December 20, 2004
04-153

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Antonio D. Adams Student Assistant, Arlethia Perry-Johnson, Board of Regents (404) 651-9301

'Best Practices' recognition within University System of Georgiaflows toward Valdosta State University and VSU Foundation, Inc.

Valdosta State University, for the second year in a row, continues to be recognized by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and others for ?best practices,? including some additional special recognition to the VSU Foundation, Inc.

"Now in its second year, the University System of Georgia's 'Best Practicesb program continues to recognize and reward innovative and efficient programs and business models," said University System Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith.

In the main annual competition there were 75 submissions from 26 institutions, divided among four categories: finance and business, academic affairs, student affairs and information technology. Senior University System administrators in each of the four categories evaluated and scored the entries on the basis of their impact on operations; the benefits the practices provided to students, faculty, staff, or others; and the effectiveness and efficiencies created, including cost savings, cost avoidance or productivity increases.

Valdosta State University received First Place in the Student Services "Best Practices" category for creating a partnership program that links the separate departments of academic affairs and student affairs. The goal is to provide better service to students by pooling departmental resources in areas such as the classroom, residence halls, the student library and student work programs. Called "From Silos to Circles," the program has strengthened on-going campus initiatives such as the Freshmen Year Experience program and the Emerging Leaders program. VSU President Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Louis Levy, and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Kurt Keppler were in Atlanta to receive the award from Chancellor Meredith and University System officials.

In addition to the Regents' overall "Best Practices Awards" the Facilities Office within the University System, in a special presentation, has recognized the Valdosta State University Foundation, Inc. for its "best practices" in what is titled the "Public-Private Partnership" award for 2004. This marks the first time the University System has issued an award to a university-affiliated foundation.

"This is a tremendous honor for the VSU Foundation to be the first recipients of an award of this type," stated William (Bill) DeCoudres, incoming chairman of the VSU Foundation, who was present for the award's presentation.

The VSU Foundation received the award primarily due to its work to assist VSU in a privatized fashion of renovating old residence halls and building new ones. The initial project was funded at $35.6 million and the first phase of the student housing, Centennial Hall East, opens next month at the beginning of Spring Semester.

Chairman Mike Harpe, former Chairman Wayne Edwards and DeCoudres led the volunteer trustees who were able to obtain private funding for the renovation of two existing residence halls and the building of Centennial Halls East and West.

"This process could have taken up to eight years if the university used state funding instead of privatized funding," stated Scott Sikes, Vice President for University Advancement. "Other foundations have been successful in using private funding, but never this quickly."

Earlier this November VSU was one of only three institutions in the United States to receive the prestigious Christa McAuliffe Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) for excellence in teacher education. It specifically recognized VSU's Learning through Inquiry Science and Technology program.

In 2003 VSU was honored with "Best Practices" awards from the Board of Regents and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO) for its use of information technology in its budget and university-wide planning effort. VSU's Plant Operations Department was also honored by the University System's Facilities Office with a special award for its collective work over a period of years.