As this year’s Staff Council Employee Recognition Award winner, Susan Todd is often a dispenser of hope and a morale booster. “Susan is the type of person who brings people together. She looks for ways to be inclusive in the University and strives to bring happiness to those around her,” said Andy Wright, vice president for Enrollment Management.
As the senior administrative associate for Enrollment Management, one of Todd’s jobs is to process a student’s paperwork as they prepare to go through an administrative appeal or temporary medical withdrawal from classes.
For Todd, the process is a temporary stop in the road for a student who is struggling. “The goal is to find a pathway back to success, back to the University, and it ends with graduation,” she said.
It would be easy to just accept a student’s paperwork, let them know when their appeal date is and then let them go their way. But this is where Todd shines. “Susan takes the time to better understand the student’s situation. She has a way of calming and reassuring the student. She makes it a priority that they understand they can get back on their feet, they can return and move forward,” said Wright.
She not only offers students hope, she gives them direction. “I’m hopeful for students. A lot of times, they come to see me with a lot of hopelessness and self-doubt. If I didn’t offer them hope, they couldn’t see all the possibilities they have. There is a lot of joy when it comes to advising a student and setting them on a trajectory to success.”
A classic example of Todd’s hope can be found with the kindness rocks she places across campus for students to find.
She explores every avenue to ensure student success. Wright describes her as tenacious when finding ways for students to return or complete their degree. “There was an instance where a student, due to a medical issue, was ready to drop a class and withdraw from the University,” he said. “Furthermore, because of the medical issue, the student was ready to change majors and start anew, even though she was very close to completing her degree. Todd went to work and found two things: first, the student could switch from a seated to an online class and complete the coursework for that semester. Second, that class happened to be the last class left that the student needed to complete a different major. In the end, instead of losing the student, we gained an alumnus.”