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TU announces nominees for inaugural Commitment Cup

University President Gerard Clancy will award the inaugural TU Commitment Cup on May 24, 2018, during the employee picnic, which culminates a week of employee appreciation activities for faculty and staff. Clancy established the TU Commitment Cup to shine a spotlight on the outstanding work university employees engage in every day.

“We invited employees to share success stories of those helping our students feel accepted, engaged, empowered and on the path to self-discovery,” said Clancy. “Each nomination we received described how departments, committees and project teams have come together to help others succeed while fulfilling TU’s greater commitment. I could not be more proud of the work that takes place each and every day here at TU.”

TU’s Staff Advisory Council, comprising representatives from each college and department, chose five finalists. Clancy worked with the executive team to select this year’s recipient.

Congratulations to the 2018 TU Commitment Cup nominees! Below are excerpts from each of the eight nominations received.

The Professional Development Office in the College of Law empowered students, smashing previous placement records with 91.9 percent of 2017 graduates landing positions that either require bar licensure or favor JD degrees. (This success tied TU for ninth in the nation.)

The mission of the PDO team is to help students achieve professional growth and success in law school and after graduation. For the Class of 2017, 91.9 percent of the graduates are employed in full-time, long-term, Bar-licensed or JD-advantaged positions. This placement rate breaks TU Law’s previous placement record and lands TU Law among the top 10 to 15 laws schools in job placement.

While tasked with helping students find jobs, the PDO team does so much more. The PDO team plays an instrumental part in student success and career development from first-year student orientation through graduation and beyond.

The Center for Student Academic Support added workshops, expanded its tutored courses list (149 and counting), updated its processes and introduced free tutoring.

In order to offer more inclusive services, staff in the Center for Student Academic Support strategized to not only make tutoring free but also a more professional experience. This helped tremendously with the addition of a formal Tutoring Center. Now, tutors and tutees all meet in the Tutoring Center under designated hours. This creates a comfortable environment for students where they know staff will always be present to help them with whatever they may need.

Over the past year, CSAS has made great strides to better prepare our tutors. Tutors are required to have an ‘A’ or ‘B’ in the course they tutor and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Additionally, they are required to complete an online training before they begin meeting with students that outlines a variety of tutoring techniques as well as provides information on working with specific student groups such as students with disabilities or international students.

The School of Accounting & CIS turned up the message of acceptance with new recruiting videos, a newsletter and personal contributions from colleagues.

The entire department has increased our emphasis on student recruiting and retention. We have developed a newsletter at least twice a year that showcases our department in print and is accessible on the website. We use this in recruiting students and in engaging with members of the professional community. We have been actively engaged in these activities for some time but made some significant enhancements during the previous year. In conjunction with these activities, we continue to emphasize our commitment to our students and our stakeholders to prepare students to become professionals. We have been fortunate to have some of the highest placement rates for graduates from our department. Since 2013, we have had 100 percent placement of all of our MAcc graduates, including international students. We receive feedback that both our undergraduate students and our graduate students are able to be productive professionals immediately when they enter the workforce.

The Department of Management and Marketing’s NOVA Fellows kept self-discovery flowing with events like TEDxUniversityofTulsa, the Oklahoma Young Entrepreneur Awards and TU Day of Innovation.

This group is innovative and creative. They excel at building partnerships at TU and in the community. Their ideas support a culture of innovation and often times of social justice. I don’t know what to expect from this group next, but I do know that it will make an impact on TU. Additionally, the projects they have supported stick. The projects that the NOVA Fellows support aren’t one-off events; they are events which the group continues to build on each year.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission worked hard to promote the JumpstartTU travel abroad program; as a result, 132 incoming freshmen are set to begin their TU journey of self-discovery with a group trip to Panama this summer.

JumpstartTU is an immersive study abroad program that takes incoming freshmen to Panama prior to beginning their academic career at TU. Designed to build curiosity and a better understanding of academic expectations, 132 incoming students will participate in summer 2018 (a 66 percent increase from 2017). The main goal of the program is to build a culture of being accepted — one of the four pillars of the TU Commitment. TU’s Office of Admissions has been an exemplary partner in the JumpstartTU program.

The Office of Admission was of significant assistance in selecting the first cohort based upon their knowledge and experience working with each incoming student. Following the first JumpstartTU program, the 2017 group reported beginning TU with a cohort of friends and confidence and feeling accepted for who they are at TU.

The Operations Team in the Office of Admission handled every U.S. undergraduate application and served as the first point of TU Commitment for callers and visitors.

Each of these individuals has worked tirelessly this year to increase efficiency and cross-train each other, to the point of completely rewriting procedures based on their ability and volume. This was not expected or asked of anyone on this team and was done for the good of the entire department and in an effort to make TU the best university it could be. By taking this initiative, the Operations Team allowed the department to exceed our goals, both in numbers and in positivity among staff members.

Staff at the Williams Student Services Center in the Collins College of Business empowered students with personalized advising, professional development workshops and career placement support.

This group of people covers all of the items of the commitment. The student advisers for undergraduate and graduate students all are dedicated individuals who have taken the TU Commitment to heart even before the phrase was coined. They care about our students. From the original Tulsa Time contact, to the business parents’ forums, final grad checks and commencement breakfast, they care, and they show fairness and support to TU students. When a prospective graduate student contacts the Collins College of Business regarding one of our master’s programs, the graduate team does all of the recruiting and admission, scholarships and enrollment — a full-service house. The undergraduate advisers meet with incoming students and parents while also providing constant support to students progressing through their individual degree programs. As graduation approaches, you can see the relationships between the advisers and the students. Additionally, our Business Career Center staff work with students throughout their years at TU with individual mock interviews, group etiquette training, company career days and assistance with job placement.

Last but not least, The Office of Student Affairs lived the TU Commitment by developing new violence prevention programs, making improvements to the Multicultural Resource Center and introducing a six-week training course to help staff enhance student satisfaction.

Student Affairs represents the nonacademic curriculum, which nurtures the development of our students’ hearts and souls. Mike Mills and his team are some of the best and brightest, with a singular motivation: facilitate every students’ optimal development into their fullest potential. They strive each day to augment the academic rigors of TU by assuring each student feels accepted, finds the opportunities to engage their creative spirits, feels empowered to write their TU story and grows in their self-discovery as students and beyond. I would suggest that in the gilding of our students in our brightest blue and gold, Mike Mills’ team in Student Affairs is the polish that makes our students gleam.