WMU News

Grad student organization receives national awards

Nov. 19, 2003

KALAMAZOO--The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students presented awards to a Western Michigan University organization and student during its annual conference Nov. 5 through 9 in Washington, D.C.

WMU's Graduate Student Advisory Committee, a standing committee of the Faculty Senate's Graduate Studies Council, was named Graduate/Professional Student Organization of the Year and Doris Dirks, a graduate student from Calgary, Alberta, who is pursuing a doctor of education degree, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

WMU students attending the 2003 national NAGPS conference and on hand for the awards presentation were: Jessica Baby of Mentor, Ohio, NAGPS immediate past vice president and a master's candidate in administration in higher education; Dirks; Nancy Greer-Williams of Hopewell, Va., a doctoral candidate in educational leadership; and Kurt Hayden of Battle Creek, Mich., a doctoral candidate in industrial engineering.

GSAC chairperson Marcel Brouwers, who was unable to attend the conference, says NAGPS annually presents a series of awards to outstanding organizations and individuals in recognition of their contributions to graduate and professional education and to improving the quality of life for students seeking graduate and professional degrees.

"It's an honor to receive one of these awards because the national organization represents more than 800,000 graduate students across the country," says Brouwers, a doctoral candidate in English from Mt. Prospect, Ill.

According to Brouwers, GSAC serves as a liaison between graduate students and WMU. Its activities include facilitating policy reform; establishing, promoting and funding programs and services that enrich the graduate student community; recommending graduate students for appointments to University councils and committees; and fostering communication among graduate students.

NAGPS cited GSAC this year for working tirelessly to promote and improve the status of graduate and professional students at WMU and around the country. It also praised the organization for reaching out to its constituents and addressing their concerns through a variety of important publications, policy initiatives and other activities.

Dirks, who served as president of both GSAC and NAGPS in 2001-02, has held three positions on the NAGPS Board of Directors. She was cited in part for her long and consistent efforts on behalf of graduate and professional students.

"Doris's dedication, commitment and contribution to the quality of graduate education are renowned," NAGPS said, adding that since leaving the NAGPS board, Dirks has remained active in the organization by attending regional conferences and participating in activities such as Lobby Day.

At last year's NAGPS conference, GSAC picked up a Certificate of Special Recognition for having provided important assistance to the organization throughout 2002 and WMU President Elson S. Floyd and Graduate College Dean William Wiener were honored as Friends of Graduate/Professional Students. The 2002 Graduate/Professional Student Organization of the Year award went to the Graduate Student Union at the University of Notre Dame while the Lifetime Achievement Award winner was from Illinois State University.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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