SUU has long been known for providing a more personalized experience than may be afforded students at larger counterpart institutions. It’s a nationally-recognized distinction the University touts with pride, yet there is always room for improvement.
In such an endeavor, SUU’s Student Services division, supported by the whole of the University’s administrative council, has created PEAK Service at SUU, a campuswide initiative to reinforce the collaborative and supportive environment students, faculty and staff alike have come to appreciate in their SUU experience.
At its core, according to Vice President for Student Services Donna Eddleman, PEAK Service is about exceeding expectations. It is about going above and beyond to safeguard the practices and qualities that make SUU distinctly valuable to students, faculty and staff.
What better time than the start of a new school year to renew that commitment?
The minutia of all that constitutes great service is vast, stretching far beyond the classroom. The University’s service initiative aims to bring all those who have contact with students into the conversation, with a very simple question: “In all that we do, can our students see that they matter?”
Speaking to what students expect, senior Jenna DeGering explained in recent quality service trainings for SUU staff members and administrators, “We need support to learn and grow, yes, but we also expect to be held accountable and to be able to make an impact.”
She summarized with four directives for faculty and staff: show respect, be sincere, respond proactively and be supportive.
By and large, faculty and staff have accepted that challenge, even extending it beyond students. From the top down, SUU’s employees move forward in the new school year with a renewed commitment to, as Eddleman explained, “focus on making every interaction that we have, whether with a colleague or with a student, an opportunity to teach and to learn.”
Eddleman continued, “A campus-wide focus on this type of service is an opportunity to enhance student success, our own working environment and the reputation of Southern Utah University.”
To formalize this commitment and recognize those who take it to heart, the University’s Quality Service Committee has implemented a multi-level award system, dependent upon the feedback of students, faculty and staff.
In addition to larger-scale annual awards, the committee will also distribute an unlimited number of the “Red-handed Award,” designed to more immediately and regularly recognize a job well done. To that end, all Thunderbirds are encouraged to submit service nominations when they feel they have received above-and-beyond, “peak” service. A formal online nomination site is currently in development; in the interim, submissions may be sent to the Quality Service Committee through Kim Roeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-8100.
Just one week after it’s first large-scale service training with SUU staff, the committee has already received several nominations, and two awards have been handed out to date.
“People have been excited and surprised to be recognized,” according to Roeder. “Who doesn’t love a little hard-earned recognition?”
Photograph by Harry Lichtman. Used with permission. ©harrylichtman.com.