Warhawk Weekly 11-10: Veterans Center; Spirit Awards; Faculty Awards

University opens new Veteran & Military Resource Center

From navigating the Department of Defense’s tuition assistance program to activating GI Bill benefits, military veterans, active duty military members and their dependents often have unique needs and questions as they navigate the college experience.

Auburn University at Montgomery has opened a new space dedicated to help them receive the answers they need while also accessing the full range of support systems they may need while pursuing their degrees.

On Monday, AUM formally opened its new Veteran and Military Resource Center, a place AUM Assistant Director for Veterans Services Rudy Tobias describes as “a one-stop shop.”

Located in Taylor Center 325, the center offers a comfortable space for AUM’s student veterans to study, connect with peers, receive information about benefits available to them, and more. With approximately 800 students self-identifying as veterans, active duty or military dependents, the center will be positioned to serve the needs of a growing and unique campus population.

“Our needs are different than those of the average student,” said Jeniffer Davis, an Air Force veteran and past president of AUM’s Student Veterans of America chapter. “They have created a perfect space for us, a place where study and homework can be done away from the hustle and bustle of the average university setting, a place where unique questions can be answered while helping the individual feel right at home.

“I know that, regardless of my situation, the Veterans and Military Resource Center will always have an answer to my questions.”

AUM Chancellor Carl A. Stockton said the new center also reinforces the university’s reputation as a campus that is hospitable to and supportive of veterans. AUM has been recognized by Victory Media as a “Military Friendly” school each of the last three years. This past year, AUM earned “silver” status among military friendly schools, the highest ranking among universities in Alabama.

Meet our Warhawk Spirit Award winners

During Friday’s virtual Chancellor’s Convocation, AUM Chancellor Carl A. Stockton recognized the university’s 2020 Warhawk Spirit Award winners.

The awards are presented to employees who exemplify the university’s Core Values.

The 2020 Warhawk Spirit Award winners are:

  • College of Education Dean Sheila Austin
  • Chief Campus Services Officer Daryl Morris
  • Chief Information Officer Tobias Mense
  • Senior Database Analyst Melinda Kramer
  • Student Financial Counselor Kalesha Warren

For more information on each award winner, visit AUM’s Facebook and Instagram for a series of short profiles.

Honoring faculty excellence

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Aaron Cobb earned a pair of accolades during Friday’s Chancellor’s Convocation – the Outstanding Faculty Service Award and the Alumni Service Award presented on behalf of the AUM Alumni Association.

Other faculty members honored for their excellence in research, instruction and service included:

Distinguished Teaching Professor Award

Ben Okeke
Department of Biology & Environmental Science

Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor Award

Julie Freeman
Associate Professor & Chair
School of Nursing

Distinguished Clinical Faculty Award

Andria Walker
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology

Outstanding Adjunct Instructor Award

Cheryl Sundberg
Department of Chemistry

Distinguished Research Professor Award

Lee Farrow
Department of History & World Languages & Culture

Distinguished Research Associate Professor Award

Seth Reno
Associate Professor
Department of English & Philosophy

Outstanding Faculty Service Award

Timothy Lewis
Associate Professor
Department of Curriculum, Instruction & Technology

Each award winner received cash awards that can be used to offset university-approved expenses related to teaching and research. For more about each of our award winners, keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram this week and next. We will be sharing profiles on each faculty member.

A First Generation celebration

Did you know that AUM is home to nearly 2,000 first generation college students?

We’re celebrating our barrier-breakers and ensuring they understand what resources and support systems are available to them during their time at AUM.

AUM’s inaugural First Generation Warhawk Celebration will be held Monday, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., in Taylor Center 221-222.

If you’re the first from your family to attend college, drop by for student panels, games, a photo booth, financial workshop and more. Attendees will receive a free “First Generation” T-shirt while supplies last.

Sparks named VSU’s 2020 Graduate of the Last Decade

Assistant Professor Jana Sparks has been recognized as Valdosta State University’s 2020 Graduate of the Last Decade.

VSU’s Alumni Association awards the honor each spring to a graduate who has demonstrated outstanding services to their community since graduating from VSU within the past 10 years. Sparks, program chair and assistant professor of Instructional Leadership in AUM’s College of Education, received her Doctor of Education in Leadership from VSU in 2016.

“I am so humbled and honored to receive this recognition from my alma mater,” Sparks said. “From an early age, I knew that I was going to be an educator. I truly believe that every successful school starts with a great leader.”

Sparks began her career in Phenix City Public Schools in Phenix City, Ala., after earning her undergraduate degree from Delaware State University. The highlight of her time working in the Phenix City School District was overseeing the opening of the district’s only primary school, Lakewood Primary, Sparks said.

