Middle Georgia State University and University president Christopher Blake were named Gold Institution and President of the Year at the University System of Georgia Chancellor’s Service Excellence Awards on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The award was presented by Chancellor Hank Huckaby during a ceremony at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.
“Any institution of higher education has a duty not only to educate but to serve our students, our employees and our region,” said Blake. “Middle Georgia State University has long been committed to service through strong and accessible leadership, exceptional academic offerings and thorough engagement in our communities. It is gratifying in the extreme to see our efforts recognized by Chancellor Huckaby and the University System of Georgia.”
According to the University System’s website, the Institution of the Year awards are presented to “…the institution and president that demonstrated the highest commitment and performance levels in service excellence across the institution over the last year, including ‘Best Practice’ accomplishments and employee activities that foster service excellence.” Nominees are asked to demonstrate five attributes of service excellence: Respectful, Accessible, Informed, Supportive and Responsive.
Programs and initiatives that led to the University’s selection as Gold Institution of the Year included its four new graduate programs*, constructed in response to the growing workforce needs of the Middle Georgia region, and strategic initiatives that have included expansion of the University’s aviation program, international studies partnerships, a University-wide plan to increase out-of-the-classroom learning for students, and the collaboration with the Technical College System of Georgia to open the new Georgia Veterans Education Career Transition Resource Center (VECTR) in Warner Robins.
In addition to the institutional successes highlighted with the award’s presentation, Blake’s successes as an accessible and responsive University president were noted. In a testimonial supporting the nomination, Faculty Senate chair Patrick Brennan wrote, “I can say on behalf of my colleagues that President Blake has … consistently encouraged faculty and staff to make student-centered decisions.”
“Our University’s four core values of Stewardship,Engagement, Adaptability and Leadership are the foundation for all we do,” said Blake. “When our students leave our institution and move on to the next phase of their life, they carry these values with them. Their successes as healthcare providers, educators, business leaders, IT specialists, aviators, creative professionals - or any other field to which their greatness carries them – are the ultimate service that we as educators can provide to them, their communities and the world in which we all live.”
This year’s award is the first Institution of the Year award for Middle Georgia State University. In 2015, two MGA employees were presented with Service Excellence Awards in the Front Desk/Help Center and Individual of the Year categories.
*Two of the University's graduate programs are pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.