October 26, 2005
05-236

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations

Valdosta State University receives third best practice award inthree years

Valdosta State University's Department of Modern and Classical Languages recently received recognition from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for their Best Practice in Spanish and Foreign Language Education.

VSU received second place in the academic affairs category for its "Learning More than we Teach: Service Learning in the Hispanic Community of South Georgia" initiative. The initiative requires Spanish and foreign-language education majors to complete community work to enable them to effectively communicate with the constantly rising Hispanic population in the university's 41 county service area. Students work as mentors to migrant children and as interns in various programs, including providing support services such as interpreting to families to help them adjust to life in the United States and South Georgia.

The award is VSU's third best practice from the Board of Regents since the award program was implemented in 2003, a standing shared with only a few of USG's other 34 institutions.

"This award was one of eight selected from 83 highly competitive entries and it is an honor to be recognized for the third consecutive year," said Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari, VSU President. "I am extremely proud that the Learning More than we Teach program combines two of VSU's strategic goals, focusing on student preparation and engagement in the community and region. This Best Practice program challenges our students to take their knowledge and expertise beyond the classroom and become a valuable resource to our community and region."

Best practices are selected in categories: academic affairs, finance and business, information technology and student services. In 2003, VSU placed second in Information Technology for "An Integrated Strategic Planning and Budgeting System," and received first place in 2004 in Student Services for "From Silos to Circles: Collaboration between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs at Valdosta State University.

The annual awards are given to USG institutions that have implemented best practices that have a substantial, measurable impact on institutional operations; have support and acceptance by those who benefit directly; demonstrate creativity, effectiveness, and efficiencies including cost savings, positive net return, cost avoidance, productivity or service enhancement; enhance achievement of the institution's strategic goals and objectives; and serve as a model for possible replication at other institutions.