Sparks said she moved into higher education to have an even greater impact in students’ lives. In Summer 2017, she joined AUM as an assistant professor of Instructional Leadership in the Department of Counselor, Leadership and Special Education in the College of Education. She currently serves as program chair for AUM’s Instructional Leadership program.

“I share with my students those experiences that will help them provide effective leadership and ensure their continued growth and development,” she said. “I want each one of my students to know what it is to be a true servant leader that focuses on the needs of others to build a sense of community.”

Give the gift of life next week

AUM Athletics and the College of Nursing & Health Sciences will host a blood drive on behalf of LifeSouth Community Blood Centers on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All blood doors will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be able to show a photo ID.

An update on COVID-19 case tracking

Auburn University at Montgomery continues to update its COVID-19 dashboard with results of testing conducted through the Sentinel Testing program and Warhawk Health Services, as well as self-reported positive test results by students and employees to Student Affairs and Human Resources. Reporting will be updated each Monday.

In addition to wearing face masks on campus and observing social distancing, students and employees are encouraged to utilize the AUM Healthcheck symptom monitoring tool and enroll in the random Sentinel Testing Program.

Protect Your Nest through Sentinel Testing

If safeguarding your classmates and colleagues wasn’t enough reason for you to participate in the random Sentinel Testing Program, there’s another incentive: a Starbucks gift card that can be used at participating locations.

The Sentinel Testing Program, which helps identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, is quick, convenient and non-invasive.

In order to participate in the program and receive notifications to schedule tests, AUM students and employees must create an account on the Verily platform.

To create your account, use your AUM email address and answer a few basic questions in order to receive a verification email that will enable you to be contacted for future testing.

Students and employees selected at random will begin receiving emails from [email protected] asking them to schedule a testing appointment. All testing will take place at the Library Tower. Those who complete testing will receive a gift card while supplies last.

Dealing with anxiety and depression

Many individuals battle anxiety and depression after elections and leading up to the holiday season. Counseling and Health Promotion Services and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion can help you learn techniques to de-stress and achieve relaxation.

Join them for virtual “Take a Time Out” events on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. and Thursday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. Join via Zoom at https://auburn.zoom.us/j/83030927244. The meeting ID is: 830 3092 7244.

Spring semester Payment Plans open Dec. 4

Students: AUM will open Spring 2021 Payment Plans on Friday, Dec. 4. If you decide to enroll in one of our two plan options, you can divide your tuition payments into 5-month or 4-month installments. For more information, visit call (334) 244-3286 or visit http://aum.edu/admissions/scholarships-and-financial-aid/student-accounts

Filibuster accepting submissions for 2021 issue

AUM’s literary and art magazine, the Filibuster, is accepting submissions for the 2021 issue.

The theme for the upcoming magazine is “Transformation,” which includes themes of progress, learning, growing, adapting, transitioning, and dramatic change.

Please submit your poetry, short stories, photography, creative nonfiction, and graphic design pieces by December 31, 2020. Submissions should be sent to [email protected].

NCAA holiday rules reminders

Considering this is the time of year where people give the most, AUM Athletics wants to make sure that no one ends up on the NCAA’s naughty list for trying to do something nice. Here are a few friendly reminders.

Extra Benefits: According to NCAA rules, an extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee, or a representative of the institution’s athletics interests, to provide a student-athlete, or a prospective student-athlete, or their friend or family member, a benefit not also available to the general student population, or a particular segment of the student body.

  • Holiday or special occasion presents/gifts
  • Money, loans, bonds, or co-signing of loans
  • Free or discounted transportation (use of a car, boat, airline tickets, bus tickets, etc.)
  • Free storage
  • Free merchandise (clothes, video games, etc.)
  • Free entertainment (sporting events, movies, concerts, nightclubs, etc.)
  • Free lodging (hotel rooms, staying at apartment/house, etc.)
  • Free meals
  • Discounted merchandise, entertainment or lodging because of status
  • Free use of a credit card, calling card, cell phone, etc.

Holiday Gifts: It is not permissible to provide holiday gifts to student-athletes or their relatives. Please remember that holidays are not exempt from the NCAA’s extra-benefit bylaws.

Occasional Meals: Occasional meal rules apply to team holiday parties, as well as any AUM faculty and staff member or parents who wishes to provide a student-athlete, or an entire team, with a holiday meal. Be sure to complete an Occasional Meal Form, submit it to the Athletics Compliance Office and get approval at least 2 business days before any such meal occurs.