out of his way to mentor students. Many are foreign students who are far from home and in need of not only structure but patience and understanding. Marty provides that atmosphere and imparts a tireless work ethic,” one wrote.

Another called Sherman’s ability to multitask and “drop what you’re doing and take care of a different emergency” an asset.

The Partner of Choice Award

The “Partner of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron University the “Partner of Choice” by expanding existing and developing new community and area partnerships that contribute to the growth and prosperity of southwest Oklahoma. The recipient is Dr. Theresa Billiot, Assistant Professor of Business. One nominator noted, “Dr. Billiot consistently reaches out to local businesses to create connections that Cameron University students need in order to learn networking and to build their confidence and morale when pursuing a career after graduation.”

Billiot has led successful efforts to further develop the university’s partnership with Jim Glover Chevrolet. During the current academic year, the dealership has engaged Cameron business students through Billiot’s advertising class, resulting in a Student Addy Award for a commercial they produced for the dealership. Additionally, Jim Glover Chevrolet provided a $2,000 gift for Cameron’s new student chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Also noted in the nominations was Billiot’s development of relationships with additional area businesses such as Townsquare Media, Texas Roadhouse, Option D productions and Falls Media Productions.

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